So you’ve decided to try intermittent fasting, but now you want to know if taking a multivitamin or other supplement will break your fast.
If you’re just starting out with intermittent fasting, it’s important that you get a clear idea of the foods, drinks and supplements that could bring you out of the fasted state and negate the benefits you’re looking for.
But where do vitamins and multivitamin supplements fit into all of this?
In this article, we’re going to take a close look at whether you can take a multivitamin or multimineral supplement while fasting, or whether it’s best to save them for your eating window.
We’re going to take a close look at multivitamin supplements and intermittent fasting in general, and then tackle the question of whether vitamins break a fast or not.
So, with the introductions out of the way, let’s start taking a closer look at vitamins and fasting.
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What Is Intermittent Fasting?
If you’re reading this article, then the chances are that you already know the basics about intermittent fasting, but let’s cover them quickly anyhow.
Intermittent Fasting, also sometimes simply referred to as IF, is simply a way of eating that splits your time into eating and fasting ‘windows’.
There are many different intermittent fasting protocols, but one popular one is the 16:8 method, which involves fasting for 16 hours and sticking to an eight-hour eating window every day.
Some people also choose to start out with a 12:12 protocol if they are just getting started with intermittent fasting.
There are a few reasons why people opt to try intermittent fasting. For example, it is believed that it may have some potential health benefits, because it is seen as a more ‘natural’ way of eating than what is usually practiced in the modern world.
That’s because ancestral humans probably very rarely had access to 24-hour food like we do today. ‘Fasting’ would likely have been part of normal life for early hunter-gatherer humans.
Although fasting may well have some potential benefits for health, it is worth noting that the actual scientific evidence backing up some of the claims is still in an early stage.
Another reason why someone may choose to practice intermittent fasting is because it can help to improve your relationship with food.
By teaching your body and understanding what ‘real hunger’ is, people often report that they feel more empowered when sticking to an intermittent fasting protocol.
Although it may well have some pretty cool benefits, you shouldn’t try intermittent fasting without having first spoken to a certified medical professional, especially if you have an underlying medical condition or are pregnant or breastfeeding.
The Bottom Line: Intermittent Fasting is simply the name given to a way of eating that involves splitting your time into periods of eating and not eating. It may have some potential benefits to health, although it is still early days in terms of the research. One popular intermittent fasting protocol is sticking to a 16-hour daily fast followed by an eight-hour eating window.
What Is A Vitamin / Multivitamin Supplement?
If you’ve landed on this article, then you probably already know about vitamin and multivitamin supplements, but let’s cover the basics quickly.
Simply put, vitamins or multivitamin supplements are food supplements which contain any number of vitamins and minerals selected for their roles in supporting overall health.
Most multivitamins are designed to be taken on a daily basis as a supplement to a healthy diet and lifestyle.
One of our favourite multivitamins is the Performance Lab Whole Food Multi, which has a different formula for men and women and contains a broad spectrum of vitamins and minerals in vegan friendly capsules.
As well as multivitamin and multimineral supplements, you can also find various single vitamins on sale for specific supplementation. That includes things such as Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12 or minerals such as Zinc and Magnesium.
Again, these single vitamin/mineral supplements are designed to be taken on a regular basis to help support normal functions in the body when combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle.
It’s important to remember that supplements like this are not designed to replace a good diet. A healthy nutrition plan should supply your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs. However, supplements can be added in as a secondary way to add more specific nutrients to your diet.
The Bottom Line: Vitamin and Multivitamin supplements are over-the-counter products which provide specific doses of certain important nutrients. They are designed for use in combination with a healthy and balanced diet and as a supplement to go alongside good food. As well as multivitamins and multimineral supplements, you can also find individual vitamins and minerals on sale, such as Vitamin C or Zinc.
Do Vitamins Break A Fast?
So, the big question now is do vitamin and mineral supplements break a fast or not?
The basic answer to the question is probably not, because these kinds of supplements only usually contain a negligible amount of calories when provided in capsule form.
It’s generally accepted that very low calorie foods and supplements are probably OK to be consumed during your fasting window without negating the benefits.
However, it is important that you take a close look at the ingredients label of the product you’re thinking about using, to check the nutritional values. Some supplements have things such as sweeteners added to them, and these would increase the chances of the product breaking your fast.
Another thing worth bearing in mind is the fact that some multivitamin supplements don’t combine particularly well with an empty stomach and are designed to be taken with food. For this reason, it’s important you carefully check the directions printed on the label of your product of choice.
At the end of the day, it all really comes down to how strict you are planning to be with yourself when it comes to your intermittent fasting protocol.
If you want to be 100 per cent and absolutely sure that your vitamin or other supplement won’t break your fast, then your only option is to stick to just drinking water during your fasting window.
The Bottom Line: Most multivitamin and mineral supplements will only contain a negligible number of calories, so they are probably OK to be consumed during your fasting window. However, be sure to check the label and ingredients of your product of choice to be sure. Some supplements do not combine well with an empty stomach and are designed to be taken with food, so that’s another thing to bear in mind. If you want to be sure that your multivitamin or vitamin doesn’t break your fast, simply take them during your eating window.
Anything Else To Consider?
As we’ve mentioned above, intermittent fasting may well bring some health benefits, but you shouldn’t try it without having first spoken to a certified medical professional. This is especially important if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
Supplements such as vitamins and multivitamins are designed to be used in conjunction with a healthy diet and lifestyle. They are not designed to replace a healthy diet.
As we always like to remind our readers, good health requires a multi-pronged approach, including getting enough quality sleep, exercising regularly and eating a balanced and healthy diet.
Intermittent fasting can be a great tool on your health journey, but you shouldn’t view it as a miracle solution.
Wrapping Things Up – Our Final Thoughts
So, that brings us to the end of our look at whether vitamins break a fast or not.
We’ve walked you through the basic things that you need to know about both intermittent fasting and vitamins and multivitamin supplements in general.
When it comes to vitamins and fasting, generally speaking most supplements do not contain many calories and should be OK to be consumed during your fasting window.
However, some supplements do not combine well with an empty stomach and are designed to be taken with food, so taking them during a fast is probably not a good idea.
As ingredients vary from brand to brand, if you want to be 100 per cent sure of remaining in a fasted state during your IF protocol, then stick to just water during your fasting window and take your vitamins during your eating window.