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Do Supplements Break a Fast? Which Supplements to Try and Those to Avoid
Intermittent Fasting

Do Supplements Break a Fast? Which Supplements to Try and Those to Avoid

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on October 21, 2022
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6 min

Supplements contain vitamins, minerals, and amino acids to keep your health in check. As intermittent fasting affects the usual dose of nutrients you get from consuming food, it seems wise to replace lost nutrients with a supplement. Will it break your fast?

Do supplements break a fast
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Intermittent fasting has countless health benefits.

To unlock the full potential of fasting, especially those fat-burning benefits, it’s critical to adhere to the general rules. That means consuming zero calories from food and beverages during your fasting periods so that your body has no choice but to torch its own body fat.

When it’s time for your eating window, you need to fill up on nutritious foods to ensure you get vitamins and minerals into your diet. Depending on your schedule and the length of your eating window, healthy foods alone might not be enough to meet your daily requirements.

It’s tempting to reach for supplements to boost your intake. The question is whether doing so will break a fast.

Keep reading to learn if you can take supplements during the fasting period.

Do Supplements Break a Fast?

Supplements can break a fast, but it depends on the type of supplement and the ingredients it contains. Many supplements have calories, carbohydrates, and sugar that will break a fast because they trigger an insulin response. So, evaluating your supplements’ ingredients will help you decide if they are safe to consume during the fasting window.

While certain supplements break a fast, you can sometimes utilize these products to make your intermittent fasting journey more tolerable. For example, combining fasting with the keto diet, electrolytes, and other supplements can help ward off keto flu symptoms.

So, while taking supplements might break your fast, it’s worth weighing up the advantages and drawbacks. Remember that some people cannot tolerate certain supplements on an empty stomach. Some are designed for maximum absorption with food to prevent side effects. A great example could be iron supplements.

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DoFasting supplements are completely fast-friendly. The fiber complex supports overall gut health while suppressing appetite and reducing cravings for snacks. This maximizes your fat loss progress, ensuring that you don’t succumb to temptation and ruin your fasting efforts.

What Kind of Supplements Should You Avoid When Fasting?

Some people still choose to take supplements, knowing they will technically break a fast. That’s because some have minimal impact on your fast and don’t affect your weight loss progress. However, there are some dietary supplements that you should avoid at all costs.

Vitamin gummies, protein powder, and BCAA supplements are off-limits during a fast. Let’s look at them in more detail.

#1 Gummy vitamins

Gummy vitamins are chewable supplements designed as an alternative to pill and capsule forms. Many people prefer gummy vitamins because they are convenient and they taste good. Unfortunately, the enjoyable taste tends to come from added sugars and artificial sweeteners.

These vitamins break a fast because the high sugar content raises insulin levels. Those made from gelatin also have protein. Furthermore, any number of calories breaks a fast if you are clean fasting, and gummies do contain calories. So, most of them will hinder your weight loss results.

#2 Protein powders

Protein powder breaks a fast because it contains too many calories that will trigger your digestive processes. A typical protein shake made from protein powder contains 78.4 calories per serving, which is way over the zero-calorie threshold that an intermittent fast requires.

Protein powders also contain amino acids, which can spike insulin levels. These powders are great for aiding muscle growth, promoting weight loss, and speeding up muscle recovery. They can help you reach your ideal body weight, but save your protein shakes for the feeding window.

#3 BCAAs

Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are usually off-limits. They break a fast because they have calories. So, if you want to maintain a stringent intermittent fasting schedule, you must avoid BCAAs during your fasting window.

Some people still take BCAAs during the fasting window to improve exercise performance, increase energy production, and boost muscle growth. Those with minimal calories will not necessarily sabotage your fasting efforts, but it depends on your health goals.

What Kind of Supplements Should You Take When Fasting?

Although there are several supplements you should avoid while fasting, there are many fasting supplements to boost your fasting journey. The following supplements can keep you motivated during your fast, so you can successfully lose weight with intermittent fasting.

Below, you can learn more about five kinds of beneficial supplements to take while fasting.

#1 Electrolytes

Electrolytes are electrically-charged minerals that ensure the daily upkeep of your body’s processes. They regulate chemical reactions, maintain fluid balance, balance blood pressure, and support muscle and nerve function. Inadequate electrolytes impair your bodily functions.

Taking electrolytes makes for a more comfortable fast. They are very important while fasting, as you’re no longer getting your usual intake from food and drinks. You may experience confusion, irritability, fatigue, headaches, and muscle cramps without adequate electrolyte intake.

Pure electrolytes won’t break a fast, but those containing calories and added sugar will interrupt the fat-burning process.

#2 Water-soluble vitamins

Unlike fat-soluble vitamins that the body stores in your liver and body fat, you cannot store water-soluble vitamins. You must consume vitamin C and B-complex vitamins daily within your diet. Supplementing with water-soluble vitamins can help keep you healthy during your fast. Vitamin C, in particular, is excellent for strong immune function.

You can take vitamin C without issues, but B-complex vitamins on an empty stomach may cause nausea. If so, you can take these vitamins with food when you’re ready to break a fast.

#3 Collagen peptides

Collagen peptides build up and strengthen your body tissues, improving your skin, muscle, and joint health. Collagen supplementation can keep your body in good shape while you cut out food and nutrients for certain periods. Taking collagen may also contribute to weight loss.

Collagen does contain calories, so you should monitor how many calories you consume to avoid hindering your fast and interrupting fat burning.

#4 Probiotics

Taking probiotic supplements will ensure you don’t miss out on any essentials while you’re not eating. Probiotics are friendly bacteria that improve your gut microbiota, restoring natural balance. A strong and happy gut supports your overall health and promotes general wellness.

Probiotic supplements are generally free from calories and are usually best absorbed on an empty stomach when your stomach acid levels are reduced.

In some cases, probiotics can cause constipation, gas, and bloating. You may need to introduce probiotics to your diet gradually.

#5 Fiber supplements

Fiber supplements increase your dietary fiber intake. Adequate fiber intake ensures regularity in the bathroom and prevents constipation and diarrhea – two conditions some people experience while doing intermittent fasting. Just make sure you select fiber supplements without any additives.

Should I Take a Multivitamin While Intermittent Fasting?

Whether vitamins break a fast depends on the exact contents of the product. If your chosen multivitamin contains carbs, sugar, or additives, it will probably break your fast. Most multivitamins contain only vitamins and minerals, which are calorie-free and don’t break a fast. Always check the label before deciding whether to consume vitamins or not.

Taking multivitamins fills in any nutritional gaps in your diet and ensures you get your daily recommendations. For instance, you might need to boost your intake of fat-soluble vitamins, like vitamin, A, vitamin D, and vitamin E, if you are not eating enough fat-containing food.

The only problem is it’s advisable to take multivitamins with food to boost absorption. Taking a multivitamin on an empty stomach might cause nausea and an upset stomach

A Word From MD

Supplements contain various vitamins and minerals to keep you healthy during fasting windows. They ensure you get enough nutrients daily and prevent nutritional deficiencies and other health conditions. Not every supplement, however, is safe for your fast.

Only supplements with minimal calories and without ingredients to raise your insulin levels are suitable choices. The right supplements in the right doses, like electrolytes, water-soluble vitamins, and fiber supplements, can make you feel energized and ease fasting discomfort.

With a boost from fast-friendly supplementation, you can count on intermittent fasting to burn fat, increase energy levels, and strengthen your heart. The practice improves overall human metabolic health, increasing insulin sensitivity and aiding glycaemic control.

Try to avoid supplements with sugar and sweeteners while fasting intermittently. Even a small bout of taking the wrong supplements can kick-start digestive functions and set you back.

Conclusion

Supplements won’t break your fast if you choose the right ones. They can support your weight loss journey by offering various health benefits, like improving digestion and boosting the immune system. Supplements can also help mitigate certain intermittent fasting side effects, like headaches, low energy, and fatigue.DoFasting supplements, for example, can reduce cravings and hunger pangs when fasting.

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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