Taking medication when doing intermittent fasting is a very debated topic. Most medications don’t cause an insulin response, so they won’t break your fast. At the same time, they can change your appetite or cause irritation to your stomach lining when taken on an empty stomach. Others have clear requirements about being taken with or without food and not following them can lead to reduced medication effects.
ADHD medications are not something you can easily skip or postpone. And if you’re doing intermittent fasting for its health benefits, you might be in it for the long haul, so you need to see how you can fit your meds in your new lifestyle. Does Adderall break intermittent fasting?
The general answer is no, Adderall in and of itself will not break your fast, because it doesn’t raise your blood sugar. However, some studies suggest amphetamines cause an insulin response in some people. Evidence is weak and most research suggests Adderall is safe in this regard.
So let’s take a closer look at how Adderall may impact your intermittent fasting diet, and vice-versa.
Does Adderall break intermittent fasting?
Adderall is a medication prescribed to treat ADHD – attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and it contains amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. It contains no carbs, protein, or fat, so technically it doesn’t break intermittent fasting. Like most medication though, Adderall has an impact on your body, your liver, and your digestive system, so the real answer is a bit more complicated.
For a while, it was believed Adderall was not blood sugar friendly. This was based on the fact that amphetamines can cause an insulin response and since they are one of the main ingredients in Adderall, people felt it could break a fast or even take you out of ketosis.
Other studies suggest that while Adderall does impact insulin sensitivity, it does not also impact blood sugar. On the contrary, it seems long-term Adderall use could lower insulin resistance, a condition in which your body creates an excess of insulin, and which can lead to type 2 diabetes. The study is positive for those who want to use it while fasting, as it confirms this medication doesn’t impact blood sugar levels.
Effects of taking Adderall on intermittent fasting
The effects will vary from person to person, but there are a few things you should look out for. Many people report taking Adderall on an empty stomach and not eating immediately after has increased the occurrence of side effects such as heart palpitations, nervousness, or nausea.
Others, however, found it made fasting easier. That’s because it reduced their appetite, so they were less inclined to binge-eat once the eating window began. A known effect of Adderall is the weight loss brought on by the loss of appetite. Remember this is a side effect, so even if you’re fasting to lose weight, if you find you have no appetite at all during the day, you should talk to a doctor.
Looking back at the previous study, we can say there may be benefits to taking Adderall while fasting, especially for people with insulin resistance. The study specifically underlines the importance of a healthy thyroid, which is why healthy people may find their insulin sensitivity is drastically reduced. Intermittent fasting in itself is a great diet for those suffering from this condition or even from type 2 diabetes. Add to that a medication that can improve the way your body processes insulin, and you’re in for a win.
Intermittent fasting may also be helpful for those who are taking Adderall. That’s because a known issue with this medication is that it can elevate liver enzymes. While intermittent fasting doesn’t directly help with that, it may help your liver detox faster. The diet could also help you become more aware of your overall food choices, something that is helpful for liver health.
Risks of taking Adderall while fasting
Because it can interfere with sleep, Adderall should be taken in the morning. And this is where things may get complicated for those on an intermittent fasting diet. Potential Adderall side effects include constipation, stomach pain, and other digestive issues. Taking it on an empty stomach could irritate the stomach lining and exacerbate some of these side effects.
Because you’re not taking it with any food, the other effects might be stronger, so look out for any weird symptoms, such as agitation, dizziness, dry mouth, and more.
If you find you get a lot of side effects from taking Adderall while fasting, you can try adjusting your fasting and eating window respectively. For instance, if you’re doing the 16/8 method by skipping breakfast and eating between 12 and 8 pm., you can change your mealtimes. Say you’re taking your Adderall at 8 a.m. Start eating soon after you take your medication, eat for 8 hours, then stop and fast for the remaining 16.
It may take some time to adjust to the new eating schedule, especially if you were already doing intermittent fasting for a while. But it is a good compromise, that allows you to take the necessary medication and still fast.
The bottom line
So, does Adderall break intermittent fasting? It is safe to say it doesn’t. The medication has no carbs, protein, or fats, so the fast isn’t broken traditionally. However, that doesn’t mean using Adderall while fasting doesn’t have any risks. It is a medication that needs to be taken early in the morning, as it can disrupt sleep otherwise. As a result, if you’re on a classical intermittent fasting diet, you’re taking it on an empty stomach and abstaining from food for a few more hours after.
This can lead to various side effects, including digestive issues, nausea, dizziness, and more. To avoid these issues you can try to eat in the morning and skip dinner instead. You’re still fasting, just doing it at different hours. Most people seem to tolerate Adderall well even when doing intermittent fasting. There are also several benefits you may find, including better appetite management and insulin response. However, if you find you have side effects even after changing your fasting and eating hours, you may need to talk to a doctor about your Adderall dose and your diet.
To find out more about taking medications while fasting, read this post: Can You Take Medicine While Intermittent Fasting?