Does Celtic Salt Break a Fast?

Written by: Pard Bharaj



Time to read 6 min

Image of Pard, the Author

Author: Pard Bharaj

I am a dedicated researcher with nearly a decade of experience in investigating health best practices. 

"There is one particular thing that one can ingest that can help manage psychologically and performance-wise through the fasting portion of the intermittent fasting, and get you to your feeding window, and that's salt, because neurons use salt - sodium, potassium, and magnesium, the so-called electrolytes, in order to perform their magic of chemical and electrical signalling"

Andrew Huberman


Fasting is practised worldwide for health, religious, or ethical reasons. During fasting, people often seek ways to enhance the experience or minimise discomfort without breaking the fast.

I regularly practise intermittent fasting, ranging from 16 to 20 hours without eating. One thing I always do in the morning upon waking up is take half a teaspoon of unrefined salt dissolved in water. I've found it greatly helps offset low blood sugar, improves mental clarity, and boosts my energy levels.

I normally use Celtic salt—a mineral-rich, unrefined sea salt known for its flavour and health benefits. This leads to a question for those observing a fast: Does Celtic salt break a fast? This article explores the impact of Celtic salt on fasting, providing a clear and informative answer for those looking to incorporate it into their fasting regimen.

What is Celtic Salt?

Celtic salt, also known as Sel Gris or "grey salt," is harvested using traditional Celtic methods in the Brittany region of France. This salt is hand-raked and dried, preserving its natural moisture and retaining many important minerals like magnesium, calcium, potassium, and traces of other beneficial elements. The distinctive grey colour of Celtic salt comes from these minerals.

Its coarse, moist texture and briny flavour make it a favoured choice in cooking. Beyond cooking, Celtic salt is often talked about for its health benefits, which include promoting electrolyte balance and aiding hydration—attributes particularly significant when discussing fasting.

Does Celtic Salt Break a Fast?

Celtic salt, like other pure salts, has no calories, carbohydrates, proteins, or fats. It does not provide any energy that would typically be needed to break a fast metabolically. As it does not contain sugar or any calories, Celtic salt does not stimulate an insulin response in the body. This is crucial during fasting, as one of the primary benefits of fasting is reducing insulin levels and increasing insulin sensitivity.

Moreover, Celtic salt does not impact autophagy—the process by which cells recycle their components, a key benefit of prolonged fasting. Instead, the minerals in Celtic salt can actually support the body’s hydration status during a fast. Maintaining electrolyte balance with additions like Celtic salt can be beneficial, especially in longer fasting periods or in therapeutic fasting, where nutrient intake must be meticulously managed to avoid deficiencies.

In summary, using Celtic salt does not break a fast and can be beneficial for maintaining essential mineral and hydration levels without disrupting the fasting state.

"Everything you do depends on chemical and electrical signalling, and all that requires electrolytes. Neurons run on the passage of ions like sodium. Many people find that the kind of light-headedness and shakiness that's accustomed with having slightly low blood sugar can be offset by taking a half teaspoon of sea salt or even a tiny pinch of salt, and putting it into some water, and drinking it"

Andrew Huberman

Guidelines for Using Celtic Salt in Fasting:

Incorporating Celtic salt into a fasting regimen can be done strategically to enhance the benefits of fasting without breaking it. Here are some practical tips and recommended quantities:

  1. Electrolyte Balance: Add a small pinch of Celtic salt to your water throughout the day. This not only improves the taste but also helps replenish electrolytes lost during fasting. The trace minerals in Celtic salt can aid in maintaining proper hydration levels.

  2. Morning Routine: Consider starting your day with a glass of warm water mixed with quarter to half a teaspoon of Celtic salt. This can help stabilise your morning hydration levels and provide a gentle boost to your body's mineral reserves.

  3. Quantities: The amount of Celtic salt used should be minimal. Typically, around 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon (2 to 3 grams, but 4 - 6 grams per day is suggested based your diet, lifestyle and health condition) is sufficient to aid in electrolyte balance without affecting the fasting state. This is especially important in longer fasts (over 24 hours), where electrolyte imbalances can become more pronounced.

  4. Use in Cooking: If your fasting protocol allows for a small eating window, such as in intermittent fasting, using Celtic salt in meal preparation can help ensure that you are ingesting quality minerals in your food, enhancing both flavour and nutrient intake.

"If your tears weren’t salty, if your blood wasn’t salty, if your sweat wasn’t salty…. you wouldn’t be functioning very well"

Dr. Jacques de Langre

Potential Side Effects and Considerations:

While unrefined salts like Himalayan pink salt or Celtic sea salt are praised for their mineral content and potential health benefits, it's crucial to use them wisely and be aware of possible precautions and side effects:

  1. Sodium Intake: Unrefined salts still contain sodium, an essential nutrient but one that can be harmful in excess. High sodium intake is linked to increased blood pressure and a higher risk of heart disease and stroke. It's important to consume unrefined salts in moderation.
  2. Risk of Contamination: Like any natural product, unrefined salts can be subject to contamination depending on their source and how they are harvested. It's advisable to choose salts from reputable sources to minimise the risk of ingesting harmful substances.

  3. Iodine Deficiency: Unlike table salt, unrefined salts are typically not iodized. Iodine is an essential nutrient, and its deficiency can lead to thyroid problems. If you're using unrefined salt exclusively, ensure you're getting enough iodine from other dietary sources.

  4. Kidney Function: Individuals with kidney disease or reduced kidney function should be cautious with their salt intake, including unrefined salts, as their bodies may not efficiently remove excess sodium.

  5. Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Pregnant and breastfeeding women should be cautious with their salt intake and consult with a healthcare provider to ensure their dietary choices support their health and the health of their baby.

  6. Interaction with Medications: High sodium intake can interfere with certain medications, including blood pressure medications, diuretics, and others. It's important to consult with a healthcare professional if you're on medication and considering changing your salt intake.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What are the benefits of using Celtic salt during fasting?

Celtic salt helps maintain electrolyte balance and hydration, which are essential during fasting to prevent dehydration and maintain energy levels.

How should I use Celtic salt while fasting?

Add a pinch to your water throughout the day or start your morning with warm water mixed with a quarter to half a teaspoon of Celtic salt to support hydration.

Is Celtic salt better than regular table salt for fasting?

Yes, Celtic salt is less processed and contains more minerals, making it a healthier choice compared to regular table salt during fasting.

Does Celtic salt contain calories?

No, Celtic salt contains no calories.

References and Further Reading:

1. Electrolytes

"Diet and Health: Implications for Reducing Chronic Disease Risk" by the National Academies Press. This resource examines the essential roles of electrolytes like sodium and potassium in health, detailing their importance in fluid balance, nerve function, and muscle activity.

2. Fluid balance concepts in medicine: Principles and practice

"Fluid balance concepts in medicine: Principles and practice" by Maria-Eleni Roumelioti et al., in World Journal of Nephrology, 2018. This study delves into the critical aspects of body fluid balance, highlighting the regulation of sodium salt balance, extracellular volume, and the complexities of fluid management in severe illnesses.

3. Natural sea salt consumption confers protection against hypertension and kidney damage in Dahl salt-sensitive rats

"Natural sea salt consumption confers protection against hypertension and kidney damage in Dahl salt-sensitive rats" by Food & Nutrition Research, 2017. This study investigates the health effects of natural sea salt compared to refined salt in an animal model of hypertension. It found that natural sea salt induced less hypertension and had a less detrimental impact on kidney morphology compared to refined salt, suggesting potential health benefits of natural sea salt over refined salt.

4. Studies on the natriuresis of fasting: I. Effect of prefast intake

During fasting, sodium excretion initially spikes due to the cessation of salt intake and then follows a predictable pattern of loss, influenced by both external and internal cellular processes.

5. Fasting—A review with emphasis on the electrolytes

Fasting leads to rapid initial weight loss primarily from water, not calories, involves complex shifts in body composition, and causes significant changes in potassium and sodium excretion, with these effects potentially moderated by protein breakdown and other unknown factors; intriguingly, carbohydrate intake can abruptly reverse sodium loss.

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