Should You Supplement While Fasting
It stands to reason that if youre taking in fewer calories by fasting, you are also probably taking in fewer vitamins and nutrients. Whether or not that reduction is significant enough to affect your health depends upon how long you fast and whether you were deficient in any area before you started. Additionally, fasting folks often want to know whether supplements count as food in a fast. Most experts say they do not, but the timing of taking them is important.
First, consider that if youre only consuming water and/or black coffee while fasting, quite a few vitamins can make you feel nauseated on an empty stomach, from B vitamins to zinc. If you are going to take any of these, you probably want to save them for your eating windows. .
Vitamins break down into two essential categories:
Fat-soluble: These vitamins should be eaten with fat-containing food in order for your body to absorb them: vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K. The body stores fat-soluble vitamins in the liver and body fat. Taking these in windows when you arent consuming food with fat in it means youre less likely to absorb them, so theres no real point. While fasting for less than 5 days, youll be burning your own body fat and getting those vitamins that way.
· Sodium. If you want to avoid headaches and muscle spasms, check the recommended daily allowance for your weight and gender.
· Potassium. This keeps your heart functioning well and your energy high.
What About Fish Oil While Fasting
Although fish oil supplements contain a small amount of fat, youd still be better off by consuming it with actual food. Thats why its better to take fish oil, krill oil, or any other omega-3 supplement during your meals. However, if youre fasting, you can still take a fish oil capsule. Its not going to spike your insulin and the amount of fat isnt probably big enough to kick you out of a fasted state either. One fish oil capsule has about 5-10 calories so dont be consuming any more than 1-2 while fasting.
The same applies to vitamin D3 supplements, which usually are capsuled with some fish oil or olive oil. So, if you do take fish oil, take some vitamin D while youre at it and youll absorb both much better.
What Is Intermittent Fasting
Basically, intermittent fasting is a practice of shortening the time period when you eat and widening the gap when you fast. In fact, this does not presuppose reducing the number of calories and yet it works. Intermittent fasting helps boost metabolism, lower insulin levels, and may even add years to your life . It also sharpens your focus, and is thought to wind back the aging processes in your body. Moreover, it promotes autophagy, the process through which your cells get rid of built-up waste . Fasting might also cause your body to secrete a protein called fasting-induced adipose factor , which signals that its time to burn fat .
Because of this secretion, intermittent fasting works the following way: when you are in the fasting mode, your body starts using stored body fat for energy instead of sugars from food. Consequently, intermittent fasting helps optimize the release of insulin. Fasting leads to a decrease in insulin level that prevents extra fat storage and helps your body mobilize stored fat. So, keeping your insulin level low and steady is an important key to weight loss.
Overall, intermittent fasting is a healthy practice for weight loss, yet a number of questions inevitably appear in peoples heads regarding the consumption of vitamins and supplements while on the fast. Do vitamins break the fast? Find the answer below.
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Do Supplements Break Fast
Although technically you shouldnt consume anything other than liquids when youre fasting, you can take certain supplements.
Certain supplements do not break your fast and can support you through it in this article, Im going to be telling you about the best supplements you can take!
However, there are certain supplements that do break your fast, and first, its a good idea for me to go over these supplements.
Gummies These types of supplements normally contain sugar and can be quite calorific, therefore meaning they can break your fast.
So, avoid these at all costs whilst youre fasting. Honestly, avoiding these types of supplements normally might be a good idea anyway they arent typically that beneficial anyway since theyre too small to be effective.
Protein Powder Protein powders contain quite high numbers of calories as well as amino acids, both of which can increase blood sugar and can cause a spike in insulin levels, breaking your fast.
BCAAs BCAAs contain calories and amino acids , and therefore consuming this type of supplement will break your fast.
Avoid Supplements Containing These Ingredients: amino acids, maltodextrin, sugar, cane sugar, protein, and fruit juice.
Why You Shouldn’t Take Supplements During A Fast
It may seem intuitive to try and supplement a fast with a multivitamin product to ensure you’re continuing to feed your cells the micronutrients it needs to function at its best. However, supplementing a fast with vitamins and minerals will actually mitigate the health benefits of the fast while also shortchanging the positive effects of the actual supplement. Not to mention, many people will experience nausea and other gastrointestinal distress when taking a vitamin supplement on an empty stomach, which can be particularly detrimental when trying to maintain a healthy electrolyte balance while fasting.
During a fast, our body will rely on internal sources to keep us fueled. In addition to the cellular “housekeeping” that helps our internal system to reset during a fasting period, our cells will also begin to break down endogenous compounds, such as fat, to ensure that you maintain adequate levels of micronutrients and energy. By breaking down fat tissue, tapping into these reserves will release the stored fat-soluble vitamins that remain in our tissue. Additionally, with an adequate intake, the majority of the population will maintain sufficient levels of the water-soluble vitamins during a short-term fast, even though these nutrients are not stored in the body.
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Tips For Supplementing And Fasting
Though these three nutrients are important to consider, we all have unique needs . Consult with a doctor before starting to fast and/or taking supplements to make sure youre keeping your individual needs top-of-mind. The only way to be successful with intermittent fasting is by knowing your body and its needs!
Otherwise, its key that you eat a variety of nutritious foods and drink plenty of water when incorporating fasting or time-restricted feeding into your lifestyle.
Should you decide to add supplements for intermittent fasting to your routine, take them during your eating window. First of all, some supplements can cause nausea or discomfort when taken on an empty stomach. Secondly, taking supplements while fasting can both diminish the benefit of the fast and your absorption of their nutrients.
Dr. Amy Shah, M.D., is a double board-certified physician with training from Cornell, Columbia, and Harvard Universities. With extensive training in health and nutrition, she advises on increasing energy levels, fixing gut issues, managing allergies, and boosting the immune system. Dr. Shah was recently named one of MindBodyGreens Top 100 Women in Wellness to Watch and is a member of Genexas Medical Advisory Board.
Do Supplements Break A Fast
During fasting, the metabolic shift to ketosis involves a decrease in blood glucose and insulin levels, a hormone that facilitates the transport of glucose into the bodys cells. Any food, beverages, or dietary supplements that contain calories will break a fast, and the body will shift back to using glucose for energy when it becomes readily available. Additionally, foods or supplements that alter insulin levels may impact the desired effects of fasting.
Dietary supplements that may interrupt fasting include:
- Protein powders, which commonly contain approximately 100 calories per scoop
- Amino acids and amino acid combinations )
- Fatty acid supplements )
- Products that include sweeteners or additional ingredients
- Electrolyte drink powders and effervescent tablets, which are commonly sweetened
- Supplements in gummy or chewable tablet format, which are commonly sweetened
- Meal replacement supplements
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Intermittent Fasting Vs Longer Durations
In addition to the type of fast, there is also the length of fast to look at. For ease of discussion, I like to divide this to intermittent fasting, which is 24-hours or less, and then longer fasts .
Simply put, if youre just doing an intermittent fast where you dont eat after dinner one night, until dinner the next, then you could skip any herbs early in the day and take them later. Taking herbs twice a day as we recommend with most herbs is a suggestion, one that can easily be changed depending on the circumstances.
But you also could start your day off with herbsjust like some people start their intermittent fasting day with coffee. This could be black, bulletproof style, or with added herbs. Learn more about coffee and herbs HERE.
For a longer fast, as I said before, it really depends on what youre aiming to achieve. Also, you can do different things on different days.
Im planning on doing a week-long fast around the turn of the year. In doing so, I may start off with some things like MCT oil and herbs along with other supplements, but then switching to a strict water/tea fast, and perhaps even doing a one day dry fast in the middle, then reversing out the same way.
Chlorophyll Drops Reduce Body Odors Typical Of Fasting
Chlorophyll drops represent a great form of support during detoxification. The green plant substance helps to remove harmful toxins and also prevents the body odors that often arise during fasting.
At the same time, chlorophyll drops do not affect blood sugar or insulin levels, so do not disrupt a successful fasting state.
Each fasting regimen can be coordinated on an individual basis. In the spirit of promoting gentle fasting, consistent with Hildegard of Bingen, those who wish to include herbs such as Turmeric or Acerola should follow personal preferences.
We do not have studies comparing fasting results with and without supplements. Evidence of the success of fasting has to do with the millennia this practice has been applied. Given the longevity of this centuries-old healing technique, it seems perverting the tradition with modern supplements serves as a distraction. Practitioners of Hildegard of Bingen medicine keep an open mind to simple and gentle fasting.
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Fasting Supplements: What Helps And What Hurts A Fast
Intermittent and extended fasting are healing strategies that have been used throughout history and have become popular in many health circles today. Many individuals struggle with various symptoms as they begin fasting and certain supplements can help negate these issues.
While our ancestors practiced therapeutic fasting without any fasting supplements with great success, it doesnt mean we cannot take advantage of these technological advancements.
I dont believe or advocate the use of fasting supplements in all cases. However, I have found they are especially helpful for individuals who are either new to fasting or are struggling with serious metabolic dysfunction and chronic disease. This is because the purpose of fasting supplements is to provide a more comfortable and effective fasting experience.
The biggest goal for me is get my clients and the individuals I influence to have a good fasting experience because this will motivate them to adopt a fasting lifestyle. I have found that using fasting supplements can be a big player in providing that experience and empowering people to get tremendous health breakthroughs on a fasting lifestyle.
Recommended Supplements On Fasting And Keto
Even though I think its really important to take into account when doing fasting, I personally take a few supplements on a daily basis.
Im a huge consumer of bulletproof coffee, which is done by putting MCT oil and ghee in my morning coffee. I also take magnesium every day to avoid muscle ache when exercising. But more precisely to prevent muscle cramps, which I get quite frequently.
If you simply do intermittent fasting, I would say that vitamins, nutrients, and supplements are not necessary in most cases. Its more of a mindset and it depends on your condition, like magnesium for me, and personal taste, like coconut oil.
But on a longer fast there are some very important vitamins and supplements you can take. Its even advised, when doing more than a 5 day fast, to supplement it with some nutrients.
With ketosis, there are of course two important factors: what nutrients can be taken on an empty stomach, whatll keep you in ketosis, whatll upset your stomach, etc.
Here are my two cents and nutrients I would personally recommend.
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Mistake #: Forgetting To Drink
Intermittent fasting newbies often think they cant take in anything during their fasting hours, but thats not the case. Liquids like water, tea, and coffee are all totally okayas long as you dont add anything to them, says Zeitlin. More often than not, what you think are hunger pangs are actually a sign that youre thirsty, and staying hydrated can help you feel satiated during those fasting hours.
What About Supplements When Juice Fasting
When youre on a juice fast/feast, youre drinking big volumes of fresh fruit and vegetable juices that are rich with vitamins, minerals, enzymes, anti-oxidants, bioflavonoids, phytonutrients, etc.
These are wholesome foods and what mankind is supposed to eat.
When you drink the juices of a variety of plant produce, you will get almost all of the over 80 types of nutrients that your body requires.
When not juice fasting/feasting, you dont usually get these nutrients.
With a standard American diet , people are eating way too much dead food which are not only nutrient depleted but harmful even, robbing you slowly of your health.
With juice fasting/feasting, suddenly your body is flooded with all kinds of nutrients. Now its able to finally use these nutrients for FOOD and for HEALING.
If your body gets overwhelmed during this time, you might experience some healing reactions. Your health condition may get a little worse before it gets better, its a healing crisis, but you WILL get better.
Some people take multi-vitamins daily hoping to provide ALL the nutrients to your body. It really is unnecessary to do this.
Imagine, there are tens of nutrients that your body requires in order to stay healthy. Do you really think it is possible to cramp all these nutrients into one tablet in an amount that is sufficient to keep your body in optimum health?
One other important supplement which will be helpful is probiotics especially if you have any digestive issue.
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What Is A Fasting Diet
This type of diet seems simple at face value: a fasting diet involves avoiding food for a certain period of time. The idea is to replicate ancient human eating habits, where food was harder to come by and sometimes meant hours or days of starvation. This kept them at a healthy weight. Naturally, this was done out of necessity instead of choice, but adapting these conditions to modern diets have led to some positive results.
This might seem like a brute force way of equalizing the calories entering the body with calories being burnt, but this type of diet also works in another way to reduce body fat. Insulin, a widely-known hormone for its effects on regulating blood sugar levels, plays a role in creating fat as a way to store energy. When we eat too many carbohydrates or sugar, theyre broken down into glucose, then insulin levels increase in the body and the process of converting it into fat begins.
A fasting diet keeps insulin levels lower, as the body is in a state of burning fat when during fasting periods. With more fat-burning periods compared to a normal diet, average insulin levels are lower, meaning less fat is being created overall in the body. This is all while not having any restrictions on what you can eat, beyond avoiding gorging .
Now we know what a fast entails, we can look at which supplements might best support the body during these diets
Mistake #: Eating The Wrong Foods
When you dont have many opportunities to eat, what you put in your mouth when you do becomes even more crucial. Its not just about calories, but about the quality of your nutrition and focusing on eating nutrient-dense foods, says Kimberly Snyder, C.N., author of The Beauty Detox Solution. 500 calories of avocado will digest quite differently and have a very different effect on your overall body and metabolism than 500 calories of fried potato chips.
Focus on eating a healthy balance of all the macronutrients and fiber your body needs to function well. Zeitlin suggests loading half your plate with veggies, a quarter with lean protein , and a quarter with healthy starches like brown rice, quinoa, and sweet potato. If youre going to end up eating slightly fewer calories than usual, you need those calories to be as nutritious and body-serving as possible. Just because youre eating fewer calories doesnt mean those calories can come from sub-par sources.
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When To Take Your Supplements
If you have a health concern, some vitamins and supplements might cause negative health effects. So before you add any vitamins or supplements to your diet, be sure to consult your doctor.
To sum up, vitamins and supplements differ substantially in regard to the possibility of breaking a fast. Some are more likely, some are less likely to impede your weight loss efforts by following this method. Overall, it is crucial to grasp the fact that proper fasting as such does not require consumption of supplements, unless you have been taking those before you started fasting. Always consult your doctor before you start taking supplements, and keep in mind that more is not always better. Combine your diet with active workouts and keep your fluid intake high to achieve the best results. Plain water helps you reduce hunger and appetite, increasing fat burning process and boosting your metabolism. High fluid intake makes you much closer to your weight loss goal. Take the 30-day water challenge to experience all the benefits of plain water on your own. Remember that a proper diet is not everything you need. Supplement it with this 20 Min Full Body Workout at Home challenge!