Intermittent Fasting And Supplements - Should You Take Them And If So, Which Ones?
IF Insider No. 48
In our previous issue (IF Insider No. 47) we looked at sleep, specifically how to get more quality sleep and why it’s so very important for the health of your brain. In this issue, we are going to answer a question that we get rather regularly, and that is whether you should take supplements when you are practicing intermittent fasting.
For our premium subscribers, in this week’s Research Spotlight, we are going to look at an intriguing new study that suggests the time you go to bed has an effect on your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The association was particularly strong for women.
Plus our paid subscribers also get one of Ellen’s recipes each month and access to a live Q&A call. Last month, we brought you a warming, spicy, and delicious Thai-style Shrimp Coconut Soup that’s simple and quick to prepare. This month, we show you how to make your own Oat Milk Creamer. This vanilla and honey-infused plant milk is delicious as an ingredient in an iced coffee latte, and we include instructions on how to make that as well.
The paid option also includes a monthly live Q&A call with Ellen and Denise held on the second Tuesday of each month at 12 Noon Eastern (9 AM Pacific) time. The next call is on Tuesday, April 12, 2022.
Looking for a supportive group that “gets” your interest in IF and other cutting-edge health information? Our free intermittent fasting Facebook group, with over 1800 members, is a wealth of info, in addition to our Fast Factor Circle membership.
Intermittent Fasting and Supplements
Today we are going to address a common question we get asked a lot: “Should I take supplements while I am practicing my intermittent fasting and if so, which ones?”
The answer to the first part of this question is: it depends.
As a general rule, you should always strive to get your vitamins and minerals from fresh, whole foods. There is the argument of course, that it’s no longer possible to do that, due to various reasons such as degradation of our soils with the result being less nutritious foods, the overconsumption of processed foods that have little to no real nutrition, and so forth. While I personally think there is some truth in this, I still believe most of us can get what we need from a healthy diet.
When you are practicing intermittent fasting, you really should be consuming enough calories in a day so you can easily meet your nutritional needs. Sometimes, you might not get enough calories when you are just starting out, and before your hunger and satiety hormones have come into balance. But this is a temporary situation and should correct itself over a number of weeks.
If you are past that stage and still think you are not getting an adequate number of calories for your height, weight (which will be different for males and females) then it might be helpful to actually track your calorie intake for a few days just to get a baseline. If your count is too low, consider adding calorie-dense and highly nutritious foods, such as avocado, nuts (walnuts are a good choice), or free-range eggs.
But back to the question of supplements.
As I said, it depends. I personally don’t think there is any harm in taking a good multi-vitamin daily, just to cover your bases. (We will give you a list of which ones Denise and I take in a bit).
If you eat a 100 percent plant-based diet, you should take a vitamin B12 supplement daily, as this cannot be gotten from plant-based foods and you must have it for a number of critical biological functions, including nerve functioning, red blood cell formation, and many other vital processes. I used to be all plant-based, but now am eating fish as well as eggs, so I discontinued my daily B12.
For some reason, a lot of people who practice intermittent fasting get leg cramps, especially at night, so I routinely recommend a magnesium supplement. Magnesium is also important in the metabolism of calcium.
People in the northern hemisphere especially should take a Vitamin D3 supplement daily, as most people, even in the summer, just don’t get enough sun exposure to make enough naturally in their skin.
Ideally, you should have your Vitamin D level measured and most insurance plans will cover this if your physician orders it. If you are not deficient, then 5000 I.U. of D3 daily should suffice. If you are deficient, then ask your physician for the recommended dose.
Those are the basics. Now for a list of our individual supplements
Ellen’s Supplements -
Here are the supplements I take daily:
1 multivitamin (Solimo Adult Multivitamin, gummies) - to cover my bases
Vitamin D3 (Naturewise 125mcg/5000 I.U.) - immunity protection
Magnesium glycerinate (Pure Encapsulations) 120 mg - to prevent muscle cramps
French maritime pine bark extract (Life Extension Pycnogenol 100 mg (2 daily) - I just started taking this in an attempt to improve the circulation in my legs. I have chronic venous stasis due to standing on my feet on a concrete emergency room floor for a couple of decades) and read some interesting studies on its effectiveness. Will keep you posted on this.
Denise’s Supplements -
B12 (Nature Made) 1000 mg - to make sure I get enough since I don't eat much meat
D3 (Thorne) 5000 IU - immunity
Super EPA (Thorne) - 1 capsule (3/day recommended) - cognitive health
C 1000 mg with Zinc - general immunity
Lions Mane medicinal mushroom powder (Host Defense Brain Organic Mushroom Mycelium) 1 cap 300 mg
Magnesium Malate (Source Naturals) 1250 mg - muscle & cardiovascular health
So there you have it. I think you can see that you need to decide on a supplement regimen that is right for you, based on your dietary habits, sun exposure, and overall nutritional status.
Why It Matters
While we may get most of our vitamins from food, other vitamins come to us in other ways.
“Talk was like the vitamins of our friendship: Large daily doses kept it healthy.”
~ E. L. Konigsburg - (1930 - 2013) - An American writer of children’s literature, she was the only author to have won the Newbery Medal and a Newbery Honor in the same year. Mixed-Up Files is perhaps her most widely known book but Konigsburg wrote more than 20 children’s titles, including novels about such historical figures as Eleanor of Aquitaine and Leonardo da Vinci.
What We Are Reading 📚
With each issue, we bring you a short blurb on what we are currently reading or watching, including books, articles, podcasts, videos, movies, and research papers of value.
Ellen - This month I am listening to the audiobook version of James Altucher’s Skip the Line: The 10,000 Experiments Rule and Other Surprising Advice for Reaching Your Goals.
I have to confess, several years ago I heard James Altucher speak on someone’s podcast, I took an instant dislike to him. It was one of those totally irrational things, based on only one thing, I found his voice irritating.
So I don’t really know why I choose to listen to his audiobook, because he narrates it himself. But you know what? Now that several years have passed, I find his voice charming and utterly real. He has the same voice he did when I heard him the first time, so it’s me who has changed. Hopefully for the better!
Anyway, I’m about halfway through and am enjoying it immensely. I don’t think I could summarize the book better than this review by the Financial Times:
"Altucher combines his personal story with solid—and unconventional—insights. It is a straightforward and engaging read that aims to help people to acquire the skills they need to succeed."
Did you like this article and learn something new? If so, please let us know in the comments! Questions and suggestions for future articles are welcome, too!
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