Intermittent fasting has quickly become one of the world’s most popular health trends today. But this trend is more than just the latest buzzword in the media.
Many people are using different methods of intermittent fasting to benefit their health, stimulate weight loss and improve the quality of their life overall. Researchers are publishing more and more studies that show just how powerful the effects fasting can have on both your brain and your body.
While there is no shortage of supplements out on the market today, you should make sure what you’re taking will not only be beneficial to your health, but that it will help you in a fasted state as well.
These supplements can be broken down into a few different categories: pre-workout, post-workout, vitamins, minerals and general health.
It’s no secret that creatine is one of the top supplements available today for adding muscle mass, increasing muscle growth and providing a wide range of health benefits overall.
Creatine monohydrate is found within the cell of a muscle. It’s extremely popular among athletes, as it helps them improve performance1.
When you supplement with creatine, you increase your body’s natural stores of phosphocreatine. This is a type of stored energy within the cells that helps your body produce more adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is a molecule that is capable of helping the body perform better during exercise2.
Creatine gets a bad reputation for making people look bloated. This is due to its ability to make the muscle cells hold onto more water, which makes creatine an optimal supplement to take with carbohydrates. However, you’ll still absorb creatine if you’re consuming it in a fasted state; your muscles will just need more time to absorb and retain the extra water.
There are many creatine supplements on the market, but only a few contain clinically-proven dosages.
Collagen is one of the most popular supplements on the market today and for good reason. Being the most abundant protein in your body, collagen is found within your connective tissue, ligaments, tendons, skin and muscles.
While your body creates its own collagen, production slows down with age. It’s important to continue supplementing with collagen due to its ability to promote skin elasticity, supply protein to our organs and provide optimal structure to joints and tendons.
Collagen is a key supplement to include in your diet during intermittent fasting, especially when restricting calories. While consuming collagen during a fasting period has the potential to break the fast, it’s still an important protein to consume during your fed state or eating window. There are many collagen supplements, but only a few offer clinically-proven dosages.
Zinc is an important nutrient. So important, in fact, that it is considered an essential nutrient. This means that your body doesn’t have the ability to produce or store zinc itself. Regardless of lifestyle or diet, everyone can benefit from taking a zinc supplement. It’s required for different functions in growth and development, immune function, protein synthesis, DNA synthesis and wound healing3.
Zinc supplements typically lack any calories whatsoever. As you’ll want to take it on an empty stomach, taking it before entering a fasted state is the perfect time to do so. Dosages over 30 mg daily can lead to toxicity, and people with diets high in shellfish usually don’t need to supplement.
There are many zinc supplements in the market, but few contain the clinically-proven dosages for intermittent fasters.
4. Amino Acids
Amino acids (specifically branched-chain amino acids) are useful tools in stimulating protein synthesis for muscle building and preventing muscle breakdown when in a caloric deficit.
While sipping on branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) during a fasting period has the potential to break the fast (since they are technically a form of protein), consuming BCAAs while training in a fasted state can be helpful in providing your muscles with energy.
There are many amino acid supplements on the market, but some offer dosages clinically proven to be effective for people in fasted states.
Who doesn’t love a hot cup of coffee in the morning? Many individuals who skip breakfast everyday except for their cup of joe may be in a fasted state without even realizing it. Since caffeine contains zero calories, you can feel free to have as much as you’d like without any concern of breaking your fast. Although, you may want to avoid an excessive amount if you don’t want to feel the jitters and crash later on in the day.
While caffeine is common to the Western diet, people who are training in a fasted state need products with clinically-effective dosages.
Sodium is one of the most important electrolytes needed for proper function of your body. When it comes to fasting, supplementing with electrolytes is an absolute must.
Electrolytes are chemicals that are key for functions such as muscle contractions, nerve impulses, neuron firing and blood pressure.
Sodium (most abundantly found in salt) helps to balance body fluid, blood pressure, direct nerve signals and contract muscles. Ever feeling dehydrated? It could be a lack of sodium, not just water. There are many sources of sodium, but some supplements contain clinically-proven dosages for intermittent fasters.
Another electrolyte required for optimal function of your body is potassium. Its main benefit is its ability to stabilize blood pressure and maintain heart health. While this mineral is extremely important, most individuals don’t get enough of it. There are many supplements that contain potassium, but people with an intermittent fasting practice need clinically-proven dosages.
Magnesium is another important electrolyte that many people are deficient in without even realizing it. It plays a key role in nerve firing, digestion, heartbeat and muscle contraction. Have you ever gotten a painful muscle cramp or spasm? It could be from a lack of magnesium. There are many magnesium supplements on the market, but only a few offer clinically-proven dosages needed for intermittent fasting.
The last (but not least) electrolyte to mention is calcium. While calcium is known for building strong teeth and bones, it also helps with cell division and blood clotting.
You can get calcium from fruits, dairy and fish. If you are supplementing with electrolytes, make sure you’re consuming a fat-soluble vitamin as well for proper absorption of the nutrients. Consuming electrolytes is important, especially for individuals who are intermittent fasting, in order to maintain optimal brain and physical function.
There are many calcium supplements available, but people with an intermittent fasting practice need products with clinically-effective dosages.
10. Vitamin D
Electrolytes and other essential nutrients must be consumed with a fat-soluble vitamin such as vitamin D in order to be absorbed correctly by the body. In fact, people wonder if you can consume vitamins while fasting, and the answer is yes. Unfortunately, many individuals are deficient in this powerful vitamin.
Vitamin D deficiency can lead to osteoporosis, heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, insomnia, chronic pain, psoriasis, asthma and autoimmune diseases4.
There are many supplements on the market, but only a few offer vitamin D in clinically-proven dosages for intermittent fasters.
11. B Vitamins
Unlike vitamin D, B vitamins are water-soluble vitamins. These vitamins aren’t stored in the body. They get excreted pretty easily throughout the day if you’re drinking plenty of liquids. B vitamins can be absorbed with water, but if you have a well balanced diet, there’s little need to be concerned about consuming them while in a fasted state.
There are many supplements with B vitamins, but only a few provide intermittent fasters with clinically-proven dosages.
We know by now that taking vitamins in a fasted state won’t break the fast. So besides vitamin D and the B vitamins, do you also need a multivitamin?
While your body won’t necessarily need a multivitamin on a shorter fasting period, it could be helpful during cycles when you’re fasting for a day or longer. There is no doubt that the body needs these nutrients for maintenance, reproduction, growth and all around regulation of bodily functions.
Unlike electrolytes, most westerners consume plenty of chromium. This is due to the abundant amount of chromium found in refined carbs, which is one of the top food choices in American diets today.
Chromium may help control blood sugar, reduce high cholesterol, prevent overeating, reduce cognitive decline, improve skin health and improve overall energy levels5.
There are many supplements on the market that contain chromium, but only a few contain clinically-proven dosages.
L-carnitine is another kind of amino acid. While your body can produce L-carnitine from lysine and methionine (other amino acids), many people use it as a dietary supplement. Its main function involves helping to transport fatty acids into mitochondria where it can be used for energy.
While L-carnitine can be found in certain foods, taking it in supplement form will allow you to consume it while in a fasted state. L-carnitine can improve brain function, improve heart health and could help treat Type 2 diabetes as well6.
There are many L-carnitine supplements on the market, but only a few offer the clinically-effective dosages for people training in a fasted state.
Tyrosine is another amino acid produced in the body. It can be found in a variety of different foods such as cheese, chicken, turkey and other high-protein foods.
Tyrosine helps the body to produce substances including dopamine, adrenaline, noradrenaline, thyroid hormones and melanin. It’s no wonder that supplementing with this amino acid is thought to increase levels of these neurotransmitters, making it a great addition to any pre-workout. In fact, adding tyrosine to your pre-workout in a fasted state would be a great way to get energy to to your muscles for a hard workout.
L-theanine is another amino acid commonly found in tea leaves. L-theanine is thought to promote relaxation without any drowsiness. This is a great solution for individuals looking for a way to help relieve stress. Interestingly, pairing this amino acid with caffeine is a great way to help increase focus and attention7.
There are many supplements that offer L-theanine, but only a few products contain clinically-proven dosages for training in a fasted state.
17. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has been making a name for itself in the natural health community. It’s been around for ages, having been used in ancient remedies, and it’s still prevalent today.
Apple cider vinegar has a number of different health benefits. It can help kill harmful bacteria, lower blood sugar, improve weight loss, lower cholesterol and improve overall heart health.
Apple cider vinegar products are everywhere, but intermittent fasters need to supplement their diets with clinically-proven dosages.
18. MCT Oil
More and more science-based research is coming out to provide insights into all of the amazing health benefits of MCT oil.
The most abundant sources of this oil would be MCT oil itself, coconut oil or dairy products. Some of its key health benefits include its ability to promote healthy weight loss, providing an instant source of energy for your brain, helping the body use fat for fuel and energy, fat burning, improving cognitive health, fighting harmful bacteria, reducing risk of heart disease, helping control blood sugar levels and improved weight loss.
Once known as vitamin J, choline is an essential nutrient that your body can’t produce enough of it on its own and needs to get the majority of choline through diet.
It’s a water-soluble nutrient (neither a vitamin or mineral). Choline plays different roles in a number of different processes of the body such as cell structure, cell messaging, fat metabolism and DNA synthesis.
There are many choline products on the market, but only a few offer intermittent fasters with clinically-proven dosages.
Many people get told they have an iron deficiency, but what does this mean? Most Americans are able to get enough iron from their diets. Foods that contain high amounts of iron include shellfish, organ meats, red meat, pumpkin, turkey and dark chocolate.
Most of the iron in your body is found within your red blood cells. Being deficient in this nutrient can lead to health problems which are most commonly found among women and children.
Iron has the ability to improve cognitive function, provide oxygen to muscles, treat anemia, boost the immune system, help with fatigue, improve metabolic function and help with restless leg syndrome — all while being one of the cheapest supplements to find at your local drugstore.
22. Ashwagandha Root
Ashwagandha has been gaining more popularity in the media as of late. This medicinal herb is technically an adaptogen, which means it helps your body deal with stress for a period of time.
So what is this powerful herb capable of?
Ashwagandha has been shown to help reduce blood sugar levels, reduce cortisol levels (caused by stress), reduce stress and anxiety, reduce symptoms of depression, increase fertility in men, increase muscle strength and muscle mass, reduce inflammation, reduce triglycerides and improve cognitive function. Any individual, but especially those in a fasted state, could benefit from ashwagandha. There are many products on the market, but only a few contain clinically-proven dosages.
23. Rooibos Tea
Rooibos tea is a bit different from classic green or black tea. It’s a red, herbal tea free from caffeine and loaded with antioxidants. Consuming this tea on a regular basis has the potential to improve heart health, along with other lauded health benefits that have yet to be proven.
24. Beta-Hydroxybutyrate (BHB)
In a fasted state, it is common for your body to switch to using fat as fuel instead of carbs (glucose). When your body is running off of fat for energy, it produces ketone bodies. The top ketone body is called beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB). BHB is the most abundant ketone that your body produces.
When your body is running off of BHB for fuel, several things begin to occur. BHB can help improve cognitive function, enhance gene expression, improve heart health, boost insulin sensitivity, reduce inflammation, reduce oxidative stress, boost performance, increase fat loss and activate anti-aging properties.
The most popular type of intermittent fasting still allows you the ability to drink as much water as you want (or any zero-calorie food or drink for that matter). While there are “dry fasts,” these come with a bit more risk.
Fasting with water may promote autophagy, help lower blood pressure, improve insulin sensitivity and decrease the risk of some chronic diseases.
Intermittent fasting is becoming more and more popular as new health benefits of this method continue to emerge. If you’re wondering wether or not to take supplements while intermittent fasting, make sure to give this list another glance for the proper recommendations. If you want to give fasting a try, start with a shorter, faster of 14-16 hour fast and work your way up.