Medically Reviewed

Taking Vitamins While Fasting: Should You Do It?

Fasting is a popular health trend these days. When you’re fasting, are you still allowed to take your vitamins? Read on to learn more.

Fasting has gained popularity in recent years, especially among people seeking healthy lifestyles. During periods of fasting, people abstain from consuming certain types of foods or all foods, depending on the type of fast being undertaken. It’s important to talk to a medical professional about your plans for fasting to develop a plan that’s right for you.

But what do fasts mean for your vitamin routine? Does taking vitamins break your fast?

What is the scientific definition of fasting?

Fasting is simply when you don’t eat food over a certain period of time, usually for religious or health reasons. You achieve a fast by ingesting basically no food – or sometimes only minimal amounts of food – and no caloric beverages for a time period that can range from 12 hours up to a number of weeks. The most common fasts that people undertake is overnight while asleep or while preparing for blood work.

There’s another type of fasting, called intermittent fasting, that’s been steadily gaining in popularity in recent years. Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern in which people limit food consumption to certain intervals of the day. Intermittent fasting is a health and fitness trend, widely used to manage weight and generally promote health.

Do vitamins break a fast?

In general, no, vitamins don’t break a fast. The answer, though, depends on what kinds of vitamins you’re taking. Taking Care/of vitamins, for example, won’t break a fast. But if you’re taking vitamins with additives, sugar, and carbs, then those vitamins will indeed break your fast.

Do gummy vitamins break a fast?

If the gummy vitamins are high in caloric and sugar content, then they will indeed break your fast. Gummy vitamins also may not be as good for your health as regular vitamins are.

Does medication break a fast?

Medication typically doesn’t break a fast, unless calories are present in the medication in question. Check the caloric content of the medication and talk to your medical provider if you have any questions.

Other supplements that may break a fast

So, now you know to avoid gummy vitamins if you don’t want to break your fast. What are some other supplements you should avoid?

  • Protein bars: This comes as no surprise. Protein bars are important specifically for the calories and protein they provide, both of which will break your fast.
  • Meal replacement shakes: These are designed to fill you up with carbs, calories, protein, and more, and will surely break your fast.
  • Fat-soluble vitamins: Here’s the thing. A fat-soluble vitamin won’t necessarily break your fast. But it’s generally not advisable to take fat-soluble vitamins on an empty stomach; in fact, they’re much more effective when taken with meals.
  • Branch-chain amino acids (BCAAs): BCAAs are amino acids, including leucine, isoleucine, and valine. They can pose problems for intermittent fasting. That’s because a major benefit of intermittent fasting is autophagy, which is a term that describes your body’s efforts to clean out its cells. BCAA supplements can trigger an insulin response that impedes autophagy from taking place.

Again, your dietary choices during the fast will largely depend on what kind of fast you’re undertaking. Some people do allow fats during a fast, since the body is still in ketosis. Others avoid all foods and beverages. If you’re interested in fasting for health reasons, talk to a medical professional about the best approach for you.

The rise of fasting and intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting has been gaining popularity in recent years, especially in the health and fitness community. It’s not about what you eat, but when you eat. In this regard, it wouldn’t be accurate to call intermittent fasting a diet; it’s more accurate to call it an eating pattern.

Some common intermittent fasts consist of 16-hour fasts or full 24-hour fasts up to two times per week.

But while intermittent fasting may feel like a new development, human beings have been practicing fasting for thousands of years, for a variety of reasons. Consider our evolutionary roots: Hunter-gatherers weren’t able to store food for later consumption. As a result, we evolved to be able to go without food for extended periods of time. Fasting has also been practiced for religious or spiritual reasons.

Potential health benefits of fasting

Fasting isn’t for everyone. But for those who are interested in incorporating intermittent fasts into their routines, the health benefits can be plentiful. Be sure to talk to your doctor about your interest in fasting and whether it can serve your overall health and wellness goals. Some benefits of can include:

  • Optimizing your energy metabolism
  • Managing oxidative stress
  • Boosting the regenerative capacity of stem cells
  • Promoting autophagy, a process that allows your body to work more efficiently

This study showed that subjects who practiced fasting every other day still reported benefits regarding their weight management. The key, as always, is to find the approach that works well with your own needs and goals.

What breaks a fast?

Well, it all depends on what kind of fast you’re following. Some say that consuming anything other than water breaks a fast; others make exceptions for coffee, tea, and bone broth. For the most part, as described above, taking vitamins will not break a fast.

Final takeaways

In general, taking vitamins doesn’t break a fast. However, taking certain vitamins – including gummy vitamins, or other vitamins containing calories – can break your fasted state.

Fasting boasts a number of health benefits and is sometimes undertaken for spiritual and religious reasons. Fasting, however, isn’t for everybody. Talk to your doctor before trying intermittent fasting.

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