Even though I think it’s really important to take into account when doing fasting, I personally take a few supplements on a daily basis.
I’m a huge consumer of bulletproof coffee, which is done by putting MCT oil and ghee in my morning coffee. I also take magnesium every day to avoid muscle ache when exercising. But more precisely to prevent muscle cramps, which I get quite frequently.
If you simply do intermittent fasting, I would say that vitamins, nutrients, and supplements are not necessary in most cases. It’s more of a mindset and it depends on your condition, like magnesium for me, and personal taste, like coconut oil.
But on a longer fast there are some very important vitamins and supplements you can take. It’s even advised, when doing more than a 5 day fast, to supplement it with some nutrients.
With ketosis, there are of course two important factors: what nutrients can be taken on an empty stomach, what’ll keep you in ketosis, what’ll upset your stomach, etc.
Here are my two cents and nutrients I would personally recommend.
Here are a few supplements you can take to help you on an everyday basis. If you’re eating healthy food, exercising in, going out regularly, while intermittent fasting, chances are you won’t need any of those.
But some of us suffer from nutrients, hormones or vitamin depletion. Moreover, some of these nutrients can actually give you energy, boost morale and improve focus.
Let’s start with the one I use.
I already talked about magnesium. We have a water softener at home and most of the minerals found in the tap water I drink every day (and I drink a lot) is depleted of some essential minerals.
During the last two years, I started experiencing cramps at my legs almost every night before I started taking magnesium every day as a supplement.
Magnesium is great for muscle ache; muscle cramps and it can also improve sleep.
According to some people (including Dr. Jason Fung), the best way to get magnesium is to put it in your bath as flakes. I did this several times after a heavy workout, for example, it felt great.
We’re entering a whole other world, MCT oil is the new kid on the block, everyone’s selling their version of it. I used to get plain coconut oil, the one I also use to cook Thai food for example. It tastes great but after my thorough article on bulletproof coffee, I switched to MCT oil.
MCT oil is part of my daily bulletproof coffee and is a great way to fill yourself with ketones. Ketones are an alternative fuel for the body and mostly for the brain. It’s produced when your liver is burning up fat cells.
Bulletproof coffee technically will break a fast, but it has many more benefits. A bulletproof fast means you can put ketone rich fat in your drinks without getting out of ketosis. And you benefit from a kick of energy and focus provided by the ketones.
As I said, you can buy simple coconut oil, but I’d advise you try more concentrated stuff like:
- Pure MCT oil (coconut oil is MCT oil)
- Bulletproof’s octane oil designed specifically for bulletproof coffee (those guys invented it)
- Bulletproof’s XCT oil which also registers in some versions of the bulletproof coffee recipe. XCT is extracted from coconut oil.
In addition to MCT oil, I also use ghee, which is clarified grass-fed butter that is then caramelized. Removing all leftovers milk solid, making it 99% dairy-free and, more important to me, giving it an amazing nutty flavor that’ll enrich your coffee even more.
You could take plain grass-fed butter and MCT oil, which is fine, but you don’t get the added taste. Another thing : ghee can be quite expensive.
Here are some alternatives :
- Amber & Gold’s ghee which is regular price
- This one from 4th & heart, a bit more premium and expensive
Zinc is an essential mineral in your body, you can find it in eggs, some meats, fish, and shellfish. Zinc is known to help keep and rise up levels of testosterone, especially in men.
It’s also involved in the formation of new nerve cells. It plays a huge role in the normal nervous system by regulated Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF for short). Lack of zinc could impair BDNF effectiveness, which could lead to depression.
Zinc is mainly taken as a supplement for working out. High level of testosterone which helps muscle growth and gain.
Here are two types of zinc caps supplements you can find on Amazon.com:
- As simple 50 mg caps from NOW supplements
- With added sunflower/coconut oil in 30 mg caps from Dr. Seth’s
L-tyrosine is an amino acid. Tyrosine is used in the brain and turned into three neurotransmitters: dopamine, norepinephrine, and adrenaline.
It is known to improve mood, help deal with stress and muscle recovery, and improve focus and motivation. It might help you feel mentally sharper and give you more energy when fasting.
It is meant to be taken on an empty stomach, so that could also be taken when fasting several days.
Those supplements I would advise taking when doing more than 5 days fast. They can be taken without breaking your fast and they should not upset your stomach.
This is the big one for me, especially since I felt really dizzy for an hour when fasting for several days. I was craving salt, I don’t know how I knew it, but I did.
So, I drank a vegetable broth to keep from passing out and it felt great. Afterward, all my energy was restored. This could also avoid muscle spasms and headaches.
You can either mix salt with water or take caps. Here are the products I would recommend:
Sodium might also be great before working out. If you take it with water, make sure you dissolve it completely (maybe putting it in hot water then cooling it) and don’t drink it too fast.
This could trigger a “water salt flush”. In short, you would puke, trust me, I tried it not knowing.
The other big electrolyte on the list when fasting several days is potassium. When coupled with sodium deficiency, this could lead to muscle ache and indigestion.
The rule is: if you get enough sodium, potassium shouldn’t be an issue since those two are linked. To make sure you could try taking Nu-Salt which is sodium-free salt (since potassium is also found in salt).
An essential mineral for bones and muscles. You shouldn’t be lacking it on a daily basis, but on a prolonged fast, you could take them as a supplement to keep bone integrity.
Calcium usually comes packed in with some other fat-soluble vitamins (to help transport it), such as vitamin D3, like this Calcium with vitamin D3 from Solimo.