Areas of the country where lithium is present at high levels in the drinking water have less violence and crime. We know that prescription lithium is used to treat several psychiatric conditions, including bipolar disorder, depression, and schizophrenia [43, 44, 45]. Dr Phelps stopped accepting honoraria from pharmaceutical companies in 2008 but receives honoraria from McGraw-Hill and W.W. Norton & Co. for his books on bipolar disorders. Wish I could pretend that it wasn't so with me, but it is... they got it right. I think it is quite plausible that since we evolved drinking fresh mineral water from the ground, our brains are designed to have a little bit of lithium on board, and its presence in trace amounts could credibly improve our behavior and reduce suicide. This is in contrast to lithium carbonate, which contains about 19 mg of lithium per 100 mg [54]. However, lithium levels in groundwater and soil can vary greatly [13]. In contrast, a Lithuanian study found that low lithium in drinking supply was linked to higher suicide rates in men, but not in women [27]. Try the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. Oh yes I am with you that this stuff can have ill consequences on one's physical health. What Are the Long-Term Effects of Bipolar Disorder on the Body? Trace amounts of lithium could improve human behavior and increase longevity. A quarter liter of black tea provides about 0.58-1.35 micrograms/g of lithium, while the same volume of red tea contains 0.72-1.70 micrograms/g [2]. Certain drugs can cause lithium levels in the body to drop, usually by increasing the amount of lithium that leaves the body through urine [19]. However, other studies have refuted these results. In women, induction of hypothyroidism is extremely common-and almost predictable in women with a family history of thyroid problems. Where you live can have a huge impact on the amount of lithium you are getting, since lithium concentrations in soil and water can vary wildly depending on location [8, 9]. I know too many people who have been grossly harmed by lithium and it's all well and good to point out it's natural...the thing is it's a ridiculously huge dose of carbonate and it can kill. However, lithium has the potential to impair the functioning of the thyroid gland and kidneys and to exacerbate symptoms of some diseases such as psoriasis [2]. Learn which alternative treatments may help with bipolar disorder. It will definitely affect mood/behavior. Doses of lithium between 150-400 mcg per day (doses that are nutritional rather than pharmacological) resulted in improved mood in drug abusers, some of whom had a long history of drug abuse. Pill popping never is an ideal state of affairs, but until they come up with another idea for bipolar, that's all there is! This is comparable to uptake from drinking water in parts of the US, Japan, Austria where an inverse relationship has been observed between drinking water lithium and suicide or other violent impulsive behaviors. To experiment with trace lithium, you can go to a chemical supply house and obtain drug-grade lithium carbonate, chloride or orotate (it doesn't really matter which, although the carbonate is rather insoluble) and then fiddle around with a micro-balance and measuring cylinders to prepare the very dilute solution that you need. No safety assessments or blood tests need to be done for nutritional supplementation of lithium in contrast to the use of lithium as a drug, which requires blood testing to prevent toxic overdose. There are several supplements that contain low doses of lithium. The connection between low lithium and criminal behavior is not totally understood, but some think that lithium’s ability to improve impulse control may play a role [10]. They found that lower lithium levels in public drinking water were linked to higher suicide rates [8]. Similarly, another study found a link between lower lithium levels in drinking water and higher all-cause mortality in 18 neighboring Japanese municipalities with a total of over 1.2 million people [38]. So they are a necessary evil. Only time will tell. I just wanted to make a clarifying note to your readers who may be thinking about introducing lithium into their drug/supplement list. Studies have found that lithium stimulates and regenerates several types of stem cells. What type of side effects should I be experiencing. It has the same number of electrons in the outer shell—the molecule itself is a bit smaller, but the kidneys don't seem to be able to tell the difference. However, moderate to severe lithium toxicity is a medical emergency and might require additional treatment, such as stomach pumping. What could possibly explain the results? It’s best to not adjust the following unless monitored by a doctor: In addition, taking lithium with other medications can also increase your risk of lithium toxicity. Healthline Media does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. …but it is always good to hear success stories! Now I drink reverse-osmosis water, which is essentially free of trace elements (and toxic chemicals), and I take 500-mcg lithium daily by adding lithium drops to my orange juice. The issue with lithium is that studies looking into its general safety are lacking. And as a bipolar I sufferer, I can say that's not just an idea in my head, or stress out of control, or the wrong psychological state - it's a reality. According to one study, lower levels of lithium in tap water were linked to higher rates of death by any cause (not just suicide). Many people get confused by these: is it the same if you take prescription lithium and supplements? If you take lithium, make sure you know the signs of an overdose and keep the number for poison control (1-800-222-1222) handy in your phone. I think there are too many people being labelled as bipolar when there may be many other reasons behind their behaviour. But even if you’re not on prescription lithium, these drugs will likely have a similar effect [19]. Do they have a similar effect? We get most of our lithium from food and water. Life is full of suprises and you only get one life. 2011;99:39-51.2. It wasn't anything to do with my frame of mind... and therapy couldn't pull me back... only the drugs could! But adding anything to food or drinking water without conclusive evidence of a dietary necessity seems inappropriate. Thank you, Carolyn Panama City, FL. Below are some factors that affect how much lithium a person gets. Lithium toxicity can happen when this level reaches 1.5 mEq/L or higher. But for the physiological, sometimes it has to be the case that you take drugs, in order to remedy chemical imbalances, like dopamine being thrown off track in your body. The nutritional use of lithium is completely safe. In bipolar disorder, there has been shown to be an increase in inflammatory markers of the frontal cortex of the brain. However, currently, there is no solid evidence that supports this. Select one or more newsletters to continue. They’re full of potential and can transform into more specialized cells depending on what the body needs [48, 49]. I have a 16 yo son with life-long ADHD, been on Ritalin 2 1/2 years, nonexistent impulse control,"OCD tendancies", possibly Asperger's syndrome. A study performed in Greece found similar results. Dosages to reach this level will be dependent upon a person's kidneys an metabolism and could be anywhere (typically) from 450-1500 mg daily. Studies have found a link between lower levels of lithium in drinking water and higher rates of suicide, crime, dementia, and mortality.

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