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Does Salt Break a Fast? Benefits of Sodium While Fasting

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 02/06/2024

Most foods and beverages are off-limits during a fast, but what about taking certain trace minerals and electrolytes like sodium chloride? Does salt break a fast? 

No, taking salt won’t break a fast, and replenishing electrolytes, such as sodium, magnesium, and potassium, during your fasting period can have an important impact on your body and mind. 

Let's look at the benefits of salt for intermittent fasting and discover the importance of electrolyte balance for your overall health.

sea salt in a wooden spoon

Does salt break a fast?

Does salt break a fast? No, consuming salt doesn’t break a fast and can help maintain fluid balance and muscle function.

However, research published in Toxics suggests that the type of salt used shouldn’t be overlooked.

There is a long list of salt variations to choose from, such as Baja gold sea salt, Celtic sea salt, Himalayan salt, iodized table salt, and kosher salt, and some options are more mineral-rich than others. 

Table salt or common salt, for example, is often heavily processed and stripped of many trace minerals. 

Salts that are less refined, such as Baja gold sea salt or pink Himalayan sea salt, contain higher concentrations of trace minerals and are generally better options for maintaining optimal hydration and electrolyte balance in the body.

healthy fats fasting clock

Benefits of sodium while fasting

Sodium plays a pivotal role in several vital bodily functions, and maintaining adequate sodium balance is especially important during fasting.

During periods of caloric restriction, the body depletes glycogen, a stored form of glucose that’s bound to water. This can result in fluid loss and mineral depletion, and replenishing electrolytes while fasting is crucial to maintaining normal cellular functions and energy production.   

Supplementing salt and other electrolyte minerals can help combat many of the negative effects that can be associated with prolonged or intermittent fasting, such as muscle cramps, weakness, nausea, and fatigue.

Of course, proceed with caution, as too much sodium can cause health issues, including high blood pressure, fluid retention and bloating, cognitive impairment, and, in extreme cases, even heart disease. 

Watch the video below to learn why water can make you weak when fasting. 

Symptoms of low sodium while fasting

Fasting stimulates the use of stored body fat as an energy source, making it an effective tool for maintaining a healthy body weight and supporting weight loss.

To trigger and maintain ketosis during your fasting window, it's crucial to avoid calories. As a result, it’s not uncommon for people to increase their water intake while fasting.

While it’s important to stay hydrated during a fast, increasing water intake without replenishing essential electrolytes can result in low sodium, potassium, and magnesium levels. 

Low sodium levels, medically known as hyponatremia, can cause salt-deficiency symptoms that include headaches, fatigue, muscle cramps, weakness, and fainting.

A study published in the Journal of Metabolic Health revealed that low-salt diets can lead to a negative sodium balance associated with adverse effects on insulin levels. 

In severe cases, more dangerous symptoms can develop, such as kidney disease, neurological issues, coma, stroke, congestive heart failure, and even death. 

searching what is hyponatremia

How much sodium do you need?

Whether you opt for Baja gold sea salt, Celtic sea salt, or pink Himalayan salt, a daily sodium intake of about 4 to 5 grams, which is around 1.5 to 2 teaspoons of salt, is recommended to promote optimal bodily function.

While sodium is essential during fasting, moderation is key. 

A recently published study by the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association emphasizes the need for proper sodium balance, revealing that high salt intake can exacerbate cognitive impairment and increase dementia risk in older adults. 

When supplementing salt while fasting, consider the natural salt content in the foods you are eating before and after your fast, as there may be more salt than you think.

For example, foods like bacon, cheese, and certain nuts typically contain considerable amounts of salt. A typical slice of bacon might have around 190 milligrams of sodium, and a single serving of cheese could contain between 200 and 450 milligrams, depending on the type. 

Heavily processed foods can be especially high in sodium and can trigger an extreme insulin response, which is linked to weight gain, and it's best to avoid processed foods altogether, especially if your health goals include weight loss. 

To make sure you’re getting enough sodium while fasting, it’s important to take energy expenditure into account to prevent low sodium levels, as athletes who train in a fasted state are at higher risk of sodium depletion.  

The American College of Sports Medicine published a report that recommends increasing sodium intake to between 300 and 600 milligrams per hour during prolonged exercise. 

If you have a pre-existing medical condition, it’s recommended to consult a healthcare provider or nutritionist for individual guidance, as sodium requirements vary widely. 

Himalayan salt

Sources of sodium while fasting

Ensuring adequate salt intake during intermittent fasting is crucial. Fortunately, there are some great ways to maintain sodium balance without breaking your fast.

Here are three sources of sodium that don’t break a fast.

1. Electrolytes

A sugar-free electrolyte powder or electrolyte capsules are a convenient source of sodium and other critical electrolytes while fasting.

When choosing an electrolyte powder, check the nutrition label to ensure it’s low in calories and free of sugars and other ingredients that could break your fast. 

Another important consideration when replenishing electrolytes while fasting is maintaining an ideal sodium-to-potassium ratio, which helps promote optimal hydration and muscle function.

Research published in Public Health highlights that individuals with a high sodium-to-potassium intake ratio face an increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.  

A good rule of thumb is to aim for around 40 milligrams of sodium in combination with 1,000 milligrams of potassium. 

These two essential minerals work symbiotically and help prevent symptoms of electrolyte imbalances such as weakness and headaches.

mineral water with lemon

2. Mineral water

It’s important to note that certain types of water, such as deionized, distilled, and reverse osmosis water, have a very low mineral content due to purification and filtration processes. 

Drinking these types of beverages without mineral supplementation can actually exacerbate the depletion of essential electrolytes in your body.

If you don’t have an electrolyte supplement, choose water sources with higher mineral content, like mineral or spring water, to better support your electrolyte balance. 

3. Salt supplementation

An easy way to give yourself a quick boost of sodium is by adding your favorite salt to water or another fasting-friendly beverage like bulletproof coffee

Remember, the daily recommended amount of sodium is the equivalent of about two teaspoons of salt, so you don't need much. Just a small pinch of ground salt in a glass of water or coffee at a time will be enough to promote healthy sodium levels. 

Don't worry about getting your daily amount all at once. Aim to gradually meet the remainder of your daily sodium requirement through the foods you enjoy once you break your fast.    

Seasoning Steak Sea Salt Grinder

Key takeaways

Does salt break a fast? No, salt doesn’t break a fast, and in fact, it’s an essential nutrient that plays an important role in several vital bodily functions. 

Drinking excess water during fasting without replenishing electrolytes can cause symptoms of mineral deficiencies such as muscle cramps, weakness, or headaches. 

It’s recommended to take between 1.5 and 2 teaspoons of salt daily to maintain optimal bodily function. Electrolyte powders and unrefined salts such as sea salts are higher in trace minerals and, therefore, a great option to maintain healthy sodium levels. 


1. Does salt break a fast

No, consuming salt doesn’t break a fast. It's actually beneficial as it helps maintain electrolyte balance without interrupting the fasting state. 

2. Can I have salt during intermittent fasting?

Yes, you can have salt during intermittent fasting. Salt contains sodium, which helps replenish essential electrolytes and can prevent symptoms of sodium deficiency, such as weakness, poor muscle function, and headaches.

3. What is the best type of salt to have while fasting?

Less refined options like sea salt or Himalayan pink salt are ideal options to increase salt intake due to their higher content of trace minerals than table salt.

4. Table salt vs. sea salt: which is better while fasting?

Sea salt is generally better while fasting than table salt as it contains more trace minerals and is less processed than table salt.

5. How much sea salt should I have while fasting?

The recommended daily sodium intake ranges between 4 and 5 grams, which is around 1.5 to 2 teaspoons of sea salt. However, it’s best to consume your daily salt requirements gradually throughout the day and avoid taking too much salt while fasting to minimize side effects such as nausea and excessive thirst. 

An ideal amount of salt to consume while fasting ranges between 40 and 500 milligrams, depending on your energy expenditure, fasting duration, and how much salt you have consumed before your fasting window.

5. What are the benefits of sodium while fasting?

Sodium helps regulate blood pressure and nerve function and can help prevent side effects of electrolyte imbalances that are common during intermittent fasting, such as muscle cramps, weakness, and fatigue.


  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37624210/  

  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1525861022007824 

  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8955583/ 

  4. https://journalofmetabolichealth.org/index.php/jmh/article/view/78/242

  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37072769/ 

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