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Lithium Orotate Works!


This site is for articles & information about lithium orotate and the experiences people have had using small doses of this safe, over-the-counter mineral supplement to treat stress, bipolar disorder (manic depression),  ADHD and ADD, depression,  alcoholism,  aggression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Alzheimer's and other conditions with it.


In addition, there are articles about recent research which explains how everyone's brain can also be both protected and benefited in many ways by trace doses of this mineral.


 What is Lithium?

What is Lithium Orotate?

Many people do not realize that lithium itself is not a drug, but is instead a naturally occurring mineral salt like potassium, and is something which everyone needs for proper mental and physical health.

The kinds of lithium which most people have heard about are the pharmaceutical drug forms of lithium, like lithium carbonate and lithium citrate. These drugs are typically prescribed for treatment of mood disorders like bipolar disorder.

Lithium orotate is something very different. It is a special mineral form of lithium which will cross the blood brain barrier. This means that the huge amounts required of the pharmaceutical drug forms of lithium citrate and lithium carbonate in order to effectively treat a condition, are not necessary when using lithium orotate. Instead, only a tiny amount of lithium orotate is needed, as 97% of it gets where it actually needs to go.

One of the main reasons people use lithium orotate instead of the pharmaceutical forms of lithium carbonate or lithium citrate is because of their potential for lithium toxicity and because of their numerous side effects. The large quantities of those drugs which must be used in order to be effective are at near toxic levels with a narrow window of safety. The hope is that they will do more good than harm.

Lithium orotate, on the other hand, is completely non-toxic, very safe in all respects, has no side effects, and is effective for an estimated 70% to 80% of individuals who try it. Because of the small amounts of lithium in lithium orotate, which still effectively treats many different conditions, it is available as an over-the-counter mineral supplement.

In addition, lithium orotate is a mineral which can be helpful for anyone to take.  It protects the brain in a number of important ways.  It has also been recently discovered that the mineral lithium can actually increase the gray matter in the brain (source of intelligence) which nothing else known to date can do.  Taking tiny amounts of lithium orotate is a safe way to receive this amazing result.



This site is receiving many questions about dosage for lithium orotate. This website was not created by a doctor. The information posted here is simply the standard dosage recommendations from some of the manufacturers of lithium orotate and what psychiatrists who treat with it typically prescribe.


Check with your doctor before implementing any medication changes!

A standard dose of lithium carbonate (for bipolar disorder) might typically be from 600mg to 1200mg daily. This provides 113mg to 226mg of elemental lithium.

A 120mg tablet of lithium orotate usually has 4.5mg--5mg of elemental lithium.


The standard dose of lithium orotate for bipolar disorder would typically be 3 to 5 tabs a day which provide 13.5mg--15mg to 22.5mg--25mg of elemental lithium. Despite this small amount of elemental lithium in comparison to the large amounts in the pharmaceutical forms of lithium, dramatic results are still achieved.

Doses of lithium orotate usually range from 2 (1 tab twice a day) to 6 (2 tabs three times a day), with 3 to 5 tabs a day being the norm.


A psychiatrist who has been treating the conditions mentioned above with lithium orotate for the last ten years says he uses from 2 to 8 tabs a day for patients with 3 to 4 day being the most common.

Also, a daily supplement of 300-400 mcg folic acid is recommended as it enhances the brain's ability to utilize the protective properties of lithium orotate.

It is very important if you are currently on medication, to work with your doctor regarding switching over to lithium orotate.


Also, be sure to consult with your doctor if you will be taking any other medications regularly for other conditions.



Also, no form of lithium should be used by individuals with significant renal or cardiovascular diseases, severe debilitation or dehydration, or sodium depletion, and by individuals who are taking diuretics or ACE inhibitors. Be sure to consult your doctor before use if you are taking anti-hypertensive drugs, anti-inflammatory drugs, analgesic drugs or insulin. ========================


Medical Questions and Answers

about Lithium Orotate


by Dr. Ward Dean


Please note: Dr. Dean is not a creator of or a contributor to this website.

Assessment Criteria for Lithium Orotate

Dear Dr.
Dean: If one doesn't need to have blood tests to measure therapeutic range using lithium orotate in lieu of lithium citrate, by what clinical standards is successful dosing measured? DL

Dear DL, The reason blood tests are performed with prescription forms of lithium is more to prevent toxicity than to judge therapeutic effect. Just because lithium levels are in the "therapeutic range" doesn't mean they are effective. Successful dosing with lithium orotate is measured by clinical effects on the patient, rather than by blood levels. Because of its high bioavailability, lithium orotate dosages are usually about 1/20 of the dosage of prescription lithium.

Ward Dean, M.D.

Bi-Polar Disorder, and Questions about Lithium Orotate Side Effects

Hi Dr. Dean, I have read your article and Q and A re lithium orotate at and I have a few more questions. Does lithium orotate cause sleepiness or weight gain (or does it hinder weight loss)? I take 4 200 mg SAMe & 3 100 mg 5HTP per day to alleviate depression (as well as natural progesterone, B-12 and lots of other vitamins). (I had been on Effexor, Zoloft and Welbutrin - but I got off them to eliminate the side effects.) The natural antidepressants have enabled me to get off the prescription ones - I feel that they work for me - I'm not perfect - I still get down and I still get angrier than I should at times. My bi-polar sister recently died and I have always felt that I have some tendencies toward that condition. From reading your answers I thought it might be a good thing for me to try Lithium orotate. I would like your opinion about that and answers to my questions re sleepiness and weight gain. Thanks a lot. B.C.

Dear Ms. Cunningham, Lithium Orotate will not cause weight gain, nor will it cause sedation or sleepiness. It will not adversely interact with any of the other supplements you are taking (or medications that you have taken in the past). Good luck,

Ward Dean, M.D.

Bipolar Disorder and

Dear Dr.
Dean, I was being treated for depression and bipolar mood disorder with 2000mg/day of Depakote, and 5mg /day of Zyprexe. I discontinued this course of treatment after six months because I felt like a zombie and was not any better. In fact, I felt much worse. Are there any natural products or supplements I could take to improve my condition, and that I should avoid? ( I am a 47 year old male with no prior diagnosis of depression and no other medical conditions) Thank you for your help. Sincerely, GT

Dear GT, I'm amazed at how the neurologists love Depakote. My first choice for bipolar disorder is Lithium Orotate. Please read our article on Lithium Orotate on VRP's website. It is amazing (and inexpensive) stuff. Lithium Orotate is about 20 times more bioavailable than the prescription forms of lithium. It does not require blood tests to establish a "therapeutic" level, as the prescription forms do, nor is it toxic to the kidneys as the prescription forms are. Other substances to try include high-dose Ethyl EPA (6-9 grams daily), and the combination of Syncholamine and Positrol. Syncholamine should be used during the day in the "down" phase, and Positrol should be used at night during the "up" phase. The prescription Neurontin (GabaPentin) may also help at night during the "up" phase. Hope these suggestions help.

Ward Dean, M.D

Blood Tests for Lithium

Dr. Ward Dean, Re: Lithium Orotate I have started my BiPolar Son on the lithium orotate to address his mania. This has been added to his current regime of vitamins/minerals and amino acids, as prescribed by Dr. Billie Sahley of the
Pain & Stress Center. His psychiatrist, Dr. John Alston of Evergreen, CO was quite interested in this safer form of lithium. It is wonderful not to have to be concerned about its toxicity. However, Dr. Alston also uses the blood test results to determine whether a patient is at a "therapeutic level." The blood level test serves as a tool for him to determine appropriate dosage levels. Even though blood tests are not required for testing toxicity, can they be used to determine whether a patient has a therapeutic amount of the lithium in their system? Would it be the same blood test? Would the results be interpreted the same way? I appreciate your reply and will share the information with Dr. Alston. Thanks --

Dear Mrs. Dalton, Prescription lithium is poorly absorbed by the cells, where it needs to be to do its job. Because it is so poorly absorbed, blood levels need to be fairly high to "drive it into the cells." Unfortunately, these "therapeutic" blood levels are dangerously close to the toxic level. That's why patients on prescription lithium need to be carefully monitored. The level needs to be high enough to push the lithium into the cells, but not too high to pickle the kidneys. However, with lithium orotate, it is not necessary to reach "therapeutic" blood levels, because it seems to go right into the cells where it belongs, and where it can do its intended job. I think a more effective way to determine whether lithium orotate is working, and whether an adequate dose has been prescribed, is to monitor the patient. Usually, asking them how they feel is enough. The effects are evident to the patient, as well as to the people around him. I think doing a blood test when taking lithium orotate is a waste of blood.

Ward Dean, M.D.

Lithium Orotate and
Bipolar Disorder

Dear Dr.
Dean, I have a friend who has been diagnosed as bi-polar and treated accordingly with various anti-depressants, anti-psychotic meds, etc. The side effects of these meds have been most unpleasant for her! She has ordered the lithium orotate from VRP; took the info to her psychiatrist to request his review and to request that he work with her to transition from her meds to the lithium orotate. His response, "Don't waste my time talking about nutrition!" Thus, our question to you is, how would you recommend she best transition from the meds to the lithium orotate? Her meds are taken as follows: Risperdal - 4 mg taken at bedtime Amandatine - 100 mg. taken at bedtime (this med is taken exclusively to control the Parkinson's type symptoms she experiences as a side effect from taking the Risperdal. Sincerely, J. Halbert

Dear Ms. Halbert, First, I would have your friend consult a different psychiatrist. Lithium Orotate could probably be taken along with the Risperdal, as Lithium Orotate is extremely safe, with no known adverse side effects or drug interactions. Risperdal, on the other hand, is a powerful anti-psychotic medication with a significant side effect profile. I suggest that your friend work with a more open-minded and sympathetic psychiatrist who can monitor her response to Lithium Orotate and try to reduce/discontinue Risperdal.

Ward Dean, M.D.

Lithium Orotate and Manic Depression

I have been using the product Lithium Orotate for approximately one year to control Manic-Depression. I started with two capsules daily and currently I am using six capsules daily (2 per meal). I have my blood level monitored by my Doctor. With two capsules daily my blood level result was 0.25. My level has never changed and it still shows 0.25 while I have used six capsules daily during the past four months. Is this normal? Also is there an amount that could be toxic that I should be aware of? Are there side effects associated with this Lithium? Could I be doing myself harm unknowingly by taking too much? I am not experiencing any apparent side effects. I feel good and I believe I am doing well - no complaints from family, friends or co-workers. I am grateful for this product since I discontinued Depakote and the prescribed Lithium almost destroyed me years ago. I am also grateful for the VRP newsletter and your answers to these questions.

Please re-read the article on lithium orotate. Lithium's clinical effects depend upon its intracellular concentration. Unfortunately, prescription forms of lithium (i.e., lithium citrate and lithium carbonate) are poorly transmitted across the cell membrane. Thus, in order to drive the lithium into the cell, blood levels must be quite high. The blood levels required to obtain this effect ("therapeutic blood levels") are very close to toxic levels. That is why prescription lithium has such a narrow "therapeutic window." Lithium orotate, on the other hand, is very efficiently transported across cellular membranes. Consequently, lithium orotate can be therapeutically effective, without significantly effecting lithium blood levels. Your physician is looking for your lithium levels to climb into the "therapeutic range"--which is neither required nor desirable when lithium orotate is used. Since, as you say, you are feeling well and are not experiencing any side effects, I would stay on your current dosage. You might want to show my article on lithium orotate to your physician.

Dr. Dean

Lithium Orotate vs Prescription Lithium

Hi, Dr. Dean, I would like to replace my patient's 600 mg of prescription lithium with your lithium orotate. What is the equivalent dosage for 600 mg? Thank you
Eugene Vasin, MD

Dear Dr.
Vasin, Lithium orotate is 20 times more bio-available than lithium carbonate or lithium citrate. If this were the case in everyone, then 30 mg of lithium orotate (about six capsules) would be the equivalent of of 600 mg of prescription lithium. However, your patient may not need that much. I've seen patients respond to amazingly low doses. Nevertheless, I would start the patient on three capsules daily, and adjust the dose upwards (if necessary) based on his clinical response. I know of one patient who was taking 14 capsules daily without any signs of toxicity. His physician was fruitlessly trying to get his lithium into a "therapeutic range." Of course, this is not necessary with lithium orotate. Let me know your experiences.


Loose Stools from
Lithium Orotate

Dear Dr.
Dean. I have recently been taking the Lithium Orotate twice a day - 120 mg = 4.8 mg elemental - for chelation of any accumulated metals. I noticed after a few days that I was having loose stools, so I quit taking the lithium for a couple of days. This cleared up the problem until I started taking the lithium again. Is this one of the side effects of taking the litihium? I have not seen any mention of this in any literature I have read. RM

Dear Mr. M, Thanks for the report. I have not previously heard of this being a side effect of lithium orotate, although it has been occasionally reported with prescription forms of lithium. I'd suggest reducing the dosage to below what appears to be "bowel tolerance" for you. Thanks again for letting me know of your experience.

Ward Dean, M.D.

NSAIDs and Lithium Orotate

Dear Doctor, I take Lithium Orotate for a recurrent depressive illness and I should like to know if there is any danger to take it together with Naproxen Natrium which -like other Non-Steroida Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)- risks raising the level of Lithium in the blood. Thank you in advance and best regards. CD

Dear CD, With the superior bioavailability of Lithium Orotate over the prescription forms of lithium, there is no concern for lithium toxicity. Since doses of Lithium Orotate that are clinically effective are about 1/20th of the required prescription dose. Consequently, it is not necessary to monitor blood levels. The dangerous part of taking Lithium Orotate with NSAIDs is not the lithium. I would be more concerned with the NSAIDs themselves. Ward Dean, M.D.

SSRIs, Bi-Polar Disorder, and
Lithium Orotate

Dear Dr.
Dean: I have been taking Zoloft for about 3 years. During that time I have also tried Paxil, Wellbutrin and a few others. My Dr. is now suggesting I take Prozac. I am fearful that taking anti-depressants is going to dumb me down. My Dr. has also suggested I am bi-polar. I am moody and always have been, but my father was an alcoholic and my mother was busy working and in denial. I'm not going for the sympathetic violin music, I just don't know if I can trust my Dr. as I feel she is very liberal in dispensing anti-depressants. Today, I have weaned myself off Zoloft and must decide whether to take Prozac or Wellbutrin. Or can I truly get off all medications and take 5HTP and or St. Johns Wort? I take DHEA every day and ginkgo and a few other odds and bits of vitamins. I also take 3 mg. of Ativan every night, and I have for 6 years. Any suggestions? I cannot take L-carnitine or phenylalanine as they do make me feel nuts and quite bitchy. Thank you for you time. SH

Dear SH, You might be able to reduce your dependence on Wellbutrin by taking 5-HTP. However, if phenylalanine does not agree with you, St. Johns Wort may not be appropriate for you. One of the mechanisms of St. Johns Wort is to act as a monoamine oxidase B inhibitor. This would tend to increase the stimulatory catecholamines--as phenylalanine does. On the other hand, I'd suggest trying Lithium Orotate. Lithium Orotate has antidepressant properties, and tends to level out those who are bipolar. Also, Lithium Orotate is not only more effective but is also much safer and does not require the periodic blood tests and physician monitoring of prescription forms of lithium. I would not be concerned about Prozac and the other SSRI's causing you to be "dumbed down"--they can be helpful in many people when appropriately used. Ward Dean, M.D.


The Importance of

Lithium Supplementation


by Jonathan V. Wright, M.D.


Dr. Wright has degrees from both Harvard University (cum laude) and the University of Michigan. He is a best-selling author and widely known for his regular columns in Prevention and Let's Live magazines.

He is the former President of the National Health Federation and has served on the Board of Directors of Bastyr University, The Life Extension Foundation, the American Preventive Medical Association, and other important medical institutions.

In addition, for nearly 30 years, Dr. Wright and his colleague, Alan Gaby, M.D., have been building an archive of natural healing science unique in all the world. Today it includes nearly every major study on the subject ever published in over 350 medical journals over the past 35 every pertinent study published in 50 major journals since 1920.

Dr. Wright's medical seminars are recognized internationally as the #1 educational resource for physicians who want to learn nutritional medicine.


This information below from Dr. Wright has mainly been posted to demonstrate that lithium orotate is a safe treatment that can be tried with relatively no risk and which can be helpful for anyone. Although the studies mentioned in the article are not footnoted, all of them are readily available by doing an Internet search.

Additionally, doing a Google (and Google Groups search) on lithium orotate will yield many sources of information regarding the way lithium orotate is being used for treatment.

(**Note -- when dosage is discussed, be aware that typically 4.5 to 5mg of elemental lithium are found in one 120 to 135 tab of lithium orotate. So when 10 mgs of elemental lithium are recommended, that equals 2 tabs of lithium orotate.)



Think young into your 90s with this anti-aging secret for your brain.

By Jonathan V. Wright, M.D. (

The biggest problem with lithium treatment is people's perception of it. Since its most well known use is for bi-polar disorder, lithium sometimes encounters the same stigma as mental illness itself.

I've been taking a lithium supplement every day for several years. But I've never suffered from a mental disorder (although certain mainstream medical doctors and possibly a federal agency or two might disagree). Treating manic-depressive (bi-polar) illness is lithium's most widely known use--but it isn't an anti-psychotic drug, as many people believe. In fact, lithium isn't a drug at all. It's actually a mineral-part of the same family of minerals that includes sodium and potassium.

You might remember reading several editions of Health e-Tips a few months ago that discussed various benefits of lithium. In addition to the benefits mentioned in the e-Tips, like controlling gout and relieving rashes caused by sebhorric dermatitis, lithium also has some great brain-boosting effects. In fact, I've reviewed both recent lithium research and the research spanning the past few decades, and I'm convinced that lithium is an anti-aging nutrient for human brains. And there are also some very strong reasons to believe that lithium therapy will slow the progression of serious degenerative mental problems, including Alzheimer's disease, senile dementia, and Parkinson's disease.

So there are obviously quite a few "pros" to using lithium, but you're probably wondering about the "cons." In the 1930s and '40s, lithium chloride was sold in stores as a salt substitute. But (as frequently happens) some people used way too much and suffered toxic overdoses, so it fell out of common use. Fortunately, lithium toxicity is entirely preventable, and it's also easily treatable if it ever does occur -but more about that later. Right now, let's get into some of the specifics on just how you (and your brain) can benefit from lithium.

Taking (grey) matters into your own hands

Hercule Poirot, Agatha Christie's famous fictional detective, had an amusing quirk in his incessant concern for his "little grey cells." I thought of Hercule several years ago when I saw the following headline in an issue of the Lancet: "Lithium-induced increase in human brain grey matter."

That may not sound like an earth-shattering piece of news, but it actually was quite a major discovery. To that point, medical experts believed that once our brains matured, it was all downhill from then on. Decades of autopsies, x-rays, and, more recently, brain scans have repeatedly shown that brains shrink measurably with aging. But according to their report in the Lancet,
Wayne State University (Detroit) researchers found that lithium has the ability to both protect and renew brain cells. Eight of 10 individuals who took lithium showed an average 3 percent increase in brain grey matter in just four weeks.

Lithium may help to generate entirely new cells too: Another group of researchers recently reported that lithium also enhances nerve cell DNA replication. DNA replication is a first step in the formation of a new cell of any type.

Wayne State study used high-dose lithium, but I'm certainly not using that amount myself, nor do I recommend it. Prescription quantities of lithium just aren't necessary for "everyday" brain cell protection and re-growth. Studies done years ago have shown that very low amounts of lithium can also measurably influence brain function for the better.

Protect yourself from brain damage you didn't even know you had.

Aside from boosting brain mass, recent research also shows that lithium can help protect your brain from the "beating" it gets in the course of everyday life. Your brain cells are constantly at risk of damage from exposure to toxins of all sorts-even ones produced by your own body. Toxic molecules are formed naturally during the course of normal brain metabolism. Since these "normal" toxic molecules (sometimes called "excitotoxins") are produced every day of your life, eventually they start to wear down or erode away brain mass.

Another well-known cause of brain cell injury is over-activated N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors. Lithium can inhibit this overactivity.8 And lithium also increases production of a major brain protective protein called "bcl-2" in both human and animal brain cells.

So it appears that lithium can protect against normal brain erosion and shrinkage that would otherwise occur over the course of our lives. But lithium also protects the brain from other less "normal" problems too, like damage caused by prescription medications and strokes.

When a clot or other obstruction occurs in a blood vessel serving the brain, it causes a reduction of blood flow to that area. If it's bad enough, the lack of blood flow will cause a stroke and death of brain cells. (This type of stroke is known as an ischemic stroke.) Research in experimental animals with deliberately induced ischemic strokes has shown that lithium reduces the areas of cell death.

In one of these studies, researchers blocked a brain artery in rats. Some were pre-treated with lithium for 16 days, the rest weren't. The researchers reported that the lithium-treated rats experienced 56 percent less cell death and significantly fewer neurologic deficits than the control rats.

And sometimes medications designed to treat other problems end up having a negative impact on the brain. For example, anti-convulsant medications cause abnormal levels of brain cell death. But lithium significantly protects against this type of cell death-so much so that this effect has been called "robust" (a term scientists use to mean "It really works!").

In fact, based on its general neuroprotective effect, researchers have recently suggested that "the use of lithium as a neurotrophic/ neuroprotective agent should be considered in the long term treatment of mood disorders, irrespective of the 'primary' treatment modality being used for the condition." Translation: Lithium should be used along with any patent medicine being used for depression, anxiety, or any other "mood-altering" reason, since it will protect brain cells against their unwanted toxic effects. The researchers didn't say so, but I will: Any list of "mood altering substances" should include alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, "uppers," "downers," and-for those who do inhale-marijuana. Harmless as some of them might seem, these substances can cause brain damage with medium to long-term abuse.

Keeping your brain's lines of communication open -and healthy.

Scientists determine how healthy brain cells are by measuring levels of a molecule called N-acetyl-aspartate (NAA). A decrease in NAA is thought to reflect decreased nerve cell viability, decreased function, or even nerve cell loss.15 In a study of 19 research volunteers given four weeks of lithium, 14 experienced a significant increase in NAA, one had no change, and four had a small decrease.

Now, what about the interaction between those new, protected, healthy brain cells? Communication between brain cells and networks of brain cells is called "signaling." And lithium is actually necessary for at least two signal-carrying pathways. Researchers have also reported that lithium may help to repair abnormally functioning signaling pathways in critical areas of the brain.

Lithium and Alzheimer's: New hope for a "hopeless" situation.

As you know, there's no cure for Alzheimer's disease and there's very little available for patients (and families) that can offer even partial relief from the turmoil it causes. So when new treatments are developed or discovered, it's usually big news -- a ray of hope for people stuck in a seemingly hopeless situation. One of these newly developed patent medications, called Memantine,(tm) was recently approved in
Europe. Even though it's not officially "approved" in this country (yet), thousands of people are already importing Memantine to the U.S. via various Internet sources. But why go through all the trouble (not to mention risk) of getting and using this new patent formula? Apparently, it "works" by protecting brain cells against damage caused by a major excitotoxin, glutamate. But protecting against glutamate-induced nerve cell damage is also one of the well-known actions of lithium. So if it's true that this newly approved patent medication slows the progress of Alzheimer's disease in this way, then lithium should slow Alzheimer's disease progression, too. Of course, lithium treatment, which isn't patentable and doesn't have nearly the profit potential of patented Alzheimer's medications, hasn't made any headlines. But that doesn't mean it isn't a promising option for patients struggling with Alzheimer's disease.

There are many other research findings that also strongly suggest that lithium will protect against potential Alzheimer's disease and slow the progression of existing cases. Researchers have reported that lithium inhibits beta-amyloid secretion, and also prevents damage caused by beta-amyloid protein once it's been formed. Beta-amyloid peptide is a signature protein involved in Alzheimer's disease: the more beta-amyloid protein, the worse the Alzheimer's becomes.

Overactivation of a brain cell protein called tau protein also contributes to neuronal degeneration in Alzheimer's disease, as does the formation of neurofibrillary tangles Lithium inhibits both of these nerve-cell damaging problems.

And you've likely read that individuals with Alzheimer's disease usually have excess aluminum accumulation in brain cells. While it's not yet known whether this excess aluminum is a cause, an effect, or just coincidental, most health-conscious individuals take precautions to avoid ingesting aluminum. Unfortunately, it's impossible to completely avoid all aluminum, since it's naturally present in nearly all foods. But lithium can help protect your brain against aluminum by helping to "chelate" it so that it can be more easily removed from the body.

Although Alzheimer's disease and senile dementia aren't technically the same, they do share many of the same degenerative features so there's every reason to expect that lithium will help prevent or slow the progression of senile dementia too.

A younger, healthier brain with just one small dose a day.

As I mentioned earlier, some of these studies used rather high doses of lithium. And in some instances, as in the case of manic depression, doses as high as 90 to 180 milligrams of elemental lithium from 900 to 1800 milligrams of lithium carbonate are necessary. Quantities of lithium in that range must be monitored closely to guard against overdose and toxicity.

But you really don't need large amounts to improve your "every-day" brain function. Studies have repeatedly shown that substantially lower amounts of lithium can significantly improve brain function (as reflected in behavior).

The amounts of lithium I recommend for brain anti-aging range from 10 to 20 milligrams (from lithium aspartate or lithium orotate) daily. I've actually been recommending these amounts since the 1970s. At first I was exceptionally cautious and asked all of my patients taking lithium to have regular "lithium level" blood tests and thyroid function tests. After a year or so, I quit asking for the lithium level blood tests, since 100 percent of them came back very low. Another year after that, I stopped requesting routine thyroid function tests, too, only doing one when I was suspicious of a potential problem. In the 30 years since, I've rarely found one.

Protect your brain starting today -- no prescription necessary.

High-dose lithium is available only by prescription. But low-dose lithium (capsules or tablets containing 5 milligrams of lithium from lithium aspartate or lithium orotate) is available from a few natural food stores and compounding pharmacies. We also add Lithium Chloride in 5mg doses to many of our I. V protocols in our office. W.
Greene, D.C.

If you're interested in keeping your brain as young as possible for as long as possible, you should definitely consider lithium therapy. Review this information with your physician...but make sure he is skilled and knowledgeable in nutritional and natural medicine!

A better sense of direction in just 24 hours.

"Spatial memory" is the scientific-lingo term for what most of us call "sense of direction." If you've ever "lost" your car in a crowded parking lot, you know just how handy a good "spatial memory" can be. Now it looks like it might be possible to improve your sense of direction in as little as 24 hours.

When researchers study this concept they usually use animals in mazes. The experiments generally involve examining what effects various things have on the animals' ability to remember how to navigate their way through the maze. In one such study, researchers observed the navigating ability of lithium treated and untreated rats for four months. They found that lithium improved the rats' spatial memory with as little as 24 hours of exposure.19

Using lithium safely

Over a decade ago, a woman visited the Tahoma Clinic on the advice of her psychiatrist. She was severely bipolar, requiring a maximum dose of lithium carbonate to keep her symptoms under control. Despite close monitoring of serum lithium levels to maintain a safe range, she was starting to show many signs of lithium toxicity, including hypertension, tremor, nausea, and protein in her urine. She and her psychiatrist had tried other medications, but none provided the control of her bipolar symptoms that lithium did. So she came to the Tahoma Clinic to see if there were any natural options for her.

Fortunately, there was a simple solution. Without changing her lithium dose, the clinic doctor treating her asked the woman to start taking 1 tablespoon of flaxseed oil along with 800 IU of vitamin E (mixed tocopherols) three times a day. One month later, the woman's blood pressure had normalized, her tremors and nausea were gone, and there was no further protein in the urine. And best of all, her bipolar symptoms remained under control. At that point, she was able to cut the flaxseed oil to 1 tablespoon daily along with 400 IU of vitamin E. Several years later, her lithium toxicity hasn't returned.

To be on the safe side, we always recommend that anyone taking lithium also take a teaspoonful or two of fish oils (or other essential fatty acid such as BIOMEGA-3) along with 400 IU of vitamin E (as mixed tocopherols) each day.

The Misunderstood Mineral

Lithium fights crime and some of your most nagging health concerns

By Jonathan V. Wright, M.D.

Turns out it's not only the strict use of the death penalty lowering crime rates in some areas of Texas. And while I'm sure "Dubya" would be quick to take credit, it's not stricter laws or changes in sentencing guidelines either. Using 10 years of data accumulated from 27
Texas counties, researchers found that the incidence of homicide, rape, burglary, and suicide, as well as other crimes and drug use, were significantly lower in counties whose drinking water supplies contained 70-170 micrograms of lithium per liter than those with little or no lithium in their water.

Amounts of lithium in the body can be determined from hair samples. A low lithium level is the norm in those who commit violent crimes. A comparison of 2,648 subjects nationwide showed that normal controls had almost 400 times more hair lithium than did violent criminals.

The researchers wrote: "These results suggest that lithium at low dosage levels has a generally beneficial effect on human behavior...increasing the human lithium intakes by supplementation, or the lithiation [adding lithium] of drinking water is suggested as a possible means of crime, suicide, and drug-dependency reduction at the individual and community level."

And that's not to mention all of the lithium health benefits we went over last month: It may be useful in treating Alzheimer's disease, senile dementia, and possibly Parkinson's disease. Lithium not only protects brain cells against normal wear and tear, but also offers additional protection against a whole variety of toxic molecules, including patent medications. It can also promote brain cell regeneration and increase brain cell mass. In essence, the research suggests that lithium is a brain anti-aging nutrient.

All of these results are every bit as good as (if not better than) the data that led to dumping toxic waste (fluoride) into so many public water supplies. So why haven't public health and safety "authorities" been pushing for further intensive research on water-borne lithium and criminal behavior?

I'm certainly not in favor of the government adding anything to pure drinking water. But if it insists on forcibly mass-medicating us through our water supply (a thoroughly un-American concept I'm 100 percent against no matter what the added substance is), why haven't they considered adding something that might actually do some real good for people's health and safety? Isn't the possibility of reducing homicide, suicide, rape, robbery, burglary, theft, mental hospital admissions, and drug addiction related arrests just as important as the possibly of preventing tooth decay?

Call me pessimistic, but I suspect lithium is still being ignored because no huge, politically connected industry has enormous quantities of lithium-containing waste lying around. (In the 1940s, that's exactly how water fluoridation began, by using up huge quantities of fluoride-containing toxic waste generated by the politically connected aluminum industry.)

But if there's one thing we all know about the
U.S. government, it's that we shouldn't wait for the people running it to do anything to help us, especially when we can help ourselves. So today let's go over a few more of lithium's benefits and I'll tell you how you can help yourself to this valuable mineral right now.

Lithium tackles another addiction

In 30 years of nutritionally oriented practice, I've been told by many alcoholics and their relatives that low-dose lithium can be very helpful for both alcoholism and associated mood disorders. For "practicing" alcoholics, I recommend a trial of lithium orotate, 10 milligrams three times daily (along with diet advice, niacin, glutamine, and other supplements). I ask recovering alcoholics to try 5 milligrams, three times daily (occasionally more). The majority of these patients report improved mood and decreased desire for alcohol after about six weeks using lithium therapy.

According to one review article in the British Journal of Addiction, "both controlled and uncontrolled experiments show that symptoms of both alcoholism and affective disturbance are reduced in patients treated with lithium." (All of the studies reviewed used high dose prescription lithium.)

I also often recommend direct blood relatives of alcoholics (parents, children, or siblings) consider a trial of lithium orotate, 5 milligrams two or three times daily, even if they have never noticed a mood problem. I explain that this is a "personal clinical trial," and a safe one, that they can discontinue in six to eight weeks if they don't feel a difference. I also ask that the individual discuss this personal clinical trial with their husband, wife, or other close household member, since I've found that the individual doesn't always notice subtle (or even not-so-subtle) mood changes in himself. But immediate family members notice-particularly when the changes are for the better! I haven't kept a count of exactly how many individuals have tried this approach over the last 30 years, but it's probably somewhere in the vicinity of 300 to 400-maybe more. And the majority report positive changes: less depression and irritability for women, and less irritability and "temper" for men.

Can lithium help solve your health mysteries?

So far, you've read about how lithium can help combat mental illness, mood disorders, and chemical dependency. All of these benefits, in turn, help communities become safer places overall by reducing rates of violent crime. And, yes, increased safety does benefit you and me. But right now, let's discuss some ways that you might be able to put lithium to work in your own life with some surprising applications for a few rather "mysterious" conditions.

By "mysterious," I don't mean brand-new, mutated viruses like the recent outbreak of SARS. No, the conditions I'll go over today have been around for quite a while. But the mystery lies in the fact they each of them is still considered "incurable." Let's start with one of the most painful.

Fibromyalgia relief: This "last resort" could rank No. 1

This condition primarily strikes women and causes debilitating pain and stiffness. Lithium can help alleviate these symptoms without the problems associated with conventional fibromyalgia treatments, which include tranquilizer, antidepressant, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (which only temporarily mask the pain and sleeplessness that often occur).

One study examined three women suffering from fibromyalgia, none of whom had responded to conventional treatment. When researchers added lithium to the women's current treatment, all three noticed a marked reduction in their symptoms.

The authors of the study didn't explain why they didn't have the women discontinue their ineffective conventional treatments, but I've got a pretty good idea that their motives might have had something to do with the fact that the conventional treatments, as useless as they were for these women, are the "standard" protocol. But I digress.

The gout-eliminating combination that tastes as good as it feels

You might remember reading the Health e-Tip on lithium and gout several months ago (
2/3/03, subject line: "Help! My big toe is on fire!"). As the e-Tip mentioned, gout occurs when the body can't process and eliminate excess uric acid. The result is a painful burning or stabbing sensation usually in the ball joint of the foot.

Although there are no published studies on this topic, over the years I've found the combination of low-dose lithium (10-15 milligrams twice daily) and vitamin C (2 grams twice daily) can be very effective in preventing recurrent attacks of gout. Vitamin C significantly reduces serum uric acid levels. Lithium makes uric acid more soluble so it doesn't crystallize into painful "needles." These two actions combine to significantly reduce gout attacks. If you have gout, I also recommend that you drink 32 oz. of cherry juice at the first sign of an attack. Just please make sure it's real cherry juice--no sugar added. Although no one is sure why or how it works, studies have shown that cherry juice usually eliminates the pain of acute gout.

85 percent cluster headache relief in just two weeks

Cluster headaches are another one of those inexplicable conditions that my patients tell me always seem to come on at exactly the wrong time. In fact, they might actually be one of the most "mysterious" of the conditions I've listed so far since, like fibromyalgia, the cause isn't known. They tend to attack relentlessly for weeks to months and then often go into remission for months or even years. But lithium (in relatively high doses) can significantly reduce both the severity and frequency.

One study examined lithium's effects on 19 men with cluster headaches. Eight had rapid improvement-an average 85 percent reduction in their "headache index" in just two weeks. Four individuals had both cluster headaches and psychiatric symptoms; these four had almost complete elimination of their headaches. The remaining seven had only a slight benefit.

Another research group tried lithium therapy (again, relatively high quantities) for 14 individuals with cluster headaches. Five individuals had complete disappearance of their headaches, four had significant improvement, and four had no change.

There's no guarantee that lithium will cure your cluster headaches, but there is a good chance that it might help. With so few other options available, it's at least worth a try.

Simple relief from those annoyingly persistent problems

Along the same lines as these mysterious conditions are a few other conditions that lithium can benefit. But these are less on the mysterious side and more in the vein of annoyingly persistent. Even so, lithium can still help in a number of ways.

One research group reported that lithium inhibits the reproduction of several viruses, including herpes simplex viruses (HSV 1, HSV 2), adenovirus (the "common cold" virus), cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr virus (associated with mononucleosis and many cases of chronic fatigue), and the measles virus.

Another randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of lithium carbonate (doses ranging from 150-900 milligrams daily) demonstrated "a consistent reduction in the number of herpes episodes per month, the average duration of each episode, the total number of infection days per month, and the maximum symptom severity. In contrast, treatment with placebo resulted in an increase in three of the four severity measures."

In addition to lithium, selenium, lysine, and other nutrients can also help suppress the reproduction of herpes simplex (and other viruses) and speed the recovery process should an active infection occur. I tend to think it's better-and safer-to follow this approach (using small quantities of several effective nutrients rather than a larger quantity of just one), so nearly 10 years ago I worked with Bio-Tech Pharmacal to create a useful anti-herpes formula. We combined low-dose lithium with selenium, lysine, vitamin C, olive leaf extract, and other nutrients into two formulas, one (called HPX) for prevention of herpes simplex, and the other (called HPX2) for treatment of outbreaks. Those who have used it tell me it does the job, cutting down or eliminating recurrent herpes infections and/or helping them heal more quickly when they do occur. HPX and HPX2 are both available through natural food stores, compounding pharmacies and the Tahoma Clinic Dispensary.

A quick end to a Grave disease

Hyperthyroidism can be persistent and difficult to treat. It comes on either very suddenly or very gradually, so gradually, you might not even notice that something is really wrong until the symptoms become severe. Graves' disease is one of the common names for hyperthyroidism. In this condition, the immune system disrupts the functioning of the thyroid gland, causing it to become enlarged and to secrete too much hormone.

Mainstream treatments completely shut down the production of thyroid hormone using dangerous patent medicines. But lithium can get to the root of the problem much more safely.

In 1972, Mayo Clinic researchers published the first clinical investigation of lithium treatment for Graves' disease. Using high-dose lithium for 10 individuals, they reported that thyroid hormone levels fell by 20-30 percent within five days.

Twenty-six years later, in a review of more than 10 successful trials of lithium therapy for Graves' disease, the authors wrote: "a small number of studies have documented its [lithium's] use in the treatment of patients with Graves' disease... it's efficacy and utility as an alternative anti-thyroid [treatment] are not widely recognized..." They also note lithium's rapid effect: "Lithium normalizes [thyroid hormone] levels in one to two weeks..." But they also caution that "toxicity precludes its use as a first-line or long-term therapeutic agent." If they'd just added flaxseed oil and vitamin E to their treatment, they would have basically eliminated the risk of toxicity.

Lithium's benefits: Ripe for the picking

Perhaps the budding evidence about lithium and brain protection will spark even more interest in researching this mineral. Maybe researchers will accumulate enough evidence to prove that lithium can slow or even reverse brain aging. And perhaps researchers will conclude that putting very low dose lithium into drinking water to reduce violent crime is even more important than adding fluoride to prevent tooth decay.

But I won't hold my breath. Lithium isn't patentable, so I doubt that patent-medicine companies will even consider funneling huge amounts of research dollars into it. And if the patent-medicine companies aren't interested in it, it isn't likely to be "approved" for these or other uses any time soon. But remember, "approval" does not ensure safety or effectiveness; it just means that procedures have been followed, forms have been filled out, and money-lots and lots of money-has changed hands.

Now for the good news: Just because lithium won't be formulated into the next wonder drug and isn't likely to be making the headlines of your local news, that certainly doesn't mean you can't enjoy all of its benefits from brain anti-aging to headache relief right now.

If you decide to give lithium a try, as with any new treatment or preventive measure (even an all-natural one), it's always a good idea to consult with a physician skilled and knowledgeable in natural medicine as part of your decision.

High, low, very small: Which lithium dose is which?

Mainstream uses of lithium usually call for 300-milligram lithium carbonate capsules, which contain approximately 30 milligrams of elemental lithium per capsule. A typical daily recommendation is one or two capsules, three times daily for a total of 90 to 180 milligrams of elemental lithium. It's much more likely that you could experience toxic effects with these amounts, so if you need this much, you should work closely with a physician who can monitor your levels.

But most of the uses for lithium covered in this issue and in last month's issue don't require such high amounts. Low-dose lithium is available in supplement form in natural food stores. The most commonly available forms include lithium orotate and lithium aspartate, each containing 5 milligrams of elemental lithium per tablet.

Even at a quantity of two low-dose tablets three times daily (for a total 30 milligrams of elemental lithium), patients' serum lithium usually stay in the "non-detectable" or "below therapeutic." range, which means that they're very safe. In my 30 years of practice, I've never had a patient report symptoms of lithium excess. But just to be on the safe side, I always recommend taking extra quantities of essential fatty acids to prevent any possibility of lithium toxicity.

Some of the research I wrote about this month didn't use either higher dose prescription lithium or lower dose supplemental lithium, but examined the effects of "very small dose" lithium present naturally in some drinking water. But even these very small doses produced some amazing effects in lowered crime rates and other general benefits.

Build a better internal defense with just two doses a day

Keeping a normal white blood cell count is one of the very basic necessities for good health. Your body uses white blood cells to fight off viruses, bacteria, and all sorts of potentially harmful foreign invaders. If your levels fall for some reason, you're much more prone to illness. Chemotherapy and radiation are probably the most well-known offenders causing low white cell counts, but levels can fall for any number of reasons. This is where lithium comes in: Researchers have found that it can increase white cell numbers again in people whose levels fell due to radiation and/or chemotherapy (and even if the person continues those treatments).

Lithium achieves these effects by stimulating the stem cells in bone marrow, which then turn into platelets and white blood cells. I've observed that low dose lithium (5-10 milligrams twice daily) will also usually raise a low count to normal even if radiation and chemotherapy aren't the culprits.









Potential Role for Lithium in Preventing Alzheimer's Disease

by Linda Fugate, PhD

Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases are characterized by the death of brain cells. A research team at Wayne State University School of Medicine recently reported that lithium helps keep brain cells alive, and that it should be investigated as a potential agent in the treatment of Alzheimer's. (1-3)

Lithium is a naturally occurring mineral similar to sodium and potassium. Small amounts are present in most foods. Large amounts are used in the treatment of manic depression-also called bipolar disorder. The
Wayne State team was studying lithium's effects on manic depression when they discovered that this remarkable mineral can protect brain cells from premature death. In their Oct. 7, 2000 paper, they reported that lithium may even cause brain cells to regenerate after a loss from disease. (1)

Two proteins are key to lithium's neuroprotective benefits. Bcl-2 (named for the B-cell lymphoma/leukemia-2 gene) protects brain cells from a variety of injuries, including chemical oxidants and ionizing radiation. Lithium is the first substance shown to increase the concentrations of Bcl-2 in brain tissue. On the other hand, a protein you don't want too much of is glycogen synthase kinase 3b (GSK-3b). GSK-3b appears to participate in the production of 'neurofibrillary tangles,' which are a key feature found in Alzheimer's patients. Lithium was shown to reduce the levels of GSK-3b.

The research results came from three sources: humans, rats, and brain cell cultures. The patients all suffered from bipolar disease (manic depression). Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans of the brain were performed before and after four weeks of lithium treatment. The researchers were surprised to find that the patients' brain gray matter increased by an average of 3 percent.

In an in vitro study, lithium was shown to increase brain cell survival. When human brain cells were incubated in a lithium solution and then exposed to two different toxins, the lithium-treated cells showed up to a 220 percent increase in survival rate compared to the control groups. (2)

Although there are no published studies on the effect of lithium on Alzheimer's, the
Wayne State team suggests that the possibility should be studied. An obvious question is whether manic depressed people who take lithium have a reduced incidence of Alzheimer's. Data are not yet available, since at least nine other drugs can be used to treat manic depression. (4) However, current data show that lithium plays a vital role in maintaining neural health.

Benefits of Lithium

Lithium offers both short and long term benefits for the health of the nervous system. Dr. Robert Lenox, a psychiatric researcher at the
University of Pennsylvania, commented, 'We are currently still at the stage of identifying the pieces of the lithium puzzle; within the next 50 years, we will be putting the puzzle together.' (5) Additionally, Prof. Bjorksten demonstrated that lithium was an effective aluminum chelator and crosslinkage inhibitor. Bjorksten stated that 'lithium continues to be the most effective electrolyte for aluminum detachment.' (6)

Lithium in the Diet

There is growing evidence that lithium may be an essential mineral in the human diet. Animals on low-lithium diets have shown reproductive problems, shorter life spans, poor lipid metabolism, and behavioral abnormalities. (7-9) In epidemiological studies of humans, low levels of lithium in drinking water have been correlated with a higher incidence of mental hospital admissions, (10) violent crime, suicide, drug addiction, (11) and heart disease. (11) Lithium levels in the scalp hair of violent criminals and heart disease patients have been found to be lower than those in healthy volunteers. (13)

The amount of lithium in a normal diet varies considerably. Some lithium is present in essentially all foods, with the highest concentrations reported in eggs and milk. (14) Water can also be a substantial source. The lithium content of drinking water in the
United States ranges from 0.00001 to 0.170 mg/liter, with an average of 0.002 mg/liter. (15,16) El Paso, Texas, has one of the highest concentrations, and is the location most noted as a high-lithium, low-mental illness site. (10,11) One region of Northern Chile has 5 mg/liter lithium in the water, which has been consumed for years without adverse effects reported, and even water with 6 to 12 mg/liter lithium from an industrial outflow has not been shown to cause any obvious problems. (23)

Lithium in Medicine and as a Supplement

Lithium got a bad reputation in the 1940s, when lithium chloride was tried as a salt substitute for patients on low-salt diets. (Today, potassium chloride is a more accepted salt substitute.) The amount of lithium used for this application was toxic, and even fatal, in some cases. Lithium products were removed from the market, and American doctors rejected the mineral for many years. In 1949, the Australian physician John Cade reported that lithium was an effective treatment for manic depression. It was not until 1970 that the FDA approved its use for medical treatment in the
United States. (19) By 1996, lithium was included in a list of 18 elements which might be important for human nutrition.18 In 1998, the U. S. Department of Agriculture recognized 'moderate' evidence that lithium should be considered an ultra-trace element 'with an established, estimated, or suspected requirement generally indicated by micrograms/day for humans.' (20)

There are 13 minerals commonly found in multi-mineral dietary supplements: calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, boron, copper, manganese, iodine, molybdenum, chromium, selenium, and vanadium. Other important minerals in the body are phosphorus and sodium. Daily Values have been established for most of these. There are several types of Daily Values: Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA), Estimated Safe and Adequate Daily Dietary Intakes (ESADDI), and Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI), which include several types of nutrient recommendations. (21) This hodgepodge of dietary advice was created by the Food and Nutrition Board, a subsidiary of the National Research Council, which is part of the National Academy of Sciences.

These categories represent different levels of knowledge about different nutrients. Lithium does not make any of the lists. However, Forrest Nielsen of the U S Department of Agriculture suggested that lithium and other trace elements should be classified as DAMM nutrients, an acronym for Dietary Allowances of Minuscule Minerals. (18) Actually, lithium is not that minuscule. It has a low atomic weight, so the milligrams of lithium in the diet or in the body look deceivingly low. In terms of atoms, lithium is more abundant in the body than six of the minerals that are commonly taken in supplements.

Lithium Salts

Lithium, like sodium, occurs naturally in a number of different salts. Lithium carbonate and lithium citrate are approved as prescription forms of lithium. The citrate and carbonate salts are only slightly soluble in water, and are poorly absorbed by the cells. Another form of lithium -- lithium orotate -- is a highly bioavailable form of lithium that is available as an over-the-counter dietary supplement. (24) Because of its superior bioavailability, lower doses of lithium orotate than lithium carbonate (or lithium citrate) may be used to achieve therapeutic brain lithium concentrations and relatively stable serum concentrations. (25)

Lithium orotate has also been demonstrated to be of benefit in the treatment of alcoholics, and proved useful in alleviating alcohol-related symptoms of liver dysfunction, seizure disorders, headaches, hyperthyroidism, affective disorders. Meniere's syndrome, and liver and lung cancers. (25)

Standard lithium orotate dietary supplements provide 5 mg lithium. This is 1 to 2 percent of the dose provided by prescription forms of lithium.

Safety Issues

Bipolar patients commonly take 200 to 400 mg (elemental) lithium per day, which is approximately 1,000 to 2,000 mg lithium carbonate. (18) Because the blood levels of lithium citrate or lithium carbonate that have been demonstrated to be therapeutic are only slightly below the level that has been determined to be toxic, patients who take these prescription forms of lithium require regular blood tests to make sure their serum lithium concentrations stay below the toxic range. Adverse side effects and the inconvenience of frequent blood tests cause many patients to discontinue treatment with these prescription drugs.


Lithium orotate is a safe nutritional supplement that may help to prevent Alzheimer's disease, alcoholism (and related conditions) and other neurodegenerative conditions. Because of its superior bioavailability, lower (and safer) doses of lithium orotate are as effective as the much higher doses found in prescription lithium.






1. Gregory J. Moore, Joseph M. Bebchuk, Ian B. Wilds, Guang Chen, and Husseini K. Manji, 'Lithium-Induced Increase in Human Brain Grey Matter,' The Lancet, Oct. 7, 2000, vol. 356, pp. 1241-1242.

2. Husseini K. Manji, Gregory J. Moore, and Guang Chen, 'Lithium Up-Regulates the Cytoprotective Protein Bcl-2 in the CNS in Vivo: A Role for Neurotrophic and Neuroprotective Effects in Manic Depressive Illness,' Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 2000, vol. 61, supplement 9, pp. 82-96.

3. Husseini K. Manji, Gregory J. Moore, and Guang Chen, 'Lithium at 50: Have the Neuroprotective Effects of This Unique Cation Been Overlooked?' Biological Psychiatry 1999, vol 46, pp. 929-940.

4. Trevor Silverstone, 'Is Lithium Still the Maintenance Treatment of Choice for Bipolar Disorder?' CNS Drugs,
Aug. 14, 2000, vol. 2, pp.81-94.

5. Robert H. Lenox and Chang-Gyu Hahn, 'Overview of the Mechanism of Action of Lithium in the Brain: Fifty-Year Update,' Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 2000, 61, supplement 9, pp. 5-15.

6. Bjorksten, Johan. Pathways to the decisive extension of the human specific lifespan, J American Geriatrics Soc, 1977 a, 25: 396-399.

7. M. Anke, W. Arnhold, B. Groppel, and U. Krause, 'The Biological Importance of Lithium,' In: Lithium in Biology and Medicine, ed. G. N. Schrauzer and K. F. Klippel, VCH Verlagsgesellschaft, Weinheim, New York, pp. 147-167, 1991.

8. H. Klemfuss and G. N. Schrauzer, 'Effects of Nutritional Lithium Deficiency on Behavior in Rats,' Biol. Trace Element Res. 48, 131-139, 1995.

9. A. I. Fleishman, P. H. Lenz, and M. L. Bierenbaum, 'Effect of Lithium upon Lipid Metabolism in Rats,' Journal of Nutrition, 104, 1242-1254, 1974.

10. E. B. Dawson, 'The Relationship of Tap Water and Physiological Levels of Lithium to Mental Hospital Admission and Homicide in
Texas'. In: Lithium in Biology and Medicine, ed. G. N. Schrauzer and K. F. Klippel, VCH Verlagsgesellschaft, Weinheim, New York, pp. 147-167, 1991.

11. G. N. Schrauzer and K. P. Shrestha, 'Lithium in Drinking Water and the Incidences of Crimes, Suicides, and Arrests Related to Drug Addictions,' Biol. Trace Element Res. 25, pp. 105-113, 1990.

12. P. Blachly, 'Lithium Content of Drinking Water and Ischemic Heart Disease,'
New England Journal of Medicine 281, 682, 1969.

13. G. N. Schrauzer, K. P. Shrestha, and M. F. Flores-Arce, 'Lithium in Scalp Hair of Adults, Students, and Violent Criminals,' Biol. Trace Element Res. 34, 161-176, 1992.

14. Ulrich Schafer, 'Essentiality and Toxicity of Lithium,' J. Trace and Microprobe Techniques, 15(3), 341-349, 1997.

15. C. N. Dufor, E. Becker, 'Public Water Supplies of the 100 Largest Cities in the
United States, 1962,' Geological Survey Water-Supply Paper 1812, p. 364, 1962. Quoted in Ref. 15.

16. R. D. Barr and W. B. Clarke, 'Regulation of Lithium Levels in Man: Is There Evidence of Biological Essentiality?,' Lithium, 1994, vol. 5, pp. 173-180.

17. Eric O. Uthus and Carol D. Seaborn, 'Deliberations and Evaluations of the Approaches, Endpoints and Paradigms for Dietary Recommendations of the Other Trace Elements,' J. Nutrition 126, 2452S-2495S, 1996.

18. Forrest H. Nielsen, 'How Should Dietary Guidance Be Given for Mineral Elements with Beneficial Actions or Suspected of Being Essential?,' J. Nutrition 126, 2377S-2385S, 1996.

19. James W. Jefferson and John H. Greist, 'Lithium in Psychiatry,' CNS Drugs 1(6), 448-464, 1994.

20. Forrest H. Nielsen, 'Ultratrace Elements in Nutrition: Current Knowledge and Speculation,' The Journal of Trace Elements in Experimental Medicine 11, 251-274, 1998.

21. Carol Ann Rinzler, 'Nutrition for Dummies,' 2nd ed., IDG Books, 1999.

22. Mark Winter,
University of Sheffield, England,

23. Elisa G. Triffleman and James W. Jefferson, 'Naturally Occurring Lithium,' In: 'Lithium and Cell Physiology,' ed. R. O. Bach and V. S. Gallicchio, Springer-Verlag, New York, pp. 16-24, 1990.

24. Dean W. and English J., 'Lithium Orotate: The Unique, Safe Mineral with Multiple Uses,' Vitamin Research News, July, 1999.

25. Kling MA, Manowitz P, Pollack IW. Rat brain and serum lithium concentrations after acute injections of lithium carbonate and orotate. J Pharm Pharmacol 1978 Jun;30(6):368-70.

26. Sartori HE., Lithium orotate in the treatment of alcoholism and related conditions. Alcohol 1986 Mar-Apr;3(2):97-100.

(The information in this article is not intended to provide personal medical advice, which should be obtained from a medical professional.)




The Safe, Unique Mineral With Multiple Uses


(Article contains treatment of bipolar disorder along with other uses of lithium orotate)


by Ward Dean, M.D. and Jim English

July 1999

Lithium is a mineral with a cloudy reputation. It is an alkali metal in the same family as sodium, potassium and other elements. Although lithium is highly effective in the treatment of manic depressive illness (X4 DI), its pharmaceutical (prescription) versions, lithium carbonate and lithium citrate, must be used with caution. The reason for the caution with prescription lithium is because lithium in these forms is poorly absorbed by the cells of the body -- and it is within the cells that lithium's therapeutic effects take place. Lithium ions are believed to act only at particular sites on the membranes of intracellular structures like mitochondria and lysosomes.

Consequently, because of this poor intracellular transport, high dosages of pharmaceutical forms of lithium must be taken in order to obtain a satisfactory therapeutic effect. Unfortunately, these therapeutic dosages cause blood levels to be so high that they border on toxic levels. Consequently, patients taking prescription lithium must be closely monitored for toxic blood levels. Serum lithium and serum creatinine levels of prescription lithium-treated patients should be monitored every 3-6 months.

Toxic effects of lithium may include hand tremors, frequent urination, thirst, nausea, and vomiting. Even higher doses may cause drowsiness, muscular weakness, poor coordination, ringing in the ears, blurred vision, and other symptoms.

There has been concern that long-term lithium treatment may damage kidney function, but data in this regard are equivocal. Renal insufficiency without a known cause has occurred in the general population, and the incidence of renal failure among manic-depressive patients not treated with lithium remains unknown.

Most patients treated with lithium are also taking other medications, and it is just as likely that the few known cases of renal failure in patients taking lithium were due to other medications that they were simultaneously taking.2-5

Nevertheless, with potential side effects like this, why in the world would anyone want to take lithium? It is because lithium has been found to be one of the most effective treatments for manic-depressive illness (bi-polar disorder).

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a severe mood disorder characterized by manic or depressive episodes that usually cycle back and forth between depression and mania. The depressive phase is characterized by sluggishness (inertia), loss of self-esteem, helplessness, withdrawal and sadness, with suicide being a risk. The manic phase is characterized by elation, hyperactivity, over-involvement in activities, inflated self-esteem, a tendency to be easily distracted, and little need for sleep. In either phase there is frequently a dependence on alcohol or other substances of abuse. The disorder first appears between the ages of 15 and 25 and affects men and women equally. The cause is unknown, but hereditary and psychological factors may play a role. The incidence is higher in relatives of people with bipolar disorders. A psychiatric history of mood swings, and an observation of current behavior and mood are important in the diagnosis of this disorder.7

Orthodox Treatment

Hospitalization may be required during an acute phase to control the symptoms. Antidepressant drugs may be given; anticonvulsants (Carbamazepine, Valproic acid, Depakote) may also be used. (These substances deplete body stores of L-carnitine and Taurine. Supplementation with several grams daily of these supplements greatly ameliorates adverse side effects of these drugs).

Lithium, however, is the treatment of choice for recurring bipolar (manic/depressive) illness, serving as an effective mood enhancer in 70-80 percent of bipolar patients.

Mortality-lowering, Anti-suicidal Effect of Lithium

The mortality of manic-depressive patients is markedly higher than that of the general population. The increased mortality is mainly, but not exclusively, caused by suicide. Studies have shown that the mortality of manic-depressive patients given long-term lithium treatment is markedly lower than that of patients not receiving lithium. The frequency of suicidal acts among treated patients is significantly lower than patients given other antidepressants or carbamazepine. The results of mortality studies are consistent with the assumption that lithium-treatment protects against suicidal behavior. 8-13

Unipolar Disorder

In addition to its well-recognized benefits in the management of bipolar disorder, trials have conclusively demonstrated that lithium is also an effective treatment for recurrent unipolar depressive illness (recurrent major affective disorder).14-16 Although physicians in Europe have successfully used lithium for this indication for many years, American psychiatrists do not share their appreciation of lithium's safety and effectiveness for conditions other than MDI. Perhaps it is due to a difference in the lithium preparations they have at their disposal.

Superiority of Lithium Orotate

The lithium salt of orotic acid (lithium orotate) improves the specific effects of lithium many-fold by increasing lithium bio-utilization. The orotates transport the lithium to the membranes of mitochondria, lysosomes and the glia cells. Lithium orotate stabilizes the lysosomal membranes and prevents the enzyme reactions that are responsible for the sodium depletion and dehydration effects of other lithium salts. Because of the superior bioavailability of lithium orotate, the therapeutic dosage is much less than prescription forms of lithium. For example, in cases of severe depression, the therapeutic dosage of lithium orotate is 150 mg/day. This is compared to 900-1800 mg of the prescription forms. In this dosage range of lithium orotate, there are no adverse lithium side reactions and no need for monitoring blood serum measurements.17

Other Uses for Lithium Orotate

Lithium orotate has also been used with success in alleviating the pain from migraine and cluster headaches, low white blood counts, juvenile convulsive disease, alcoholism and liver disorders.18 Nieper also reports that patients with myopia (nearsightedness) and glaucoma often benefit from the slight dehydrating effect of lithium on the eye, resulting in improvement in vision and reduction of intraocular pressure.17






1. Aronson JK, Reynolds DJM. ABC of monitoring drag therapy: lithium. BMJ. 1992;305: 1273-1276.

2. Schou M, Effects of long-term lithium treatment on kidney function: an overview. J Psychiat Res, 1988;22.,287-296,

3. Waller DG, Edwards TG. Lithium and the kidney: an update. Psycliol Mod. 1989; 19:825-83 1.

4. Gitlin MJ. Lithium-induced renal insufficiency., J Clin Psychopharmacol. 1993) 13:276-279.

5, Kallner G,.Petterson IJ. Renal, thyroid and parathyroid function during lithium treatment: laboratory test in 207 people treated for 1-30 years. Acta Psychiatr Scand. 1995;91:48-5 1.

6. Baastrup PC, Schou M. Lithium as a prophylactic agent: its effect against recurrent depressions and manic-depressive psychosis. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1967; 16:162-172.

7. Goodwin FK, Jamison KR. Manic-Depressive Illness.
Oxford, England: Oxford University Press; 1990.

8. Mueller-Oerlinghausen D, Ahrens B, Volk J, Grof P, Grof E, Schou M, Vestergaard P, Lenz G, Sinihandl C, Tlau K, Wolf R. Reduced mortality of manic-depressive patients in long-term lithium treatment, an international collaborative study by IGSLI. Psychiatry Res. 1991;36:329-331.

9. Ahrens B, Mueller-Oerlinghausen 3, Schou M, Wolf T, Alda M, Grof. E. Grof P, Lejiz G, Simhandl C, Thau K, Vestergaard P, Wolf R, Moeller H. Cardiovascular and suicide mortality of affective disorders may be reduced by lithium prophylaxis. J Affect DI-Y, 1995;33:67-75.

10. Mueller-Oerlinghausen B, Mueser-Causemam B, Volk J. Suicides and parasuicides in a high-risk patient group on and off lithium long-term medication, J Affect Dis. 1992;25: 261-270.

11. Felber- NV, Kyber A. Suizide und Parasuizide wachrend und aubetadserhalb einer Lithiumprophylaxe. In-, Muclicr-Oerlinghausen B, Berghoefer A, eds. Ziele und Ergebnisse der medikagivitoeseyi I-i-opiiylaice affektiver Psychoseii.
Stuttgart, Germany, Thieme; 1994:53-59.

12. Thies-Flechtner K, Seibert W, Walther A, Greil W, Mueller-Oerlinghausen B, Suizide bei rezldlvprophylaktisch behandelten Patienten mit affektiven Psychosen. In: Mueller-Oerlinghausen B, Berghoefer A, eds. Ziele und Ergebnisse der medikamentoesen Prophylaxe offekliver Psychosen.
Stuttgart, Germany. Thieme; 1994,61-64.

13. Schou M.. Mortality-lowering effect of prophylactic lithium treatment, a look at the evidence, Pharmacopsychiatry. 1995;28: 1.

14. Souza FGM, Goodwin GM. Lithium treatment and prophylaxis in unipolar depression: a meta-analysis, Br J Psychiatry. 1991; 158:666-675.

15. Johnstone EC, Owens DGC,
Lambert MT, Crow TJ, Frith CD, Done DJ. Combination tricyclic, antidepressant and lithium maintenance medication in unipolar and bipolar depressed patients. J Affect Dis, 1990;20:225-233,

16. Prien RF, Kupfer DJ, Mansky PA, Small JG, 'I'uason VB, Voss CB, Johnson WE. Drug therapy in the prevention of recurrences in unipolar and bipolar affective disorders. Arch Gen Psychiatry, 1984;41.1096-1104,

17. Nieper HA The clinical application of lithium orotate. Agressologie 14(6). 407-411, 1973,

18. Sartori HE, Lithium orotate in the treatment of alcoholism and related conditions, Alcohol 1986 Mar; 3 (2): 97-100.

19. Nieper HA The curative effect of a combination of Calcium-orotate and Lithium orotate on primary and secondary chronic hepatitis and primary and secondary liver cirrhosis. From lecture Intl Acad of Prevent Med,
Washington, DC March 9, 1974.

(The information in this article is not intended to provide personal medical advice, which should be obtained from a medical professional.)




Checklist of Bipolar Disorder Symptoms

Individuals with bipolar disorder have a myriad of different and often confusing symptoms. This illness can be a "fooler" and is often extremely difficult to diagnose. Bipolar individuals have both manic and depressive symptoms. However, these symptoms could possibly be months or even years apart, or could both occur daily.

It is not unusual for mental health professionals to misdiagnose this condition. Symptoms may come in phases and/or be unreported. Behaviors which are classic earmarks of bipolar disorder may seem too inconsequential to mention in comparison to the more drastic behaviors which are often manifest.

In addition, there are several different types of bipolar disorder and each type will predominately manifest different symptoms. The subtypes are: Bipolar I Disorder, Bipolar I Disorder-Mixed, Bipolar II, Rapid Cycling and Ultradian Cycling, and Cyclothymic. (Criteria of the different subtypes is not listed at this site, but can be found at many places by doing an Internet search.)

Individuals with bipolar disorder classically lack perspective on their behavior and their illness. This is why consultation with the family is absolutely ESSENTIAL to insure a proper diagnosis.

**NOTE -- Please be sure to read "Website comments" below for more important information about how family members or loved ones can play a critical role in helping a bipolar individual.




       Abnormally elevated, expansive (euphoric)

       Irritable, critical, argumentative, stubborn


       Deceased need for sleep

       Insomnia; stays up all night

       Increased appetite

       Sudden weight loss

       Increased sexual drive (often to point of  hypersexuality)

       Catatonia (psychotic stage)



       Intrusive, uninhibited

       Increased goal setting and creativity

       Anger and rage

       Disorganized, easily distracted

       Recklessness; spending money,
bad business investments, sexual misadventures

       No concern about consequences of behavior

       Refusal to accept the possibility that
something may be "wrong" with thinking or behavior.

       Blames others for own inappropriate behavior

       Grossly disorganized (psychotic state)


       Inflated self-concepts of power, greatness,
importance (grandiosity)

       Pressured speech

       Racing thoughts (flights of ideas)

       Rapid shifts of attention

       Poor concentration

       Memory distortion

       Inability to see problems caused by own actions;
problems typically attributed to someone or something else

       Delusions (psychotic stage)

       Disorganized, incoherent speech (psychotic state)


       Lowering of CNS excitability; Lack of sensitivity
to heat, cold, hunger, thirst, pain, injury

       Seeks over-stimulation

       Hallucinations (psychotic stage)


       Both mood symptoms

       At least 4 of the symptoms in the Physical,
Behavior and/or Thinking categories

       Symptoms observed for over 1 week

**Note -- The absence of a specific symptom necessary to make a clear diagnosis does not mean an individual is not bipolar. Bipolar disorder often manifests itself in phases.




       Depressed, sad or very irritable;
cannot be "cheered up" (dysphoria)

       Loss of interest and pleasure in daily activities


       Insomnia or sleeping too much

       Loss of appetite or eating too much

       Feeling slowed down or too agitated to sit still

       Extreme fatigue and lack energy

       Decreased sexual drive

       Catatonia (psychotic stage)



       Decreased motivation

       Decreased performance

       Withdrawal and isolation

       Loss of gratification in effort

       Lack of attention to hygiene and appearance

       No desire to talk, interact, socialize


       Accusatory, self-blaming thoughts

       Dwelling on guilt and personal failures 

       Having very low self-esteem

       Inability to think, remember, concentrate

       Marked indifference

       Recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicidal plans

       Delusions (psychotic stage)

       Disorganized, incoherent speech (psychotic stage)


       Heightened sensitivity of the central nervous system (CNS)

       Hypersensitive to noise, light, stress

       Hallucinations (psychotic stage)


       One primary mood disturbance

       At least four of the symptoms in the Physical
and/or Thinking categories

       Symptoms present every day for at least two weeks


Website comments -- It is extremely important to understand that MOST people NEVER have all of these symptoms! Sometimes individuals wonder if they or someone they live with might be bipolar. They look over this long list of symptoms and then say to themselves, "Oh, I've never done/seen that, so this must not be bipolar disorder." Sometimes these symptoms will only show up one at a time, and there could be months or even years between different symptoms. And many of these symptoms will never show up at all, depending on the type and severity of the specific bipolar condition someone has.

Also, this is an illness which often manifests itself in stages. The stage which typically shows up first will often be frequent bouts of deep depression, ongoing irritable, angry and possibly aggressive behavior, or very intense, "overkill" reactions which seem extreme and out-of-proportion in relation to the surrounding circumstances.  A way this could be described is that, "On a scale of 1 to 10, almost everything is a 10, no matter how minor it is!" 


If there is any genetic family history of bipolar disorder (manic depression), it is very possible that these symptoms are indications of the emergence of this illness.

Remember, if you are observing behavior in someone you are close to which seems to be abnormal, it probably IS abnormal! Most of us do have a sense of what is normal and what is not. However, a very common scenario for teens who turn out to be bipolar is the following:

Their parents will often be told by doctors or counselors that behaviors the parents are experiencing with their teenager which seem very extreme and completely abnormal, are just typical teenage hormones, growing pains, adjusting to menstrual changes, normal teenage stress, teenage rebellion, and so on.

Sadly, these teenagers or young adults who could have been enormously helped by treatment for this disorder which was just beginning to be manifest, are sometimes instead left to suffer the horrible results and ravages of this disease because of that kind of advice. **The sooner someone gets effective treatment for bipolar disorder, the less long-term damage and negative effects of the disease there will be!**

There is a something that occurs in bipolar individuals which is called "kindling". What this means is that the more abnormal mood episodes a person has, the harder it is to treat each subsequent episode. The term "kindling" comes from the process of starting a fire. Using this fire analogy, a comparison can be made between what happens in the brain when there are untreated mood episodes, and the way a fire which has spread has now become much harder to put out. This is why is it critical to GET TREATMENT as soon as there is a concern about bipolar behavior.


YOU are the expert on your family member or loved one, not a doctor or counselor who doesn't live with them or know what really goes on day-to-day. If something seems "really wrong" or abnormal, it probably is. Do relentless research online and elsewhere until you see things that sound like the person you are concerned about.

As hard as it might be to believe, the fact is that many doctors, counselors and even psychiatrists are NOT experts in bipolar disorder. They may be giving the best information and advice they are aware of at the time, but with the many conditions and issues they need to deal with, they may not be up on the latest treatments, understanding about, and helps for those with bipolar disorder.

The fact that a safe, enormously effective, helpful treatment like lithium orotate is still relatively unknown to many doctors is a perfect case in point. BE YOUR LOVED ONE'S ADVOCATE AND BEST RESOURCE. Don't count on a doctor to know and do everything they will need. Your research and intervention can make all the difference for them and can help them again become the wonderful person you knew and loved before this horrible illness began to kick in.

Lithium orotate may not be the answer for all bipolar individuals, but it CAN BE THE ANSWER for 70-80% of them. And the reason it has become the treatment of choice for many of the doctors who do know about it is because it is something which can be helpful for anyone, not just those with bipolar disorder.

This means that an absolute diagnosis need not even be obtained before trying lithium orotate. Any "side effects" or results will only be positive and helpful ones, so there is nothing to lose and a world of help to gain by trying this safe, inexpensive, natural mineral supplement.







Lithium and ADHD


(Website comment -- The results of this study (below) indicate that a safe and effective alternative to Ritalin for treating ADHD may be available by using the lithium orotate form of lithium.


Ritalin has long been a controversial drug which many view with grave concerns.  Its numerous side effects, the "crash" experienced as the drug wears off, and the serious health concerns of possible heart damage and permanent changes to the brain, leave many wondering if Ritalin is an appropriate drug to be taking themselves or giving it to their children.


According to the results of the study shown below, lithium can be substituted for the drug Ritalin to receive the same positive results of improvements in irritability, aggressive outbursts, antisocial behavior, anxiety, and depression.


Lithium has its own drawbacks, though.  The primary concern regarding treating with lithium despite any favorable results, is always the potential of lithium toxicity.  In addition, patients often experience side effects which make lithium an intolerable treatment option for them. 


However, the lithium orotate form of lithium might be used to achieve these positive results for ADHD individuals without the concerns of negative side effects and monitoring for toxicity. 


Because lithium orotate is extremely bio-available, very small doses are used and many individuals experience equal or better results than those obtained from large amounts of other forms of lithium [lithium carbonate, lithium citrate.]


This all possibly adds to very positive news for ADHD adults or parents with ADHD children.  They may have a treatment option which very safely addresses ADHD.


Additionally, lithium orotate not only has no potentially negative long-term effects on the brain like Ritalin does, but can actually help brain activity and as well as protect the brain in a number of important ways.)


A randomized, double-blind, crossover study of methylphenidate (Ritalin) and lithium in adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder


by Dorrego MF, Canevaro L, Kuzis G, Sabe L, Starkstein SE.

Department of Neuropsychiatry, Raul Carrea Institute of Neurological Research


In a randomized, double-blind study for patients with ADHD, lithium showed results equal to methylphenidate (Ritalin)


Study write-up:


The authors examined the efficacy of methylphenidate (MPH) (Ritalin) and lithium to treat attention-deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults, using a randomized, double-blind, crossover design.


Patients received 8 weeks of MPH treatment (up to 40 mg/day) and 8 weeks of lithium treatment (up to 1,200 mg/day), by random assignment. Independent evaluators blind to group assignment assessed response every 2 weeks and at the end of each phase.


The primary outcome measure was the Conners' Adult ADHD Rating Scale sum score for the clusters of hyperactivity, impulsivity, and learning problems. Secondary outcome measures were scores of irritability, overt aggression, antisocial behavior, anxiety, and depression, and scores on tests of verbal learning and sustained attention.


In this preliminary study, lithium and MPH produced similar improvements on the primary outcome measure and on measures of irritability, aggressive outbursts, antisocial behavior, anxiety, and depression.





Lithium Orotate for Depression

(Website comment -- The reason given in the articles below (and many others) that lithium is not more commonly used for depression even though it is highly effective is because of the safety concerns surrounding lithium.  These include potential lithium toxicity, which requires constant monitoring, and numerous negative side effects.


Unfortunately, the drugs which are currently being used to treat depression do not seem to be as effective as lithium in some important ways. 


However, by using lithium orotate as an adjunct medication, the same positive results for treating depression as those received from the pharmaceutical forms of lithium [lithium carbonate and lithium citrate] may be achieved without the safety concerns. Lithium orotate is a safe, natural, extremely effective alternative with no side effects or toxicity concerns.)

Claude De Montigny, MD, PhD, FRCPC
Department of Psychiatry, Neurobiological Psychiatry Unit, McGill University
About one-third of depressed patients do not respond satisfactorily to antidepressant drugs. Until recently, electroconvulsive therapy was considered as the treatment of choice for these patients.


We have shown that the short-term administration of low doses of lithium enhances the function of serotonin-containing neurons.


We published our first observations in eight patients in 1981. All eight patients, who had failed to improve with a treatment of at least three weeks with an antidepressant drug, showed a clinically significant improvement 48 hours after the addition of lithium to their therapeutic regimens.


This report was received enthusiastically by the international scientific community, although, as is the case for any new finding, some expressed skepticism.


However, since then, over 50 reports in scientific journals have not only confirmed the efficacy of this therapeutic strategy in resistant depression, but have shown it to be useful in depressions resistant to a wide range of antidepressant treatments. It is currently estimated that about 70% of treatment-resistant depressions respond favourably to lithium addition.


Lithium augmentation is now used worldwide as a first choice strategy in treatment-resistant depression.





Harvard Gazette, December 13, 2001


Lithium drugs may reduce the risk of suicide among people with severe recurrent depression by as much as 82 percent, according to a new Harvard study. That finding may help millions of people who struggle with potentially lethal mood disorders.


The researchers, working at Harvard-affiliated McLean Hospital in Belmont, analyzed 22 studies involving 5,647 patients. Those who took the drug showed a nine-fold lower rate of suicide compared to those who did not.


"The evidence we have provides strong, consistent support that suicides are dramatically lower with than without long-term lithium treatment," says Ross Baldessarini, a professor of psychiatry who participated in the study. He estimates that 10 million people in the United States with major mood disorders could be affected by these results.


At present, the drugs most commonly prescribed for depression are so-called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, such as Celexa, Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft. These medications are safer than lithium-containing drugs, which include Lithobid, Eskalith, and several generic products. However, in another study Baldessarini and his colleagues found no evidence that serotonin drugs and other antidepressants reduce risk of suicide.


Striking results


Baldessarini and colleagues Leonardo Tondo and John Hennen reported their results in recent issues of the international medical journal Acta Pyschiatrica Scandinavica and in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. They write that "despite the grave personal, social, and economic impact of suicide and its strong association with depressive disorders, specific studies on the effects of mood-altering treatments on suicide risk remain uncommon."


Suicide risk in people with mood disorders is 10 to 20 times higher than that in the general population, and as many as 25 percent of severely depressed or manic-depressive patients take their own lives. In a search for ways to reduce this toll, the Harvard researchers analyzed 22 studies conducted between 1970 and 1998. They compared suicide rates among patients who took lithium for several months to more than a year with those who did not take the drug.


"The results were clear and striking, particularly among bipolar manic-depressive patients," Baldessarini comments. They reinforced the Harvard group's other finding that suicides and suicide attempts increased 20 times in manic-depressives within the first year after abruptly discontinuing lithium treatment. After the first year off lithium, rates of suicidal behavior were virtually identical to those before patients started the treatment.


An 82 percent, or nine-fold reduction, in suicide risk is impressive. Even a much lesser reduction in the likelihood of death from, say, a cancer drug would be phenomenal.

Yet despite the popularity of newer drugs, Baldessarini maintains that, "our analysis shows that lithium is a good option to choose for long-term treatment of severe depression, particularly depression associated with bipolar manic-depression."






Aggression, Irritability, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)



Below are many references to the fact that lithium is helpful for aggression, irritability and violent behavior.  The concern over using the pharmaceutical drug lithium is always one of detrimental side effects and the possibility of lithium toxicity.  However, the bioavailibility of lithium orotate allows very small amounts to be used effectively.  The same positive results may be achieved without any of the negative effects of the drug forms of lithium.




The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) states that “Lithium is the most promising agent for the treatment of aggression in children and adolescents." (January 2004)




In The Biology of Aggression, Vol 3, Spring 1999, it states that “Lithium is impressive in treating antisocial, aggressive and assaultive behavior” (citing Bloom and Kupfer, 1994; Sheard et al., 1976; Tupin et al., 1973).


(continuing) "Michael Sheard., a biologist at Yale, had been working with the anti-manic agent lithium carbonate. In a four-month study, Sheard gave lithium or placebo (a sugar pill) to approximately 40 prison inmates. The results were remarkable. While lithium had no effect on nonviolent behavior (stealing, lying), it appeared to fully suppress serious assault in inmates as observed and documented by prison guards.

Even more important was the observation that impulsive aggression returned to previous levels in the lithium-treated subjects after they were switched to the placebo condition."



In research supported by the National Institute of Mental Health, Dr. Paul H. Soloff concluded that,


Studies of impulsive, criminal adults and of delinquent adolescents demonstrate a strong effect for lithium against impulsive-aggressive symptoms……. The double-blind studies and additional case reports (e.g., Shader, Jackson, & Dodes, 1974) support an 'A' recommendation for the use of lithium for this indication.”   (Dr. Paul H. Soloff, M.D., March 1997.   Dr. Soloff is professor of psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. )




Journal of the American Medical Association


Archives of General Psychiatry

Vol. 57 No. 7, July 2000


A Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Study of Lithium in Hospitalized Aggressive Children and Adolescents with Conduct Disorder


Richard P. Malone, MD; Mary Anne Delaney, MD; James F. Luebbert, MD; Jacqueline Cater, PhD; Magda Campbell, MD

 Background:  A subgroup of children and adolescents with conduct disorder are characterized by severe and persistent aggression. Although there is no agreed on treatment for such aggression, lithium carbonate has shown promise in some studies involving children. Our study was designed to critically assess the efficacy of lithium in the treatment of aggression in children and adolescents using a measure specific for aggression.

 Methods:  Subjects were inpatients with conduct disorder hospitalized because of severe and chronic aggression. A parallel-groups design was used in this double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with randomization to lithium or placebo. Only those who met the aggression criterion during the 2-week placebo-baseline period were randomized to 4 weeks of treatment. Outcome measures included Clinical Global Impressions, the Global Clinical Judgments(Consensus) Scale, and the Overt Aggression Scale.

 Results  Eighty-six inpatients enrolled in the study; 40(33 male and 7 female; median age, 12.5 years) entered and completed the treatment phase. Lithium was statistically and clinically superior to placebo. Sixteen of 20 subjects in the lithium group were responders on the Consensus ratings vs. 6 of 20 in the placebo group (P=.004). Ratings on the Overt Aggression Scale decreased significantly for the lithium group vs. the placebo group (P=.04).More than half of the subjects in the lithium group experienced nausea, vomiting, and urinary frequency.

 (**Website note** These are side effects of the drug form of lithium carbonate. Lithium orotate does not cause these or any other side effects.)

 Conclusions:  Lithium is a safe and effective short-term treatment for aggression in inpatients with conduct disorder, although its use is associated with adverse effects (**Website note** referring to the 'adverse effects' of lithium carbonate which lithium orotate would not have.)


Lithium in the treatment of aggression in mentally handicapped patients.

M Craft, IA Ismail, D Krishnamurti, J Mathews, A Regan, RV Seth and PM North Bryn-y-Neuadd Hospital, Llanfairfechan.

In a double-blind trial lasting 4 months in 42 mentally handicapped patients, the effect of lithium on aggression was assessed in comparison with placebo. In the lithium-treated group, 73% of patients showed a reduction in aggression during treatment. There were significant differences in mean weekly aggression scores and in the frequency of aggressive episodes between the lithium and placebo groups. Side-effects were noted in 36% of the lithium group (and 20% of the placebo group), but were mainly transitory. There were no episodes of toxicity, and no patients had to be withdrawn from the trial. Lithium appears to be worth a 2-month trial in such patients, where repeated aggression has not been relieved by more appropriate placement, occupation or company.

Lithium for irritability in post-traumatic stress disorder.

Forster PL, Schoenfeld FB, Marmar CR, Lang AJ.

University of California, San Francisco.

Irritability is often a problem for patients with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). We describe two cases that illustrate the use of lithium in the treatment of veterans with PTSD who complained of serious problems with irritability or angry outbursts. These cases are discussed in the context of evidence that lithium may be useful in other patients with disorders of impulse control. The evidence linking disorders of anger and impulse control to a dysregulation in neurotransmitter regulation, particularly in serotonergic pathways, supports a psychopharmacologic approach to treatment. These findings should lead to further study of the role of lithium in the treatment of this symptom complex in patients with PTSD.



Current Psychiatry


Vol. 2, No. 2 / February 2003

Benefits of low-dose lithium

In “Rediscovering the art of lithium therapy” (Current Psychiatry, December 2002), James W. Jefferson, MD, remarked that “Many patients on maintenance therapy do well at (lithium blood) levels between 0.6 and 0.8 mEq/L, and some prosper at even lower levels.”

Extremely low dosages of lithium may help well-functioning individuals who tend to be impatient or easily irritated. These persons are not impulse-ridden, are neither aggressive nor manic, and may not act out in an obvious way. They simply fume when waiting in a long line, or when someone cuts in front of them in traffic. They may complain excessively, and their blood pressure might be significantly elevated when agitated. The intensity and duration of their anxiety over mundane tribulations are the identifying characteristics. Such individuals might be classified as “bipolar III;” their depressive episodes are all but indistinguishable from the low end of the normal mood spectrum.

Hyperirritability has historically been included in diagnoses such as atypical depression or dysthymic disorder and may respond to antidepressants. This symptom, however, could also indicate a mild bipolar variant that is better treated with low-dose lithium. Starting such patients on lithium, 300 mg/d or even 150 mg qd, can bring significant relief, usually without side effects. In extremely low dosages, a therapeutic response may be obtained even though the blood level is well below 0.5 mEq/L. Patients who respond to low-dose lithium therapy typically report that they hardly notice the minor stressors that once angered them.

Other classes of drugs, such as MAO inhibitors, have also undeservedly fallen from grace as has lithium. Newer drugs should not replace older, effective ones without a clear rationale. Too often, psychiatric patients relapse while taking a newer medication; they stop taking the older agent “because my doctor said a newer, better one is out now."

Lorraine S. Roth, MD

Staff Psychiatrist,
Boston VA Outpatient Clinic

Dr. Jefferson responds:

Lithium does appear to be beneficial in aggressive impulsivity, although to my knowledge it has not been studied formally at the low dosages that Dr. Roth has found to be effective. Kitchner and Greenstein1 did describe five
Vietnam veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder whose anger, insomnia, irritability, and anxiety responded to 300 to 600 mg/d of lithium carbonate.

Although the individuals Dr. Roth describes do not fit a conventional bipolar profile, they might have a place within the ever-expanding softer bipolar spectrum (well beyond the drug-induced manias and hypomanias of bipolar III). Perhaps her intriguing observation can help the road-ragers who roam the freeways of
Los Angeles and other large cities.

James W. Jefferson, MD
Madison, WI


Nutritional Influences on Illness

The Effects of Dietary Lithium upon Mood and Behavior (excerpts)
by Melvyn R. Werbach, MD

"There is evidence that low levels of lithium in tap water correlates with higher mental hospital admissions due to diagnoses of psychosis, neurosis, schizophrenia, personality disorders and homicides.

Such nutritional lithium levels appear to be particularly related to aggressiveness. Violent criminals have been found to have reduced hair lithium levels. Moreover, a study of 27 counties found that the incidences of suicide, homicide and rape were significantly higher in counties whose drinking water supplies contained little or no lithium compared to counties with higher water lithium levels, even after correcting for population density. Corresponding associations with the incidences of robbery, burglary and theft were also significant, as were associations with the incidences of arrests for possession of opium, cocaine and their derivatives.

Results of a few early human intervention studies suggest that providing a nutritional level of lithium supplementation can have substantial mental and emotional benefits. In a 4-week study, the 16 male and 8 female subjects were all former drug users; some were violent offenders or had a history of domestic violence. They randomly received 400 mcg daily of lithium in tablets composed of lithium-rich brewer’s yeast, or similar tablets in which the brewer’s yeast was lithium-free. Each week they completed questionnaires measuring mental and physical activity, ability to think and work, mood and emotionality. In the lithium group only, total mood test scores increased steadily and significantly during supplementation.

Assuming that a person consumes about one liter of water daily from municipal supplies, it is striking that the therapeutic level of lithium from natural sources is so similar to the level consumed by residents of the counties with higher lithium levels in the study cited earlier. In the Texas drinking water study, the lithium level of drinking water in those counties with higher levels (and decreased violence) was between 70 and 170 mcg per liter, which lends further support to the hypothesis that only 50 mcg of lithium taken 3 times daily with meals may have substantial positive effects on mood and behavior – especially for people who live in areas where the levels of lithium in drinking water are low."



Effects of Nutritional Lithium Supplementation on Mood

N. Schrauzer and E. Devroey, 1994

The results of an intensive study of former drug users, violent offenders or those with a history of domestic violence assert that lithium supplementation has a mood improving and stabilizing effect. Authors suggest that a nutritional lithium supplement may be a valuable tool in violence and suicide prevention programs.




Understanding and Preventing Violence, Volume 2, 1994

"There are numerous demonstrations of antiaggressive effects in lithium responders among institutionalized individuals with diagnoses ranging from mental retardation to epilepsy, psychosis, and antisocial personality (e.g., Dostal and Zvolsky, 1970; Tupin, 1972; Goetzl et al., 1977; Dale, 1980; Craft et al., 1987; Glenn et al., 1989; Luchins and Dojka, 1989).

The most convincing evidence for lithium's effectiveness as an antiaggressive medication was gathered in violent prisoners (Sheard, 1971, 1977b; Sheard and Marini, 1978; Marini and Sheard, 1976, 1977; Tupin et al., 1973). Sheard's initial placebo-controlled study on 12 male volunteer prisoners in whom lithium given three times a day decreased assaultive behavior and verbal hostility as assessed by the prison staff was confirmed in a larger double-blind study with 66 highly aggressive prisoners (Sheard et al., 1976.)

In both a
Connecticut and a California sample of violent convicts, lithium achieved a near elimination of aggressive feelings and violent behavior over the entire 3-18 months of treatment (Tupin et al., 1973; Sheard and Marini, 1978.)

Concluding Statement

The preclinical and clinical evidence establishes lithium as an effective long-term antiaggressive substance."









Sources of lithium orotate



This site does not sell, profit from or recommend any product or brand of lithium orotate. 


Below are recommendations from individuals who have experienced benefits from particular brands of lithium orotate.  Please contact this site with additional information about other brands of lithium orotate which you have found to be effective. 


The products below can be found by doing a Google search.  There are several different sites that sell the brands listed.  Shop around for the best price and shipping options.  These lithium orotate products are listed alphabetically.


BEFORE USING LITHIUM OROTATE, BE SURE TO WORK WITH YOUR DOCTOR IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY ON OTHER MEDICATION! (see bottom of  home page for more information about restrictions.)


NCI Advanced Research -- About $12.00 to $13.00 per 200 tabs.  Shipping varies.  Some sites mention this brand with a money back guarantee.


Serenity -- Approximately $35.99 for 90 tabs.  Shipping varies.  Offers 100% money back guarantee.


VRP (Vitamin Research Products) -- 120 tabs for $11.95 plus shipping. 


**Important note**  All brands of lithium orotate are NOT the same.  The above products have been recommended by users as ones that are effective.  There are other brands which have been tried which are not effective for the uses explained on this site.  Please email this site with other product recommendations of lithium orotate brands which work well.




Kidney Dangers of Lithium Orotate?


Flawed Conclusion of Kidney Study and Lithium Orotate

When researching for any problems or concerns regarding lithium orotate use, an abstract of a study done by Smith and Schou in 1979 can be found at PubMed

This study compared the effects on kidney function of lithium carbonate and lithium orotate.  Groups of rats were injected with equal amounts of lithium carbonate and lithium orotate (and a neutral injection of sodium chloride) and then examined.

The study found that renal lithium clearance was significantly lower, and kidney weight and the lithium concentrations in serum significantly higher after the injection of lithium orotate than after the injection of lithium carbonate.

The conclusion the study drew because of this lowered kidney function was that it seemed inadvisable to use lithium orotate for the treatment of patients. 

However, a highly significant point which is completely unaddressed by this study is that the same amounts of lithium orotate and lithium carbonate were used.  But people don't use the same enormous amounts like those needed for lithium carbonate when using lithium orotate.

An effective dose of lithium orotate typically contains 15 mg of elemental lithium compared to 126 mg of elemental lithium from lithium carbonate.  More than 700% more lithium is used with lithium carbonate! 

This conclusion of this study is skewed because it completely disregards the way lithium orotate is administered in actual use. 

Ironically, this study which concluded that lithium orotate was inadvisable for treatment of patients was done as a direct follow-up study to one performed by Kling, Manowitz and Pollack in 1978.   Their study suggested that lithium orotate could be used in lower amounts than required of  lithium carbonate to achieve therapeutic results.