Can You Take Electrolytes While Intermittent Fasting?

With tantalizing tales of easy fat loss and more appealing body weight serving as the ultimate motivation, it’s no wonder that people all around the world are giving intermittent fasting a try, even just for the short-term. People see it as a way to stick to their eating plans, help manage insulin levels, in hopes of doing what they can to try and live longer if they're at risk for overeating and heart disease. Why not? Restricting the amount of food you eat to a limited number of hours throughout the day can lead to not only weight loss, but research from the New England Journal of Medicine shows some pretty impressive benefits, including:

  • Reduced oxidative stress
  • Hormone balancing
  • Lower levels of inflammation
  • Increased resistance to stress
  • Improved insulin resistance and insulin sensitivity, reduction of blood sugar levels (great for those with type 2 diabetes!)
  • Better metabolic health, cell metabolism, and body fat breakdown 

In addition, according to a recent study in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, fasting also causes the body to essentially eat itself in a process called “autophagy.” While that may not exactly sound like a desirable attribute, think of autophagy as house cleaning within the cells. If you have significant inflammation and pain, autophagy just might be a good thing!

That’s not all. Intermittent fasting has also been linked to reduction of high blood pressure and the improvement of symptoms from many diseases such as autoimmune disorders. 

Intermittent fasting, also known as the "circadian rhythm diet," is an exceptional way to improve your overall health, but before you dive head first, it is important to keep in mind the potential challenges and side effects that are typically experienced by newcomers to an intermittent fasting plan. For example, if you’re used to eating from sunrise to the late hours of the night, restricting your calorie intake to an eight hour window may be a little difficult. In fact, when you first start, it is common to experience hunger pangs and a lack of energy as you adjust to your new fasting schedule and fasting windows. 

The good news is that electrolyte supplements can help! But what exactly are these important minerals and why are they ideal for fasting?

What are Electrolytes?

The exact definition of electrolytes is pretty complex, but in short, they are compounds found in the body which produce electrically charged ions when dissolved in fluids like water or blood. These pulses of electricity are responsible for your heartbeat, and essentially every other single function that makes up your body's internal function. Without electrolytes, the vitamins that come from the food you eat wouldn’t be able to exert their physiological influences. 

There are seven primary electrolytes found in the body: sodium, chloride, potassium, phosphate, calcium, magnesium and bicarbonate. In addition, there are other electrolytes that play a vital role as well, including zinc, copper, chromium, manganese, and iron.

Here are the most important electrolytes and what they are responsible for:

Sodium: Is an important mineral that is responsible for maintaining overall balance in and around the cells. Sodium is critical for nerve and muscle function as well as blood pressure. If you are running low in this mineral, it is common to experience headaches and muscle spasms.

Potassium: Many people think that only a magnesium deficiency can cause leg cramps, but the truth is that potassium is just as critical. Potassium is an important electrolyte that is crucial for muscle fluid regulation and nerve signaling. 

Magnesium: Just like potassium, magnesium plays a big role in maintaining muscle and nerve function. This important mineral also promotes good quality sleep. 

Calcium: It is already well-known that calcium helps to build strong bones, but did you know it is responsible for regulating your heartbeat as well? In addition, calcium also plays a key role in muscle contraction and blood clotting. 

Zinc: Zinc is found in all your cells throughout your body. It is needed for your immune system to work properly along with many other functions such as cell growth, wound healing, and the breakdown of carbs. Zinc is also responsible for your senses of taste and smell.

Many things can deplete these electrolyte levels like sweating, vomiting, diarrhea, low-carb diets like keto, and, yes, fasting!

Electrolytes and Fasting

A good portion of the fluids you obtain throughout the day come from healthy, water-dense foods like fruits and veggies. So, when you’re fasting and there's no snacking or food intake, it’s of the utmost importance to make sure you are drinking more fluids than normal to avoid falling short during your fasting period. The good news is that beverages with no calories like black coffee or zero-calorie beverages are OK to consume even during your fasting period! In addition, when you sweat naturally throughout the day, you lose the electrolyte sodium. Since your body is always looking to achieve a state of balance, other important electrolytes like magnesium and potassium will follow sodium's lead, and exit the body as well. This can leave you with an electrolyte imbalance. 

Some of the signs that you're running low on these important minerals include:

  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Irregular heartbeat

Electrolyte Supplements

So, can you take electrolytes while intermittent fasting? Yes, and you most definitely should!

An electrolyte supplement like Adapted Nutrition’s zero-calorie Hi-Lyte Concentrate is an exceptional way to start your day because it is potent, fast-acting, and completely absorbed by the body. It can be added to any liquid to create a powerful, natural electrolyte drink - even your morning cup of coffee! Taking electrolyte supplements is a great way to help fuel your body with the nutrients it needs when calorie restriction comes into play through intermittent fasting, dieting, or even a combination fasting diet!

Some of the best benefits of taking electrolytes while fasting include:

  • More energy
  • Less headaches 
  • Improved exercise performance
  • Reduced risk of hyponatremia 
  • Improved cognitive function and overall brain health

A Final Word

Intermittent fasting is an exceptional way to improve your overall health. If you are thinking about giving it a try, we can’t stress the importance enough of taking an electrolyte supplement to minimize risk factors that come naturally with any form of intermittent fasting. Electrolytes are essential minerals that everybody needs in order to survive. These minerals are commonly found in healthy whole foods, but since intermittent fasting requires the restriction of calories in the fasted state, consuming these healthy foods to reap the nutritional benefits can be tough. This all being said, don't be afraid to consult a dietitian if you're feeling wary of getting started. The good news is that supplementation is available and can help, and it's as easy as making sure you drink water!

When looking for electrolyte supplements, be sure to purchase from an honest and reputable company like Adapted Nutrition to ensure you are fueling your body with the best nutrients possible. Stay away from sugar, artificial flavoring, and fillers and stick with all-natural ingredients like Adapted Nutrition’s Hi-Lyte Salt Capsules that deliver rapid rehydration to get you going on your day!

Sources: 

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5819235/pdf/12906_2018_Article_2136.pdf
  2. https://www.nia.nih.gov/news/research-intermittent-fasting-shows-health-benefits#:~:text=Hundreds%20of%20animal%20studies%20and,less%20clear%20for%20lifespan%20effects.
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6471315/#:~:text=The%20intermittent%20fasting%20diet%20causes,the%20frequency%20of%20heart%20contractions.
  4. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002416.htm#:~:text=Zinc%20is%20found%20in%20cells,senses%20of%20smell%20and%20taste.