My thoughts on network marketed health products

My wife Renee and I have been approached over the years by several friends promoting at least five different multi-level marketed (MLM) health brands.

What do they think? Either we’re really unhealthy and need their cure-all, or maybe they think we’re so into health that we’ll get excited by their products.

Both would be at least partially true. We’ve both suffered our fair share of infectious diseases and chronic illness. Not enough to stop us living ‘normal’ lives (whatever that is!?). And we’re both into health and wellbeing. Renee is a naturopath. I’m into running. We’re both into good whole plant foods and lots of it!

I’m sure the MLM products are all great – most of them anyway. A quick google search reveals many positive reviews for most MLM health brands. There are also a lot of negative reviews out there too.

I’m usually a bit cautious. There are some obstacles for me to get around before getting too excited:

They typically don’t list their ingredients and quantities or concentrations. They hide behind ‘proprietary’ ingredients.

The MLM business model is a turn-off for me. I’m not a fan of MLM for either accessing or distributing beneficial health products. It makes motivation too easy to conflict between sharing health and making money – and even then only a few actually do make money out of MLM. Unfortunately the business side of MLM sometimes ends up being a strain on friendships.

Even if only one of the MLM products was as good as the claims made for all of them, that one would naturally come out on top and everyone would be onto it – in particular a high proportion of top athletes. But it’s actually rare to find an athlete spruiking any MLM health boost, let alone finding one that naturally comes out on top.

I don’t think they’re all snake oil. I’m sure there are tons of beneficial MLM health products.

Between us Renee and I have had personal experience with a few different MLM health products: 

  1. Mannatech – I was personally helped a few years ago by this. I had friends/relatives trying really hard to convince me to buy into the business but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
  2. Isagenix – We’ve both had friends/family get into this and try to get us onto it. Some of the products are OK but no better than other stuff Renee can get as a practitioner.
  3. Young Living – Again we’ve been helped by these oils and we have friends who are right into the business side of this, and pushing it hard. Good product.
  4. And more recently we’ve had friends tell us about Zija…
  5. and PURE.

I’m open-minded about these things. Perhaps one of them really is the bees knees. Or perhaps more than one.

However, for the following reasons, I’m not about to make joining an MLM a core part of my life:

MLM blurs the lines between recommending what is best for the recipient and what is best for the salesperson. Not every health issue needs solutions from the same MLM brand. It takes a person of high integrity to be able to recommend a solution in which they have no commercial interest when their own product, from which they can make money, is not as appropriate.

Many MLMers convince themselves that their products really are the only ones that will help every health issue. For the neutral observer, there will always be suspicion no matter how much integrity and wisdom an MLMer has. There are enough blatant snake oil sales pitches from MLMers that there is a high risk that even an MLMer of integrity will be automatically tarnished with the same brush.

There is only one cure-all known to mankind for complete healing, and that is best summed up by a word that exists in Greek but doesn’t have a single English equivalent. The Greek word is the verb “sozo” and it needs two English words to translate its meaning: “to save” and “to heal”.

What’s more, “sozo” is free. There’s no real catches, just that you can’t earn it. If you try to work for it, you’ll lose your “sozo”. The efficacy of “sozo” relies on belief in unmerited favour.

But I’m getting off topic. The thing is, why should I expend my time and energy pushing some imperfect little health kick and alienate my friends because I’m perceived as always pushing my health product?

There’s something infinitely better – and free – that it is my privilege to share with anyone who wants it. Now that’s even worth taking the risk of losing friendships and reputation, because it really does work!