The 10 Best Supplements to Support Your Intermittent Fasting Goals*
Taking supplements during fasts can be tricky: some supplements can upset your stomach, and some might even end your fast. On the other hand, certain supplements can support your fasting goals. Let’s take a closer look:
Which supplements break your fast?
Unfortunately, there’s no black-and-white answer here. Technically, everything that contains calories breaks your fast. Many supplements contain some nutrients; others can’t be properly metabolized when taken without food. That’s why being overly strict on calories is not always the best and only choice to get the most out of your fast.
Choosing the right supplements depends primarily on your fasting goal:
If your intermittent fasting goal is fat loss:
Green coffee bean extract
Green coffee bean extract is made from raw, unroasted coffee beans. It contains a potent antioxidant called chlorogenic acid that can decrease inflammation, increase heart health, and prevent diabetes. (1)
Green coffee bean extract can help your weight loss efforts for a variety of reasons:
- A Korean study suggests that green coffee bean extract can help to regulate the hormones adiponectin and leptin, which can help you to lose weight. (2)
- Green coffee bean extract increases energy, which can help you to exercise or stay alert during your fasting window.
- Green coffee bean extract acts as an appetite suppressant. (3)
L-tyrosine is an amino acid and thus contains small amounts of calories. However, the benefits of this powerful supplement can make it an interesting addition to your fast:
Your body uses L-tyrosine to synthesize the neurotransmitters: dopamine, norepinephrine, and adrenaline.
- Dopamine improves memory, mood, motivation, and attention.
- Norepinephrine helps your body to cope with stress.
- Adrenaline increases motivation and focus.
Like green coffee bean extract, L-tyrosine can increase energy and exercise performance. The amino acid also acts as a mild appetite suppressant. (4)
Ashwagandha is a herb that is traditionally used in Ayurveda and is also known as Indian ginseng. It can help to decrease stress and improve immune function. (5)
Ashwagandha contains many healthy components, including phytochemicals, amino acids, or choline.
Next to stress reduction, ashwagandha is linked to reducing blood sugar levels and has anti-inflammatory effects. (6)
How can ashwagandha support intermittent fasting and weight loss?
Intermittent fasting is a stressor for your body, especially for people that are not used to it. This can lead to an increase in cortisol levels. Chronically elevated levels of this stress hormone can lead to all sorts of health issues, including weight gain.
Ashwagandha can help to reduce cortisol levels, stress-induced cravings, and curb appetite.
I usually prefer my supplements in powder form. Still, I love the Ashwagandha Complex by Zeal Naturals as it also includes Rhodiola Rosea for stress reduction and Turmeric for joint support:
Yerba mate – also called Mate contains many healthy phytochemicals including caffeine, chlorogenic acid, rutin, tannin, theobromine, theophylline, ursolic acid, or vanillin. These plant chemicals can help to fight free radicals, cleanse the blood, increase energy and alertness.
According to the book Prescription for Nutritional Healing (a book I can highly recommend if you’re interested in understanding supplements or herbs), the combination of Mate and Guarana slows down the rate of food leaving the stomach. This can help you to feel full longer and thus support weight loss.
Also, the caffeine found in Mate can increase exercise performance and fat loss during exercise. A study where participants took 1000 mg Yerba Mate 60 minutes before exercising, showed a 24% increase in fat loss during the training session. (7)
Guarana, also known as Brazilian Cocoa, has been used for centuries to increase energy and mental focus. (8)
Like Yerba Mate, guarana contains caffeine and various other phytochemicals such as adenine, d-catechine, saponin, tannins, theobromine, or theophylline. These ingredients decrease free radicals and can help to prevent age-related cell damage. (9)
Guarana can also help to decrease headaches, improve mood, and suppress hunger.
Green Tea Extract
Green tea contains caffeine and catechins, which makes it an excellent beverage choice for intermittent fasting.
According to research, catechins can increase the body’s fat oxidation.
The combination of catechins and caffeine seems to enhance this effect further: the participants of a study published in the Official Journal of the International Obesity Association increased their daily energy expenditure by 4.8% (which equates to 96 calories if you consume 2000 calories per day).
Apart from that, the caffeine contained in green tea can help to suppress appetite while increasing athletic performance.
The Get Lean Tea is one of my favorite fasting teas: it includes organic green mate and dandelion which can help to reduce water retention. The liver detox tea also includes cinnamon, milk thistle, ginger, and spirulina. Cinnamon can curb appetite while spirulina increases your energy and helps to alkalinizing your body:
If your intermittent fasting goal is detox:
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar has been used for centuries to aid detoxification. It has antimicrobial and antioxidant effects.
Apple Cider Vinegar can also help to suppress appetite, which makes it even more interesting for intermittent fasting. (7)
I add apple cider vinegar to ice water and drink it during the day. The ViaRaw capsules also include Aloe, Astragalus, Cayenne, and coconut milk powder, which can help to improve Candida infections.
Gotu cola contains many minerals and vitamins such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, zinc, vitamins B1, B2, B3, and C.
Gotu cola stimulates the kidneys, which can help you to detox and eliminate excess fluid. (9)
Gotu cola also increases energy levels, promotes wound healing, and improves heart and liver function. (10)
You can take Gotu cola in pill form or drink Gotu cola tea.
The Get Clean AM Tea is made with dandelion leaves, spearmint leaves, organic cucumber, and gotu cola. If you’re not into drinking coffee, this tea is ideal to start a fasting day:
If your intermittent fasting goal is to decrease inflammation
Turmeric is a spice that contains many healthy compounds. The most active of them is called curcumin, which is a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory effects.
According to a clinical trial with patients suffering from chronic anterior uveitis, the inflammatory effects of curcumin are comparable to anti-inflammatory drugs while presenting significantly fewer lower side-effects. (11)
Black pepper and (fish) oil have proven to increase the absorption of curcumin significantly. Therefore, it’s important to find a supplement that also includes black pepper and to take it together with a meal that contains essential fatty acids or a fish oil supplement*.
Many studies have shown that the consumption of fish oil can decrease inflammation. One study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh has found that supplementation with Omega 3 fatty acids can be as effective for inflammation and pain reduction as the usage of Ibuprofin while having fewer unwanted side effects. (12)
Although fish oil contains calories, it does not affect insulin levels or inhibits ketosis.
On the other hand, fish oil can improve the absorption of other supplements such as turmeric (see above).
Are you ready to start your first intermittent fast? The following article will provide you with more information:
A word of warning: please check in with your healthcare provider before adding supplements to your diet. Especially, if you suffer from any chronic condition, are pregnant, or take medications.
Interested in more weight loss or health hacks?
Find more ideas for improved health and happiness on my Medium publication Wellness Decoded
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