Lithium is a trace mineral (alkali metal) much like sodium and potassium.
It is most known for its use in treating mental health disorders such as bipolar or manic-depressive disorder.
Researchers now believe lithium to be an essential mineral.
What does Lithium do?
This trace mineral has been used as a mood stabilizer for decades. It is used in the form of lithium salts such as prescription lithium carbonate or lithium citrate and non-prescription lithium orotate or lithium aspartate.
Clinical research has found lithium active in the following functions:
- Protecting brain cells from toxicity
- Promoting brain cell regeneration
- Increasing gray matter of the brain
- Regulating brain neurotransmitters
- Supporting healthy mood balance
- Improving blood sugar metabolism
Ongoing research is finding lithium to be a key element in brain “anti-aging” due to its ability to increase brain cell mass, which in turn increases mental alertness and memory.
A study done by The Lancet found, “Lithium exerts neurotrophic or neuroprotective effects“.
What does that mean?
- Neurotrophic refers to a family of proteins that induce the healthy development, function and survival of neurons.
- Neuroprotective refers to processes within the nervous system that protects neurons from degeneration.
Increased neuroprotective effects in brain cells prevents cell death caused by neurotoxins, free radicals, chemicals that deplete brain cells including alcohol and drugs, radiation, and dangerous stress induced hormones such as cortisol.
There has even been evidence that lithium may enhance the proliferation and specialization of neural stem cells.
This proves to be exciting because we know that brain cells are lost during the aging process, and the action of lithium on these cells seems to replace the lost brain cells.
Research surrounding lithium and other disorders and diseases from migraine headaches to Grave’s disease is just beginning.
Conditions that Lithium May Help
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- ADHD/ ADD
- Bipolar Disorder
- Brain Injury due to vaccines; Methylmercury (thimerosal), toxins
- Cerebral Palsy
- Cluster Headaches
- Depression and Mood Disorders
- Childhood Epilepsy
- Alcoholism and Drug Recovery
- Liver disease; Hepatitis, Cirrhosis
- Herpes Simplex Viruses (HSV 1 & 2)
- Measles Virus
- Adenovirus (Common Cold)
- Epstein – Barr virus (Mononucleosis)
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Migraine Headaches
- Grave’s Disease (Hyperthyroidism)
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Stroke, Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)
Evidence is now showing that areas of low lithium content in the environment has dramatic effects on the population.
Tracking the amounts of minerals, toxins and chemicals in an environment can be simply done by measuring the content found in hair, blood or urine. By studying the amount of lithium in the systems of people in different populations, a graph of behavior can be measured.
Research has shown that areas containing low amounts of lithium experience more cases of “neurosis, schizophrenia, psychosis, psychiatric ward admissions, homicide, suicide, burglary, and runaways.”
These kinds of trends have also been noted for other trace minerals lacking in the environment. For example, an increase in the incidence of arthritis and osteoporosis in areas lacking in the trace mineral boron.
Typical dosages of lithium orotate range from 30 mg – 800 mg per day. The higher dosages are usually broken up into 3 dosages per day and are most often for those with bi-polar or manic disorders, those recovering from alcoholism, or some of the other disorders listed in ‘Conditions that Lithium May Help’.
It is best to start with 1 tablet of 120 mg (~5 mg of elemental) 1 – 3 times per day. This is most often sufficient.
However, especially in some bi-polar or manic disorders, an increase to 2 tablets 3 times a day may prove to be more effective. In rare cases, up to a total of 8 tablets broken into 3 doses per day may be used until stabile. After that a lower dose can be used.
For maintenance, typically 1 tablet twice per day.
For more information, please see ‘Lithium Orotate: Misleading Research’ as well as all lithium articles listed at the bottom of this page. An excellent website for further lithium orotate research can be found at Lithium Orotate Works!
Lithium orotate should never be confused with lithium carbonate.
Based on research, Lithium carbonate should not be taken if you:
- Require a prescription
- Have Renal disease
- Have Cardiovascular disease
- Are Severely Ill
- Suffer from dehydration
- Take Diuretics
- Take ACE inhibitors
- Take beta-blockers or other anti-hypertension drugs
- Take Insulin
- There are many side effects
Lithium carbonate can be toxic; blood levels must be checked regularly.
The following is the run down on Lithium orotate:
- Lithium orotate is not a prescription drug
- It is non-toxic
- No blood tests are necessary
- There are no known adverse side effects or drug interactions
Lithium orotate is NOT toxic.
An excerpt from The Importance of Lithium Supplementation by Jonathan V. Wright, M.D.
Using Lithium Safely
Over a decade ago, a woman visited the Tahoma Clinic on the advice of her psychiatrist. She was severely bipolar, requiring a maximum dose of lithium carbonate to keep her symptoms under control. Despite close monitoring of serum lithium levels to maintain a safe range, she was starting to show many signs of lithium toxicity, including hypertension, tremor, nausea, and protein in her urine. She and her psychiatrist had tried other medications, but none provided the control of her bipolar symptoms that lithium did. So she came to the Tahoma Clinic to see if there were any natural options for her.
Fortunately, there was a simple solution. Without changing her lithium dose, the clinic doctor treating her asked the woman to start taking 1 tablespoon of flaxseed oil along with 800 IU of vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) three times a day. One month later, the woman’s blood pressure had normalized, her tremors and nausea were gone, and there was no further protein in the urine. And best of all, her bipolar symptoms remained under control. At that point, she was able to cut the flaxseed oil to 1 tablespoon daily along with 400 IU of vitamin E. Several years later, her lithium toxicity hasn’t returned.
To be on the safe side, we always recommend that anyone taking lithium also take a teaspoonful or two of fish oils (or other essential fatty acid such as BIOMEGA-3) along with 400 IU of vitamin E (as mixed tocopherols) each day.
This example involved toxic lithium carbonate, not lithium orotate and yet the toxic symptoms were still reversed and then prevented from returning with a simple few supplements that people should be taking everyday anyway.
Edited by Susan Hartman, Co-Founder and Content Editor of The Triad of Life, Inc.
- Lithium Orotate: Misleading Research
- Lithium – The Misunderstood Mineral Part 1
- Lithium – The Misunderstood Mineral Part 2
- Potential Role for Lithium in Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease
- The Safe, Unique Mineral with Multiple Uses