The Science & Experience
When I found out that natural lithium was an effective supplement for the brain, could be found naturally in food and water, especially Hot Springs, and could be bought inexpensively at most health food stores without a prescription, I was ANGRY! But when I learned that it did not carry the horrible side effects of prescription lithium, didn’t cause blood toxicity, or organ failure, or need regular blood checks to ascertain safety, I became passionate about getting the word out. I write about it my best-seller, Med Free Bipolar (Amazon), and use it regularly in my nonprofit brain health clinic.
According to research done by the Amen Clinics, BrainMD’s Lithium Orotate is a very pure and safe source of lithium, a mineral that supports brain health. Lithium is widely distributed in waters and soils and has been proven essential to the health of rats and goats though not yet for humans.1Lithium is normally present in all our organs and tissues, and research is ongoing to clarify how lithium supports, promotes and enhances human health. This dietary supplement provides a very low dose of lithium that is considerably and distinctly lower than conventional medicinal lithium.
Lithium has many possible actions in the body. The lithium atom chemically resembles the essential mineral sodium, but also has some of the chemical character of calcium, another essential mineral. It also has a variety of other actions in the body.2 It’s unclear how very low “trace” intakes of lithium could produce substantial brain benefits, just that they do work and they don’t have adverse effects. There is a parallel between lithium and selenium, a proven essential mineral for which we need a mere 55-70 micrograms per day to power vital antioxidant enzymes; however, 400 micrograms per day can become toxic.3
In 1994, the prominent mineral researcher Gerhard Schrauzer from the University of California at San Diego, together with colleague Edmond de Vroey published a clinical trial in which emotionally challenged former drug users received either a very low dose of lithium or a placebo, for 4 weeks.4 Based on mood test questionnaires, those who received lithium reported steadily improving mood scores, and for answers related to “happiness,” “friendliness,” and “energy.” The placebo group showed no such improvements and their happiness score actually declined. The researchers concluded this minuscule lithium allowance (0.4 mg per day) had a mood-improving and stabilizing effect.
This trial’s findings are consistent with regional studies in the USA (Texas), Japan, Austria, Greece and Sardinia that have found a positive link between higher natural levels of lithium in drinking water and improved degrees of emotional stability, positive self-esteem, lower tendency to violence, and less incidence of self-harm.1,5,6 Schrauzer has estimated that total daily lithium intake from drinking water and food in most human populations ranges from 0.6 to 3.1 mg per day, and that very low intakes may be linked to behavioral problems.1
Various lines of research suggest that even very low-dose lithium supplementation can support brain health and stabilize cognitive function, including in the elderly. In one double-blind trial that went for 15 months, the group that received microdose lithium (0.3 mg per day) showed stable cognitive function over the entire period while the placebo group showed dramatic statistical differences as their cognitive performance declined.7
While high daily doses of lithium medications are known to carry risk of serious adverse effects and require close monitoring by physicians, the very low lithium doses from BrainMD’s Lithium Orotate provide sufficient amounts to achieve brain benefits without causing adverse effects. This orotate form of lithium is well absorbed and excellently tolerated.
We recommend taking one capsule (providing 5 mg of lithium) of this product once or twice daily, preferably with meals. Higher intakes may be beneficial but should be supervised by a nutritionally-informed physician. It is vegan and free of all the culprit allergens. This product is not recommended for use during pregnancy or lactation.
Peer-Reviewed Scientific References
1. Schrauzer GN, 2002. Journal of the American College of Nutrition 21 (1), 14-21.
2. Jakobsson E, Arguello-Miranda O, Chiu S-W, others, 2017. J Membrane Biol 250, 587-604.
3. Report of the Panel on Dietary Antioxidants and Related Compounds, Subcommittees on Upper Reference Levels of Nutrients and of Interpretation and Use of Dietary Reference Intakes, and the Standing Committee on the Scientific Evaluation of Dietary Reference Intakes, Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine, 2000. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium, and Carotenoids. National Academy Press, Washington, DC, USA, http://www.nap.edu.
4. Schrauzer GN, de Vroey E, 1994. Biological Trace Element Research 40, 89-101.
5. Vita A, De Peri L, Sacchetti E, 2015. International Clinical Psychopharmacology 30(1), 1-5.
6. Bocchetta A, Traccis F, 2017. Clinical Practice & Epidemiology in Mental Health 13, 246-254.
7. Nunes MA, Viel TA, Buck HS, 2013. Current Alzheimer’s Research 10, 104-107.