What are the best electrolytes to have while using an Intermittent Fast? Do electrolytes break a fast? Are electrolytes even necessary? Today, we're diving into the details of everything electrolytes and Intermittent Fasting!
Can You Have Electrolytes While Fasting?
Pure electrolytes do not contain any protein or carbohydrates that will cause a spike in insulin and break a fast. Therefore, electrolytes will not break a fast. In fact, with Intermittent Fasting it's crucial to be taking in extra electrolytes due to the reduced insulin levels typical of fasting.(1) Lower levels of insulin can signal to the body to release water and electrolytes. This means you're more likely to lose both water and electrolytes while fasting. Replacing these electrolytes is crucial for nerve, muscle and cellular function within the body. Common signs of an electrolyte imbalance include muscle twitches, headaches and fatigue (scroll down to the video below for more of the deets).(2)
Even if you're drinking a lot of water during your fasted state, you still will likely need to supplement with electrolytes. Water that doesn't have electrolytes added back in can further dilute (aka reduce) blood levels of electrolytes, furthering the imbalance. In more extreme cases, this can result in a condition called hyponatremia. For this reason, not only is it possible to take electrolytes while Intermittent Fasting, it's crucial. This is why AENpeeps using the Complete Intermittent Fasting Bundle protocols utilize Celtic Sea Salt and water during the fasted state to help balance electrolyte levels.
What Are The Best Electrolytes For Fasting?
Shorter Intermittent Fasts (12-16 hours/day) will not deplete electrolyte stores the way longer fasts (longer than 24 hours) can.(3) However, the lower insulin levels that typically result from Intermittent Fasting paired with any electrolytes lost while sweating during a workout in the fasted state can result in a loss in sodium. One of my personal favorite (and cost effective) methods of replacing lost sodium is by using a high quality Celtic Sea Salt like THIS one. The amount needed to supplement will depend on the individuals needs and how much they sweat. However, I personally opt for around 1/8 tsp. Celtic Sea Salt (roughly a heavy pinch) taken with 8-12 oz. of water first thing in the morning during the fasted state. If I am performing a strenuous workout or if I wakeup with a headache, I may increase this to 1/4 tsp or more.
Other notable electrolytes include magnesium and potassium. Both can be received through food, however if you're an athlete or you sweat a fair amount, you may want to consider supplementing with these electrolytes as well. Some supplements can interact with certain medications or conditions, so it's important to check with your doctor first to make sure any dietary changes you make fit your health history and needs.