Chemistry Cat: Cats are composed of iron, lithium and neon: FeLiNe

Contents

Is Lithium The Drug Different Than The “Natural” Forms?

There’s a lot of misinformation about lithium.  A lot of mainstream sources (WebMD, for instance) seem to suggest that lithium prescribed as a treatment for depression or bipolar disorder (as carbonate or chloride salts and in higher doses) work differently than over the counter lithium orotate.

All the research I’ve seen talk about the ion lithium, which would make the type of lithium salt, not that relevant except for how bioavailable it is and how capable it is in crossing the brain barrier.

Some people say that the over the counter version – lithium orotate – passes the brain barrier much more efficiently than the other versions.

Even assuming the possibility of some differences in dosage, studies about one form of lithium can very likely be generalized to others.

My Experience

The usual dosage taken is 5 mg, but I decided to take 15 mg to see what would happen. I can say that there’s definitely a subtle cognitive effect. It’s definitely got an anti-depressant and anti-anxiety effect and it seemed to lengthen the period of my circadian rhythm, as I started to feel tired later on.

On the negative side, it made more zoned out.  It also made me feel less attached to everything. The fact that I felt acute effects at 15mg suggests me that lithium orotate passes the brain barrier efficiently, perhaps even more so since a much higher dosage of lithium carbonate is standardly used.

Anyway, I’m glad I did the experiment so that I now know lithium orotate is definitely having an effect and I can use it in my coaching practice.

This suggests that at least some of the benefits of other lithium salts prescribed by doctors can be achieved through the orotate version commonly sold.

The Lithium That I Use

Lithium

  • Longevity9.0/10
  • Inflammation8.0/10
  • Mood9.7/10
  • Cognition9.5/10
  • Energy8.5/10

     Pros

  • Great for emotional balance, including anxiety and depression
  • Improves Cognitive performance.
  • Increases lifespan
  • Increases bone density
  • Improves mitochondria

        Cons

  • May increases IL-8 in the gut
  • May cause some fatigue
  • May inhibit thyroid function a bit

Lithium is an alkali metal, naturally present in trace amounts in minerals, water, soil, and in fruits, vegetables and other plants grown in lithium-rich soil (R).

Lithium plays a role in proper function of several enzymes, hormones, vitamins, growth factors, and immune and nervous system (R).

Aside from helping patients with mental health issues, lithium has a wide and ever-growing list of health benefits.

The Health Benefits of Lithium

1) Lithium is Neuroprotective

Chronic lithium treatment was found to robustly reduce glutamate-induced excitotoxicity mediated by N-methyl-D-asparatate (NMDA) receptors. This effect was at least partly due to lithium’s ability to inhibit the influx of calcium, which mediates NMDA receptor activity. (R)

Therefore, lithium can help mood disorders, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cancer, and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases (R).

2) Lithium Inhibits Apoptosis

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Lithium increases Heat Shock Proteins (HSPs), which promote folding of proteins, refolding of misfolded proteins, and disposal of abnormal proteins (R).

Among HSPs, HSP70 exerts a wide variety of neuroprotective effects against apoptosis. These effects are mediated by inhibition of GSK-3 (R). Lithium also inhibits GSK-3 (R).

Chronic lithium treatment also has been found to induce the production of Bcl-2, a protein in the frontal cortex that protects cells from apoptosis (R).

3) Lithium Increases Neurotrophic Factors BDNF, NGF, and GDNF

Long-term treatment of cultured neurons with lithium induces BDNF. (R)

BDNF is a major neurotrophin essential for cognitive development, synaptic plasticity, and neuronal survival with anti-depressants and anti-anxiety effects. (R)

This is likely a result of inhibition of GSK-3. (R)

Lithium also increases Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) and Glial-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (GDNF) in the hippocampus, frontal cortex, occipital cortex and striatum (R). NGF and GDNF help increase neuronal survival and plasticity (the ability to regenerate and form new connections) of dopaminergic, cholinergic, and serotonergic neurons in the central nervous system.

4) Lithium Helps Remodel The Brain and Heart (VEGF)

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Lithium treatment increases the production of VEGF, which promotes cell growth and remodeling of the blood vessels after stroke (R).

By increasing VEGF , lithium treatment can help people recover more quickly from a stroke or a heart attack (R).

The likely mechanism is by inhibiting GSK-3 (R).

5) Lithium Induces Autophagy

Autophagy or “cellular self-eating” is when the cells degrade and recycle cellular components to reuse the raw materials (R). It is considered anti-aging, cancer-preventing, and important for neuronal function and survival (R, R2).

Lithium can induce autophagy by depleting inositol independently of mTOR inhibition (which typically induces autophagy) (R).

Because lithium induces autophagy, it may be particularly helpful for neurodegenerative disorders – Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS and Huntington’s because these disorders are, in part, characterized by the accumulation of misfolded disease-causing proteins (R).

6) Lithium Increases Neurogenesis and Improves Cognitive Function

Lithium was found to stimulate progenitor and stem cells in cultured brain hippocampal neurons (neurons from the memory center). In addition, lithium prevents the loss of proliferation induced by glutamate or cortisol (glucocorticoids). Long-term lithium treatment then promotes the conversion of these progenitor cells into neurons.  (R)

In addition, chronic lithium treatment not only enhances neurogenesis in the hippocampus (memory center) of normal mice but also restores neurogenesis in the brain in an animal model of Down’s syndrome (R).

It also increases neurogenesis in the subventricular zone, the only other place except for the hippocampus (memory center) that it’s been found to occur, causing a sustained increase in gray matter volume in patients (R).

Lithium increases N-acetyl aspartate (NAA) (R), which may be a marker of creativity and is correlated with IQ scores (R). One probable effect is more efficient communication between two sides of the brain, which enhances intellectual performance. (R)

Chronic lithium treatment increases long-term potentiation (LTP) in neurons of the hippocampus, which makes the nerve cells more efficient, and thus helps with learning and memory (R).

7) Lithium Can Calm and Stabilize Mood

In animals, lithium consistently decreases exploratory activity and aggression. (R)

Lithium is known to have a calming and mood stabilizing effect in people as well and is used to treat depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia (R).

Lithium carbonate is the drug of choice for control of manic-depressive illness, reducing manic attacks (RR2R3).

Lithium was also shown to be effective for aggressive behavior in people with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (R).

The presence of higher than normal levels of naturally occurring lithium in drinking water supplies may reduce suicide rates (R). Part of the explanation could be because lithium increases serotonin synthesis and release (it also decreases norepinephrine) (R).

Lithium increases CCK in the brain and this is part of the mechanism by which lithium prevents mania in bipolar.

8) Lithium Combats Depression

Lithium is one of the best-studied strategies for treatment-resistant depression (R).

Lithium increases serotonin 5-HT1A postsynaptic sensitivity, which is in part responsible for its anti-depressant activity. (R)

Lithium also elevates BDNF (R, R2), which combats depression.

Lithium ameliorates depression in animals, in part, by increasing neural stem cells.

9) Lithium May Be a Potential Treatment for Huntington’s Disease

Lithium prevented nerve cells death in animal models of Huntington’s disease (RR2).

Lithium decreases excessive NMDA receptor function which could potentially counteract increased activation of NMDA receptors that occurs in the brain of patients with Huntington’s disease (R).

Further studies need to be conducted in patients with Huntington’s disease.

10) Lithium Decreases Insulin Resistance

Lithium enhances insulin-stimulated glucose transport and glycogen synthesis in insulin-resistant muscle in rats (R). These effects are dependent on p38 MAPK (R).

Lithium decreases insulin release (R).

Administration of lithium significantly increased glucose transport into muscle cells in response to insulin by 2.5 fold, and also increased insulin responsiveness (R).

11) Lithium Reduces Autoimmunity and Inflammation

Lithium has potent immune-boostering effects (RR2).

By inhibiting GSK-3,  lithium has been found to beneficial in animal models of autoimmune conditions. (R)

Lithium suppresses Th1 cells and interferon gamma (but not Th17 cells). (R)

Lithium has anti-inflammatory effects by decreasing the production of IL-1β and TNF-α, and increasing the production of IL-2, TGF, IL-1RA and IL-10 (R, R2).

However, studies indicate that under certain experimental conditions lithium also has pro-inflammatory effects by increasing production of IL-4, IL-6 and TNF-α (R).

Lithium increases the production of IgG and IgM antibodies (R).

Lithium decreases the production and activity of prostanglandins, thus preventing its negative effect on the immune system (R).

Lithium decreases the frequency and duration of recurrent labial and genital herpes infections, and reduced the occurrence of common colds (RR2)

12) Lithium Supports Bone Health

A study assessed bone mineral density at the hip and lumbar spine in 75 lithium-treated outpatients and 75 normal subjects matched for age, sex, and body mass index. The study found a lower bone turnover state in those receiving lithium. The mean bone density in lithium-treated patients was 4.5% higher at the spine, 5.3% higher at the femoral neck and 7.5% higher at the trochanter (R).

Lithium is associated with a decrease in the risk of bone fractures, and an increase in bone formation (RR2R3).

13) Lithium Can Helps Entrain Our Circadian Rhythm

Lithium is the drug of choice for treating patients suffering from bipolar disorder, which is characterized by the presence of mania and depression (R).

One mechanism by which lithium can help bipolar disorder is by lengthening the circadian rhythm. People with bipolar disorder tend to have a shorter circadian rhythm than the near 24h period (R).

Lithium helps entrain our circadian rhythm more quickly in response to light and darkness (R).

14) Lithium Improves Mitochondrial Function

Lithium treatment of worms increased lifespan and improved markers of health, including mitochondrial energy output (R).

Lithium may improve mitochondrial function by increasing the turnover of dysfunctional mitochondria (R).

Also, lithium inhibits mir-34a, which in turn inhibits NAMPT, the enzyme that makes NAD+ (R, R2). Therefore, lithium probably increases NAD+.

15) Low Dose Lithium Increases Longevity

Researchers have found a positive correlation between lifespan and drinking-water lithium levels.  There was a decreased risk for all causes of death in Japanese neighborhoods with higher lithium levels.

This is also the case in worms. Long-term low-dose exposure to lithium may exert anti-aging capabilities and unambiguously decreases mortality in evolutionary distinct species” (R). The improvements in health were accompanied by improved mitochondrial function. (R)

16) Lithium May Improve Symptoms of Tourette’s Syndrome

Tourette’s syndrome is a neurological disorder, characterized by involuntary muscle movements and uncontrollable vocal sounds (R).

In a small study involving 3 patients, lithium had a better outcome than haloperidol, a commonly-prescribed drug for Tourette’s. Patients who were taking lithium experienced a significant decrease in the number of tics and involuntary vocal sounds. Patients experienced no side effects, and were symptoms free months later (R).

17) Lithium May Help with Tardive Dyskinesia

Tardive dyskinesia is a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary sudden, jerky movements of the face and/or body caused by the long-term use of antipsychotic drugs (R).

Studies showed that lithium significantly reduced the severity of tardive dyskinesia (R, R2, R3).

Lithium decreased agitation and aggression, and improved involuntary movements (R, R2).

However, two large studies failed to report consistent effects of lithium on tardive dyskinesia (R, R2)

18) Lithium Helps with Obsessive-Compulsive Behaviors

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental disorder characterized by obsessive thoughts and behaviors (R).

Lithium supplementation is associated with a decrease in symptoms of OCD that are resistant to standard therapy (R).

Compulsive and pathological gamblers also had a good response to lithium supplementation, possibly by regulating dopamine imbalances in the brain (R).

19) Lithium May Relieve Headache

Lithium may reduce the severity of both chronic and episodic cluster headache (R).

Lithium carbonate given before sleep helped with “alarm clock headache” (a headache that affects the elderly waking them from sleep at the same time of the night) (R, R2, R3).

20) Lithium May Be Effective in Anorexia Nervosa

Patients suffering from anorexia nervosa for many years were treated successfully with lithium carbonate (R, R2).

One patient gained 12 kg and the other 9 kg within 6 weeks, and the weight gain was maintained for a year with lithium therapy (R).

However, further studies with lithium are needed to assess its usefulness in anorexia nervosa.

21) Lithium May Be Effective for Treating Alcoholism

Lithium orotate is useful in the treatment of alcoholism.

It was safe, and the side effects were minor such as muscle weakness, loss of appetite, or mild apathy (R).

Lithium carbonate promotes abstinence from alcohol, diminishes subjective symptoms of withdrawal, and delays the time to first drink (RR2).

Patients treated with lithium were much less likely to be rehospitalized for alcoholism rehabilitation during the 18-month follow-up (R).

22) Lithium May Reduce Seizures

The effect of lithium on seizure disorders is still controversial (R).

Some epileptic patients show a statistically significant decrease in seizures frequency as well as improved behavior when treated with lithium (R).

It may be useful in the control of treatment-resistant temporal lobe epilepsy (R).

However, a few epileptic patients experience an increased number of seizures while on lithium (R, R2, R3).

23) Lithium May Relieve Symptoms of Meniere’s Disease

Meniere’s disease is a disorder of the ear that causes severe dizziness, ringing in the ears, hearing loss, and a feeling of fullness in the ear (R).

70% of patients with Meniere’s disease experienced less frequent and severe attacks when on lithium treatment (R).

However, a study with patients given 6 months of lithium and 6 months of placebo showed no difference between the two treatments (R).

 Other

Genetic Factors that Affect Responses to Lithium

5-HTTLPR (SLC6A4) Serotonin Transporter

Subjects with 2 copies of the short form of this gene show a worse response to lithium than those with the long form (R).

Relevant snps: The presence of rs25531 (not in 23andme) may indicate the long form.

GSK3beta -50T/C

This SNP is a source of variability between responses to lithium in bipolar patients, although the results are mixed (R, R2, R3).

The C allele is associated with better response to antidepressants with lithium augmentation (R).

Potential Risks/Negatives

Lithium has numerous side effects and can be toxic at high doses.

The severity of symptoms is generally proportional to the degree of elevation of blood lithium levels (R).

Most Common Side Effects of Lithium

The most common side effects of lithium therapy include (R):

  • headache
  • lethargy and fatigue. This may be a result of a significant reduction in orexin-producing cells and through reducing thyroid function.
  • drowsiness
  • hand tremors
  • muscle weakness
  • nausea/vomiting
  • diarrhea

Symptoms of Moderate Lithium Toxicity

Moderate toxicity (serum lithium concentration =2.0 – 2.5 mmol/L) is characterized by  (R)

  • confusion
  • dysarthria
  • nystagmus
  • ataxia
  • muscle twitches
  • ECG changes (flat or inverted T waves)

Symptoms of Severe Lithium Toxicity

Symptoms of severe toxicity (serum lithium concentration> 2.5 mmol/L) include (R):

  • impaired consciousness
  • seizures
  • syncope
  • kidney insufficiency
  • coma and death

Lithium May Lower Thyroid Function

Lithium decreases production and release of thyroid hormones, thus hypothyroidism is very prevalent among patients on lithium therapy (RR2R3R4).

Studies reported that goiter (enlargement of the thyroid gland) occurred in 50-60% of patients treated with lithium (R, R2R3R4).

Hyperthyroidism occurs rarely, and it is characterized by transient and painless inflammation of the thyroid gland (thyroiditis) due to a possible toxic effect of lithium on the thyroid gland (RR2R3).

Lithium induces thyroid autoimmunity by increasing B cell activity and decreasing ratios of suppressor to cytotoxic T cells (R). As a result, 20% of lithium-treated patients have thyroid auto-antibodies.

Lithium may also be useful in combination with radioactive iodine in the treatment of thyroid cancer (R).

Other Negative Effects of Lithium

  • Lithium is a competitive inhibitor of magnesium, which is part of its mechanism of action (R).
  • Lithium may increase inflammation in the intestines- IL-8 (R) and Nf-kB (R).  If you have colitis or Crohn’s I would not take this. Colitis is caused in part by IL-8 and this increases IL-8 (R).

Special Precautions

  • Pregnancy and breast-feeding: lithium can be toxic to a developing baby and increase the risk of birth defects. It can enter breast milk and cause side effects in a nursing infant
  • Heart disease: lithium should be carefully used in patients with preexisting heart disease because it may cause irregular heart rhythms
  • Kidney disease: lithium removal from the body by the kidneys is decreased in patients with kidney disease, and the risk of lithium intoxication increases considerably in this setting
  • Thyroid disease: lithium may make thyroid problems worse

Lithium Deficiency

Lithium deficiency caused by low dietary intakes, or due to certain diseases (kidney disease especially in dialysis patients) is unlikely to happen in humans.

If deficiency occurs, symptoms are mild and manifest primarily as behavioral problems (R).

Lithium Drug Interactions

Both antidepressant drugs (such as Prozac®, Zoloft®, Elavil®, Anafranil®, Tofranil®) and lithium increase serotonin. Taking lithium with these medications could cause serious side effects such as heart problems, shivering, and anxiety (RR2).

In patients treated with both lithium and an antipsychotic (haloperidol, thioridazine, chlorpromazine, clozapine and risperidone), toxicity to the brain ranges from extrapyramidal symptoms (continuous muscle spasms or jerky movements) to neuroleptic malignant syndrome (RR2R3R4).

Taking lithium along with medications used to prevent seizures, anticonvulsants, (phenobarbital, valproic acid, carbamazepine) may increase the risk of toxic effects from these drugs (RR2).

Medications for high blood pressure (ACE inhibitors- Capoten®, Vasotec®, Prinivil®; calcium channel blockers- Adalat®, Calan®, Cardizem®, DynaCirc®) can increase lithium levels in the body thus increase its side effects (RR2R3R4).

Diuretics, water pills, (hydrochlorothiazide, chlorothiazide, furosemide) increase blood lithium concentrations by reducing lithium removal by the kidneys (RR2),

Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac) decrease lithium removal by the kidneys, and thus increase blood lithium concentrations (RR2R3).

Taking lithium along with muscle relaxants (pancuronium, succinylcholine) might prolong muscle relaxation (RR2).

Taking lithium along with dextromethorphan (Robitussin DM®), meperidine (Demerol®), or tramadol (Ultram®) may increase serotonin in the brain, and cause serious side effects including heart problems, shivering and anxiety (RR2).

Acetazolamide, theophylline, sodium bicarbonate can lower blood lithium concentrations by increasing lithium excretion in urine (R).

Dietary Sources of Lithium

Primary dietary sources of lithium are grains and vegetables, which may contribute from 66% to more than 90% of the total lithium intake (R).

Cacao, oats, seafood (shrimp, lobster, oysters and scallops), seaweed, beef liver, goji berries, various fruits and vegetables (depending on the soil in which they are grown) and egg yolks are significant sources of lithium (R).

Buying Lithium

I generally go for lithium orotate, but lithium aspartate is also fine.

Dosing

If you’re completely healthy, I recommend 1-2 mg a day in the long term. There is an association with low doses of lithium (1-2mg) and longevity (R).

However, I wouldn’t expect to feel anything at that dosage.  I’ve been taking 1mg for quite a few months, with no noticeable effect.  I’ve recently upped it to 5mg.

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The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.

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96 COMMENTS

  • Jaime

    Maybe Serotonin Syndrome? I’d check with a qualified Naturopathic physician if possible.

  • Jaime

    Good question. That’s what I was just searching for – what time of day is best to take Lithium Orotate? I took it yesterday evening and felt a pleasant relaxation. Didn’t knock me out tho it was rather gentle.

    I’ve read it can actually help cancer.

  • Jaime

    Lori – same here! I have had severe mold toxicity and Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome for the past decade or two. Started w a new Naturopathic Clinic last week, and this was one of the first things they recommended. I was having to take Xanax occasionally again bc of the extreme severity of anxiety (likely caused by biotoxic environment and CIRS).

    My Dad grabbed me a bottle yesterday and after a little research, I dove in. Wow! Within one hour I felt sooooo much more normal!! I do not feel like I am in a mental state of crisis anymore. Really, truly amazing. I was pretty skeptical… thank you, God. I pray this can continue to help me so that eventually I won’t need the Xanax even in emergencies. Well, this and a host of other Holistic treatment methods.

    While I realize this is probably not The Holy Grail, I am just so hopeful. I am experiencing too much heightened sensitivies from the mold, and in dire need of something to assist this. We will be treating the mold asap, but for now, I actually feel less bothered by it!

    Thanks for your comment bc it really resonated w me and I want to say a big “ditto” to all that! 😉 Many blessings to you and your path of healing. I understand feeling older. I am 34, but I have been feeling 84. No way to live!!

    Jaime 🙂

    P.s. I am taking 20mg Lithium OROTATE, 1x a Day.
    Also, I cut out added sugars and gluten 1 year ago. I highly recommend this for anyone looking to reduce anger, hostility, aggression, etc…

  • Sam

    Joe,

    Are you still taking it? How come you stopped if it have brain protective effects?

  • Hermes

    It’s important to distinguish low dose lithium orotate from the conventional high dose lithiumcarbonate. The references in this post refer to articles which are about the latter, of which the effect and side effects can’t be compared to low dose lithium orotate.
    You might want to consider editing the article, and either make a clear distinction between the two or leave out the lithiumcarbonate, since it is a prescription drug which isn’t really relevant considering self hacking.

  • Marina

    Have your renal function tests checked. (BUN and creatinine). Lithium can destroy kidneys, so be careful.

  • Jordan

    Personally I know I overdid it, especially since I feel a bit sleepy now. I probably took 6 capsules at 5mg each. I figure I needed to flood my system at first since it was depleted with lithium.

    I saw a few people complaining it caused them to gain weight. I hope they were talking about the synthetic version doctors prescribe because weight loss is a life-long battle and I don’t need another thing working against me.

  • Jordan

    I felt suicidal and enraged for a while. I lost my job and I’m pretty angry at the world, especially since we’re always told lie after lie about how to be a success and it never works. I’ve been feeling worse as the months progress and I’ve not found a job. Immediately after I took lithium orotate, I felt better. The enraged feeling lifted from me and I feel calm. I tried magnesium previously, but it never made me feel this calm. Now I feel like someone could yell at me about anything and….meh. *shrugs shoulders*

    Everyone needs to order this stuff off Amazon ASAP. I saw a few bottles for only $5.00. This works better than Prozac, which I can’t get anyway because I can’t afford the doctor’s visit.

  • NL

    Wrong we are talking about OROTATE not CARBONATE jeesh!

  • NL

    Did you read the article? It’s Lithium not calcium.

  • NL

    It sounds like you are taking Lithium Carbonate not OROTATE which is completely different. Please don’t spread bad information.

  • Balek

    @Tessa Zich

    You could start her on Orotate, that’s not an issue. Perhaps 2.5mg, twice daily. You may first want to have her Lithium lvl tested however.

    For her sleep, have her try deep breathing exercises before bed time, no high sugar foods before bed, no tv or video games, or surfing on her phone at night or while in bed. Pick up some Tension Tamer tea on amazon, & have her try a ZMA product (also on amazon). Make sure hee day is structured & she’s getting some exercise & is setting goals for herself. Lastly for her, if the aforementioned don’t work for her sleep, look into Nuvigil (for daytime alertness), and either Belsomra or Rozerem for her sleep. Lemme know if any of this helps.

  • Balek

    How much Carbonate were you taking a day? Over 1000mg? And for how long did you take Lithium? I’m curious — as I just started taking 150mg only, & once per day. Also, did you have monthly Lithium lvl tests done?

  • Eric

    Hi there sorry to hear your daughters unwell. What has helped me significantly;high dose magnesium glycinAte(up to 700 mg per day elemental)and magnesium oil transdermaly, methylation support-methylb12,p5p,zinc,avoid folic acid and use small amounts of natural folate in b complex, lecithin for choline. Also a grain free diet with no processed sugars and high dha from salmon. I stopped focusing on saratonin and started looking at dopamine. Tyrosine can help raise dopamine. Avoid caffeine. Plenty sunlight, not enough to burn but to get a little pink, no sunblock this is for vitaminD. Avoid spiking and crashing blood sugar(no grains refined sugar or white potatoes). Plenty pastured farm eggs and organic greens or green smoothies. If there’s trouble digesting digestive enzymes before the meal. Last but not least ferritin levels at least 75, if low I use organic grass fed undefatted beef liver pills or just eat liver if you can stomach it. These things have helped myself and others when pharmaceuticals made the problem worse., but this is not advice since I’m not a M.D, ask your doctor before changing or altering any aspect of treatment. Also it could be possible that she has a mthfr gene mutation which is why I mentioned the methylation support above and the low ferritin is very common and causes extreme fatigue, poor sleep, high anxiety and low dopamine which causes depression. Really checking blood ferritin and making sure it’s over 75 would be my first step looking back. Just because a person is not anemic does not mean they have adequate iron storage thus ferritin tests. Also if currently supplementing iron if can throw the test off and show a high reading. Here’s wishing you the best!

  • CAROL CLOSE

    Aging is frequently paralleled by dehydration, which is considered to accelerate the development of age-related disorders. Dehydration downregulates klotho expression. Diuretics, like coffee and alcohol dehydrate you and down regulate anti-aging klotho protein. Sodium causes cells to excrete water and dehydrates you. Sugar draws water out of cells and dehydrates you. Asparagus, high protein, heat exposure, vigorous exercise, fever, diarrhea, vomiting or just not drinking enough liquid dehydrates you. Ironically, high sugar sports drinks can dehydrate you and down regulate anti-aging klotho. Lithium dehydrates you and down-regulates the longevity protein, klotho. There is a powerful effect of dehydration on klotho expression, an effect at least partially mediated by enhanced release of anti-diuretic hormone/vasopressin and aldosterone. An epidemiological study shows Mormons who don’t drink alcohol or coffee live longer. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17920112 LIFESTYLE AND REDUCED MORTALITY AMONG ACTIVE CALIFORNIAN MORMONS
    http://ajprenal.physiology.org/content/301/4/F745 DOWNREGULATION OF KLOTHO EXPRESSION BY DEHYDRATION
    Lithium dehydrates you, too, and down regulates the longevity/anti-aging gene, Klotho.
    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00424-013-1340-y REGULATION OF MINERAL METABOLISM BY LITHIUM. Lithium downregulates Klotho because dehydration downregulates Klotho, the anti-aging longevity gene. Lithium treatment significantly increased renal GSK3 phosphorylation, enhanced serum ADH and FGF23 concentrations, downregulated renal Klotho expression, stimulated renal calcium and phosphate excretion, and decreased serum 1,25(OH)2D3 and phosphate concentrations. In conclusion, lithium treatment upregulates FGF23 formation, an effect paralleled by substantial decrease of serum 1,25(OH)2D3, and phosphate concentrations and thus possibly affecting tissue calcification.
    Any comments on lithium verses enhancing Klotho expression?

  • carol close

    Preclinical studies have shown that lithium modifies pathological cascades implicated in certain neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington`s Disease, multiple system atrophy and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Positive effects of lithium on neurogenesis, brain remodeling, angiogenesis, mesenchymal stem cells functioning, and inflammation have been revealed, with a key role played through the inhibition of the glycogen synthase kinase-3, a serine/threonine kinase implicated in the pathogenesis of many neuropsychiatric disorders. Lithium reverses aging by restoring a cell’s ability to divide as an ATM inhibitor.  These recent evidences suggest the potential utility of lithium in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, neurodevelopmental disorders, and hypoxic–ischemic/traumatic brain injury, with positive results at even lower lithium doses than those traditionally considered to be anti-manic.  Lithium showed evidence for positive effects on cognitive functions and biomarkers in amnestic mild cognitive impairment (even with doses lower than those used for mood stabilization). Studies of lithium in Huntington’s disease, multiple systems atrophy and CSI did not show benefits of lithium. However, due to methodological limitations and small sample size, these studies may be inconclusive. Studies in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis showed consistently negative results and presented evidence against the use of lithium for the treatment of this disease.

  • carol close

    REVERSING AGING NOW POSSIBLEAging is a phenomenon in which a cell’s ability to divide and grow deteriorates as it gets older, and this causes degradation of the body and senile diseases. The inhibition and recovery of aging is an instinctive desire of humans; thus, it is a task and challenge of biologists to identify substances that control aging and analyze aging mechanisms. DGIST’s research team have been conducting research to reverse the aging process by shifting the existing academia’s ‘irreversibility of aging’ paradigm, which means aging cannot be reversed. To reverse the aging process, the research team searched for factors that could control aging and tried to discover substances that could restore cell division capacity. As a result, it was confirmed that KU-60019, an inhibitor of ATM protein, which is a phosphorylation enzyme, recovers the functions of aging cells through activation of lysosomal functions and induction of cell proliferation. The degradation of lysosomes, which are intracellular organelles responsible for autophagy and decomposition of biopolymers such as proteins and lipids in the cell, leads to cell senescence by accumulating biomolecules that must be removed in cells and causes instability of the metabolism such as removal of dysfunctional mitochondria that do not function. The research team was the world’s first to confirm that as cell aging progresses, the vacuolar ATPase (v-ATPase) protein involved in the lysosomal activity regulation is phosphorylated by the ATM protein, and the binding force between the units constituting the v-ATPase is weakened, so consequently the function of lysosomes deteriorates. In addition, the team has proven that the reversible recovery of aging is possible through its experiment that shows the regulation of ATM protein activation by KU-60019 substances induces the reduction of phosphorylation of v-ATPase, thereby inducing recovery of mitochondrial function and functional recovery of the lysosome and autophagy system as well as promoting wound healing in aging animal models. (Hey- Positive effects of lithium on neurogenesis, brain remodeling, angiogenesis, mesenchymal stem cells functioning, and inflammation have been revealed, with a key role played through the inhibition of the glycogen synthase kinase-3, a serine/threonine kinase implicated in the pathogenesis of many neuropsychiatric disorders. I remembered lithium and put it together that lithium is most likely KU-60019).

  • Tessa Zich

    This has been incredibly helpful! Thank you all for posting your research information and your personal struggles and triumphs. I started taking the 5mg tablets off and on because I wasn’t sure of the safety, about a month ago. I can tell that I feel better when I take it.
    My question to the group is that I have a 16 year old daughter who we’ve been desperately trying to help with her anxiety and depression since she was two years old. Nothing is helping her. Should I try the lithium orataye that I’m taking? My only concern is that she is taking fluoxetine. Can she take both at the same time? She constantly tells me how tired she is but yet she can’t sleep and how depressed and anxious she is all the time.
    I am at my wits end. I love her so much and just don’t know what to do any more.
    She also takes trazadone to sleep but she only takes an 1/8 of a mg. If she doesn’t take it, she doesn’t sleep at all but if she does take it she feels as if she needs to sleep all the time.
    For me, I’m already 30 pounds over weight. Is there anything I can do to offset the weight gain if it starts?
    Thanks so much in advance if anyone is able to read and respond to these inquiries.
    I wish you all happiness and wellness!
    Tessa

  • Emmie

    Thank you, Christian, for your comment.
    Do you know how much lithium orotate would do the same job as 400 mg lithium carbonate ?
    ( my daugther still takes the lithium carbonate. She is doing a lot better though , after stopping gluten, nightshades and beans.) , still she is too frightened by the idea to have another depression, to stop the lithium.

  • twobar

    Hi, I realize this is a old post but I’m curious why lithium goes low in the blood? I was tested through the blood and almost have zero? My B12 is low as well? I’m also toxic to plastics due to my job over 10 years. I’m detoxing now with supplements and a infrared sauna, but could toxicity be the reason for lithium to go low and once that’s fixed the lithium will stabilize?

  • Melanie R Jones

    Lithium ruined my life. It did nothing for my depression but it immediately piled on 100 pounds, gave me diabetes and probably influenced the development of carcinoid syndrome. It’s not the wonder drug for everyone.

    1. Cathy

      Me to but that was at prescription levels. !! Low dose is a totally different animal! I am thankful I tried it ..helps my depression and anxiety plus cognitive fog.

  • j

    Is there even any evidence that low dose lithium promotes neurogenesis?

  • jane

    What is the actual dose of the Lithium ions in mg in the lithium orotate 5mg dose?

    Does the reported 1.5 mg dose on the Trace Minerals label refer to the Lithium ions only? I would assume so, since the salt is dissolved in the solution, but the label does not so state.

    Thanks,
    Jane

  • RK

    Where do you find lithium orotate 1mg? The lowest dose I can find is 5mg and that is with n acetyl-cysteine. I do not tolerate n acetyl-cysteine. Thanks.

    1. Jill

      Trace minerals Concentrace drops have 1.5 mg lithium orotate per 1/2 tsp

  • Rathmullan

    Is it safe to combine the aspartate and orotate forms of lithium. That is, to take both forms in a single day?

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      ya

  • Emmie

    We live in Europe. My daughter takes 400mg lithium carbonate a day for BiPolar Disorder. She is doing well and works successfully in a creative job. She does have lithium induces skin problems and problems with her intestines ( not every day ) . Would extra magnesium and inositol be bad for her ? She takes now active B vitamins and magnesium ( and more ).
    Would it be a good idea for her to ask for lithium orotate and then in a lower dose ?
    ( I understand perfectly weel if you do not know the answers ).

    Next week we will try your SelfDecode.

    1. Kelly

      Be cautious the bi carbonate version your daughter is taking is very different from orotate. Orotate crosses the blood brain barrier where as bicarbonate does not, hence the high dosage. With lithium Orotate a very small dose is all that is required to effect a positive outcome with little side effects.

    2. Christian Meiller

      I hope you have your daugther off the carbonate type of Lithium now. I took it for about 2 years and its really bad in the long run. FIrst its good, then it gets bad. That is because Lithium carbonate intoxicates the body the longer you take it. Your daughter should inform herself about detoxing. Lithium orotate is great ! im only speaking of that s!it the doctors give you.

  • Lori Bernardo

    I just started it yesterday. I am amazed how calm I feel. I have autoimmune and stuggle with brainfog, ear ringing, poor memory, inflammation, insomnia, anxiety and depression. My ear ringing is less, I can think clearer and my inflammation is a lot less. Brain fog and fatigue is a lot better. I have chronic fatigue. I am hoping it will reverse some of my brain issues. I am 50 and am tired of feeling like I am 90.

    1. Dante

      I am a bit confused. All of these benefits happened in one day? Are you still seeing improvement?

      1. Tina

        Dante….I did not post but want to comment and the only way I could figure was to hit reply….I noticed less aggression in 2 hours….No LIE….I was honestly FRANTIC FRANTIC FRANTIC on the day I started this and HONESTLY felt better in 2 hours. I thought this feeling was Pychosymatic but after reading all the others and the immediate and dramatic effects I would have to say YES it works VERY QUICKLY : )

        1. Roxy

          was this the actual drug, calcium time released calcium carbonate?

  • DC

    I have a rage disorder along with obsessive thoughts. 30 mg of this lithium orotate daily has dramatically changed my life. I feel that 40 mg is what my brain needs. Is this okay long term? Will I need to discontinue for my upcoming surgery? I really do not want to stop taking it. Thank you for your time.

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      I would look into other gsk3b inhibitors.

  • Joy

    Oh help help! I’m looking for a comparison of liquid ionic lithium and lithium orotate. I’ll divide each 5mg capsule into 3 capsules every day for the rest of my life if I have to but it sure would be nice to switch to the liquid. I just want to be certain of dosage. Can’t say enough about it, except it’s too bad I had to suffer from anxiety, mood swings, difficulty focusing, side effects of prescription meds for over 50 years before I found lithium orotate.

  • jtj

    Why have you chosen to leave out the life threatening side effects, like diabetes insipidere ?

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      Reference?

    2. Nancy Grabe

      Lithium carbonate has all of those dangerous life-threatening side effects but lithium orotate or lithium acetate do not have those because they have not been changed

    3. Dante

      You’re thinking about the pharmaceutical lithium, which is 300+ times stronger. Please research the difference.

    4. Kelly

      Check your facts before you start spouting incorrect information please. This discussion is about Lithium Orotate Not Bi Carbinate !! Do your research

    5. Cristobal

      Two of the big differences is that oratate is absorbed better and crosses the “blood-brain-barrier” more effectively, meaning much smaller doses can be used. The doses used in l.carbonate are close to toxic and need to be monitored. My ex-wife actually went toxic on a prescribed dose and suffered amnesia for a while (the real kind, not the fictional version). The above poster mentions pharmaceutical lithium is “300+ stronger”, but what I think he means is that many times the amount of lithium carbonate is needed to provide the same amount of lithium ions to the brain. Why haven’t medical practitioners switched? It cost at least tens of millions of dollars to do the effectiveness and safety tests. Pharmaceutical companies need to forecast high profit margins to do these tests and market the alternative forms of lithium. That money just isn’t there according to finance. In a way, lithium carbonate is a kind of scam by neglect. Think Big Pharma and medicine isn’t capable of that? Tell me where the new antibiotics that are so desperately needed? Why are so many dying of hospital infections. If you want better living through chemistry, you need to do your own research.

  • erna edwards

    Can you drink alcohol while taking lithium orotate?

  • loane

    I used one capsule of lithium orotate 5mg from Swanson… my blood glucose from 88mg/dl went to 136mg/dl. Is this normal?

  • TH

    do you know what form the lithium in that trace mineral water supplement is?

  • Lee Horner

    How do I determine what different types of Lithium work best for what symptoms?

  • Santino

    Hello Joe,

    is Lithiumaspartate also ok? Or would the aspartate be harmful?

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      It’s fine

  • Simi

    Some research shows Lithium orotate to be beneficial for Inflammatory bowel disease but this article says not to take in Crohn’s??

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      Post that research please!

  • Devildog

    Hi Joseph,

    In my Lithium Orotate studies, I just came across your site. I am on the tail end of 61 and have been burdened by Adult ADD for decades. All of my life actually looking back. Conventional drugs had more negative effects than positive, so I couldn’t continue with them. And so called natural remedies failed to work miserably. Then a few weeks ago I stumbled across information about lithium orotate on the internet and I have been reading everything I can get my eyeballs since.

    Today is my second day of taking 20mg of it. I determined that 20 mg once a day is more than safe since this form of lithium has not proven to be toxic at much higher dosages. I believe it is a high enough dose to have an affect, if it is going to have an affect on me and I am withholding judgment for at least 30 days…unless I get a positive/negative result too obvious to ignore earlier. Too early to report any affects yet, but I am highly encouraged by all of the research (although no large scale trials have been performed that I have read of) and testimonials from users across the web about how it has finally solved their or their children’s various issues that meds and other remedies had failed to perform or presented too many negative side effects to be able to enjoy any positive benefits received.

    I am looking for relief from issues around lack of focus and the inability to stay on task for any length of worthwhile time. As well as with maintaining motivation to finish projects. The suggested long term benefits regarding increased general brain health will be appreciated also, but immediately, help with lack of focus and my brain from switching channels too often to allow for completing tasks in a timely manner or at all.

    Great site you have here. I will sign up for updates. Thanks.

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      At the Optimal House, we’ve got a lot of tricks to help attentional issues 😉

    2. Kelly

      So, how is it going now?

  • Samantha

    Hi! Are there any other drugs, supplements, or herbs that should not be mixed with Lithium Orotate? I’d like to know before I start taking it.

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      None that I know of with a dose of 5mg…

  • Kevin

    Question: Do you think that chronically administered, small (+-6mg) doses of lithium orotate would, over time, increase the amount of grey matter in the brain? I believe the studies point to a therapeutic level of lithium used for 4 weeks or so… Thanks!

  • JoAnn

    “This confirms that the benefits of other lithium salts prescribed by doctors can be achieved through the orotate version commonly sold.”
    Suggest “that some of the benefits”

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      Ok

  • Lithium Orotate

    Thanks for getting the word about lithium orotate out there. Your site is very helpful and the community thanks you for it. Keep up the great work man

  • Aristophanes' Beetle

    And don’t forget it’s impact on thyroid physiology. Lithium is not an antipsychotic. It is used as a mood stabilizer particularly effective for suicidal ideation and behaviors in bipolar depression and mania both of which can occur without psychotic symptoms per se, psychotic symptoms being defined as symptoms/ signs indicating lack of insight/ judgment/decision making logic out of conjunction with consensual reality (that is for a philosophical/ linguistic discussion). Lithium also works through the inositol system: http://www.bipolar-lives.com/inositol-and-bipolar.html and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inositol_monophosphatase. Due to the narrow therapeutic vs toxic window for lithium dosing it’s probably to the well being of all beings to state a very strong caveat that dosing for recreational experimentation is highly likely to cause irreversible cerebelar damage and we know how much we hate that when it happens. Thanks for this treasure trove work in progress.

    1. Reynolds Jones

      My understanding from this article and other ones was that Lithium Orotate is not so easy to overdose on…. is there clinical evidence to the contrary?

  • K

    Would 1mg per day do all this wonderful things for the brain as you say, would 1 mg effect my sleep?

  • K

    Can you get enough lithium from your food instead of supplementing ?

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      No

    2. pamoja

      Though not food or supplement, Rogaska Donat Mg Mineral water available has not only 1mg/liter Magnesium (which I seem to need badly for my deficiency), but additional 3 mg/liter Lithium:

      http://www.rogaska.de/Roweb/mineralien.htm

      1. pamoja

        Sorry for my typos, meant to say 1 GRAM/liter Magnesium, and which is available at least here in Europe.

  • K

    Should you have your diet and life style in check first before using Li, maybe just a multi vit,

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      Nah

  • Britt

    I’m thinking that some bipolar is caused by a mild form of thyroid instability, switching back and fourth between hypo and hyper and the reason MDs put patients on such high doses that almost cause toxicity and almost always cause tremors is they need to see a stabilization affect sooner rather than later–instead of letting it build up over months and letting the patient’s body get used to it. But that’s an anecdotal guess.

    But really how much of Medical Science is just guesses anyway, a ton of persciption meds I see say “Medicationon is thought to work by XYZ.” emphasis on the “is thought.”

    1. Joseph M. Cohen

      Studies?

  • YimYam

    Lithium @ 2.5mg increases symptoms and increases anxiety, should I be tested for Crohns, again? Or is there anything else you can advise for me to do?

    1. Joe

      Weird, no

    2. Smurfed

      Again I noticed today after taking it that I experience anxiety a couple of hours after ingesting it….very weird. Epilepsy related?

      1. Smurfed

        Teeth grinding, relatively stimulated and feeling on edge/anxious and a bit panicky. I never usually experience this feeling.

  • kiki

    Hi, Can you give reference to where you found Lithium Orotate increasing IL-8 and can make intestinal issues such as Chron’s worse? I only find studies that show it helps reduce intestinal inflammation?

    1. Joe

      I did. Click the “(R)”

  • K

    Joe you say about not taking smart drugs as you are better off taking natural stuff instead so how is this any different as it is a drug after all, Why cant you just eat veg and fruit would that not do the job, Is it because of this freaking modern world? Can it ever just be simple? You are a smart man.

    1. Kelly

      It’s actually a mineral

  • Rae

    Taking lithium orotate for 2 months. First month a miracle!! Nothing bothered me and Now I feel irritable anxiety and pissed off mode all the time. Any suggestions???

    1. Kelly

      Maybe taking too much?

  • Kieron

    does li effect the pinal gland, I need my third eye to work at its best

    1. Jean

      Try Chaga mushroom. It has high melanin levels and activates the pineal gland.

    2. Joe

      don’t know

    3. Miguel

      you are correct!!!

  • chris

    I have two questions. One is I’ve been taking orotate because I read one review saying it was the best then I recently saw one saying orotate can lead to cancer. What are your thoughts on this? My second question is what time of the day do you take it? I’ve been doing the morning but I read on another forum someone said they take it at night and it helps them go to sleep. If that’s the case is taking it in the AM making me tired during the day?

    1. Joe

      Take in AM,
      Doesn’t cause cancer. Reference?

  • Pako

    Any thoughts on 5mg lithium oratate and hypothyroidism?

  • Steve

    Ive been taking Li for a month now and it deals with anxiety/mania. However, it does make you hypothyroid.

    Best,
    Steve

    1. Selfhacked

      True, but not at 1mg.

    2. Jessica

      If weight gain is a major concern, what can you do to combat that side effect?

    3. Kelly

      Well that’s not good!

  • Chrono Cross

    Ooo I’ll try this out. I had a question though, I know that the prescription lithium requires blood tests to make sure it doesnt get to toxic levels. I assume with this OTC lithium the dose is too low to warrant blood tests or is it due to something else?

    1. Selfhacked

      Hi CC,
      you are correct in that it’s the lower dosage that makes it less toxic. Supposedly it gets absorbed better so you need to take less.

    2. Kelly

      With Lithium Orotate the delivery mechanism is straight into the blood and brain allowing for much lower dose which is no. Toxic levels. Lithium carbonate on the other hand requires massive amounts to a hive the same effect which can be very toxic. Bottom line stick with over the counter Orotate

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