Lithium in Medicine
Lithium has been used as a psychiatric medication and mood stabilizer for thousands of years, beginning with the ancient Greeks' use of lithium-rich spring waters. High-dose lithium is prescribed for bipolar disorder and severe depression, usually in the form of lithium carbonate (100-2000mg, 18.8% Li → 20-375mg Li).
Recently, the neurotropic and neuroprotective properties of low-dose lithium (25-120 mg lithium orotate, 4.3% Li → 1-5mg Li) in both acute (e.g. stroke) and chronic (e.g. depression, dementia) contexts have been evaluated. Studies have also correlated higher levels of natural lithium in the water supply with reduced rates of suicide and violent crime in Texas, Japan, Greece, and Austria.
Low-dose lithium has no side effects, and these results have led some researchers to suggest supplementing the water supply in low-lithium regions. It has even been proposed that lithium is an essential nutrient with a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of 1 mg per day.
|lithium (Li⁺)||6.94 g/mol|
|carbonate (CO₃²⁻)||60.0 g/mol|
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