Many people who are doing Intermittent Fasting (IF) for health or weight loss purposes wonder when they should take supplements. The big worry is whether supplements break the fast and ruin all the effort you’ve put in. So what’s the verdict?
The short story is that we recommend avoiding most supplements during your fasting period. However there are some exceptions. Let’s review.
First, one of the benefits of fasting is that it puts your body into a state called autophagy: where your body literally cleans itself. Most people don’t get to experience this wonderfully natural cleansing of the body. But you’ve chosen to fast. It turns out that there are some supplements that help enhance and speed up autophagy. One example is resveratrol. We recommend taking resveratrol at the beginning of your fast and then again in the morning.
Other than resveratrol, you can also take nicotinamide and hydroxycitrate to enhance autophagy and the effects of your fast.
The most important supplements to take in a fed state only (and NEVER in a fasted state) are proteins (whey) and branched chain amino acids. These immediately trigger your body to shut off its fasting mechanisms.
Many supplements are mostly neutral to the fasting state but we recommend taking them with meals. Some supplements are best taken at the beginning of the fasted state, and others towards the end.
You should take Curcumin, Vitamin K, Vitamin D, Probiotics, N-acetylcysteine (NAC), Astaxanthin and Fish Oils early in your fed state (as part of the meal where you break your fast). These are all supplements that will help you thrive during the day.
You should take Magnesium, Zinc, Glucosamine and IP6 (inositol hexaphosphate), at the end of your fed state/beginning of your fasted state, preferably after your last meal or snack of the evening.
A Review of Common Supplements and Timing for Intermittent Fasting:
- Resveratrol – Start your fasted state and supplement your fasted state halfway through
- Magnesium – Begin your fasted state with your full dose. As close to bedtime as possible.
- Vitamin D – Start your fed state with Vit D3
- Omega-3 fatty acids – Take toward the beginning of your fed state
- Vitamin K – Take at beginning of fed state (helps process calcium properly)
- IP6 – Take towards bed time on an empty stomach. End of your fed state, right as you are entering fast.
- Glucosamine – Take towards end of fed state, beginning of fasted state
- NAC – Take with first meal after breaking fast
- Curcumin – Take with first meal when breaking fast
- Hydroxycitrate – Take in the middle of your fast if you’d like to enhance the effects
- Nicotinamide – Take in the middle of your fast if you’d like to enhance the effects
- Astaxanthin – Take with first meal after breaking fast