Digestion & Food

My digestive system was badly damaged by accutane. While on it as a teenager, I lost control of my bowels (once while at the mall with friends) and experienced excruciating pain in my intestines. The damage to my digestive system led to being physically tired and an over-reliance on refined sugar as a source of fuel. The tiredness developed into a terrifying level of exhaustion later in life.

I. Stomach Acidity

In the last few years (not yet knowing that accutane was the root cause of my problems), I had been taking apple cider vinegar “just in case” I might have low stomach acidity. I took it here and there, not fully understanding how low my stomach acidity actually was. However, I really began to benefit when I started significantly increasing my stomach acidity. Here’s what I take now, religiously, before each meal:

  • Betain HCL: 500 mg
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: at least 300 mg
  • Pancreatin

Currently, I’m using this product which combines the Betain HCL and Apple Cider Vinegar into one tablet. You can buy them separately though.

And when I’m eating a particularly fatty meal, I’ll take 500mg of Ox Bile right after the meal.

Taking these supplements has improved my digestion and resulted in a noticeable increase in physical energy. So that has been part of the solution to feeling better.

II. Foods to Potentially Avoid

Food sensitivity is unique to each individual. As such, you’ll have to be your own health detective in determining which foods may be problematic to your health. Here are some topics worth looking at:

Refined Sugar & Carbohydrates

I’ll say more about this in the section on Keto. Simply put however, refined sugar can cause anxiety and severe mode swings. It’s basically poison as far as I’m concerned. I just feel 100% better when I don’t consume it. High fructose corn syrup is something to avoid.

Gluten

This may not be necessary for everyone, but if you are searching out things that might make you feel miserable, it may be worth a try to remove gluten from your diet. I noticed a big improvement in emotional well being when I did.

Oxalates

I’m currently working to understand oxalates more thoroughly and will update this article soon. I do notice that when I eat almond butter or curly leaf kale, I can experience problems such as joint pain and crankiness.

Dairy

I have found that dairy causes me problems. However, I do eat keto pizzas with cheddar cheese with no problem. Because of the way cheddar cheese is made, it does not have lactose (milk sugars).

III. Is Keto for You?

On my long journey of trying to find out what was wrong with me, I came across Dr. Eric Berg’s Healthy Keto way of eating. I call it a way of eating and not a diet because it represents a fundamental shift in how you approach food and is not necessarily something you would do just to lose weight. (I did lose 40lbs in two months though.)

The benefit of eating keto is that it allows the body to burn fat as the primary fuel source instead of sugar. This transition alone can provide significant relief from accutane symptoms. However, in my case, a keto diet was not the full solution for accutane recovery. I recommend that you consider giving it a try though as part of accutane recovery, because there are considerable physical, emotional, and mental health benefits involved. Dr. Berg has thousands of videos on YouTube and if you want to take a look at what’s involved with keto, here’s a playlist of his material on how to start.

Transitioning to keto is a process. Perhaps because of accutane, I’ve found there are some subtleties not addressed by Dr. Berg and I’m putting together a keto course to help address these. Feel free to reach out to me if you’d like help with transitioning to keto. I’ve been doing it for going on three years now and am comfortable and happy with where I am. I’m able to maintain this way of eating without any sense of deprivation or discomfort.

What’s Your Experience?

If anything on this page helps you, or if it doesn’t, please be sure to come back and leave a comment. Your experience is important and may end up being a critical part of someone else’s accutane recovery.  If you’d like to contact me, you can contact me here.

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Continue to Part II: Relaxation & Sleep