Protect and Renew Brain Cells
Long considered non-essential or even toxic and dangerous, this mineral is receiving some big attention from conventional medicine and the list of benefits attributed to it grows almost daily.
Unique and often overlooked it is a naturally occurring alkali mineral in the same family as sodium and potassium. In nature it is found in varying amounts in foods such as grains and vegetables and in some areas drinking water also provides significant amounts of the element. “Taking the waters,” the practice of both drinking from and soaking in mineral rich springs dates far back in history as the ancients discovered the healing properties of water naturally rich in lithium. During the late 1800’s and early 1900’s the consumption of bottled Lithia mineral water was popular and the earliest formulation of the now-popular soft drink “7 up” was called “Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda" and introduced in 1929 and contained lithium carbonate until it was reformulated in 1948.
Higher lithium levels do appear to lead to happier people: a 1990 study conducted in Texas found that that the incidence rates of suicide, homicide, and rape were significantly higher in counties whose drinking water supplies contain little or no lithium than in counties with higher water lithium levels. (ref. 33) This and similar studies worldwide has led, predictably, to calls for public drinking water supplies to have lithium added as fluoride is in many jurisdictions now.
Despite it’s occurrence naturally, and it’s excellent safety profile Big Pharma and Conventional Medicine have managed to give lithium a bad reputation for safety. Most people are familiar with the lithium salts (carbonate and citrate) used to treat manic-depression (bipolar disorder). This form of lithium is not easily absorbed, so extremely high doses must be used (1200mg of lithium carbonate per dose, for example). At these doses, lithium is highly toxic. The toxic salt forms are available only by prescription, and for very good reason.
Lithium orotate is 20-times more biologically active than other forms of lithium, and is extremely safe. In orotate form, lithium acts as a mineral supplement that may be beneficial for:
Protecting and renewing brain cells (refs. 1-8, 17)
Researchers studied patients taking lithium for bipolar disorder and found that brain size, as measured by MRI scanning, increased in as little as 4 weeks of treatment. Another lab study found that lithium helped to enhance neural progenitor function in brain cells, leading to lithium-induced up-regulation of neural proliferation. This is important because as brain cells (neurons) wear out and die they must be replaced through the process of neural proliferation.
Another study showed that lithium increases the levels of a major neuroprotective protein and increases the regeneration of brain and spine nerve cells and a medical review in 2004 concluded: “The neuroprotective and neurotrophic actions of lithium have profound clinical implications. In addition to its present use in bipolar patients, lithium could be used to treat acute brain injuries such as stroke and chronic progressive neurodegenerative diseases.”
Alzheimer's prevention and possibly even reversal (refs. 9-16)
In 2007 researchers reported that “the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease in a group of elderly patients with bipolar disorder who were on continuous lithium treatment was significantly less than in a similar group without recent lithium therapy.”
Another scientific review states “Ongoing clinical trials are evaluating lithium's abilities to lower tau and beta-amyloid levels in cerebrospinal fluid in Alzheimer's patients.”
An extensively researched paper published in 2007 likened lithium to “The Holy Grail” in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's citing “Human Evidence for the Neurotrophic Effects of Lithium” and discussing evidence that “Lithium exerts robust neuroprotective effects in preclinical paradigms” and that “Lithium exerts major effects on cytoprotective pathways.”
Another paper states “Lithium has been shown to exert neuroprotective effects in vitro and to stimulate neurogenesis in the hippocampus.”
Yet another study concludes “The findings provide partial evidence to support the contention that lithium could offer hope as a preventive treatment for Alzheimer's disease.”
Researchers are focusing on the ability of lithium to protect the brain from the amyloid deposits that have been implicated in the development of Alzheimer's Disease.
Preventing migraine and cluster headaches (refs. 17-20)
An article from as long ago as 1984 reviewed 15 clinical trials on the use of lithium for such disorders as Huntington's chorea, tardive dyskinesia, spasmodic torticollis, Tourette's syndrome, L-dopa induced hyperkinesia and the "on-off" phenomenon in parkinsonism, organic brain disorders secondary to brain-injury, drug induced delusional disorders, migraine and cluster headache, periodic hypersomnolence, epilepsy, meniere's disease and periodic hypokalemic paralysis and concluded in part: “There are encouraging results on the use of lithium in cluster headaches, cyclic form of migraine and hypomanic mood disorders due to organic brain disorders.”
With regard to cluster headaches, researchers “administered lithium carbonate to two patients whose cluster headaches had brought them to the point of contemplating suicide. Both patients responded quite dramatically. Case 1 has now been virtually free of headaches for over two years and Case 2 has been in remission for over twelve months.” Another team of researchers reported: “Lithium was found to be an effective prophylactic agent for chronic cluster headache patients. The effectiveness of lithium was evident in less than a week after the beginning of treatment.” Clearly, lithium has a long history of successful use in treating these often debilitating headaches.
Treating and preventing depression (refs. 21-24,30)
Long considered a “mood stabilizer” both historically and more recently by conventional medicine for use in bipolar mood disorders (AKA “Manic-Depression”), a large number of research papers and studies are revealing just exactly how lithium performs it’s magic. All of these papers tend to be complicated, dense, and hard to plow through, but their bottom line is that instead of being a simple neurochemical “fix” or symptom reliever, lithium is exerting actions that protect brain cells from damaging proteins and is actually promoting the renewal and growth of brain cells.
Improving low white blood cell count (especially after chemotherapy) (refs. 25-27)
One of the most dreaded side-effects of treatment for cancer is the destruction of normal, healthy blood components that occurs along with the destruction of tumors targeted by both radiation and chemotherapy. Indeed, cancer treatments are limited by the side effects of tumour-destructive therapy, frequently requiring expensive supportive treatments to overcome and treat leucopenia and the immune compromise and often disastrous infections that can result. The conventional treatment for this is to administer IV antibiotics to prevent and combat infections and in the most severe cases to consider the use of recombinant human granulocyte colony-stimulating factor – an expensive “miracle treatment’ costing thousands of dollars per dose.
Researchers looking for less-costly and less potentially toxic solutions have found that lithium can have much the same effect, one study stating: “Lithium salts have shown that they can increase the number of neutrophil granulocytes quite significantly and, to a lesser extent, the number of eosinophil granulocytes and lymphocytes as well.” and concluding “It can be used to treat patients with chronic leucopenia following chemotherapy or radiotherapy extremely cost-effectively.” Interestingly, they go on to say: “Unfortunately this treatment has not won acceptance in clinical oncology in the face of highly cost-intensive treatment with recombinant CSF.” Translation? As long as there are wildly expensive Big Pharma drugs available to the cancer industry, lithium, a simple and cheap mineral, has little chance.
For shame, Big Pharma and Big Medicine!
Improving spatial memory (the "Where did I park my car?" kind of memory) (refs. 28, 34)
We’ve all done it: Parked the car in a large parking lot (or worse, in a parking garage) and returned only to discover that we have “lost” the car – we can’t remember, for love nor money, where we parked the darned thing. How frustrating, and even frightening. Lithium seems to help with this problem.
In a study published in 2001, researchers tested the ability of rats to navigate their way through mazes. They gave some of the rats lithium and found that the lithium improved the rats’ spatial memory (ability to find their way through the maze repeatedly) in as little as 24 hours compared to the rats which did not receive lithium.
We have to admit that this was just one study, conducted many years ago but there have been similar studies into related spatial memory impairment conducted since that hint strongly at the beneficial effects of lithium for memory. We also have many anecdotal reports from our patients and customers who tell us that lithium is helping them “focus better” on tasks that require memory and even to allow them to better remember things without needing to write notes.
Treating alcoholism (refs. 29-31)
Many people have difficulty with alcohol and their struggles with it and it’s effects can be lifelong for some. In addition to AA groups, “treatment clinics’, and other self-help strategies there have been seemingly endless attempts by Big Pharma and Big Medicine to find quick and easy drug treatments, generally with little success.
Lithium researchers on the other hand report great success in helping alcoholics get and remain abstinent from alcohol, and also find that the lithium has a number of other health-positive ‘side effects.” Researchers in one large clinical study noted: “Lithium orotate proved useful as the main pharmacologic agent for the treatment of alcoholism.” and went on to say “Further advantages for this lithium therapy were noted, i.e., improved liver and cardiovascular functions, reduction (and in some cases abolishment) of migraine headaches, alleviation of the Meniere's symptoms, and amelioration of seizures. There were increases in the white blood cell counts in the patient with chemotherapy-induced leukopenia and reduction of edema and ascites in patients with liver cirrhosis, as well as the pleural effusions and lymph node swelling in the patient with lung cancer. No manic episodes occurred during lithium orotate treatment in three patients with this affective disorder. The hyperthyroid condition was also improved in four patients.” That seems like a very long list of positive effects for such a simple mineral.
Improving Meniere’s syndrome (ref. 17)
This disease is both distressing and debilitating, and is characterized by recurrent episodes of vertigo, hearing loss and tinnitus. Episodes may be accompanied by headache and a feeling of fullness in the ears. Further symptoms may include include nausea, vomiting, and sweating (typical symptoms of vertigo), and some people may even have sudden falls without loss of consciousness (drop attacks).
Given the distress of the symptoms sufferers are often led to find relief in risky surgeries or questionable drug treatments. Sometimes these work, but sometimes they don’t and all have dangers. While there is very little direct research available to show beneficial effects of lithium in Meniere’s disease, many other studies (already mentioned in this article) have noted improvements in Meniere’s symptoms in people being treated with lithium for other conditions. Given the safety profile of lithium it may well be worth a try before resorting to the “big guns” of surgery or drugs.
Improving cognitive impairment in HIV positive patients (ref. 32)
Treatment for HIV has improved dramatically in recent years and it is no longer the dreaded death sentence that it once was. Even so, many afflicted will suffer from neurocognitive impairment as their disease progresses, leaving them unable to care for themselves and creating challenges for family and other caregivers.
A number of studies have demonstrated improvements in cognition (thinking and brain function) in HIV sufferers, with one study’s authors concluding: “Lithium resulted in improved neuropsychological performance in antiretroviral-treated, impaired individuals in this small, open-label study. Based on published in vitro data, lithium may exert this effect by inhibiting neuronal glycogen synthase kinase-3beta.” Translation? All 8 people in the study improved on lithium therapy, and the researchers think it may be due to lithium’s protective and restorative effects – the same protective and restorative effects that those researching other neurological conditions have reported over and over.
In summary, Lithium Orotate is a safe, effective, and inexpensive way to protect and renew brain cells. Dr. Myatt has her own brand of Lithium Orotate that she has selected for absolute purity and quality.
Each capsule contains: 4.8mg of elemental lithium.
Recommended dose: 1 capsule 2 times per day with meals or as recommended by a physician.
NOTE: DO NOT discontinue prescribed lithium salts for bipolar disorder without the guidance of a physician.
Lithium Orotate Product # 2309 (120 Capsules) $17.95
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Please Note: 130 mg of Lithium Orotate provides 4.8 mg of elemental lithium.
To understand this you can think of the Lithium Orotate as being the "carrier" which provides the physiologic dose of 4.8 mg of elemental lithium in a highly biologically available and active form.
|Serving Size: 1 Capsule
|Amount Per Serving
(providing 4.8 mg elemental lithium)
|*Daily Value not established
Microcrystalline cellulose and hydroxypropylmethylcellulose (vegetarian capsule) and magnesium stearate.
Contains no added sugar, starch, salt, wheat, gluten, corn, coloring, dairy products, flavoring or preservatives.
Keep container tightly closed in a cool, dry and dark place. Keep out of reach of children.
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2. ) Lithium stimulates progenitor proliferation in cultured brain neurons. Neuroscience 2003; 117(1): 55-61. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12605892
3.) Neuroprotective and neurotrophic actions of the mood stabilizer lithium: can it be used to treat neurodegenerative diseases? Crit Rev Neurobiol. 2004;16(1-2):83-90. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15581403
4.) Lithium at 50: have the neuroprotective effects of this unique cation been overlooked? Biol Psychiatry. 1999 Oct 1;46(7):929-40. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10509176
5.) Neuroprotective effects of lithium in cultured cells and animal models of diseases.Bipolar Disord. 2002 Apr;4(2):129-36. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12071510
6.) Lithium desensitizes brain mitochondria to calcium, antagonizes permeability transition, and diminishes cytochrome C release. J Biol Chem. 2007 Jun 22;282(25):18057-68. Epub 2007 May 4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17485418
7.) Lithium protects rat cerebellar granule cells against apoptosis induced by anticonvulsants, phenytoin and carbamazepine. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics 1998; 286(1): 539-547. http://jpet.aspetjournals.org/content/286/1/539
8.) Lithium exerts robust neuroprotective effects in vitro and in the CNS in vivo: Therapeutic implications. Neuropsychopharmacology 2000; 23(S2): S39. https://eurekamag.com/research/035/227/035227950.php
9.) A feasibility and tolerability study of lithium in Alzheimer's disease. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry.2008 Jan 8 [Epub ahead of print]. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/gps.1964/full
10.) Lithium for prevention of Alzheimer's disease. Br J Psychiatry. 2007 Oct;191:361; author reply 361-2. http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/191/4/361.1.long
11.) Lithium: a novel treatment for Alzheimer's disease? Expert Opin Drug Saf. 2007 Jul;6(4):375-83. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17688381
12.) In search of the Holy Grail for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders: has a simple cation been overlooked? Biol Psychiatry. 2007 Jul 1;62(1):4-6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1949906/
13.) Lithium and risk for Alzheimer's disease in elderly patients with bipolar disorder. Br J Psychiatry. 2007 Apr;190:359-60. http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/190/4/359.long
14.) Implications of the neuroprotective effects of lithium for the treatment of bipolar and neurodegenerative disorders. Pharmacopsychiatry. 2003 Nov;36 Suppl 3:S250-4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14677087
15.) Lithium and dementia: a preliminary study. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2006 Aug 30;30(6):1125-8.Epub 2006 Jun 6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16753246
16.) Lithium inhibits amyloid secretion in COS7 cells transfected with amyloid precursor protein C100. Neuroscience Letters 2002; 321(1-2): 61-64 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304394001025836
17.) A review of clinical trials of lithium in neurology. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1984;21 Suppl 1:57-64. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6240662
18.) Lithium treatment of chronic cluster headaches.Br J Psychiatry. 1978 Dec;133:556-8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/737393
19.) Chronic cluster headache: response to lithium treatment. J Neurol. 1979 Sep;221(3):181-5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/91671
20.) Lithium carbonate in cluster headache: assessment of its short- and long-term therapeutic efficacy.Cephalalgia. 1983 Jun;3(2):109-14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6409415
21.) Lithium regulates adult hippocampal progenitor development through canonical Wnt pathway activation. Mol Psychiatry. 2007 Oct 30 [Epub ahead of print] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17968353
22.) The mood stabilizers lithium and valproate selectively activate the promoter IV of brain-derived neurotrophic factor in neurons. Mol Psychiatry. 2007 Oct 9 [Epub ahead of print] http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.499.218&rep=rep1&type=pdf
23.) Lithium up-regulates the cytoprotective protein Bcl-2 in the CNS in vivo: a role for neurotrophic and neuroprotective effects in manic depressive illness.J Clin Psychiatry. 2000;61 Suppl 9:82-96. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10826666
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32.) Lithium improves HIV-associated neurocognitive impairment." AIDS. 2006 Sep 11;20(14):1885-8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16954730
33.) Schrauzer GN, Shrestha KP. Lithium in drinking water and the incidences of crimes, suicides, and arrests related to drug addictions. Biol Trace Elem Res. 1990 May;25(2):105-13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1699579
34.) Tan WF, Cao XZ, Wang JK, Lv HW, Wu BY, Ma H. Protective effects of lithium treatment for spatial memory deficits induced by tau hyperphosphorylation in splenectomized rats. Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 2010 Oct;37(10):1010-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1681.2010.05433.x. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20659131