Postpartum psychosis stories

I think it’s very important to talk about this condition that not everyone is aware of – postpartum psychosis. Postpartum psychosis is when psychosis occurs sometime after a woman gives birth, it’s a separate condition from postpartum depression. Below I have posted links to several stories of postpartum psychosis. One important message stated was that a woman would likely not be aware that she is suffering from psychosis. The delusions/hallucinations that occur during psychosis feel very real to the patient. If a woman had never experienced psychosis before and maybe even was not aware of existence of postpartum psychosis, it would be quite difficult for her to understand in that state that what she is experiencing is not real and is a serious medical condition.

I think it’s very useful for everyone to hear these stories below and to be aware what are the symptoms. During psychosis the person can have auditory hallucinations, hear voices, they can also feel that objects/people are sending them messages. In one of the stories a woman described how during her psychotic episode she heard voices coming from the radiator and thought that different colours were sending her messages. Insomnia can also be a symptom of psychosis and can exacerbate the lack of sleep caused by having a new born, and lack of sleep in turn can exacerbate psychotic symptoms. Another woman tells her story of how she started to see her mom, who actually passed away. She also hallucinated a man in her house who she thought was planning to kill her. Manic symptoms can also occur such as believing that there is a divine intervention and you are now being able to know things that others can’t, believing that you can achieve anything such as learning a language overnight, as well as rapid speech and sleeping only a few hours a day.

Postpartum psychosis – Katy’s story

Postpartum psychosis – story #2

Postpartum psychosis – story #3

Off-topic, using NLP to summarize Russian propaganda articles on the invasion of Ukraine

I have a pretty simple article summarizer in python that I use for my blog. It’s not machine learning, it’s pretty basic – collecting N articles based on a search query, cleaning up the text, tokenizing, removing stop words. Then word frequencies are calculated and each sentence is scored based on those frequencies. Top N sentences are selected for the summary.

I usually use it to summarize articles on some specific supplements, but today for fun I decided to try a different search query. My query was “путин россия украина спецоперация”. I think that even though this summarizer is pretty simple, the summary turned out to be pretty meaningful. It gives a pretty good overview of what sort of info you would get if you were reading Russian news. I selected the top 15 sentences for the summary.

Что касается слов президента о спецоперации на Донбассе, то они показывают, что наши военнослужащие снова спасают мир от коричневой чумы нацизма, и все поставленные задачи, вне всякого сомнения, будут выполнены. Верховный главнокомандующий еще раз подтвердил, спецоперация на Украине будет доведена до своего логического завершения по тем задачам, которые он озвучил 24 февраля, в день начала СВО», — сказал полковник. И президент в своей речи указал на союзников из Европы, Азии, Африки и Латинской Америки, которые не прогибаются перед так называемым гегемоном, выбирают суверенный путь развития и хотят коллективно решать вопросы безопасности и сформировать многополярный мир.

Украинские издания утверждают, что СНБО одобрил санкции против патриарха Кирилла, а также Сергея Кириенко, Евгения Пригожина, Романа Абрамовича, Олега Дерипаски, Михаила Фридмана, Виктора Медведчука, а также Виктора Януковича. Наш долг перед памятью миллионов жертв Второй мировой войны — жестко реагировать на попытки фальсификации истории, противодействовать распространению любых форм неонацизма, русофобии и расизма», — призвал президент. Все указывает на то, что временной, человеческий, материальный, дипломатический ресурс «спецоперации» близится к исчерпанию, и Путин делает решительный шаг, чтобы закончить как можно скорее, зафиксировав прибыли и убытки. “Наша задача, наша миссия, солдат, ополченцев Донбасса – эту войну прекратить, защитить людей и, конечно, защитить саму Россию”, – подчеркнул Путин.

Выступление Путина демонстрирует готовность Вооруженных сил России довести специальную военную операцию на Украине до победного конца, пояснил URA.RU военный эксперт, ветеран разведки, полковник Анатолий Матвийчук. Война, развязанная Западом и киевской хунтой, будет закончена», — заключил Красов. Российское высокоточное оружие опережает иностранные аналоги на годы и десятилетия, при этом значительно превосходит их по тактико-техническим характеристикам, а оборонная промышленность лежит в основе суверенитета России, отметил президент.

Говоря о шагах со стороны Запада, ранее председатель комиссии Госдумы по расследованию фактов вмешательства иностранных государств во внутренние дела России Василий Пискарев заявлял о том, что зарубежные НКО насаждают радикальные идеологии в российском обществе, сообщает РАПСИ. «Сперва коллективный Запад изощрялся доказать, что якобы „разорвал в клочья“ российскую экономику, теперь там думают, что изолировали нашу страну от всего остального мира. Вооруженные силы России надежно защищают свою страну и несут свободу другим народам, заявил Путин, открывая работу форума «Армия-2022» и Армейских международных игр — 2022. «У России в запасе есть несколько военных вариантов, и для США и их союзников по НАТО эти сценарии — серьезный повод для беспокойства», — пишет журнал. Несмотря на то, что Запад был воодушевлен последними «успехами» ВСУ, генерал США Марк Милли призвал опасаться непредсказуемости России.

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.