Are you planning to go on a fast? Usually, this involves not eating for several hours like 12, 18, or even 24. Some fasts even last for one or more days. Different types of fasts have different rules about what you can and can’t eat. When fasting this usually means you can’t eat anything during the fasting period. Sometimes you can eat a limited number of calories or drink water, tea, or coffee. Other times you can also take supplements to take while fasting. The first issue is whether or not you even need them. Sometimes it’s not necessary because you’ll only be fasting for one or two days.
It’s a different story in other situations. For example, let’s say you’re planning to fast for 3+ days. Maybe you’re doing month-long water fast. In those situations taking supplements is more practical and probably something you should consider doing. You should absolutely, positively consider taking certain supplements. Some options include vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and electrolytes. This will help your body to get important nutrients when you’re not getting them from food. In turn, you can avoid possible issues like feeling tired or weak. When doing long-term fasts the situation can even become dangerous.
Nutrients, Supplements, and Fasting
Do you even need supplements when fasting? It’s important to first talk about what happens when you fast. During this process, your body first uses up the calories/carbs from your last meal.
Then it starts getting energy from stored fat. In this process, your liver produces more “ketones,” which explains how the keto diet got its name. The process is similar to getting energy from calories but is more complex.
Various positive things happen when you fast. For example, your body burns fat since it’s getting energy from it. Your body also goes through detox since the cells look hard for nutrients they need and get rid of the bad stuff.
Water is often a part of the detox process. In some fasts, you can only drink water, while others also let you drink low-calorie drinks like tea or coffee.
There’s also an extreme type of fasting known as a “dry fast.” As the name suggests you can’t drink one drop of water while you’re on this kind of fast. However, most fasts are “water fasts” that let you only drink H2O for 12-48 hours (or more).
Hunger is easily one of the main symptoms of fasting you’ll experience during the first day. That’s because your body is used to getting nutrients at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The main difference is your body isn’t getting glucose/sugar from food.
What happens when you fast? Your body goes into a kind of “battery save mode.” Your heart rate, blood pressure, and metabolism all slow down. After these hunger pangs go away some energy returns.
This process can be tough on the first day. If you fast a second day it can also be quite tough. However, your body can also benefit from getting energy from fat. It includes better heart health and even higher levels of good cholesterol.
Supplements to Take While Fasting
When you’re doing long-term fasts there are certain supplements you should consider taking including:
One option to consider a multi-vitamin. When combined with water this will help to prevent a lot of possible issues related to long-term fasting. For example, you’ll likely want to make sure you’re getting certain nutrients like Vitamin C.
One important vitamin you should be getting is a Vitamin B complex. This includes different ones like biotin and niacin. During ketosis, you won’t lose them as fast as some minerals. However, some people lose tons of Vitamin Bs while fasting. Vitamin B complex can be helpful.
Another important one is Vitamin D. This is important for things like bone density and the immune system. Vitamin D is important for absorbing and using magnesium and other nutrients.
Your body loses lots of minerals when you do long-term fasts. You should boost levels of certain ones like magnesium. This is important for things like blood pressure and nerves. If you have low magnesium levels, you’ll experience things like muscle cramps or something called brain fog.
Chromium is another key one. You can’t get it in all multi-vitamins. However, studies show it can lower hunger pangs that could cause you to end a fast before you’re supposed to.
3. Amino Acids
One type you should certainly consider is branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). These are only three amino acids but they’re important ones. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein.
You can get them from sources like sodium and potassium. When your ketone levels increase your insulin levels drop. This causes the body to ditch electrolytes like potassium and sodium.
This results in different symptoms like feeling lightheaded and tired as the body tries to get energy from fat stores. That’s why you should consider these supplements for long-term fasts.
Top Liquids for Fasting
When fasting here are some drinks that you might be allowed to consume:
Water is the only natural zero-calorie food. It’s usually allowed during fasting and sometimes it’s the ONLY food/drink that’s allowed.
There are even “water fasts” where water is front and center. These are extreme diets because you’re only allowed to drink water and only water during the fast.
When fasting you should drink about 2 liters of water every day. It’s good to start the day with 8 oz. of cool water. This will help to jump-start your day. You can also add a slice of lemon or orange, or apple cider vinegar (ACV) for added calories/energy.
Make sure to drink water throughout the day. This will help to keep you hydrated and detoxify your body. Another benefit of water is it will help you feel full so you won’t have the munchies–since snacking usually isn’t allowed anyway.
2. Bone Broth
This is a great option since it’s high in nutrients yet low in calories/carbs. You can use different protein sources like pork, beef, chicken, or fish.
If you’re vegan/vegetarian then you can also make veggie broth. However, this will contain fewer nutrients so it’s worth noting. You can also add some sea salt to your bone broth so you’ll stay hydrated.
These are some of the most common low-calorie drinks you’re allowed to consume during a fast. Green tea and black coffee are the best options. If you have a problem with caffeine then add a little real milk to neutralize the acidity.
You can even add some spices like nutmeg or cinnamon to your cha or java. This will add some nutrients and flavor to your drinks. Sugar and artificial sweeteners/flavors aren’t allowed. These are empty calories so they’re bad options when fasting versus supplements to take when fasting.