Fasting and Supplements

from Ben


If one was to engage in an extended water fasting of longer than 3 days (maybe a week or 2) what effects would there be if:

1. You supplemented with a multi-vitamin tablet each day?
2. You supplemented with BCAA (Branch Chain Amino Acids) 3 times a day?

The BCAA I am thinking will help avoid muscle loss and yet I know very little about Physiology and so would welcome your opinion on whether this will adversely affect the benefits of fasting for weight loss.

Thank you for the effort you have made in providing this website.

Take care


Response from AllAboutFasting:

Hi Ben!

Overall, it's not recommended that you take suppplements during a fast, and especially not during a water fast, where a complete rest for the digestive processes is desired. Taking a supplement would then require the production of certain enzymes to digest it. And most multi-vitamins have various fillers, and sometimes even the vitamins in them are indigestible and/or not assimilable by the body, creating a burden on the body to dispense of these materials.

This would apply to the branched chain amino acids also. Taking them in pill form, you'd want to know if the branched chain amino acids are naturally-derived or laboratory-derived. Are they assimilable by the body? Are there fillers or other additives?

To my way of thinking, it is always better to get our necessary nutrients from food sources rather than from manufactured pills. Meat, eggs, and milk are all good sources for these amino acids. While I wouldn't recommend the meat during any fast, eggs or milk could be used (pasture-raised, antibiotic-free eggs and raw milk). It would no longer technically be a water fast, but a water and milk fast or a water and egg fast.

My understanding is that athletes like to take the amino acids both right before a training session and right after, for the added protein/muscle synthesis, or in your particular case, to avoid muscle loss from fasting. So you could do your modified water fast by staying on just water until right before training, when you would have, say, a glass of raw milk. And then AFTER the training session, you would have another glass of raw milk, then just water until the next day's training.

These are just my thoughts and I'm no expert on fasting for athletes. There are some websites devoted to such though, run by professional trainers. You can search for "weightlifting and fasting" or "body building and fasting" for those websites.

If weight loss is your goal, I'd say a little supplementation of egg or milk to the water fast wouldn't severely affect your results. But, then, I have to add, losing weight by fasting or by any other means can be tricky because of our emotional and mental patterns. One can never be dependent on losing weight by fasting. See Using Fasting for Weight Loss and Fasting to Lose Weight for more information on this.

Also, I wouldn't jump right into a longer fast of this nature. I would suggest you take it slow and with an attitude of experimentation. Just try it for a day and see how you feel, look for your particular body's reactions, keep a journal perhaps to note the changes you feel.

Good luck on your journey!



Glasses of water

Return to top
Return to Fasting Experiences from Readers


Related Pages

How long should you fast? Discover what length of time is best for you and how much preparation is required.

Intermittent Fasting offers several unique methods for integrating regular fasting into your life.

Health Conditions Improved by Fasting. See the long list of ailments that are known to respond well to fasting.

Cleansing Diets offers guidance on using a cleansing diet as a partial fast or as a means of preparation for other types of fasting.

The real benefits of Fasting for Weight Loss, affecting deep and lasting changes in our lives.

Emotional Benefits of Fasting offers insight on the healing effects fasting has on our emotional and mental patterns.

Water Fasting Tips offers guidance and support useful during any type of fast. Helpful in "getting over the hump".

Understanding What Fasting Is and Is Not will dispel any doubts about fasting being akin to starvation.

Bookmark and Share

Recent Posts

  1. On Breaking a Fast Well - Reader Experiences | AllAboutFasting

    Nita shares her experience of breaking a fast improperly. Eating too much, too soon, has its consequences. Experience being the best teacher, she now knows to really slow down when ending a fast.

    Read More

  2. TEDx Talk on the Benefits of Fasting

    Neuroscientist, Mark Mattson, speaks out about his research findings in a TedX talk available on YouTube. He is the current Chief of the Laboratory of Neurosciences at the National Institute on Aging…

    Read More

  3. Ben Marcus' Article on Water Fasting

    If you want a front seat view of Ben Marcus' 6-day water fast, he wrote a wonderful and hilarious article about it for GQ Magazine online. I just found this pearl and want to share it with everyone. I…

    Read More