New to fasting?
Although fasting is one of the simplest things in the world to do, there are a few basic things you should know.
And electrolytes is one of those things.
Even if you’re not new to fasting, everyone can use a little refresher sometimes.
Let’s dig in!
What are electrolytes?
Electrolytes are essential minerals that support many bodily functions.
Note that word “essential” … they are not optional.
Electrolytes are necessary for human health. You have to have them.
For fasting, we’re mainly referring to sodium, magnesium, and potassium.
Be sure you take the quiz on our dosage calculator to figure out how much you’ll need to take.
Sodium (AKA, salt) helps the body regulate a proper balance of fluids and minerals.
We have all heard the warnings about salt, but salt is not the bad guy.
Symptoms of low sodium include:
- Dizziness or brain fog
Magnesium maintains normal nerve and muscle function (including the heart muscle), and supports your immune system.
Magnesium also supports healthy blood sugar levels and a healthy blood pressure.
And magnesium helps you get a good night’s sleep!
Symptoms of low magnesium include:
- Muscle cramps or weakness
- Irregular heart beat
Potassium plays a major role in heart contractions, and other muscle contractions, as well.
Potassium also supports healthy blood sugar levels and a healthy blood pressure.
Symptoms of low potassium:
- Rapid heartbeat or palpitations
- Muscle cramps
- High blood pressure
- Numbness or tingling
As you can see, electrolytes are super important.
It’s no coincidence that many of the symptoms listed above are complaints we often hear from those who are fasting, especially the newbies.
I have a headache … I’m nauseous … my heart is racing … my legs are cramping …
Get those electrolytes in, people!
Why do I need to supplement electrolytes when fasting? Doesn’t my body store them?
When you lose fat, you lose a lot of water.
Especially in the beginning of your fasting journey.
Most people have a lot of inflammation and water weight is usually the first to go.
When you lose that water, you lose a lot of electrolytes with it.
Plus, many people don’t get enough electrolytes in their diet anyway.
You might already be a little deficient in electrolytes when you come to fasting.
Do I need electrolytes if I’m only doing Intermittent Fasting?
We still suggest at least some electrolytes, even if you have a daily eating window.
Again, you’re losing a lot of water, and with it electrolytes.
It’s really easy to get low on them, even if you’re still eating every day or every few days.
Try our dosage calculator to check whether you need to supplement.
When should I start taking my electrolytes?
Most people should start taking them on day one of the fast.
It’s better to get ahead of it than to wait until symptoms start showing up.
But I fasted X amount of days without electrolytes and I was fine!
Yeah, we’ve heard this one before.
But just because you did it, doesn’t mean it was good for you.
And it doesn’t mean it won’t catch up to you if you continue to do it.
How much electrolytes do I need a day?
The general guidelines if you’re fasting or following a Keto/Low Carb diet are as follows:
- Sodium – 4,000 to 7,000 mgs a day
- Magnesium – 400 to 600 mgs a day
- Potassium – 1,000 to 4,700 mgs a day
As you can see, there’s quite a range there. Everyone is different.
A lot of it depends on what kind of fasting you’re doing and how active you are.
This is why we created our dosage quiz, to help you determine how much you need, when to start them, and how to increase or decrease.
You should not feel unwell when fasting.
If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned here, and your electrolytes are on point, you should stop your fast and check in with your doctor.
Also, if you have any medical conditions or are on any medications, you should consult with your doctor before you supplement electrolytes.
Why do things the hard way?
Electrolytes are vital. Don’t fast without them!
Author: Roo Black
Roo is a fasting coach with over 5 years of experience. She leads the admin team of the Official Fasting for Weight Loss Facebook group – one of the largest fasting communities on social media with over 125,000 members. We highly recommend this group for anyone who is looking for fasting advice or coaching.