Intermittent fasting is a nutrition system that has become more popular in the last couple of years, but it has actually been the eating pattern of our ancestors for centuries, as they didn’t have access to food 24/7.
Knowing that, it can easily be said that intermittent fasting has many health benefits for human physiology. But what about taking supplements during fasting, which did not form part of our ancestors’ diet? Supplementing has no historical background in our evolution. Does it reduce the benefits of fasting? Do vitamins break your fast?
There are important aspects to take into consideration when taking vitamins during a fast. In addition, it’s best to avoid some vitamins during a non-eating period. Let’s take a closer look.
Vitamins to Avoid When Fasting
The first and most important thing to know about vitamin consumption when fasting is that any kind of vitamin containing artificial or natural sweeteners, such as gummy vitamins, do break your fast. This is because they trigger an insulin response in your body and make your blood sugar levels fluctuate. An insulin response during a fast disrupts the autophagy and ketosis stages, which are known to ensure the most important health benefits of fasting.
When distinguishing between vitamins that you can and can’t consume during fasting, it’s useful to know that vitamins are divided into two main categories: fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins.
Fat-soluble ones include vitamins A, D, E, and K and should be avoided when fasting as they are better absorbed when taken with a meal.
Which vitamins are safe to consume when fasting?
Vitamin C and B complex vitamins (B1, B2, B12, folate…) can easily be dissolved in water, as the name suggests, and it’s OK to consume these during fasting hours. But taking B vitamins on an empty stomach may cause nausea in some people, so it might be a better choice to take them when your stomach is full.
What about other supplements?
Minerals (sodium, magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron)
Electrolytes like sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium contain no calories, and don’t create an insulin response, so they’re safe to consume when fasting. Iron is best absorbed along with vitamin C.
Creatine is highly recommended for high-intensity athletes for its role in muscle growth and energy production. It won’t break your fast as it doesn’t contain any calories.
Probiotics and prebiotics
Pre and probiotics are the ultimate supporters of a healthy and happy gut. You can take your prebiotic and/or probiotic supplements during your fasting hours as most of them are recommended to be used on an empty stomach. Check the instructions before use to get maximum benefit.
Note: It is not safe to consume probiotic smoothies or kombucha during your fast, as they contain additional sugars and will break your fast.
This popular supplement is generally used for muscle growth and helps muscle recovery after working out. But it isn’t safe to consume when fasting as its high calorie, protein, and carbohydrate levels will break your fast.
To sum up
Some supplements contain calories and macro nutrients, and can easily break your fast by creating an insulin response in your body. If you’re thinking of taking vitamins and other supplements to boost your health, read their instructions carefully beforehand and check if they are OK to consume when fasting.