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5 Nutrient Deficiencies that Can Interfere with Your Work Performance

We spend an average of 90,000 hours of our lives working, which may be why balancing a successful work life and a healthy lifestyle can sometimes feel impossible.1 

If you feel like you’ve tried everything, but you’re still experiencing low energy, feeling stressed out, or just not feeling “well”, you’re not alone. The American Institute of Stress reports that 34% of working Americans have difficulty sleeping due to work and 12% call in sick due to work stress.2

Nutrient deficiencies, like too low vitamin D or selenium, may be part of the problem. These vitamins and minerals can affect everything from immunity and energy levels to sleeping patterns and stress regulation. 

Since they are so vital to health and because deficiencies are so common, better understanding your micronutrient status and the roles they play in your body may be part of the solution to improving your health and work performance.

5 Ways Nutrient Deficiencies Interfere with Your Work Performance

Nutrient deficiencies may play a role in lost sleep

Decreased Motivation and Overall Performance

Due to: Lack of energy 

Culprits: Magnesium, Potassium, Vitamin B12

Magnesium activates adenosine triphosphate in the body, which helps to create energy. Potassium helps regulate muscle and heart contractions, maintaining energy levels. Low vitamin B12 levels cause a reduction in red blood cell formation and prevent them from developing properly. Extremely low vitamin B12 levels can lead to anemia, which causes severe fatigue and weakness. 3-4

Inability to Interact and Brainstorm with Your Team  

Due to: Inadequate sleep

Culprits: Magnesium and Vitamin D

In order to fall asleep and stay asleep, your body and brain need to relax. Magnesium activates the nervous system responsible for getting you relaxed and also regulates the hormone melatonin, which guides your internal sleep-wake cycles. Low levels of vitamin D are associated with decreased sleep time, decreased sleep efficiency, and increased daytime sleepiness. 5-10

Increased Sick Days 

Due to: Suppressed immune system

Culprits: Vitamins D, E, C and Selenium

Vitamin D modulates immune responses. Therefore deficiencies in this vitamin are strongly associated with an increased susceptibility to illness. Vitamin E and selenium are powerful antioxidants that help the body fight off infection. A vitamin C deficiency results in a reduced resistance against certain germs that can cause illness. Your body doesn’t naturally produce or store it, but the good news is that most fruits and vegetables contain vitamin C! 11-13

Decreased Job Satisfaction

Due to: Increase in stress 

Culprit: Omega-3 Fatty Acids 

Studies show a strong association between omega-3 fatty acid levels and anxiety. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that people with anxiety disorders have lower levels of circulating omega-3 fatty acids. Another study published in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity demonstrated that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation reduced inflammation and anxiety in medical students during exams. 14-16

Lack of Confidence 

Due to: Poor skin, hair & nail health and impaired mood

Culprits: Copper, Selenium, Zinc and Vitamin D

It’s hard to feel confident in the office when you don’t feel like you’re presenting the best version of yourself. Minerals like copper, selenium, and zinc play a role in hair, skin, and nail health. Zinc helps heal scars, acne and most damage to your skin as it is one of the most powerful healing minerals. Copper promotes the production of collagen, the structural protein for healthy hair, skin, and nails. Selenium is a major player for skin health as it is a powerful antioxidant that’s important in maintaining skin elasticity and flexibility. When lacking these vitamins and minerals, you may feel self-conscious of your appearance leading to interpersonal conflict affecting your work. Additionally, numerous studies have shown a strong correlation between mood and vitamin D levels.17-22

Being deficient in certain micronutrients can lead to a decrease in motivation & performance, inability to interact & brainstorm with coworkers, increased sick days, decreased job satisfaction and a decrease in confidence & mood. Having sufficient levels will allow you to feel, look, think and act positive, professional and successful so you can put your best foot forward at work.

If any of the above resonates with you, you’re not alone since virtually 100% of Americans have inadequate intake for one or more essential nutrients.23 So how do you ensure you’re getting adequate levels of key nutrients in order to do your best work?

The Answer: Personalized Nutrition

Fixing nutrient deficiencies with personalized supplements

A one-size-fits-all approach is not the answer you’re looking for because everybody experiences different deficiencies. The only way to figure this out is by measuring your actual micronutrient status through a blood test. These results provide information on which nutrients you need, how much of each nutrient you need, and what impact your current nutrient intake is having. 

Most people experience excessive stress, low energy and just simply do not feel “well” at work, where they spend a majority of their time. A proven way to improve or prevent these negative effects is personalizing their nutrition using nutrient blood testing and customized supplementation.

Obtaining the right nutrients in the right doses can improve your mental and physical health tremendously, which allows you to feel your best. When you feel your best, you can focus on all of the things life throws at you, whether at work or elsewhere.

About the Author

Gabrielle has a BS in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of New Hampshire and a master’s degree in Health and Wellness Management from Merrimack College. She has varied experience in research, counseling, clinical nutrition, nutrition communications and marketing, food service management, and has worked with underserved areas in community nutrition. Gabrielle enjoys a healthy lifestyle through outdoor adventures, practicing mindfulness and compassion, and cooking her favorite dishes to share with friends and family.


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