We are taught at an early age that nutrition is important. I remember being in elementary school and learning about the food pyramid and how different diets can affect our health. Physical education class and recess were also required up to a certain age to help promote exercise. One thing I don’t remember learning a lot about is the importance of vitamins. I wonder how many of us stop taking vitamins once we reach an age when our parents stop giving them to us. I remember being handed a Flintstone vitamin each morning before school, but don’t remember at what age that stopped.

As an adult, I have been learning more about how certain vitamins play a role in our daily functioning both through the foods we eat and through supplements. Vitamin deficiencies can lead to health problems that often go unnoticed unless they are causing significant issues. A few common vitamin deficiencies include low iron levels (or anemia), vitamin D deficiency, and low potassium.

Not having sufficient levels of appropriate vitamins in our system can cause a variety of problems. According to the Mayo Clinic, some common symptoms people experience can include:

  • fatigue
  • weakness
  • shortness of breath
  • cold hands and feet
  • chest pain
  • irregular heartbeats
  • hair loss
  • brittle nails
  • muscle cramps/stiffness
  • mood changes
  • digestive issues
  • issues with concentration and memory

Most people may be able to receive an adequate amount of vitamins solely through the foods they eat. Some may add in a multivitamin to their daily routine just to be sure. For others, there may be additional measures needed. Some people may have difficulty absorbing or maintaining the levels needed for their body to function properly. They might require an additional daily supplement or even periodic infusions. The issues may or may not be related to some other underlying medical condition.

Some of the above symptoms might cause difficulties for people in all areas of life, including work. If someone is having difficulty performing a job because of issues related to vitamin deficiency, there may be solutions to help.

Here are some potential accommodation ideas:

For employees having difficulty with concentration, they might consider if there are any specific distractions affecting them and modifying the work environment.

For someone with muscle cramps and stiffness, it may help to have a modified break schedule or the ability to stand as needed.

Other accommodation ideas might be a flexible schedule, leave to attend appointments, or even a space heater or dress code modification for temperature sensitivities.

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