This is a list of supplements for fasting. Though that’s something of a misnomer. Fasting, generally speaking is “going without”, not “adding to”, like one might expect when talking about taking supplements, vitamins and nutrients.
For comprehensive information on every facet of Fasting, see this page: FASTING AND INTERMITTENT FASTING GUIDE
This list focuses on longevity of the fasting process, more so than specific results that one might be looking to achieve while fasting.
You may want to view our notes to specific segments of the fasting audience, to determine if there will be some valuable information in this content for you.
Note for those who Fast for religious reasons:
In many cases, those who are fasting for religious reasons will generally be fasting without any outside resources. Often, this is for specific reasons, including to gain control over your body/mind/spirit; to avoid any outside influence during a spiritual event, or even just to ensure the sanctity of the concept of the fast. In longer fasts, it is almost a necessity to be well prepared, including having a contingency plan in place. For fasts longer than 12-15 days, my personal recommendation is to consider utilizing supplements from the start or from very early on (within 3-5 days of the start of the fast). This additional supplementary regimen will improve the longevity of the fast; the capacity of the person fasting and the body’s recovery time after the fasting period.
Note for those who use Intermittent Fasting (IF) for peak gains in a cutting phase or similar:
The recommendations here in this article are for general population. It will not include any hardcore supplements or any supplements that shed water or other components out of the body. Furthermore it does not include fat burners or performance enhancers of any kind. If you are an elite athlete or an experienced Body builder, trainer or fitness pro, you will likely not find any groundbreaking information here, though we would love to hear your feedback after reading.
Some backstory: I’m a normal guy. Not an elite athlete and not a complete slob either. But I happen to have an affinity for fasting. I mean, it plays a huge role in my life, from a spiritual and a diet specific point of view. It has served as a catalyst for some major turning points in my life and I tend to fast “religiously”, for lack of a better explanation.
Disclaimer: I am not offering medical advice. This information, while much of it is backed by evidence from scientific studies, is purely my own experiences and what works for me. Make sure you are healthy enough to fast prior to undertaking one. Extreme fasting should be performed in controlled environments with proper oversight. Additionally, there are some product links included in this article. They lead to an Amazon affiliate link. If you do not wish to purchase the items through this link, please do not click through.
When I undertake short fasts (1-3 days), I generally do not take supplements. Almost always, I am fasting for spiritual/religious reasons when a 1-3 day fast is the case. The reason I don’t take supplements during these shorter fasting events, is several-fold:
With that out of the way: it’s when I know I will be fasting for many days, that I start to plan for taking supplements while fasting. For the times where a fast will last 12+ days, or where there will be multiple spaces of 48 hour windows without food AND water, I always consider using supplements while fasting to avoid concerns during and after the fast.
I generally perform at least two, 12+ day fasts per year. In 2014 I did 3 10+ day fasts with excellent results. I fast each week at least one full 24 hours period, and often fast for 2-3 days (about 10 times a year); this means I am constantly on the lookout for the best methods, fasting supplements; hard data and support that I can find.
When you’ve removed water from your body for more than about a 36 hours period, your blood changes consistency; your muscles are looking for hydration and the circulatory system is finding it harder to move oxygen through you blood to important parts of your body. In essence, your central system goes into protection mode and starts protecting core functionality. You can get lightheaded and feel tingly in your extremities.
In the middle of the night or while performing menial physical tasks, cramping becomes a big problem. For me it is almost always in side/core muscles or in the base of my neck, or in calf/hamstring areas. Generally speaking, after two days without water, skin is tight, muscles are sore and movement is slightly restricted.
Over prolonged periods of time during fasting, there is a major change in the amount of hydration your body is working with. Even those who fast with liquids (like juice or water), see a drastic difference in the need for water content, without some of it coming from the foods you are eating.
There are several items that can be used to help retain the moisture in key parts of your body for less cramping. Additionally, some of these supplements offer the benefit of retaining moisture in skin, so you have less discomfort with chapped lips and dry itchy skin.
Here is a list of fantastic supplements for fasting, with a specific emphasis on avoiding cramping while in a prolonged state of fasting. Note: not all these supplements for fasting are necessary during fasting. Often, some people will take some of these and omit others. I have done fasts where I don;t use many supplements, and others where I use all in conjunction with each other.
Vitamin E is a skin helper. It can improve cell function for skin cells and has a few other benefits. Generally speaking it is a good lubricant during times where you are lessening your water intake.
Magnesium helps with muscle cramping, especially (in my experience) when paired with potassium. Don’t overdo the magnesium though, as you can get diarrhea: the enemy to fasting.
The combination of Potassium with Magnesium has always been a good preventative cocktail for muscle cramping. It’s important not to overdo it. Too much potassium can cause stomach issues like vomiting and diarrhea.
The General purpose vitamin. Vitamin C boosts immune system performance and offers a bit of help in protecting cells during a prolonged fast.
Specifically Vitamin D3. D3 can promote the same types of benefits you receive from being out in the sun. During prolonged fasting, the sun is generally not a variable. Most people who fast for prolonged periods of time find it extremely uncomfortable and difficult to be in the sun for prolonged periods of time. Generally speaking, many Americans (this isn’t a knock on Americans only), could use more sun exposure and more D3, within reason of course.
Specifically Vitamin B12, which is usually taken as a sublingual (dissolved under the tongue), helps to improve circulatory system optimization during a prolonged fast. It promotes red blood cell production and improves the flow to extremities.
Omega-3’s can help with a variety of systems in the body, including the heart, brain and joints. But it is for the skin and vascular benefits that I prefer Omega-3’s during prolonged fasts.
Hydraplenish is an interesting supplement that is made up of Hyaluronic Acid, MSM and Biocell Collagen. It is fantastic for skin issues (like eczema and itchiness), but it is very helpful during prolonged fasting, as it tend to lubricate and hydrate skin and subcutaneous areas of the body from inside out. It helps maintain elasticity during prolonged fasting and keeps chapping and itching to a minimum.
This is a simple, low calorie drink powder that improves electrolyte levels during longer-term fasting. It does not provide significant calories, but does add some valuable electrolytes back into your system.
Stretching can decrease cramping significantly. But I would personally recommend that if you are stretching while fasting, that you add a hydration source as well to compliment the stretching routine. Stretching can be painful without some hydration. In fact, on several occasions, I have been in excruciating pain from a hamstring or calf cramp, stretching to obtain partial relief but it would not go away. Within a minute of drinking a pint to a quart of water, the cramp disappeared. This has been the case for at least 10 fasts over the last 15 years. Basic reaching and stretching can work wonders, no need for tools, especially if you’re only doing intermediate-term or shorter fasts.
For those who use fasting as a significant portion of their health and wellbeing program, some tools might be of interest.
Nayoya Accupressure Mat
Medi-Dyne ProStretch Unilateral Stretching System
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Cleansing is a generic term to say the least. But what many people seek in “a cleanse” is to remove toxins and internal matter that might be causing lethargy or other concerns. Fasting is the original low-tech cleansing regimen and naturally has a beneficial effect on removing waste and toxins. But it’s not without a little bit of help that you can expect the best possible results. Especially on intermediate-term fasts (like those between 5-10 days)
In the last decade or so, there has been a Hollywood type fad-diet that consists of some variation of the “Master Cleanse”. Master Cleanse is a 1940’s (and later in the 1970’s; and yet, again, later in the 2000’s) fasting protocol that uses maple syrup, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and water or tea to “cleanse” the body. True, people who eat only that will lose 5-10 pounds over the ten day “fasting period”, but there are other less attractive parts that come along with programs like this.
If you are fasting and are allowing yourself to drink juice and supplements, there are far more effective ways to lose 5-10 pounds over 10 days and you can actually find yourself in much better condition after the fast than with the Stanley Burroughs “Master Cleanse”.
If you are curious, I have had incredible success with the Andreas Moritz Liver and Gallbladder Flush.
These are great supplements for fasting, with an emphasis on improving results in cleansing while on a prolonged fast. Note: not all of these supplements for fasting must be used to achieve a heightened sense of success in your cleanse
Choline seems to promote effective fat utilization while in specific diet plans. It also can help to avoid headaches in my experience.
This is a digestive aid unlike any other I have ever used. It allows you to process heavy, greasy, or otherwise unhealthy foods without gas or bloating. It uses beetroot and several other interesting components and has been a lifesaver in the normal functionality of my digestive system as I go into and out of prolonged fasts.
Normally naturally found in apples, malic acid tends to soften harder deposits inside the body allowing them to pass more easily through the GI tract and improves bowel movements.
I use Amazing Grass ORAC 40,000 green supplement as listed below, but I have also used chlorella and spirulina and wheatgrass in the past, separately and together.
Some antibiotic properties and some heart health and digestive system benefits. It is bitter but not difficult to take. There are tons of antioxidants inside of Olive Leaf Extract.
A ton of nutrients and vitamins in this powder that help to keep your body going throughout periods of intense fasting. Low caloric values, so this powder doesn’t interfere with your fast.
Dry Brushing is a way to remove dead skin cells and encourage new skin. I used to think it was a fad until I actually did it. It does in fact make you feel less itchy, more comfortable and it does improve skin appearance. Specifically though, I like that it seems to improve skin surface bloodflow and elasticity during prolonged fasting. I use cheap longlasting brushes that really do the job. They are natural bristle brushes that are ridiculously cheap and last a very long time.
Fantasea Natural Bristle Body Brush 3.5 Ounce
These brushes last forever and are incredibly cheap. They are slightly aggressive, but not uncomfortably so. Only the most sensitive skin will be unable to use these brushes if used properly.
Dudu Osun Black Soap
Dudu Osun Soap is the best body soap I have ever used. It includes natural exfoliants and has improved skin conditions for many people who I have recommended it to.
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Some other supplements I take fairly regularly include:
Note: some of these due to caloric content, or very specific purposes might not be appropriate supplements for fasting.
Oregano Oil is a powerful natural antibiotic and immune system builder.
I use wheatgrass for the immune system properties and the feeling I get when I take it. I feel like there is a difference in many small things, like digestion, blood flow, etc. I can’t prove this, but I do like the perceived benefits. On very long fasts, I use wheatgrass daily after the initial 3-5 days.
(as a supplement for fiber intake, not as a cleanse specifically, though I have had excellent results with the Colonix System)
A fiber supplement that has built a cult following for its effectiveness in cleaning stagnant matter in the colon.
Coconut Oil is a great caloric substitute. It has good MCT values and it provides an excellent fuel for your body. It also seems to help regulate a few different things in the body, including appetite and moisture retention in skin. Again, I cannot prove it, but it does SEEM to be the case from my personal experience.
I use Flax for several reasons, including good fats, digestive health and to improve bowel movements.
I use Aloe Vera juice as a drink for digestive reasons and joint health. I have seen improvements in both when using this product.
Helps to maintain the skin elasticity and prevent chapping and cracking during periods of extended fasting and lack of normal hydration.
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Supplements for fasting might seem counterproductive at first, but as you prolong your fasting programs over time, supplements become helpful to be able to stay in the fast for longer periods of time. Additionally, Fasting supplements can improve the recovery phase of a prolonged fast and improve overall body functionality in the long term. When fasting, you can, I think because of the lack of outside variables (like food) determine more easily a specific supplement’s effect on your body. That improved focus and insight can help you to determine the best supplements for long-term utilization.
Bottom line: if you are fasting, for whatever reason, especially if you use Intermittent Fasting (IF), you should consider using high end supplements to help you achieve a better overall result through the fine-tuning of your body and its functionality.