Work performance nutrition is very important to help employees function at their best, to have vitality, and to even have work satisfaction. Some great research is pointing out how MUCH nutrition helps your employees and you.
Nutrition and quality of life really matter at work and are tightly connected.
Sure, we can look at numbers like blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, glucose, immune markers, electrolytes; all important things.
But I bet if the people being treated for any given condition had a say, they would want to have a better quality of life. They would want to feel more vital.
Quality of life is exactly what it sounds like: having quality in your life regardless of your diseases or lack thereof. It’s measurable and quantifiable. It determines how well your work performance goes as well.
This is a call to action in science.
How Quality of Life Connects to Nutrition
Chronic disease rates continue to grow unabated despite all of the advances in drug therapies (3).
These diseases include:
- Autoimmune diseases
- Liver diseases
- Heart Disease
These diseases aren’t single entities but are extended to all parts of the body. They are debilitating and result in major reductions in life quality.
According to the CDC, 50% of all adults have a chronic disease, and all have roots in imbalanced nutrition. Click here for more information.
Why Employers Should Care About Work Performance Nutrition
Are you killing your employees with kindness? Those donuts or cake in the break room, for example, are not helping you have a better business or healthy staff (4).
A healthy diet plan can:
- Improve energy
- Reduce weight
- Improve job productivity by 25%
- Reduce days of absence from work
- Reduce disease risk
- Improve emotional well-being
- Improve physical function
Employers….hint, hint. Offer healthy foods instead and you will see productivity soar due to improved quality of life (5).
Eating at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day improved work productivity by 25%. Let that thought expand.
Can you imagine how worthwhile workplace vegetables in the break room might be? Less staff might be required to do the same amount of work. Less cost!
When vegetables and fruits are provided instead of just encouraged, outcomes like psychological well-being improve in as little as 2 weeks (6).
Exercise also helps work performance by 20% (6).
Why aren’t more of these trials like these being done? Funding. The vast majority of research today is funded by what you might guess. Drug companies(7)
75% of clinical research is funded by pharmaceutical companies. And they are getting very, very rich. They don’t care if you are eating healthy. In fact, they probably hope you aren’t.
Does Life Quality Come From A Pharmacy?
Many patients simply take a drug for their diabetes, for example, carry on with life as usual, and find their bodies and systems continue to decline.
This is because the drug doesn’t get to the root of the problem of the disease: imbalances in hormones and weight due to poor diet and inflammation.
Another important concern, when drug prices increase, it may make it less likely that people will get essentials they need in life, like healthy foods (7) and quality of life FURTHER goes down.
And drug companies don’t necessarily care if you can afford healthy food at the end of the day.
I’m not saying some drugs don’t make you feel better with chronic diseases because they obviously can and do when used appropriately WITH lifestyle changes.
But they are far from the quick fix people make them out to be.
Quick fixes, fast food meals, quick to pick up more illnesses.
Vitamin D Performance Benefits
I will highlight vitamin D because it has vast effects in the body. Vitamin D and quality of life are inseparable.
Nothing is as polarizing of a topic as vitamin D, at least in the media, but consider this:
- 9 studies have found that vitamin D blood levels predict the quality of life in diseases ranging from colitis and multiple sclerosis to fibromyalgia.
- 9 additional studies have shown that supplemental vitamin D3 improves quality of life.
18 studies showing that vitamin D positively impacts your quality of life. I will let you decide if you think that’s enough research to justify testing blood levels and supplementation.
Check out this Vitamin D Council link for more details about all of these studies:The Vitamin D Council. If you haven’t checked out the Vitamin D Council website, you should. This organization brings about awareness of vitamin D and the vast research about it.
Vitamin D works better in the context of a nutritious diet and plenty of cofactor nutrients like (8):
- Vitamin K
- Vitamin A
Vitamin D: Quality of Life in Heart Failure
I know first-hand how vitamin D impacts quality of life, both personally and professionally. With a great medical team, I initiated a vitamin D3 research study in patients with heart failure and vitamin D deficiency. This was published last month in BMC Cardiovascular Disorders.
Patients with heart failure have a very poor quality of life on average because they are fatigued, debilitated, have difficulties with daily tasks, shortness of breath and many other issues.
They also have a high chance of vitamin D deficiency, and this deficiency increases their odds of death and hospitalization.
We found that:
Patients getting a large dose of vitamin D3 daily for 6 months compared to placebo improved heart failure-specific quality of life scores in almost every area, including:
- Reduction in total symptoms
- Reduced symptom frequency
- Reduced symptom burden
- Reduction in overall symptoms
These symptoms and questions revolve around health, daily well-being and tasks such as:
- Doing housework, yard work
- Climbing stairs
- Dressing yourself
- Shortness of breath
- Enjoyment in life
- Visiting friends and family
To equate this to practical terms, they went from a score of a C to a B in life quality. They had no side effects and also had improvements in hormone levels as well.
It was a small study because funding is tough for nutrition research. We crowdfunded through Experiment.com to help support this along with generous donations from the hospital and foundations where I work.
If you like these types of outcomes, I welcome you to help support this kind of research.
Other Vitamin D Facts
See my previous blog: 7 Vitamin D Facts That May Change Your Life.
Dramatic improvements in autism spectrum have been seen with supplemental vitamin D as well (9).
Vitamin D improves quality of life in patients with hives (10).
Lung function of preterm infants is improved when pregnant women receive higher levels D, especially in the first trimester (11).
How Does Vitamin D Improve Quality of Life?
Vitamin D is a hormone in the body, and has thousands of functions.
Of those, muscle strength, immunity, nerve health, and bone strength are just a few that play into our feelings of well-being.
Specific Dietary Supplementation Improves Life Quality
Inadequate nutrition intake (malnutrition), in the elderly predicts poor quality of life (11).
Supplements during cancer treatment sometimes get a bad rap. However, users of dietary supplements (under guidance from informed providers) in general, have better quality of life than non-users in patients with cancer (14).
Coenzyme Q10 and selenium supplements in healthy elderly people may slow decline in quality of life and keep them out of the hospital (17).
Numerous supplements, including fish oil, carnitine, D-ribose, coenzyme Q10, probiotics, and hawthorne may help heart failure quality of life (20).
Targeted nutrition and supplementation is a very cost-effective way to improve your vitality. Fresh fruits and vegetables, along with appropriate supplements may keep you strong at any stage in life and performing well at work.
The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body and is shared for educational purposes only. Consult your doctor or healthcare provider before making changes to your supplement regimen or lifestyle.
Heidi Moretti, MS, RD is The Healthy RD. A registered dietitian for 20 years, has a passion for functional nutrition and natural medicine. Has researched supplements and plants as medicine throughout her career. Loves helping people gain function and vitality by tackling the root causes of illness.