Intermittent Fasting Benefits | What Supplements to take During a Fast | What Supplements to Take With Food
Many people have adopted intermittent fasting for weight loss and other benefits. It entails you going without food for an extended period. The body resets itself, giving you many medical benefits. However, because you are not eating during the hours of fasting, you are missing supplements like minerals and vitamins.
This article takes a close look at the mechanism of fasting and how it is affected by the consumption of different supplements. If you have a penchant for intermittent fasting, this article is a must-read, as it will give you valuable information on what you can and cannot consume as supplements during the hours of your fast. Keep reading to stay informed.
What can Intermittent Fasting Achieve for you?
Intermittent fasting has been the latest buzzword in health and lifestyle circles, with people from all walks of life endorsing it for its many benefits. Here are the most important things an intermittent fasting diet achieves for you.
- Weight loss: Intermittent fasting directly enhances weight loss by remarkably targeting your body fat. Weight loss is the primary reason why people sign up for intermittent fasting. With it, you can achieve weight loss without putting a limit on the number of calories you consume.
- Insulin Level Reduction: With intermittent fasting, there is a direct decrease in insulin resistance. Intermittent fasting can reduce blood sugar levels by 3-6% and reduce fasting insulin levels by as much as 20-31%. This means that IF can directly control Type 2 diabetes by increasing insulin sensitivity and managing blood glucose levels.
- Reduction in Inflammation: When you do intermittent fasting, the inflammation in your body decreases. A direct correlation exists between inflammation and chronic diseases like high blood pressure, cancer, and high blood sugar. If you practice intermittent fasting, you can manage these diseases better.
- Improvement in heart health: Studies have found that risk factors for heart disease like high blood sugar, high insulin levels, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and chronic inflammation are reduced with the practice of intermittent fasting. This means that IF can help with heart health.
- Cancer prevention: Studies on rats, who have similar physiology to humans, have shown that intermittent fasting can play a role in cancer prevention. This is great news for us, and we can be hopeful that human trials on the same can start soon.
- Brain health improvement: The hormone BDNF in the brain increases during intermittent fasting. BDNF is responsible for the regeneration of nerve cells and has a big role to play in the prevention of cognitive brain diseases like Parkinsons’ and Alzheimers.
- Anti-aging effects: Intermittent fasting induces autophagy in our bodies, where the body does away with diseased, damaged cells and regenerates new cells dealing with oxidative stress. This can help us to age better.
There are many different ways and methods of practicing intermittent fasting, and you should start with a schedule that is manageable for your body. Hunger pangs and food cravings are common in the beginning, but you will get used to them, and they will not bother you as much as you go deeper and deeper into the practice. You will start seeing results after roughly a month of doing IF, which will be encouraging.
What Supplements can I Take During a Fast?
It is imperative to know that intermittent fasting does not always mean you will get deficient in essential vitamins and minerals. If you are aware and eat healthy and nutritious foods in your eating window, you might not have to take any supplements. This is because fasting does not place a limit on the number of calories you have every day; it only restricts the feeding hours.
However, if you are worried that your dietary intake is not meeting the body’s nutritional requirements, or if you want to be more energized and improve your fast’s effectiveness, supplements are the answer. You should make an appointment with your doctor before you spend on supplements to determine if they are right for you.
Some intermittent fasting supplements are meant to be taken during a fast, on an empty stomach. When you are in a fasted state, these supplements are unlikely to break your fast. You need to pay attention to how you are feeling, as that will determine if you can stomach the supplements without food.
Listed below are the supplements that you can take while fasting.
Irrespective of whether you take creatine before or after a workout, it is unlikely to break your fast. Creatine does not contain any calories and does not increase your insulin levels. It will support energy production in your body, which is why many athletes take it to improve their performance and strength. Usually, 3-5 grams of creatine supplements on an empty stomach is fine.
Electrolyte supplements are essential when you are fasting. Electrolytes manage nerve and muscle function and have a role to play in balancing blood pressure, keeping the body hydrated, and rebuilding damaged tissues. Because you primarily get electrolytes from food, during the fasted state, you may get electrolyte deficient, leading to fatigue, confusion, and headaches.
The most important electrolytes are calcium, sodium, magnesium, and phosphorus. You can take electrolyte supplements like magnesium supplements during a fasting period as they have no sweeteners and zero calories.
This is one of the best supplements to take and gets the go-ahead to be taken on an empty stomach. L-tyrosine is crucial for managing stress and has a significant role in supporting your mood. It is one of the essential amino acids, and when taken in low doses, it will not break your fast as it has very few calories. However, if you aim for autophagy, L-tyrosine can disrupt it in a minor way.
Probiotic supplements have a generous dose of good bacteria that form the lining of the gut, and help with digestion. You can take certain probiotics in the fasted state because they have little to no calories. Other probiotics are best taken with food and should be consumed when you are in the feeding window. You should look at the probiotic supplement’s packaging for the manufacturer’s recommendation. Overall, probiotics will help your intermittent fasting efforts by improving your gut health.
These are vitamins like B vitamins and vitamin C, which get dissolved in water and are not stored in your body in any form. These vitamins assist with various bodily functions like energy production, boosting the immune system, and collagen synthesis. You can take these water-soluble vitamins during your fasting period without breaking your fast. These vitamins, including folic acid, are available as chewable drops, capsules, and tablets and contain no artificial sweeteners.
CBD Oil With MCT
CBD oils have been known to suppress appetite. Hence, it can make the fasting process easier for you. CBD oil will not break your fast in any way. However, you must avoid taking CBD oil with high doses of MCT oil (Medium Chain Triglycerides) during your fasting window; otherwise, your fast will get broken. For most CBD oils available on the market, having MCT oil as a carrier will ensure you do not exceed the daily dose of MCT and will also secure your fasting state.
Taking your CBD with MCT oils as a last meal is also possible before you start your fast. MCT oil is famous for its wide range of health benefits, one of which is boosting your energy levels. MCT oils also help with weight loss, fight yeast and bacterial infections, fuel your brain, and play a role in curbing your hunger when you are fasting.
One of the main reasons people fast is to reach a ketogenic state, and MCT oil will help stimulate ketone formation relatively quickly. This will drive up your ketone levels and help make your fast more efficient.
What Supplements Should I Take With Food?
Some dietary supplements are best taken with food. Otherwise, they can both break your fast and make you feel nauseous. Hence, save them for your eating window. Check out these essential nutrients below.
Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s) and L-glutamine are not recommended to be consumed when fasting. They can raise your insulin levels, kicking your body out of ketosis.
In your feeding window, go for vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K. These are fat-soluble vitamins and get stored within your body. These vitamin supplements assist with critical bodily functions like bone health, vision, antioxidant activity, and blood clotting. These must be taken with food as they contain fat-soluble ingredients and will cause nausea when taken on an empty stomach. These are available as softgels, capsules, and liquids.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
These are essential fats that have both anti-inflammatory as well as brain-boosting effects. These fatty acids need fat to be appropriately absorbed; as they have calories, they may break your fast.
Curcumin is found in turmeric and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects on the body. It will also need fat for proper absorption and will break your fast as it has calories. Consume this during your feeding window.
Iodine is a mineral that will support your thyroid function and metabolism. Taking an iodine supplement during fasting is inadvisable as it will speed up your metabolism. Iodine is not necessarily taken as a supplement, as you can get sufficient quantities from iodized salts as well as vegetables like kelp.
Chromium and Vanadium
These minerals can drop your blood sugar level too much if you have them in your fasting window, so take them when you are in your feeding window. If your insulin levels go too low, there is a risk of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar and energy levels. Even if you have a small bout of hypoglycemia, it can cause problems with mood adjustment. These supplements are meant to be taken with food.
These vitamins are sweetened, and gelatin contains protein. Take gummy vitamins in your feeding window.
Any protein powder will break your fast as it has calories and will trigger an insulin response. Hence, go for protein powders in your feeding window. If you are keen on exercising in your fasting window, taking protein powders in your feeding window will support the growth of muscles.
Zinc and Copper
These are two minerals that work best when taken in tandem. Go for a zinc and copper supplement during your feeding window; they are available in pill form and have no side effects.
Many supplements are beneficial to take during a fast, with some being more helpful than others. Electrolytes are a popular choice as they support hydration and play an essential role in balancing important minerals in the body. Omega-3 supplements like fish oil help with inflammation reduction and boost heart health. Supplements like vitamin D and B vitamins help support overall health and take care of your well-being during fasting.
Consuming supplements during fasting is an effective way of supporting your body’s nutrient requirements during periods of limited food intake. However, it is crucial to imbibe the rules of different types of fasting and the rules of supplement intake. Quality and timing are important factors when considering supplements, so it is a good idea to consult with a healthcare provider for their input before you start a fasting schedule.