Dealing with depression after encephalitis. After many years of trials, this is my current depression regimen, just wanted to share.

Hello everyone, I just wanted to share my current depression regimen and some situation info, in case anyone has similar health issues. I have experienced many hospitalizations since 2015, including involuntary psychiatric hospitalizations. Finally in 2017 I was diagnosed with autoimmune encephalitis (brain inflammation), as well as autoimmune thyroiditis. I was treated with intravenous corticosteroids and that led to some improvement. I continue to experience health issues, but I have made several life style changes that have helped me and that I wanted to share. Again, I was diagnosed with autoimmune disease, and my neuropsychiatrist believes that the encephalitis greatly contributed to my depression. Clearly it’s not the case for everyone, so I am not stating that this should work for all. I have been doing better since these changes, I was able to complete a graduate degree, get back to painting, and started writing and playing guitar again. These were huge improvements for me as I was not able to enjoy any hobbies when I had severe depression and was not able to pursue graduate courses.

  1. I cut out all refined carbs and processed foods. There is sufficient evidence indicating that these foods contribute to inflammation. I am not doing keto or low carb, I am not trying to be very strict with myself, I enjoy all sorts of complex carbs such as baked plantains, potatoes, oatmeal, fruits, berries, etc.
  2. Switched to low glycemic foods – this related to #1, as cutting out refined simple carbs in general does leave one with complex carbs that have lower glycemic index.
  3. Foods that cause an immune reaction – this clearly does not occur for most people, but some do react to certain foods. I noticed that I feel physically and emotionally worse after eating gluten, dairy, or soy, so I had to drop these from my diet.
  4. I go to sleep earlier and stay away from my laptop/phone screen after 9pm. I used to stay up late, but now I go to bed around 11pm. After 9pm I usually dim the lights in the room a bit and I read on my Kindle. Kindle Paperwhite does not emit a high amount of blue light. I also installed blackout curtains so that I spend the night sleeping in the dark.
  5. Sleep is very important – so when I really can’t fall asleep, I do use a cannabis oil (NightNight CBN + CBD oil). But changing my diet, losing weight, and going to bed earlier, did reduce my insomnia, so I don’t need the oil every day.
  6. Significantly decreasing my caffeine intake – personally for me it did lower my anxiety and the occurrence of panic attacks, I now only have green tea in the afternoon, otherwise I drink rooibos tea, water, kefir, decaf tea.
  7. Intermittent fasting – I do fell less brain fog and more clear headed when I am not eating the whole day. I used to surf the internet at 1am eating Sweet & Salty bars. Then my mind would go into dark places and I would start reading about serial killers. Now I eat two to three meals a day between 9am and 5pm, I fast for 16-18 hours a day.
  8. Seeing a psychologist – going through CBT and DBT did help, and this related to #5. I still experience racing thoughts, anxiety, and other issues, but I can now more easily choose to not follow my thoughts. For example – I did used to read a lot about US serial killers and then I would freak myself out and I would start to think that someone could climb through the window. Now I choose more what I read – should I keep reading about mass murders? What is the point of that for me? Will that change anything for the better?
  9. Sunlight – I try to get some sunlight each morning, if I have no energy to come out, I still stick out of the window and get some sunlight on my face.
  10. Exercise – I experience certain pains due to autoimmune disease, and fatigue, so I don’t do extensive exercise, but I do yoga at home. And by exercise I don’t mean that I do a whole hour after work, I do certain yoga poses occasionally throughout the day. I think that’s still better than no exercise.
  11. Shrooms – I did several shroom trips, at home alone, after I was treated for encephalitis. I haven’t done shrooms for a while due to pregnancy and breastfeeding, but the positive antidepressant effects of the trips still remain for me.
  12. CBT, again – accepting that some days are better than others, some are worse, but also seeing the positive – in general I am doing much much better now than in 2016. I am female, hormones fluctuate, I do feel worse during the luteal phase, but I experience a lot more enjoyable moments than before my steroids treatment and this lifestyle change.

Eggshells – a cheap non-dairy source of calcium

If you are going to adhere to a dairy free diet, you are going to need to find another source of calcium. Humans require calcium for muscle contraction, blood clotting, normal heart rhythm, as well as nerve functions. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for calcium is around 1000mg per day. The RDA is elevated to 1,300 milligrams per day during adolescence because this is the life stage with accelerated bone growth.

For women above age fifty and men older than seventy-one, the RDAs are also a bit higher for several reasons including that as we age, calcium absorption in the gut decreases, vitamin D3 activation is reduced, and maintaining adequate blood levels of calcium is important to prevent an acceleration of bone tissue loss (especially during menopause). Results of some large trials found that higher calcium intakes (usually achieved with a supplement) was associated with improved bone density and slightly lower risk of hip fractures.

Now in regards to eggshells – most people probably don’t eat them, but eggshells are an excellent source of calcium. Eggshells are also a natural source of other elements such as strontium and fluorine. Approximately half an eggshell from a 42g egg would provide 750 mg of calcium, which is 75% of the daily recommended value of 1000mg. Clinical and experimental studies showed that eggshell powder has positive effects on bone and cartilage and that it is suitable in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.

How can you eat an eggshell though?

My process is simple – I often eat boiled eggs for breakfast in the morning. Once I peel the egg, I am left with an eggshell that has already been sanitized by boiling (it’s important to sanitize the eggshells due to the possibility of the Salmonella bacteria being on the shell). I then bake the eggshells at a low temperature of 225F in order to dry them. After they cool down, I simply grind the shells into fine powder using a coffee grinder. The powder can be consumed with a spoon, added to smoothies, oatmeal, dough, etc.

Celiac disease and dairy proteins – summarization of articles

I want to address the issue of whether dairy could be an issue for those with celiac disease. I don’t think that I will be able to arrive at an exact answer with this post, but I do wish to summarize existing articles and evidence on this topic. From my personal experience, I get all the same symptoms from dairy products as from foods containing gluten. The symptoms include pains in the lower abdomen, bloating, constipation, fatigue, inflammation of the eyelids, as well as psychiatric symptoms including panic attacks, anxiety, and depression. Gathering anecdotal evidence by speaking to reddit users in the gluten-free subreddit, multiple individuals have also expressed the same experience with dairy causing similar symptoms to gluten. Also these individuals noticed that the same symptoms were caused by lactose-free products, therefore likely the culprit is not the sugar (lactose), but the proteins in dairy (casein). Below I will summarize several articles addressing the consumption of casein by individuals with celiac disease.

The first study that I found looking at the correlation between gluten and casein is from 2007, Mucosal reactivity to cow’s milk protein in coeliac disease. This article discusses the fact that some celiac patients on a gluten-free diet still experience gastrointestinal symptoms. The authors then examine whether these patients have an inflammatory immune response to the protein in cow’s milk. The results of this study indicated that in fact in a fraction of celiac patients did experience a similar reaction to the milk protein as to gluten. As usual, I used python to create article summaries, including this one.

Summary:
On clinical grounds cow’s milk (CM) protein sensitivity may be suspected. Here, using rectal protein challenge, we investigated the local inflammatory reaction to gluten and CM protein in adult patients with CD in remission.
In 18 of 20 patients gluten challenge induced neutrophil activation defined as increased MPO release and increased NO synthesis.
A mucosal inflammatory response similar to that elicited by gluten was produced by CM protein in about 50% of the patients with coeliac disease.

Summary using LexRank (graph-based method for computing relative importance of sentences):

Mean rectal ΔMPO was 303 ± 27 µg/l after casein challenge and 16 ± 27 µg/l after challenge with α-lactalbumin.
Compared to healthy controls, patients with CD showed significant increases in rectal NO and MPO concentrations measured 15 h after challenge with both CM and gluten (P < 0·001), while ECP was increased to a similar extent in the two groups ( ).
The major finding in this study is that rectal challenge with CM protein frequently induced a local inflammatory mucosal reaction in patients with CD but not in healthy controls.
Our patients with CD had normal serum levels of IgA, IgG and IgE against casein and α-lactalbumin, which might be explained by the fact that they were on a gluten-free diet and therefore had improved the mucosal integrity.
Our finding that, in a fraction of coeliac patients, CM protein challenge may induce an inflammatory reaction of the same magnitude, as did gluten challenge, may also suggest an innate as well as adaptive immune response to CM, and casein in particular.

There were several other studies on the topic of gluten-free and casein-diet, but they all investigated whether this diet would help patients on the autism spectrum, which is not the topic of my post. I did find another short article on gluten-free and casein-free diet helping with psychotic symptoms. Personally I have a similar experience, as consuming any gluten or dairy increases my paranoia, panic attacks, and intrusive thoughts. The authors claim that there is a following mechanism for psychosis:

“In autism and schizophrenia, incomplete digestion of certain proteins, gluten and casein, cause an autoimmune response as indicated by elevated levels of IgA and IgG antibodies. This intestinal malabsorption also causes pathogenic elements (peptide fractions), which bind to opioid receptors by crossing the blood-brain barrier. This releases exorphins (opiate-like substances, similar to certain drugs) that cause psychotic symptoms.”

Evidence-Based Practice: Introduction of a Gluten-Free and Casein-Free Diet to Alleviate Psychotic Symptoms
A case review of a young boy yielded an unexpected resolution of psychotic symptoms after the introduction of a gluten-free, casein-free (GFCF) diet.
The purpose of this paper is to show that health care professionals may use a gluten-free and casein-free diet (GFCF) as an additional element to standard treatment methods, to alleviate psychotic symptoms.
Additionally noted were similarities between autism and schizophrenia.
Introduction of a GFCF diet helps reduce psychotic symptoms, and gives another option for patients resistant to traditional treatment methods, especially adolescents and young adults.
Keywords: autism, gluten-free, casein-free diet (GFCF), psychosis, schizophrenia

My previous mistake when going on a dairy-free diet: too many food restrictions and not enough calcium

I want to describe my mistakes with my previous attempt at going dairy-free. A bit of background – I started experiencing severe abdominal cramps in my 20s, then also I started to have panic attacks, fatigue, and swollen eyelids. I had problems waking up in the morning. I ended up being referred to a psychiatrist, but the medications did not help. Finally an endocrinologist checked my antibodies and found that I had very high levels of thyroid antibodies, so my immune system was attacking and damaging my thyroid. I was put on thyroid medication. I also was referred to a neurologist who then diagnosed me with autoimmune encephalitis (brain inflammation), and I was treated with intravenous steroids (for immunosuppression). At the same time I started reading online a lot about autoimmune diseases and I came across articles about the AIP diet. I was feeling to unwell, so I decided that I had to change my lifestyle, and I started following the AIP diet strictly – no dairy, no gluten, no soy, no grains, no legumes, no nuts, no chocolate, no alcohol. There were a lot of restrictions! You can google this diet, if you are curious.

After the corticosteroid treatment and the diet change, I did start feeling better, I l also lost 20kg, but I still experienced a lot of symptoms such as irritability, leg spasms, feeling of numbness in my fingers, and insomnia. I ended up deciding that there was no scientific evidence for my dietary restrictions, and at some point I went back to eating dairy and gluten, as well as the rest of the foods. I ended up gaining 30kg, and starting to again experiencing paranoia, panic attacks, nightmares, and fatigue.

I recently decided to look into my diet again and instead of going into the extremes – such as the very strict AIP diet, I started with excluding dairy. I also realized that when I was dairy-free the first time, I did not consume any foods with calcium, and that could have been the cause of my muscle cramps and numbness in my hands. This time I looked into non-dairy sources of calcium and calculated how much of those foods I would need to be eating. I have now been dairy free since February, I also went gluten-free and soy-free, as I noticed through multiple observations, that those foods were also causing symptoms for me. I now no longer have any pains in the lower abdomen, I have more energy and was able to attend yoga classes. I have no symptoms of low calcium this time, as I eat canned sardines, canned salmon with bones, and powdered egg shells. I am feeling much better, and I have lost around 22 pounds since February.

Obtaining calcium on a dairy-free diet

I have been on a dairy-free diet since February and for me personally it has been helping with the brain fog issue, scalp eczema, and experiences of fear/panic attacks/existential anxiety. I have tried all sorts of dairy – fermented, non-fermented, lactose-free, goat milk, sheep milk, kefir, yogurt. In the end, I found that I feel better on the days when I do not consume dairy and that the negative effects of it make it not worth it for me to continue consuming it. Some dairy has significant levels of the vitamin B12 and iodine, but those nutrients are not difficult to find elsewhere. Chicken liver, eggs, and salmon contain enough vitamin B12. Eggs also contain iodine and I use iodized salt when cooking. The main element I was concerned about when I stopped eating dairy was calcium. I tried taking calcium supplements for a while but I experienced quite negative side-effects such as frequent urination, constipation, and abdominal bloating. I decided to therefore look for natural sources of calcium that are dairy-free.

It’s possible to obtain enough calcium from fortified plant milks, and that might be the easiest option, if that works for you. I’m not sure though that it would be any different from just taking a calcium supplement, because plant milks are fortified with the same calcium carbonate. I am also not a fan of fortified plant milks as there is some evidence that consuming a lot of extra vitamin B12 and folate, which are added to plant milks in high amounts, can increase the risk of some cancers.

Folic Acid and Vitamin B12 Supplementation and the Risk of Cancer: Long-term Follow-up of the B Vitamins for the Prevention of Osteoporotic Fractures (B-PROOF) Trial

Also I found that fortified plant milks increased my anxiety and occurrence of nightmares, I found the same effects when I was taking a B12 supplement on its own. I consume enough B12 through eggs, meat, and fish, and enough folate through legumes and fruits, therefore my assumption is that the extra vitamins from fortified plant milks had negative effects for me. If you have no problem with vegan substitute products, then you can easily obtain enough calcium without diary by eating fortified vegan plant milks, vegan yogurts, vegan cheese. Tofu also usually has calcium sulfate added to it. Unfortunately I experienced worsening of scalp eczema when eating soy frequently, but if soy is not a problem for you, fortified soy milk and tofu are good sources of calcium.

Since I am currently not consuming a lot of soy products and not consuming plant milks, I had to find other sources of calcium. After looking through nutritional info for various foods, I found that the best way to get enough calcium is to consume bones. Most of the calcium is stored in bones, and only small amounts are found in blood and tissues.
The easiest way to consume bones is by eating canned salmon and canned sardines. You can check the nutrition info on the cans, the salmon needs to be “with skin and bones”, not just the file. The can of salmon that I bought contains in total 363mg of calcium, which is about 30% of daily value (DV). A can of sardines can contain up to 40% of DV of calcium. You can eat the fish right out of the can or add to soup. Another source of calcium is chia seeds, two table spoons contain around 18% of DV. You can add chia seeds to oatmeal in the morning. Another way to eat some bones is by cooking bone broth. There is no evidence that calcium leaks into the actual broth, the amount is very minimal, so you would have to eat the softened bones themselves. I usually cook a broth with chicken or turkey bones for at least an hour, then they are soft enough to actually eat.

Best natural sources of calcium: canned sardines, canned salmon, chicken/turkey bones from bone broth, chia seeds

Why do humans need calcium?

Calcium is required for multiple processes in the human body. 99% of the calcium is stored in bones and only 1% is found in blood and tissues. When there is not enough calcium in the blood, the parathyroid hormone will signal the bones to release calcium. Therefore it’s important to consume enough calcium so that it doesn’t have to keep being released from bones, as you don’t want to weaken your bones. For women especially, it is important to receive enough calcium from diet. In all humans after the age of 30, bone destruction usually exceeds bone products. Women can experience greater bone loss after menopause as the levels of hormones that play a role in building bones become permanently lower.

Calcium is needed for nerves to carry signals between brain and other body parts, it’s also needed for muscles to move. Calcium is required for muscle contraction, blood clotting, regulating heart rate, and cell fluid balance. Not having enough calcium can lead to painful muscle spasms, twitching of muscles, numbness or tingling in feet, hands, and mouth. It can also lead to anxiety, depression, itchy skin, and tiredness.

Simple gluten-free and dairy free breakfast

I have decided to go not only dairy-free, which I have been doing for a while, but also gluten-free again. This has led me to re-planning my meals. When I previously followed a dairy-free and gluten-free diet during 2016-2018, I was able to loose a lot of weight. I can’t be certain that it was specifically the avoidance of gluten and dairy, as I was also taking Cytomel (a synthetic version of the T3 thyroid hormone), and Cytomel is known to possible lead to significant weight loss. I started eating gluten again three years ago, as I was not convinced that there is such a condition as gluten intolerance (without having celiac disease). I am still not convinced that I have gluten intolerance, but being currently quite overweight, and not being able to lose the extra weight, I decided to try the gluten-free diet again. I don’t think that I will miss out on any vitamins by giving up gluten, as my diet is varied enough in order to obtain all the essentials. In any case, I can always return to eating gluten if I will not observe any effects of a gluten-free diet on my weight.

I have been already eating healthy, in my opinion, but now my meals required some re-planning. It’s no longer possible to eat a rye toast with hummus in the morning, or a smoked salmon whole-wheat sandwich for lunch. I also don’t really enjoy cooking and would like this process to be as simple as possible. In the morning I have a small gap of time between the time that the nanny arrives and the time at which I have to start work. Therefore, breakfast preparation has to be especially quick. Below is my idea for a breakfast meal that requires very little cooking or waiting. It also does not contain any refined carbohydrates.

Meal: boiled eggs, a gluten-free tortilla with hummus, oatmeal with coconut milk and berries

Main protein: one or two boiled eggs (depending on how hungry you are)
Start cooking the eggs as the first step, as other items will take a shorter time to prepare.
One egg contains about 7 grams of protein and 1.6 grams of saturated fat, eggs do no contain carbohydrates. One egg has about 0.6 micrograms of B12, which is 25% of the daily value. Therefore by eating two eggs in the morning, I can obtain 50% of my DV of B12! Eggs also contain folate, riboflavin, iodine, and selenium.

Additional protein: hummus with a gluten-free tortilla or toast
Hummus is made out of chickpeas and tahini, chickpeas are relatively high in protein and folate, also B6 and magnesium. I used sweet potato tortillas, which were OK, but any other gluten-free tortillas or bread would do:
https://www.bfreefoods.com/us/products/sweet-potato-wraps/

Starch / carbohydrates: quick steel cut oats
I stumbled upon these oats on Amazon and I found this product pretty useful. The oats can be prepared in a microwave in 2.5 minutes. I mix them with coconut milk power before microwaving.
https://www.amazon.ca/Post-Original-Instant-Oatmeal-Flaxseeds/dp/B08X8HLXSP

Oats are known to contain beta-glucan soluble fiber, which contributes to gut health. Beta-glucan fiber may also prevent sharp increases in blood sugar after meals. Oats are also a source of thiamine, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorous.

Fat: coconut milk powder
Coconut milk contains a type of fat called medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs could potentially aid in weight loss and increase insulin sensitivity. Also it is creamy! And since this breakfast idea is dairy free, coconut milk is what makes the oatmeal taste better.

Additional items: add any berries, nuts, dark chocolate chips to your oatmeal
I added strawberries. Strawberries contain high amount of vitamin C and also contain folate and manganese.
Still hungry? Slowly eat a whole celery stick. It is low in calories but can help you feel full. It’s difficult to eat celery quickly, and eating slowly can help pass the time, until your brain finally signals that you are satiated.

Drink: tea or coffee
I do not drink any juices, as most juices have a very high glycemic index.


Yerba Mate (Ilex Paraguariensis) articles summary using NLP

The following summary was created using a google search for specific phrases and then performing natural language processing steps for sentence scoring. Yerba mate is an evergreen tree/shrub that grows in subtropical regions of South America. The leaves of the plant are used to make tea. Yerba mate tea contains caffeine and theobromine, which are known to affect the mood. I was interested in summarizing the existing articles in regards to research on this plant in psychiatry.

The first search phrase used was “yerba mate psychiatry depression research evidence“, and the number of collected articles for this phrase was 18. The text from all articles was combined, and relative word frequencies were calculated (after removing stop-words). These relative frequencies were then used to score each sentence. Sentence length distribution was checked, and the 90th percentile of 30 words was chosen to select sentences below the maximum length. Below are the 10 highest scoring sentences that summarize the text from the 18 articles.

We can infer from the summary that studies have been performed using the yerba mate extract on rats and tasks for chosen as proxies for the rats’ depression and anxiety levels. There are no mentions of human studies in the summary. Also the chosen sentences indicate that based on these studies, yerba mate has potential antidepressant activity, and it may improve memory as well. The results of the anxiety study were not mentioned and it’s not clear whether there were any side effects from yerba mate. These results are in line with descriptions of personal experiences of reddit users that I have reviewed, as many report better mood and improved focus after drinking yerba mate tea. Some users do report increased anxiety correlated with yerba mate consumption.

View abstract. J Agric.Food Chem. Vitamin C Levels Cerebral vitamin C (ascorbic acid (AA)) levels were determined as described by Jacques-Silva et al. Conclusion: In conclusion, the present study showed that Ilex paraguariensis presents an important effect on reducing immobility time on forced swimming test which could suggest an antidepressant-like effect of this extract. Despite previous some studies show the antidepressant-like activity of flavonoids [31, 32] which are present in the extract of I. paraguariensis, any study has evaluated the possible antidepressant-like activity of it. The presence of nine antioxidants compounds was investigated, namely, gallic acid, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, catechin, quercetin, rutin, kaempferol, caffeine, and theobromine. Abstract In this study, we investigated the possible antidepressant-like effect of I. paraguariensis in rats. Another study showed that an infusion of I. paraguariensis can improve the memory of rats treated with haloperidol and this effect was related to an indirect modulation of oxidative stress . In addition to flavonoids as quercetin and rutin and phenolic compounds as chlorogenic and caffeic acids, yerba mate is also rich in caffeine and saponins . After four weeks, behavioral analysis of locomotor activity and anxiety was evaluated in animals receiving water (n = 11) or I. paraguariensis (n = 9). In the same way, we evaluated if the presence of stimulants compounds like caffeine and theobromine in the extract of I. paraguariensis could cause anxiety. In the present study, we evaluated the possible antidepressant-like effect of I. paraguariensis by using forced swimming test (FST) in rats. Forced Swimming Test This experiment was performed using the FST according to the method previously published by Porsolt et al. In this context, Yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis) is a beverage commonly consumed in South America especially in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and Paraguay. I. paraguariensis reduced the immobility time on forced swimming test without significant changes in locomotor activity in the open field test.

I also tried several other search phrases, such as “yerba mate mood anxiety evidence” and “yerba mate side effects evidence“. In total of 17 articles were collected for the first query and 19 articles for the second query. The summaries are presented below. There was nothing in the summary directly discussing mood or anxiety, but there are mentions of neuroprotective effects and antioxidant effects. We can also learn that a cup of yerba mate tea has similar caffeine content as a cup of coffee, and that drinking yerba mate is not recommended while pregnant or breastfeeding. As in the previous summary, no human trials were mentioned, so it seems that all the summarized studies were performed on rats. The side effects query summary mentions the risk of transferring the caffeine from the tea to the fetus when pregnant, as well as a link to cancer for those who drink both alcohol and yerba mate. It also mentions and anxiety is a side effect of the tea.

Query 1:
View abstract. J Agric.Food Chem. On the other hand, studies conducted on an animal model showed chemopreventive effects of both pure mate saponin fraction and Yerba Mate tea in chemically induced colitis in rats. Yerba Mate Nutrition Facts The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for one cup (12g) of a branded yerba mate beverage (Mate Revolution) that lists just organic yerba mate as an ingredient. Researchers found that steeping yerba mate (such as in yerba mate tea) may increase the level of absorption. Yerba mate beverages are not recommended for children and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Chlorogenic acid and theobromine tested individually also had neuroprotective effects, but slightly weaker than Yerba Mate extract as a whole, but stronger than known neuroprotective compounds, such as caffeine [ 83 ]. The caffeine content in a cup (about 150 mL) of Yerba Mate tea is comparable to that in a cup of coffee and is about 80 mg [ 1 , 11 , 20 ]. In aqueous and alcoholic extracts from green and roasted Yerba Mate, the presence of chlorogenic acid (caffeoylquinic acid), caffeic acid, quinic acid, dicaffeoylquinic acid, and feruloylquinic acid was confirmed. After consumption of Yerba Mate tea, antioxidant compounds are absorbed and appear in the circulating plasma where they exert antioxidant effects [ 55 ]. According to the cited studies, Yerba Mate tea consumption attenuates oxidative stress in patients with type 2 diabetes, which may prevent its complications.

Query 2:
View abstract. J Agric.Food Chem. Because yerba mate has a high concentration of caffeine, drinking mate tea while pregnant can increase the risk of transferring caffeine to the fetus. J Ethnopharmacol. South Med J 1988;81:1092-4.. View abstract. J Am Coll Nutr 2000;19:591-600.. View abstract. Am J Med 2005;118:998-1003.. View abstract. J Psychosom Res 2003;54:191-8.. View abstract. Yerba mate consumed by those who drink alcohol is linked to a higher risk of developing cancer. Anxiety and nervousness are a side effect of excessive yerba mate tea consumption.

NLP: Summarizing l-theanine articles

In this post I will describe my use of NLP (Natural language processing, not neuro-linguistic programming. Natural language processing is cool, while neuro-linguistic programming is some pseudoscience stuff) in the application of summarizing articles from the internet. Specifically, I chose the topic of l-theanine and psychiatry, as previously I have already summarized the Nootropics subreddit discussions on l-theanine. The next step, therefore, is to summarize existing articles on this topic.

Summarizing experience with green tea from the Nootropics subreddit

The first step was to perform an automated Google search for a specific term. I chose the term “l-theanine psychiatry” and set the number of unique urls to be 15. Some of the resulting urls are listed below:

Can L-Theanine Help Treat Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder?

Effects of L-Theanine Administration on Stress-Related Symptoms and Cognitive Functions in Healthy Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial

L-theanine

How does the tea L-theanine buffer stress and anxiety

It can be seen that the article titles are quite relevant to our topic. The next step is formatting the text and summarizing the information.

The idea behind the summarization technique is calculating word frequencies for each word in the combined text of all articles (after stop words removal), and then selecting words in the top 10% of frequencies. These words will be the ones used in scoring each sentence. More frequent words will be given more importance, as they are deemed more relevant to the chosen topic, therefore sentences containing those words will receive higher scores. This is not a machine learning approach, but a basic frequency count method. In total, 148 words were used for sentence scoring. Some of the most frequent words (from all articles combined) are listed below:

Theanine, administration, effects, placebo, weeks, study, four, sleep, scores, cognitive, may, stress, function, fluency, studies, related, symptoms, participants, bacs, anxiety

BACS was one of the top frequent words, it stands for the Brief Assessment of Cognition in Schizophrenia. Once each sentence was scores, 15 highest scoring sentences were selected in order to create a summary. The summary of the articles is presented below. From the summary we can infer that l-theanine was studied for its effects on cognition, anxiety, and stress. Some studies had positive results, indicating that l-theanine performed significantly better than placebo in regards to positive cognitive effects such as improved verbal fluency and executive function. Studies also noted significant improvements in stress reduction with the use of l-theanine. Other studies did not find any significant differences between l-theanine and placebo.


Second, only about 20% of symptoms (the PSQI subscales) and cognitive functions (the BACS verbal fluency, especially letter fluency and executive function) scores showed significant changes after L- theanine administration compared to the placebo administration, suggesting that the effects are not large on daily function of the participants.

Although psychotropic effects were observed in the current study, four weeks L-theanine administration had no significant effect on cortisol or immunoglobulin A levels in the saliva or serum, which was inconsistent with previous studies reporting that salivary cortisol [34] and immunoglobulin A [33] levels were reduced after acute L-theanine administration.

Considering the comparison to the placebo administration, the current study suggests that the score for the BACS verbal fluency, especially letter fluency, but not the Trail Making Test, Stroop test, or other BACS parameters, significantly changes in response to the 4 weeks effects of L-theanine.

The BACS verbal fluency, especially letter fluency (p = 0.001), and executive function scores were significantly increased after L-theanine administration (p = 0.001 and 0.031, respectively; ), while the Trail Making Test A and B scores were significantly improved after placebo administration (p = 0.042 and 0.038, respectively).

When score reductions in the stress-related symptoms were compared between L-theanine and placebo administrations, changes in the PSQI sleep latency, sleep disturbance, and use of sleep medication subscales were significantly greater (p = 0.0499, 0.046, and 0.047, respectively), while those in the SDS and PSQI scores showed a non-statistically significant trend towards greater improvement (p = 0.084 and 0.073, respectively), during the L-theanine period compared to placebo.

Stratified analyses revealed that scores for verbal fluency (p = 0.002), especially letter fluency (p = 0.002), increased after L-theanine administration, compared to the placebo administration, in individuals who were sub-grouped into the lower half by the median split based on the mean pretreatment scores.

Discussion In this placebo-controlled study, stress-related symptoms assessed with SDS, STAI-T, and PSQI scores decreased, while BACS verbal fluency and executive function scores improved following four weeks L-theanine administration.

The present study aimed to examine the effects of four weeks L-theanine administration (200 mg/day, four weeks) in a healthy population, i.e., individuals without any major psychiatric disorder.

The PSQI subscale scores for sleep latency, sleep disturbance, and use of sleep medication reduced after L-theanine administration, compared to the placebo administration (all p < 0.05).

The effects on stress-related symptoms were broad among the symptom indices presented in the study, although a comparison to the placebo administration somewhat limits the efficacy of L-theanine administration for some sleep disturbance measurements.

For cognitive functions, BACS verbal fluency and executive function scores improved after four weeks L-theanine administration.

PMID: 31623400 This randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover, and double-blind trial aimed to examine the possible effects of four weeks L-theanine administration on stress-related symptoms and cognitive functions in healthy adults.

The anti-stress effects of L-theanine (200 mg/day) have been observed following once- [ 33 , 34 ] and twice daily [ 35 ] administration, while its attention-improving effects have been observed in response to treatment of 100 mg/day on four separate days [ 36 ] and 200 mg/day single administration [ 37 ], which was further supported by decreased responses in functional magnetic resonance imaging [ 38 ].

These results suggest that four weeks L-theanine administration has positive effects on stress-related symptoms and cognitive function in a healthy population.

Список жалоб по поводу сервиса

Россия продолжает войну на Украине, бомбит города, жилые дома. Заставляет жителей Киева, Харькова, Мариуполя, спускаться в бомбоубежища, жить в метро, находится без воды, еды, и необходимых лекарств. Россия развязала войну, ничем не спровоцированную, ничем не вызванную. Вызванную маниакальным страхом, маниакальной манией величия одного человека, который считает себя президентом России, считает себя вершителем мира. Но мы все несем ответственность за то что случилось с нашей страной, мы все отвечаем за то что наша страна превратилась в страну которая угрожает всем соседям, которая готова применить любое оружие против населения другой страны.

ООН зафиксировала 406 погибших и 801 раненых среди гражданского населения Украины с 24 февраля. Кирилл Яцко, 18-месячный мальчик, был убит после обстрела его дома в Мариуполе российскими войсками в пятницу. Врачи отчаянно боролись за жизнь малыша, но ребенок умер.

Российские власти продолжают скрывать данные о гибели россиян в Украине, на войне, которую в России называют “спецоперацией”. За обезличенной цифрой в 498 человек – трагедии конкретных семей, которым в ответ на обращения в военкоматы, словно по заранее заведенной методичке, говорят “это фейк”, даже если родственники приносят фотографии и видео своих близких в плену.

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/davidmack/before-after-photos-destruction-in-ukraine

https://news.sky.com/story/ukraine-invasion-young-mother-collapses-in-boyfriends-arms-after-toddler-killed-in-russian-shell-attack-12558412

https://www.svoboda.org/a/zvonite-v-fsb-v-rossiyu-poshli-pervye-pohoronki/31733576.html

Ирпень, жилой дом

Киев, жилой дом

Харьков, экономический факультет
Здание, расположенное на улице Мироносицкой

Google maps link:
https://www.google.com/maps/@49.9991973,36.2359934,3a,75y,307.56h,102.78t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s2tvdqCYfevSjZ3mWzgglUw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Харьков, площадь свободы

Google maps link:
https://www.google.com/maps/@50.0046275,36.2354575,3a,78.3y,130.75h,99.86t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sLCoxQsZveAZMSxb89IbStw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Харьков, специализированная школа 134
61033, Харків, вул. Шевченка, 220
https://school134.klasna.com/

Google maps link:
https://www.google.com/maps/@50.0107639,36.28553,3a,75y,132.73h,85.16t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1ssUr1gp55rHLARg2TkfDdCg!2e0!6shttps:%2F%2Fstreetviewpixels-pa.googleapis.com%2Fv1%2Fthumbnail%3Fpanoid%3DsUr1gp55rHLARg2TkfDdCg%26cb_client%3Dmaps_sv.tactile.gps%26w%3D203%26h%3D100%26yaw%3D6.041374%26pitch%3D0%26thumbfov%3D100!7i13312!8i6656

Харьков, здание администрации

Google maps link:
https://www.google.com/maps/@50.0039846,36.2357485,3a,75y,140.13h,102.63t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sLfNISTEbSpD9uorxkEhw7w!2e0!3e11!7i13312!8i6656

Чернигов, жилой дом

Киев, жилой дом

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/2/25/ukraine-slams-horrific-strikes-on-kyiv-amid-russian-advance

Чернигов, жилой дом

Summarizing experience with green tea from the Nootropics subreddit

We can’t all get our own labs with grad assistants and grants in order to conduct research, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways to obtain data. Some might say that only studies with randomized trials with test and control groups matter, but I believe that subreddits can provide supplemental information. We should look at the data with a grain of salt, but a lot of people do describe sincerely their experiences with nootropics on reddit. Users also often link studies and scientific articles in the forums.

Not all nootropics are covered by randomized studies and rarely do psychiatrists collect data on experiences with nootropics. For these reasons people mostly discuss their experiences with nootopics and supplements online, in forums such as subreddits and Facebook groups. For example, there have not been many studies on lithium orotate, but probably thousands of people are taking it at the moment. There are very few published papers on this supplement, so how could one find out about possible benefits and side effects? Personally I had a good experience with very small doses of lithium orotate helping to reduce intrusive thoughts and reviving memories from the past. Where does information about my experience exist? Only in the Nootropics and depressionregimens subreddits. No psychiatrist or doctor was ever interested in my experience with microdosing lithium, but that doesn’t mean that this information could not be useful to someone else.

There are multiple Facebook groups specifically dedicated to topics such as treatment resistant depression, PMDD, borderline personality disorder, etc. There are a lot of discussions of supplements in those groups, but unfortunately I don’t know how to obtain data from Facebook. The good thing about reddit is that Reddit offers a free API that allows you to download data from subreddits, so you can get the titles of posts, text, and comments, up to about 1000 posts per subreddit per day. Thank you, Reddit! This is really great!

For this exercise, I decided to use natural language processing to summarize text from the Nootropics subreddit, filtering for posts about green tea. I used the subreddit to filter for posts which contained keywords from the following list: green tea, theanine, ltheanine, matcha, l-theanine, and l theanine. Matcha is a type of green tea powder, therefore still green tea, and l-theanine is a water soluble amino acid found in green tea. In total there were 730 posts in my dataset, with the post created dates ranging from September 2011 to January 2022.

Examples of post titles:

  • L Theanine cured my ( social) anxiety. I’m blown away. I’m usually socially awkward but I MASTERED a job interview.
  • Comprehensive List of GABAA Receptor Anxiolytics That Potentially Produce no Tolerance or Dependence.
  • Green tea supplement ruins man’s liver
  • Neurochemical and behavioral effects of green tea (Camellia sinensis): A model study Increased serotonin and dopamine metabolism
  • Why do 1-2 cups of green tea seem to anecdotally calm so many people down in this subreddit, even though there are only trace amounts of theanine in a cup?

Once the data was collected, the title and body were combined for each post and text processing was performed. Processing included removing accented characters, expanding common contractions, removing newlines, tabs, and special characters. Python’s spellchecker library was used in order to correct spelling errors.

The first summary method used was word frequencies and sentence scoring. All posts were combined together into one document, and the frequency of each word was calculated. In total there were 10,677 unique words/terms, but not each term was meaningful, and some appeared only several times. For this reason, only the top 5% most frequent words were selected in order to be used for sentence scoring. I also assigned higher scores to words green, tea, theanine, ltheanine, and matcha, in order to capture more posts that are more likely to focus on green tea.

The combined text was separated into individual sentences, and sentences were then scored by adding up the scores of each word in the sentences. As mentioned above, the top 5% most frequent words had scores assigned above 0, with the score being equal to the frequency. The remaining words were assigned a score of 0. Some of the most frequent words included anxiety, effects, ltheanine, day, good, sleep, caffeine, depression, tea, help, work, brain, and life.

Here are the resulting top ten sentences. Some resulting sentences were quite long, so I am pasting the sentence parts most relevant to green tea.

L-Theanine: Glutamate inhibitor * Increases glycine by 17.2% for one week * Increases -1-waves within 30-45m orally * At certain dosages, can increase GABA by 19.8% * Antagonizes AMPA and Kainate * [ * Partial co-agonist for NMDA, though significantly less potent than endogenous ligands * Blocks glutamate transporters(and therefore reuptake of glutamate and glutamine) * Not sedative in regular doses but promotes relaxation * Only those who have high baseline anxiety benefit from relaxation * Nontoxic and noncarcinogenic in very high doses (4g/kg).

L-Theanine + Taurine * Anti-excitatory and sedative * Highly bioavailable and consistent * L-Theanine + Taurine + Agmatine * Anti-excitatory and sedative * Highly bioavailable and consistent * Potentiates GABAergic and can suppress NMDA better than theanine * Anti-tolerance building * L-Theanine + Rosmarinic Acid * Both are anti-glutaminergic * Potent GABAA agonist comparable to benzos * Low total formula dose * 400mg L-Theanine + 150mg RA (1875mg Rosemary extract) * Taurine + Ashwagandha * GABAA potentiation of Taurine * NMDA suppression * L-Theanine + Taurine + Ashwagandha * GABAA potentiation of Taurine * Total glutamate suppression * Taurine + Magnolia * GABAA potentiated at benzo site plus influx of GABA in body * Apigenin + Magnolia * GABAA 1 agonist plus PAM * Both very potent * Chinese Skullcap + Magnolia * GABAA 2 + 3 agonist plus PAM * Chinese Skullcap + Apigenin + Magnolia * GABAA 1 + 2 + 3 agonist plus PAM EDIT: Added GABA-T and GAD explanations EDIT 2: Found new and more accurate evidence claiming that L-Theanine is actually an NMDA partial co-agonist, not an antagonist. This backs up sources that claim to see Ca2+ activity increase and become suppressed with NMDA antagonists. It also backs up sources finding L-Theanine to be an NMDA antagonist.

HELPED SOMEWHAT, OR NOT TOO SURE Cyamemazine (anxiety), alimemazine (sleep), magnesium L-threonate and glycinate (sleep), white noise (anxiety), SuperBetter app, vitamin D3, reading about Young schemas, ginkgo biloba (energy, focus), melatonin (sleep), chamomile (sleep), verbena (sleep), lavender (sleep), ALCAR, taurine, NAC, cannabis (sleep), gratitude journal, music (anxiety), coleus forskohlii (weight loss), CLA (from safflower, weight loss), metformin (weight loss, triggered an hypoglycemia the first time I tried it), green tea, risperidone (anxiety, cravings, irritability), L-methylfolate. DID NOT SEEM TO HELP Inositol, chromium picolinate, zinc, CoQ10, apple cider vinegar, meratrim (sphaeranthus indicus + garcinia mangostana), hydroxyzine, tiapride, binaural beats.
L-theanine :** Pretty good anxiolytic, and helps a bit with focus, especially when combined with coffee. Not too sedative.
 **CBD :** When L-theanine or skullcap is not quiet enough, can add some extra anxiolysis, but nothing spectacular either, and not enough on its own.

Medication and supplement augmentation suggestions. My diagnosis is Major Depression/Generalized Anxiety. Possibly on the light end of the Borderline spectrum. I also have Restless Leg Syndrome hence some of the meds. High Cholesterol and stage 2 hypertension. Current regimen is: Bupropion 100mg Lithium Carbonate 300mg (1 in morning, 2 before bed) Gabapentin 300mg (3 times a day) Pramipexole 1mg (at bedtime) Turmeric/bioperine 2000mg x2 Omega 3 Fish Oil 3,600mg x2 Vitamin D3 5,000IU x2 Vitamin C 500mg Multivitamin L-Theanine 200mg Kratom caps (4-6 size 00 about 3 times a week with at least a day between) Tianeptine 25mg (Monday, Wednesday, Friday only) Phenibut (1 size 00 Tuesday/Thursday only).

l-Theanine, Cannabis, Glutamate/GABA and Anxiety: Could this be a potential cure for Cannabis Induced Paranoia and Anxiety? Just a thought – But could Glutamate be responsible for the anxiety and paranoia commonly felt from cannabis? This is just under informed speculation, but THC has been found to increase striatal glutamate in the brain. ( L-Theanine has been found to “block” glutamate signaling in the brain. See here; >L-theanine relieves anxiety in large part because it bears a close resemblance to the brain-signaling chemical glutamate. L-theanine produces the opposite effect in the brain. >While glutamate is the brains most important excitatory neurotransmitter, L-theanine binds to the same brain cell receptors and blocks them to glutamates effects. This action produces inhibitory effects.1,2 That inhibition to brain overactivity has a calming, relaxing effect in which anxiety fades.3 > I have always noticed that when I take L-Theanine, it helps me get higher from cannabis, all while blocking any paranoia and anxiety that I get from it. Cannabis is the only drug I have found that is potentiated by L-Theanine. With other substances, I have noticed that L-Theanine blocks a lot of the pleasurable effects, while reducing anxiety (Namely when taken with stimulants, but also with Phenibut) Since Cannabis increases glutamate in the brain, and Glutamate is associated with anxiety, and L-Theanine essentially blocks it, could L-Theanine be a good anxiety and paranoia cure for weed? Will somebody with more knowledge on this subject help me out here?

How much trouble am I in when I show this to my PsyD? Venturing outside my personal echo chamber to solicit general opinions on my supplement regime. Cognizant that I am doing it wrong, but I will really feel that I am doing it wrong when I start getting grumpy. Please don’t hate me. L-Theanine 200mg L-Carnosine 1000mg Reishi Extract 2000mg Cats Claw 1000mg Alpha-lipoic acid 500mg Ashwagandha 250mg Synapsa Bacopa Monnieri 640mg N-acetyl l-cysteine 1200mg Palmitoylethnolamide 800mg Maitake mushroom extract 3000mg Chaga 3600mg Polygala Tenuifolia 200mg Lions mane 4200mg Acetyl l-carnitine 500mg Sarcosine 2000mg Wulinshen 1000mg.

Caffeine + L-Theanine. Like the beginners guide says, Id recommend this stack for anyone looking to wet their feet with nootropics. The 1 (Caffeine):2 (L-Theanine) ratio works well for me, but in order for me to really feel the L-Theanine I need to take it on a empty stomach. My favorite dosage is 200mg Caffeine and 400mg of L-Theanine immediately before writing. It helps me to be very relaxed, not filter my thoughts, and achieve a flow state. This stack combined with music from MajesticCasual or TheSoundYouNeed YouTube channels is pretty amazing for writing. BTW, for some people 400mg of L-Theanine is too much and may make you drowsy (though not for me). L-Theanine helps reduce anxiety, but I try to make sure I meditate instead of relying on L-Theanine. I save it for when I am writing.

Please give Dosage Guidance: Kava Kava – 700 MG Capsules (This I just ordered to try, not take daily, I have never tried Kava before) – Maybe 1x a day Sulbutiamine Capsules/Tablets 200 MG – 2 Capsules once a day (400 MG 1x a Day) Uridine Monophosphate Capsules 250mg – (500-750 MG 1x a Day) Agmatine Sulfate 250mg Capsules – Maybe start with 2 Capsules 1x a day? Agmatine Sulfate 1000mg Capsules – Only for going up on higher doses. L-Theanine 200 MG – 1x a Day Mens Daily Multimineral Multivitamin Supplement – 1x a Day Vitamin D3 5,000 IU – 1x a day Vitamin B Complex – 1x a day Magnesium Glycinate 400 MG – 1x a Day Omega 3 Fish Oil 4,080mg – EPA 1200mg + DHA 900mg Capsules – 1x a Day Kratom – 4 grams – 3x a day Ashwaghanda – KSM-66, 300mg, 2x a day. Ashwagandha – Sensoril 125mg Do not know dosage? Youtheory Sleep Powder Advanced, 6 Ounce Bottle – It has full doses of a few calming amino acids and some melatonin. TLDR: I want to quit my antidepressants, and purchased a bunch of Supplements to start taking while weaning off my meds, please give me help/tips on this journey, as well as check out the list and let me know if you recommend other supplements to try, or any tips on how to take these.

L-theanine has done wonders for me sleep, anxiety and productivity. With L-t I have had much better sleep due to increased relaxation and reduces anxiety. This has lead to much better and longer sleep, making me really productive at work. It is also helping a lot with anxiety from coffee, it is all but gone now. I just get the nice energy boost and focus boost with no anxiety effect. I usually take 1 or 2 pills of 225mg depending on how i feel. If I feel chill enough, I will only have 1 at night. If I feel the anxiety and neck tightness coming on from coffee I will take another one then.

Supplementation guide to stimulants. As I have some extensive experience with ADHD medication and stims (ADHD-PI diagnosed myself), over the years through research and trial and error I have built a list of supplements that works for mitigating side effects and minimizing comedown while enhancing their intended effects. I read a post about this a couple years ago and wanted to add my own twist to it in hopes of promoting harm reduction. The supplement + stim dosages here given are intended to be used for studying/productivity purposes, although this will still work if you are taking more than the therapeutic amount. If you have any inputs, advice or additions to the list I am happy to add them. Stimulants used for the purposes of studying SHOULD NOT be taken everyday to avoid dopaminergic downregulation. Three times a week at most is recommended to allow the body to regain homeostasis. Stimulants that these supplements can work for include: * Amphetamines (Adderall, Dexamphetamine, Methamphetamine) * Methylphenidates and Analogues (Focalin, Concerta/Ritalin, ethylphenidate, Isopropylphenidate) * Caffeine (Coffee, Tea, Caffeine Pills) (To a certain degree) * Eugeroics (Modafinil, Adrafinil, Armodafinil) (To a certain degree).
*L-Theanine (200mg/1-3x)\\***  (Reduces euphoria/ Reduces Jitters / Lowers Anxiety / Relaxation) (Anecdotal : Amazing supplement if you are an anxiety sensitive person, smooths out the experience) >[Effects of L-theanine on stress related symptoms and cognitive functions in healthy adults].

I think that given then simple method that was used to select these top sentences, the results can be viewed as pretty successful. No neural networks were applied here, only word frequencies were used to generate sentence scores, but by reading the results we can actually learn a lot about green tea as a nootropic. My first observation would be that people mostly talk about l-theanine and not green tea. This makes sense, since the nootropics subreddit is mostly about discussions on supplements in pill form. Another observation is that people try l-theanine hoping to reduce anxiety and improve sleep. Information was provided stating that l-theanine could be reducing anxiety by inhibiting glutamate, an excitatory neurotransmitter. One user mentioned that l-theanine helps them with THC induced paranoia and proposed that THC increases glutamate in the brain and l-theanine in turn decreases anxiety by reducing available glutamate. Other users also mention l-theanine helping them with the anxiety and jitteriness after drinking coffee. In terms of side-effects that were mentioned, sedation and drowsiness were some of them.

In conclusion, I was able to extract a pretty good summary of green tea/l-theanine by using a pretty simple word frequency method. Given that now I have this code, I can just change the supplement keywords and create a similar summary for any other supplement. It’s definitely much faster than scrolling through the subreddit, looking for relevant posts.