Lithium is an alkali metal, naturally present in trace amounts in plant foods that are grown in lithium-rich soil.
It plays a role in the proper function of several enzymes, hormones, vitamins, growth factors, as well as the immune and nervous systems.
Long-term lithium treatment reduces glutamate-induced excitotoxicity mediated by N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors. This effect was due to lithium’s ability to inhibit the influx of calcium, which mediates NMDA receptor activity .
Therefore, it can help mood disorders, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cancer, and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases .
BDNF is a major neurotrophin essential for cognitive development, synaptic plasticity, and neuronal survival with anti-depressants and anti-anxiety effects. .
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.
CANCER & APOPTOSIS (CELL DEATH)
BRAIN AND HEART
By increasing VEGF, lithium treatment can help people recover more quickly from a stroke or a heart attack .
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 .
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 promotes the conversion of these progenitor cells into neurons .
In addition, chronic lithium treatment not only enhanced neurogenesis in the hippocampus (memory center) of normal mice but also restored neurogenesis in the brain in an animal model of Down syndrome .
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 .
One probable effect is more efficient communication between two sides of the brain, which enhances intellectual performance. .
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 .
In animals, lithium consistently decreased exploratory activity and aggression. .
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.
It was also shown to be effective for aggressive behavior in people with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) .
Lithium increases CCK in the brain and this is part of the mechanism by which lithium prevents mania in bipolar.
Lithium is one of the best-studied strategies for treatment-resistant depression .
Lithium also elevates BDNF, which combats depression.
Lithium ameliorates depression in animals, in part, by increasing neural stem cells.
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 .
These effects are dependent on p38 MAPK .
It also decreases insulin release .
Administration of lithium significantly increased glucose transport into muscle cells in response to insulin by 2.5 fold, and also increased insulin responsiveness [R].
AUTOIMMUNITY AND INFLAMMATION
However, studies indicate that under certain experimental conditions, lithium also has pro-inflammatory effects by increasing the production of IL-4, IL-6, and TNF-α .
Lithium increases the production of IgG and IgM antibodies .
Lithium decreases the production and activity of prostaglandins, thus preventing its negative effect on the immune system .
A study (prospective cohort) 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 .
Lithium is the drug of choice for treating patients suffering from bipolar disorder, which is characterized by the presence of mania and depression.
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 those without bipolar.
It helps entrain our circadian rhythm more quickly in response to light and darkness.
Lithium treatment in worms increased lifespan and improved markers of health, including mitochondrial energy output .
Lithium may improve mitochondrial function by increasing the turnover of dysfunctional mitochondria .
Also, lithium inhibits mir-34a, which in turn inhibits NAMPT, the enzyme that makes NAD+ .
Therefore, lithium probably increases NAD+.
Two studies found a positive correlation between rates of suicide and lithium levels in drinking water in men [40, 41]. However, another study found no significant difference in lithium levels in drinking water and rates of suicide .
Tourette’s syndrome is a neurological disorder, characterized by involuntary muscle movements and uncontrollable vocal sounds.
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 symptom-free months later .
Tardive dyskinesia is a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary, sudden, and jerky movements of the face and/or body, caused by the long-term use of antipsychotic drugs .
However, 2 large studies failed to report the consistent effects of lithium on tardive dyskinesia .
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental disorder characterized by obsessive thoughts and behaviours .
Lithium supplementation is associated with a decrease in symptoms of OCD that are resistant to standard therapy .
Compulsive and pathological gamblers also had a good response to lithium supplementation, possibly by regulating dopamine imbalances in the brain .
Lithium may reduce the severity of both chronic and episodic cluster headaches .
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 .
Lithium orotate is useful in the treatment of alcoholism.
In a study of 42 alcoholic patients, lithium was safely tolerated, with minor side effects, such as muscle weakness, loss of appetite, or mild apathy .
Patients treated with lithium were much less likely to be re-hospitalized for alcoholism rehabilitation during the 18-month followup .
The effect of lithium on seizure disorders is still controversial .
Some epileptic patients show a statistically significant decrease in seizure frequency as well as improved behaviour when treated with lithium .
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.
Seventy percent of patients with Meniere’s disease experienced less frequent and severe attacks when on lithium treatment .
IS IT 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) works differently than over-the-counter lithium orotate.
All the research I’ve seen talks about the ion lithium, which would make the salt type of lithium not that relevant except for how bioavailable it is and how capable it is in crossing the blood-brain barrier (BBB).
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. In this post, we bring down studies on any form of lithium, but if you are not taking the drug with the consent of a doctor, then you should not take more than a few mg of lithium orotate a day.
The usual lithium orotate 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 me more zoned out. It also made me feel less attached to everything. The fact that I felt acute effects at 15 mg 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.
Side Effects of Lithium (at high doses)
Lithium has numerous side effects and can be toxic at high doses. These symptoms are generally not relevant to lithium orotate when taken at suggested dosages (5mg).
The severity of symptoms is generally proportional to the degree of elevation of blood lithium levels .
The most common side effects of lithium therapy include :
- Lethargy and fatigue – this may be a result of a significant reduction in orexin-producing cells and through reducing thyroid function
- Hand tremors
- Muscle weakness
SYMPTOMS OF MODERATE TOXICITY
Moderate toxicity (serum lithium concentration = 2.0 to 2.5 mmol/L) is characterized by :
- Dysarthria (speech motor problem)
- Nystagmus (eye twitch)
- Muscle twitches
- ECG changes (flat or inverted T waves)
SYMPTOMS OF SEVERE TOXICITY
Symptoms of severe toxicity (serum lithium concentration> 2.5 mmol/L) include :
- Impaired consciousness
- Kidney insufficiency
- Coma and death
Lower Thyroid Function
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 [80, 81, 82].
Lithium induces thyroid autoimmunity by increasing B cell activity and decreasing ratios of suppressor to cytotoxic T cells .
As a result, 20% of lithium-treated patients have thyroid auto-antibodies.
It may also be useful in combination with radioactive iodine in the treatment of thyroid cancer .
OTHER NEGATIVE EFFECTS
Pregnancy and breastfeeding: 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 pre-existing 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.
Antidepressant drugs (such as fluoxetine, sertraline, amitriptyline, clomipramine, imipramine), and lithium increase serotonin. Taking lithium with these medications could cause serious side effects such as heart problems, shivering, and anxiety [87, 88].
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 [89, 90, 91, 92].
Taking lithium along with anticonvulsant medications used to prevent seizures, such as phenobarbital, valproic acid, and carbamazepine may increase the risk of toxic effects from these drugs .
Medications for high blood pressure (ACE inhibitors – lisinopril, captopril, and enalapril; and calcium channel blockers – nifedipine, diltiazem, and verapamil) can increase lithium levels in the body, thus increasing its side effects [94, 95, 96, 97].
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 .
Acetazolamide, theophylline, and sodium bicarbonate can lower blood lithium concentrations by increasing lithium excretion in urine.
Dietary Sources & Dosing 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 .
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.
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 a deficiency occurs, symptoms are mild and manifest primarily as behavioral problems .
If you’re completely healthy, I recommend 1 to 2 mg a day in the long term. There is an association with low doses of lithium (1 to 2 mg) and longevity .
However, I wouldn’t expect to feel anything at that dosage. I’ve been taking 1 mg for quite a few months, with no noticeable effect. I’ve recently upped it to 5 mg.
We need to know how those effects relate to dosage. Is 5mg of litium orotate going to cause hypothyroidism and gut inflammation and dehydration? Or only large doses used for psychiatric diseases? I suspect studies have only been done with the higher doses.
- Aaron Solt April 6, 2018at 6:18 pm
Lithium orotate is not natural. Lithium carbonate is. 5 mg of lithium in 120 mg of lithium orotate has as much lithium (5mg) as 50 mg of lithium carbonate. Five pills has as much lithium as 250 mg of lithium carbonate.
The reason the carbonate is prescription only is because it was fda tested. The orotate is otc because it was not tested in rats. Prorate caused rat kidneys to fail, and speeds up cancer growth. Lithium aspartate may be safer, but you have to take pills one at a time or it will tingle your nerves. Lithium carbonate is the healthiest. The high doses are for bipolar people. No one says you must go high.
Also, orotate just provides a negative charge and separates from lithium in the intestine, having no effect on brain transport. Carbonate is like the carbon dioxide bubbles in soda.
I’ve taken many university chemistry classes. Tons of websites about lithium orotate are written by bloggers and well-being practitioners who know nothing about chemistry and just repeat what they read on other such sites.
- Mr. Dude November 13, 2018at 4:28 pm
What about the aspartate form of lithium? Does that make it to the brain when taken orally and cross the BBB or is it also broken down by the digestive system?
By treating – Methylation problems and the micro biome , lithium was stopped for bi polar. It goes much better, no more depression or mania but still anxiety and panic attacks. We keep on struggling.
- OrganisedPauper March 26, 2018at 6:12 am
There has to be a huge difference between the prescribed use of lithium carbonate and over the counter lithium orotate. The ‘therapeutic’ dose for me of Li carbonate, for Bipolar Disorder, was 1200mg. I ended up with swollen legs, diabetes insipidus, extreme startle reflex, and behavioural problems that weren’t part of my disorder. Thankfully all were reversed when I came off lithium, except the startle reflex. All the listed side effects for lithium seem to be associated prescribed Li carbonate, but the dosage is huge compared to Li orotate.
- Murray February 27, 2018at 9:29 am
In mentioning the negatives (hypothyroid) it would be helpful to have some information on dosage. I checked you ref links and several other papers – no mention of dose. All reference seem to concern bipolar treatment so dosage is probably very high. Is there any known effect at low dose?
Hello there! Your cat’s vet could have recommended it for a hyperthyroid. It seems to helping with quite a few autoimmune diseases. I think because it is filling an important defeciency that humans and animals share because of the depletion of minerals
in our soils.
I’ve been taking it personally and for depression and trying to figure out my dosage. I started at 25 mg lithium
= 5 x 120 mg of lithium orotate. I was feeling great
but ran out and didn’t realize what is was doing for me at the time.
My cat has a hyperthyroid and have been researching to see if lithium orotate will help her.
Can anyone advise why my vet has prescribed 5 mg Lithium twice a day for my cat after saying she has a form of Leukemia
- Janice January 19, 2018at 5:50 am
It is all completely useless and just pure marketing without added value. Unless Li blood level values are given with other parameters such as Thyroid hormone levels. Only by laboratory testing you can see what values you have and what Li levels you need to get to get desired effect as well monitoring other impacted parameters to see that it is not impacting something in undesired way.
- Tooter November 23, 2017at 12:09 pm
maybe this? >>> https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8403198
- Tooter November 23, 2017at 12:03 pm
anger management course…
- Tooter November 23, 2017at 12:00 pm
those symptoms actually sound kind of fun…
- Robert Hafemeyer November 14, 2017at 10:31 pm
Lithium chloride has been shown to increase expression of PPAR gamma. Agonism at PPAR gamma (induced by some other ligand such as BCFAs) is then associated with increased lipolysis. If you are worried about low cAMP, take something like fucoxanthin, caffeine or pentoxifylline you should see increased lipolysis. (Note that with caffeine and pentoxifylline you’d likely see increased lithium excretion)
Also, in this article, Joe talks about MAPK being activated by lithium. MAPK activation is associated with increased lipolysis.
- Michael November 13, 2017at 2:50 pm
What are your views on Lithium inhibiting noradrenaline and glucagon induced increases in cAMP, which essentially means inhibition of lipolysis??
- pseudonym November 8, 2017at 3:28 pm
I take 5mg LO (Lithium Orotate) every morning to counter fatigue from years of treatment resistant chronic insomnia. I’m now post menopause three years and add hot flashes and night sweats to the list of things that disturb my sleep. I first tried LO at night since so many people claim it helps with sleep, but from the very first night it kept me up all night, completely awake, alert and feeling rather upbeat. After a few nights of this I switched to taking LO first thing in the morning. With morning LO I have a better daily mood, more upbeat with more motivation and energy without being hyper, less brain fog and I feel less scattered mentally.
Great article, thanks !
- Marsha October 23, 2017at 10:14 am
Good point. It was slightly confusing trying to figure which Lithium he was referring to– OTC Lithium Oretate (sp?) Or the one that you need a prescription.
Maybe Serotonin Syndrome? I’d check with a qualified Naturopathic physician if possible.
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.
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!!
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…
Are you still taking it? How come you stopped if it have brain protective effects?
- Hermes August 22, 2017at 2:11 pm
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 August 17, 2017at 7:35 pm
Have your renal function tests checked. (BUN and creatinine). Lithium can destroy kidneys, so be careful.
- Jordan July 22, 2017at 9:37 pm
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 July 22, 2017at 9:33 pm
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.
Wrong we are talking about OROTATE not CARBONATE jeesh!
Did you read the article? It’s Lithium not calcium.
It sounds like you are taking Lithium Carbonate not OROTATE which is completely different. Please don’t spread bad information.
- Balek July 22, 2017at 1:12 pm
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 July 22, 2017at 1:03 pm
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?
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 June 30, 2017at 11:39 am
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 June 30, 2017at 7:43 am
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 June 30, 2017at 7:38 am
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 June 12, 2017at 10:42 pm
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!
- Emmie May 30, 2017at 1:12 am
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.
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 February 25, 2017at 5:13 pm
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.
- Cathy April 6, 2017at 2:41 am
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.
Is there even any evidence that low dose lithium promotes neurogenesis?
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.
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.
Trace minerals Concentrace drops have 1.5 mg lithium orotate per 1/2 tsp
- Rathmullan October 24, 2016at 7:42 pm
Is it safe to combine the aspartate and orotate forms of lithium. That is, to take both forms in a single day?
- Joseph M. Cohen October 30, 2016at 10:44 am
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.
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.
- Christian Meiller May 28, 2017at 9:08 am
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.
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.
I am a bit confused. All of these benefits happened in one day? Are you still seeing improvement?
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 : )
was this the actual drug, calcium time released calcium carbonate?
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.
- Joseph M. Cohen September 13, 2016at 9:47 am
I would look into other gsk3b inhibitors.
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.
Why have you chosen to leave out the life threatening side effects, like diabetes insipidere ?
- Joseph M. Cohen August 2, 2016at 7:13 pm
- Nancy Grabe September 2, 2016at 9:00 am
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
You’re thinking about the pharmaceutical lithium, which is 300+ times stronger. Please research the difference.
Check your facts before you start spouting incorrect information please. This discussion is about Lithium Orotate Not Bi Carbinate !! Do your research
- Cristobal November 25, 2016at 10:25 am
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 June 25, 2016at 7:56 am
Can you drink alcohol while taking lithium orotate?
- loane May 12, 2016at 8:51 am
I used one capsule of lithium orotate 5mg from Swanson… my blood glucose from 88mg/dl went to 136mg/dl. Is this normal?
do you know what form the lithium in that trace mineral water supplement is?
- Lee Horner January 20, 2016at 11:58 am
How do I determine what different types of Lithium work best for what symptoms?
- Santino January 18, 2016at 9:34 am
is Lithiumaspartate also ok? Or would the aspartate be harmful?
- Joseph M. Cohen January 18, 2016at 5:41 pm
Some research shows Lithium orotate to be beneficial for Inflammatory bowel disease but this article says not to take in Crohn’s??
- Joseph M. Cohen December 11, 2015at 11:05 pm
Post that research please!
- Devildog December 10, 2015at 7:46 am
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.
- Joseph M. Cohen December 11, 2015at 11:04 pm
At the Optimal House, we’ve got a lot of tricks to help attentional issues 😉
So, how is it going now?
- Samantha December 2, 2015at 11:47 pm
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.
- Joseph M. Cohen December 11, 2015at 10:46 pm
None that I know of with a dose of 5mg…
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 May 13, 2015at 10:44 pm
“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”
- Joseph M. Cohen May 13, 2015at 11:49 pm
- Lithium Orotate April 16, 2015at 7:47 pm
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
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.
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?
Would 1mg per day do all this wonderful things for the brain as you say, would 1 mg effect my sleep?
Can you get enough lithium from your food instead of supplementing ?
- Joseph M. Cohen January 18, 2015at 7:19 pm
- pamoja May 14, 2015at 5:37 pm
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.
- pamoja May 14, 2015at 6:00 pm
Sorry for my typos, meant to say 1 GRAM/liter Magnesium, and which is available at least here in Europe.
Should you have your diet and life style in check first before using Li, maybe just a multi vit,
- Joseph M. Cohen December 20, 2014at 11:05 am
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.”
- Joseph M. Cohen December 9, 2014at 4:34 pm
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?
- Smurfed February 13, 2015at 11:25 am
Again I noticed today after taking it that I experience anxiety a couple of hours after ingesting it….very weird. Epilepsy related?
- Smurfed February 13, 2015at 11:38 am
Teeth grinding, relatively stimulated and feeling on edge/anxious and a bit panicky. I never usually experience this feeling.
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?
I did. Click the “(R)”
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.
It’s actually a mineral
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???
Maybe taking too much?
- Kieron June 7, 2014at 6:36 pm
does li effect the pinal gland, I need my third eye to work at its best
Try Chaga mushroom. It has high melanin levels and activates the pineal gland.
- Miguel September 20, 2014at 4:49 pm
you are correct!!!
- chris May 5, 2014at 10:34 pm
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?
Take in AM,
Doesn’t cause cancer. Reference?
Any thoughts on 5mg lithium oratate and hypothyroidism?
Ive been taking Li for a month now and it deals with anxiety/mania. However, it does make you hypothyroid.
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?
- Selfhacked February 11, 2014at 12:03 pm
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.
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