Bioavailability of Lithium
There have been many studies since, but pro-pharmaceutical advocates love to spew out faulty data arguing its validity.
So let’s be very clear once and for all regarding the truth behind this highly quoted study.
It’s all about Bioavailability.
Lithium whether prescription or non-prescription is in the form of a salt so that the lithium ion is attached to salts like carbonate from carbonic acid, citrate from citric acid, or orotate from orotic acid. The idea when taking any form of lithium is getting the absorption of the elemental lithium; which is what is effective.
Elemental Lithium Toxic?
Now, lithium, being a trace mineral, is only tolerated in small amounts. In fact, we need small amounts of all trace minerals for our health. Just with any substance on the planet, including water, too much can be toxic.
So the trick is to give the body what it needs, thus improving health without giving too much so as to be toxic.
Lithium has been long known for it healing properties regarding mental conditions such as bi-polar and manic disorders.
In the 1940’s lithium chloride was used as a substitute for table salt, but after some reported deaths due to toxic effects, was promptly prohibited after the toxic effects.
This has lead many to logically believe that lithium chloride is toxic, but this is not necessarily true. People aware of the effect of lithium on mood actually used the salt in excess. Of course, at the time it was unknown that the salt was in fact toxic in large amounts.
Lithium chloride, just as with sodium (table salt), is a necessary element we need for health. However, as we all are well aware, table salt when used in excess can have extremely harmful effects on our health. So the balance is what we need to find.
Just as with lithium carbonate, lithium chloride seems to have been toxic due to the poor bioavailability of the carrier salt that the lithium was attached to.
This is where orotates come in.
Orotates, discovered by Dr. Hans Nieper, were found to be a component of natural electrolyte carriers designed for distributing minerals throughout the body.
Based on Dr. Nieper’s observations of cells, he concluded that molecules of minerals attached to an orotate carrier can pass through cell membranes intact without breaking apart into their component ions.
This was ground breaking because it was found that the respective ions of the mineral could be release at specific membrane sites within the cell.
This is what is known as the bioavailability of the orotate carrier of minerals and it has been applied to calcium, magnesium, zinc, as well as lithium.
Why that 1979 Study was Flawed
The study was simple:
There were 3 groups of rats, one group of rats was injected with lithium carbonate, one group was injected with lithium orotate and the third group (the control group) was injected with sodium chloride (salt).
All injections were of equal amounts.
Now remember that the premise of lithium orotate is that less amounts of elemental lithium is required to achieve the same effects of lithium carbonate.
The results of the study concluded that kidney function was lowered in the rats that were given lithium orotate after injected than those that were given lithium carbonate. Based on this study, they advised against the use of lithium orotate for treatment in patients.
Yikes for lithium orotate lovers as well as for ‘natural is better’ advocates…or is it?
There was a major flaw in the study; it was that of equal injections. Again, the whole idea of lithium orotate is that less is needed to achieve the effect of the lithium, making it a safer effective option to lithium carbonate.
It’s all about the elemental absorbability of the lithium.
Briefly: Taking a look at typical lithium dosages
- 300 mg of Lithium carbonate contains ~ 60 mg of elemental lithium
- 1 – 2 capsules TIB (3 times per day)
- Equals 180 – 360 mg of elemental lithium
- 100 mg of lithium orotate contains ~ 5 mg of elemental lithium
- 1 – 2 tablets TIB
- Equals 15 – 30 mg of elemental lithium
Can you see the tremendous flaw of the study unfolding?
If equal amounts of the lithium orotate and lithium carbonate were used, using the amount of lithium carbonate as the standard amount, then equal amounts of lithium orotate would be an incredible overdose in comparison.
In simple terms, lithium orotate is absorbed faster than lithium carbonate so lower doses of lithium orotate are need to achieve the same effect of lithium carbonate.
You don’t have to be a scientist to realize that the same large amounts required for lithium carbonate are significantly less when using lithium orotate!
Actually, this study proved the effectiveness lithium orotate over lithium carbonate by the very result of the lower renal function at the same dosages.
Real scientists (a real scientists is a person in the search of knowledge and truth, not special interest) would have realized this obvious result, which in comparison the lithium orotate was 700% in excess to that of lithium carbonate!
Then, finally the flaw became apparent scientists stepped-up and preformed a follow-up study; Kling, Manowitz and Pollack concluded:
“These data suggest the possibility that lower doses of lithium orotate than lithium carbonate may achieve therapeutic brain lithium concentrations and relatively stable serum concentrations.”
Dr. Ward Dean, M.D said it best,
“Prescription lithium is poorly absorbed by the cells, where it needs to be to do its job. Because it is so poorly absorbed, blood levels need to be fairly high to “drive it into the cells.” Unfortunately, these “therapeutic” blood levels are dangerously close to the toxic level. That’s why patients on prescription lithium need to be carefully monitored. The level needs to be high enough to push the lithium into the cells, but not too high to pickle the kidneys.
However, with lithium orotate, it is not necessary to reach “therapeutic” blood levels, because it seems to go right into the cells where it belongs, and where it can do its intended job. I think a more effective way to determine whether lithium orotate is working, and whether an adequate dose has been prescribed, is to monitor the patient. Usually, asking them how they feel is enough. The effects are evident to the patient, as well as to the people around him. I think doing a blood test when taking lithium orotate is a waste of blood.”
Well thank you! Maybe now we are getting somewhere…think again!
Despite the Research, the Blinders Stay On!
Despite the research and potential applications of this impressive mineral, the conventional medical establish won’t open their eyes to anything that sways their away from their decade after decade dogmatic posture. To prove this allegation,
An article from the National Institute on Aging entitled, “Lithium Shows Promise Against Alzheimer’s in Mouse Model” found that lithium blocked an enzyme crucial to the formation of Alzheimer’s plaques.
“In mouse neurons expressing amyloid precursor protein, lithium significantly reduced production of beta amyloid. A therapeutic dose of lithium also markedly reduced beta amyloid production in an animal model of Alzheimer’s disease — mice carrying mutations that are known to cause inherited Alzheimer’s disease in humans.”
This is excited news in the fight against this debilitating disease yet these brilliant scientists determined the following:
“Although widely used to treat bipolar disorder, lithium’s propensity to cause side-effects may limit its use in older people, who are more susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease,” cautioned Peter Klein, M.D., University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, who led the research team, which was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and the National Institute on Aging (NIA).
But they did shed some perceived light:
“Lithium also protects neurons from stimuli that trigger programmed neuronal cell death in Alzheimer’s disease. Pending development of new medications that target the enzyme, the researchers suggest that lithium “might be considered for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease, especially in younger patients with an inherited form of Alzheimer’s disease or Down’s syndrome.”
Why are so-called scientists blind to the obvious time and time again?
I agree whole heartedly that lithium carbonate indeed could cause problems in older patients especially when using at therapeutic dosages; however, why not lithium orotate which has no side effects at therapeutic levels?
Contradiction in Terms!
The National Institute on Aging tag line is “Leading the federal effort on aging research.”
Really? When did research become so selective and inclusive?
There are those who feel there is a conspiracy against actually finding the cure of our major disease and health conditions because if a cure for anything were really found, the billions of dollars lost to the endless assembly line of AMA manufactured scientist in the “search for the cure” would be lost.
After all the hours upon hours of research that I have done regarding supplements, deficiencies, and our ever claiming disease statistics despite the intake of prescription. If it isn’t’ a conspiracy, then these scientists are truly the most ignorant scientists ever.
Because only ignorant scientists would be a scientist uninterested in researching ALL options and possibilities with unbiasedness, after all isn’t that what our mighty scientific method was created to do?