Ensuring your diet is balanced and contains all the necessary nutrients can be hard work. After all dietitians and nutritionists study for years to navigate our diets and nutrition.
Adding intermittent fasting to the mix makes for an additional challenge. With a restricted eating window, you’re bound to lose some essential nutrients and minerals.
This is where intermittent fasting supplements can come into the picture. While some supplements can prevent dietary deficiencies, others can help to take your intermittent fasting to another level.
Here are 5 intermittent fasting supplements to consider for anyone doing fasting:
Let’s take a closer look at why they are essential and how to incorporate these intermittent fasting supplements into your fasting schedule.
Multivitamin supplements contain a combination of vitamins and minerals, and sometimes other ingredients as well. This supplement is used to provide vitamins that are not taken in through your diet.
A recent US national survey showed that 94% of the US population do not meet the daily requirement for vitamin D, 88% for vitamin E and 43% for vitamin A. Unless you follow a well-rounded intermittent fasting diet, it is likely you might not be consuming enough vitamins just from food.
Multivitamin supplements are highly recommended if you’re adhering to a fasting routine that requires you to fast for an entire day, such as OMAD fasting or extended and prolonged fasting with fasts exceeding 24 hours.
Usually, multivitamin supplements should be taken during your eating window. Multivitamins contain fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A, E, D, K, which should be consumed during a meal.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, but it is recommended that the food has some healthy fat since it helps your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins properly. An additional benefit is that taking multivitamin with a meal will also reduce stomach upset or nausea that can occur with these supplements.
Generally, any high-quality multivitamin will work for intermittent fasting. Try to avoid ingredients like artificial colors, titanium dioxide and carrageenan. Make sure multivitamin contains some of the most commonly deficient vitamins and minerals such as vitamin D, magnesium, calcium, zinc, and for women – iron.
You can also look for multivitamins formulated for your particular demographic, like men 50+ or multivitamin for women.
Electrolytes are essential minerals such as sodium, calcium, magnesium, potassium etc. They are essential in helping your body do much of its work like producing energy and regulating water, muscle function and metabolism.
Through a nutritious diet you should get all the necessary electrolytes. However. when restricting your diet or eating times, you might be at risk of electrolyte deficiency. This can cause fatigue, headache, nausea and muscle cramps. Yet another reason to look at your intermittent fasting diet or choose a professionally created intermittent fasting meal plan to ensure you get all the necessary nutrients.
Since electrolytes are mostly lost through sweat and urine, they’re often talked about in relation to dehydration and mentioned in ads for sports drinks. Therefore if you exercise regularly and restrict your food intake with intermittent fasting, it’s worth looking into electrolyte supplements. This way, you can ensure a healthy electrolyte balance in your body.
Electrolytes should be taken on an empty stomach and do not contain calories. Therefore you can take electrolytes during your fasting window. This supplement won’t break your fast.
This applies to electrolyte capsules, which we suggest using if you’re looking to replenish your electrolytes with supplements. While sports drinks are known for providing electrolytes, they often contain a lot of sugar and food coloring. Not the healthiest choice and sports drinks will for sure break your fast.
My top choice is these Perfect Keto Electrolyte capsules. These contain 4 of the most common electrolytes you would be losing when doing intermittent fasting and exercising – magnesium, calcium, sodium and potassium.
Perfect Keto has a lot of intermittent fasting friendly products and often notes whether you can use the product without breaking the fast. For example, they have made sure that these Electrolyte capsules can be safely used during the fasting window on an empty stomach.
If you’re doing intermittent fasting and keto, these will help combat the nasty keto flu symptoms like fatigue and headaches.
Not all bacteria were created equal. We have trillions of bacteria living on or in us – and over 80% of these live in our gut.This live bacteria called probiotics help us synthesize vitamins and digest fiber. The latest studies show that imbalances in gut bacteria can even have an impact on our mental health.
Probiotics are living organisms that are found naturally in some fermented foods such as yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, miso and kefir. They are known as “good” bacteria as they aid digestion and reduce inflammation.
If your intermittent fasting diet does not contain foods rich in probiotics, you might be well acquainted with digestive issues like constipation, diarrhea or bloating. Since not everyone enjoys probiotic-rich foods, it’s possible to substitute those with probiotic supplements.
Some probiotic manufacturers recommend taking the supplement on an empty stomach, while others advise taking it with food. Therefore it depends on the particular probiotic supplement.
If it’s suggested to take it on an empty stomach, you can also consume it during the fast. Otherwise, take the probiotic supplements with any of your meals.
Your gut is diverse, so your probiotic should be too. Cheapest probiotics might contain one probiotic strain. Ideally, to get the most benefits, look for a supplement that contains multiple probiotic strains.
When buying online, the best advice is to stick to well-established companies. Most likely top rated and best-selling probiotics will work for you too. Check them on www.iherb.com
BCAAs (Branched-Chain Amino Acids) are three essential amino acids that are particularly important for our muscles. In order for your body to rebuild and grow new muscle, you need these amino acids.
The body can’t make these BCAAs; therefore they have to come from our diet. Rich dietary sources of BCAAs include meat, dairy, egg, poultry and fish. Usually, a balanced diet will contain all the essential amino acids needed to build muscle.
However, since it’s not easy to consume the same amount of food when sticking to a limited eating window, you might not be able to replenish BCAAs as quickly. It is particularly important when combining intermittent fasting and exercise. Using BCAA as a supplement can help with muscle growth, reduce fatigue during workouts and post-workout soreness.
BCAAs contain protein and calories; therefore consuming it during fasting window would mean breaking the fast. If you’re sticking to strict fasting, it’s best to get your BCAAs during the eating window.
However, if you are doing heavy exercising, looking to build muscle or constantly feeling fatigue during workout sessions, you could consider using BCAA supplements while fasting. After all, it’s important to listen to your body and if a BCAA shake helps you get through your workouts and reach desired results, stick to it. The benefits of BCAAs for your workout can outweigh any potential negatives of technically breaking the fast.
We suggest looking for clean BCAA supplements with no colorants, preservatives and other additives. My favorite BCAA for intermittent fasting is Performance Lab BCAA capsules, which I found to be the most convenient. Usually, BCAA powders contain artificial flavors and sweeteners to mask BCAAs’ bad taste. Capsules, on the other hand, have no odor or taste.
I take 2-4 Performance Lab BCAA oil capsules 45-60 min pre-workout and get the energy boost right when I hit the gym. When using BCAA capsules after the workout, they will help recover quicker and reduce the usual soreness.
MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) oil is made out of a type of fat found in certain dairy products and oils like coconut and palm oil. It is a popular supplement used to aid weight loss and increase energy.
You might be asking “How can oil help with fat loss?”. The answer is ketosis. With the help of intermittent fasting or keto diet, your body can reach a stage called ketosis. That’s when, instead of using glucose that you get from carbs, the body starts to use ketones that are made from fat. Therefore, if you have entered the fat burning stage ketosis, MCT oil will only add more fuel to the body but won’t kick you out of ketosis.
Studies have shown that MCT oil fills people up faster, so they end up eating less overall. You can curb hunger while keeping the body in ketosis to continue burning fat.
MCT oil contains pure fat, which means calories. Therefore, using MCT oil during the fasting window will break your fast.
The best way how to use MCT oil would be breaking your fast with bulletproof coffee:
Mix 1 cup of coffee, 1-2 tablespoons of MCT oil and 1-2 tablespoons of grass-fed, unsalted butter or ghee. Use a blender to blitz the ingredients for 30 seconds until it looks like a creamy latte. Enjoy your filling and energizing MCT oil coffee!
This coffee will reduce the hunger for a few more hours while still keeping you in ketosis to keep burning fat.
Another option is to add MCT oil to your meals during eating hours. MCT oil shakes and smoothies is also a good way to add it to your diet. Just be careful with dosage as it’s high-calorie food – if you’re not following keto diet, all those calories might not translate into weight loss.
I’ve made a whole article about the best MCT oils when intermittent fasting or keto. My favorite was MCT oil in powder form. It makes the creamiest bulletproof coffee and won’t get you an upset stomach, which is a common side effect for MCT in oil form.
Perfect Keto MCT powder is my favorite and has 5 flavors to choose from – chocolate, vanilla, salted caramel, matcha latte and unflavored. Chocolate one will turn almond milk into creamy chocolate milk. This MCT oil also is one of the cleanest versions I’ve seen – no artificial sweeteners or harmful additives.
There are various types of intermittent fasting schedules– from less restricting 18/6 to prolonged fasting or even dry fasting. Different fasting types would call for different intermittent fasting supplements:
With the right intermittent fasting supplements at your disposal, the journey towards the ideal body weight will go much smoother. If you haven’t started with intermittent fasting yet or you don’t know where to start, check out the 21 Day Intermittent Fasting Challenge. It also includes a healthy meal plan to make sure you nourish your body with all the essential macro and micronutrients.