Although intermittent fasting has many health benefits, supplementation may be necessary during this practice to ensure optimal intake of key nutrients. Some supplements may disrupt your fast, while others should not cause a problem at all. Key vitamins and minerals may best be taken during your eating window.
When it comes to fasting, supplements seem to be a grey area of confusion. This is understandable, as in order to get the most out of intermittent fasting, we want to avoid eating or drinking anything that breaks the fast (1).
So, do supplements count? Mostly, breaking a fast refers to any calorie-containing foods or beverages, however, it can also include any supplements that trigger digestion or spike insulin levels. Hence, it is important to be mindful when supplementing during a fast because some supplements will indeed break your fast, kick you out of ketosis, and stop autophagy.
While other supplements won’t necessarily break your fast, they are not meant to be taken on an empty stomach. With all of this in mind, let’s have a look at some of the most commonly consumed supplements and how they might affect you while fasting.
Let’s now look at supplements that are best absorbed with food in your stomach (3). Apart from improved absorption, some other supplements will break your fast because of their effect on blood glucose levels or insulin, so it is best to save them for your eating window.
Some people can’t stomach any supplements at all without food. If that is your case, you can aim to consume your supplements around 20-30 minutes before you have a meal. This will respect your fast but not leave too much time for unwanted symptoms to show up (5).
If you take prescription medications, talk to your healthcare professional before you switch up your supplementation routine. Some medications have to be taken within specific time slots. For others, taking them on an empty stomach can interfere with their effects.
Always remember that bodies respond differently, so observing how you react to specific supplements is important to find a schedule that works for you and your fasting model.
During fasting periods your body may be at risk of missing out on some key nutrients due to the limited intake of food. One possible way to make up for this is by taking dietary supplements. Some of the intermittent fasting supplements you might consider include vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids as these are likely to be missing from your diet if you have not planned it carefully.
In addition to the intermittent fasting supplements mentioned above, you might want to consider taking a magnesium supplement. This mineral helps regulate your muscle and nerve control as well as allowing you to experience less fatigue.
Although the ideal time for supplementation depends on various factors, in general it is advised that intermittent fasting supplements be consumed during your eating window.
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