Do Vitamins Break A Fast
Intermittent fasting has become a worldwide trend. But even though the internet is bursting at the seams with all the information about it, people either get buried under it or hit the wall when they attempt to track down a cut-and-dry list of foods, supplements and drinks that can thwart your results and knock you out of a fasted state. It is clear that while fasting you shouldn’t consume food altogether, but all becomes more complicated with liquids, and even more so with vitamins. «Do vitamins break a fast?» is not a question with one definite answer.
The differences among various vitamins and supplements are almost unbridgeable, which makes this process that much more tangled. Some supplements won’t interfere with your fast, yet taking them on an empty stomach can be deleterious to your health. Read below to sort out all the peculiarities of the impact of vitamins and supplements on fasting.
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 (3, 4, 5). 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 (7, 8, 6, 1). Fasting might also cause your body to secrete a protein called fasting-induced adipose factor (FIAF), which signals that it’s time to burn fat (9, 2).
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 people’s heads regarding the consumption of vitamins and supplements while on the fast. Do vitamins break the fast? Find the answer below.
The Two Types Of Vitamins
Vitamins divide into two basic categories: fat-solutable and water-solutable.
You should eat these with fat-containing food in order for your body to be able to absorb them: vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin K. The body stores fat-soluble vitamins in the liver and body fat. If you take that in fasting periods, they will not absorb properly, as you’re not combining them with food. Moreover, while fasting for less than 5 days, you’ll be burning your own body fat and obtaining the vitamins that way.
Water-soluble vitamins are those that are dissolved in water and readily absorbed into tissues for immediate use. Because they are not stored in the body, they need to be replenished regularly in our diet. Any excess of water-soluble vitamins is quickly excreted in urine and will rarely accumulate to toxic levels. They include: B-complex vitamins B1, B2, B, folic acid, vitamin C and others. You can take these on an empty stomach, but sometimes they can cause nausea and vomiting.
If you’re still interested in supplementing, you might want to give this one a try. Your brain turns tyrosine into three major neurotransmitters: dopamine, linked to your mood and reward centers; norepinephrine, which helps your body deal with stress and muscle recovery, and adrenaline, helping you focus under pressure and aiding in motivation. L-tyrosine may help you feel stronger and mentally sharper while fasting. Your body can produce L-tyrosine on its own, but it depletes when you’re feeling stressed. Truth be told, people these days are spread way too thin, overloaded with stress and tormented by anxiety, so they need that extra pick-me-up. Studies have shown that cadets in combat training supplementing with L-Tyrosine had reduced negative effects from physical and psychosocial stress on mental performance (10). You can take L-Tyrosine on an empty stomach. However, L-tyrosine is an amino acid, which could theoretically break a fast if taken in high enough amounts. Just be sure to check your dosage, or take it during your eating window to be safe.
Electrolytes are minerals that carry an electric charge. They’re found in your blood, urine and sweat and are vital to specific processes that keep your body functioning as it should. When you’re training or fasting, the amount of electrolytes in your body lowers, and you might need to replenish them with the following supplements:
It is important for proper muscle and nerve function. It also helps maintain stable blood pressure level. Sodium does not break a fast.
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This supplement keeps your heart functioning well and your energy tank full. Potassium is non-caloric and does not break a fast. In fact, it can help you handle the fast better by replenishing electrolytes.
Among many functions, it helps to regulate muscle and nerve function, and can fix up your sleeping schedule. People with a sensitive stomach might experience loose stool early on. If you’re prone to digestive issues, consider taking your magnesium with food. It can reduce the likelihood of negative side effects. If you’re taking magnesium to help you sleep, take it after your last meal of the day. Magnesium doesn’t break a fast, but it’s better for your body to consume it with food.
Zinc and copper
Zinc is a key mineral in the support of a healthy immune function, energy production, and mood. Taking a zinc supplement is paramount because our body is incapable of producing it on its own, so it needs a little leg-up every now and then. Because getting enough of if from out diet is borderline impossible, popping a zinc pill before or during a meal is just what the doctor ordered.
According to extensive research, most of the U.S. population is deficient in copper, consuming only 0.8 mg per day. You need copper to work in conjunction with zinc for proper vascular and heart function. Also, it aids in testosterone production and nerve function. Zinc and copper do not break a fast, but it’s better for your body to consume them with food to safeguard your stomach.
Your bones and your muscles both rely upon calcium. Calcium, along with vitamin D, has benefits beyond bone health, protecting you against cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure. Calcium doesn’t break a fast.
Here is the information on some other supplements you might be taking, yet there is no reason to start consuming them specifically when you begin fasting.
This one helps muscle cells produce more energy, improves high-intensity performance, speeds up muscle growth, lowers blood sugar levels and fights diabetes. No calories, doesn’t break a fast.
These are non-toxic plants that are marketed as helping the body resist stressors of all kinds, whether physical, chemical or biological. Adaptogens help you counter unnecessary stress responses. No calories, do not break a fast.
It contains calories and triggers an insulin response, telling your body that you’re not fasting. Protein powder breaks a fast.
Small doses of high-quality fish oil reduce inflammation, improve brain function, and even enhance muscle growth. Moreover, fish oil lowers blood pressure, reduces triglycerides, and slows down the development of plaque in the arteries. In addition, it reduces the chance of abnormal heart rhythm, and the likelihood of a heart attack and stroke. If you’re taking the usual supplemental dose of 1-2 grams of fish oil, it likely doesn’t break a fast, as it contains only 10-20 calories.
Cod Liver Oil
Cod liver oil is basically fish oil containing extra vitamin D and vitamin A. As long as your dosage is not ridiculously high, the result is the same as with regular oil. Cod liver oil doesn’t break a fast.
Multivitamin and Multiminerals
Multivitamins do not break a fast, because they are calorie-free most of the time. However, not all of their components are well-absorbed on an empty stomach. Overall, multivitamins do not break a fast, but it’s better for your body to consume them with food.
Gummy vitamins contain about 5-6 grams of sugar, a gram of protein from gelatin, and a gram of fat per serving, so they break a fast. Also, they’re sweet, and are likely to stimulate hunger cravings, making fasting that much more difficult. When you’re on intermittent fasting, take these supplements during your eating window.
L-glutamine and branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) can break a fast because they can kick you out of ketosis by raising your insulin levels.
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Iodine is crucial for proper thyroid function and metabolism. It also enhances immune function and prevents brain damage. Iodine deficiency is widespread, so supplementation is a good idea. Physically active people are at especially high risk for deficiency because you lose iodine through sweat.
You might get some iodine from seafood, but unless you’re eating it with every meal, you probably won’t get enough. If you suffer from a thyroid condition, consult your doctor before you supplement with iodine.
For maximum absorption, take your kelp powder or potassium iodide capsules with food. And pass on iodized table salt — common iodized table salt is made with anti-caking agents, it contains unwanted compounds and is chemically bleached. Consume iodine with food.
Curcumin and krill oil
These supplements are easier for your body to absorb when they’re taken with food. So, have them during your eating window.
Chromium and vanadium
These minerals can actually drop your blood sugar levels very low while you’re fasting. If you take these supplements while fasting, you run the risk of hypoglycemia — low blood sugar. Even a small bout of hypoglycemia can lead to problems adjusting and managing your moods. Take these supplements after you break your fast.
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!
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Alternate-day Fasting in Nonobese Subjects: Effects on Body Weight, Body Composition, and Energy Metabolism (2005, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Bacterial Modulation of the Fasting Induced Adipose Factor (FIAF) in an Intestinal Cell Line Model: A Potential Host-Microbe Crosstalk Related to Obesity (2011, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Enhanced thermogenic response to epinephrine after 48-h starvation in humans (1990, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Fasting: Molecular Mechanisms and Clinical Applications (2014, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Intermittent fasting vs daily calorie restriction for type 2 diabetes prevention: a review of human findings (2014, sciencedirect.com)
- Intermittent metabolic switching, neuroplasticity and brain health (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Mitochondrial Degradation by Autophagy (Mitophagy) in GFP-LC3 Transgenic Hepatocytes During Nutrient Deprivation (2010, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The Effect of Fasting or Calorie Restriction on Autophagy Induction: A Review of the Literature (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- The Fasting-Induced Adipose Factor/Angiopoietin-Like Protein 4 Is Physically Associated With Lipoproteins and Governs Plasma Lipid Levels and Adiposity (2016, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Tyrosine Improves Cognitive Performance and Reduces Blood Pressure in Cadets After One Week of a Combat Training Course (1999, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)