Lithium Supplementation

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Lithium in Medicine[edit]

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.

Chemical Details[edit]

Wikipedia: Lithium

Wikipedia: Lithium (medication)

Wikipedia: Lithia Water

Wikipedia: Lithia (water brand)

molecule molecular weight
lithium (Li⁺) 6.94 g/mol
carbonate (CO₃²⁻) 60.0 g/mol
orotate 155.1 g/mol

Popular Press[edit]

New York Times: Should We All Take a Bit of Lithium?

Big Think: Drug Our Drinking Water (with Lithium)

Psychology Today: Could You Have a Lithium Deficiency?

Commercial Sources[edit]

Academic Literature[edit]

Lithium-induced increase in human brain grey matter.
Moore, G. J., Bebchuk, J. M., Wilds, I. B., Chen, G., & Menji, H. K. (2000). 
The Lancet, 356(9237), 1241–1242.

Lithium increases N-acetyl-aspartate in the human brain: in vivo evidence in support of bcl-2’s neurotrophic effects? 
Moore, G. J., Bebchuk, J. M., Hasanat, K., Chen, G., Seraji-Bozorgzad, N., Wilds, I. B., … Manji, H. K. (2000). 
Biological Psychiatry, 48(1), 1–8. 

Mood stabilizers: protecting the mood...protecting the brain.
Brunello, N. (2004). 
Journal of Affective Disorders, 79 Suppl 1, S15–20. 

Lithium: the pharmacodynamic actions of the amazing ion.
Brown, K. M.; Tracy, D. K. (2013)
Ther. Adv. Psychopharmacol. 2013, 3, 163–176

Lithium: Occurrence, Dietary Intakes, Nutritional Essentiality.
Schrauzer, G. N.
J. Am. Coll. Nutr. 2002, 21, 14–21

The neurotrophic and neuroprotective effects of psychotropic agents.
Hunsberger, J., Austin, D. R., Henter, I. D., & Chen, G. (2009). 
Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 11(3), 333–48. 

Lithium at 50: have the neuroprotective effects of this unique cation been overlooked?
Manji, H. K., Moore, G. J., & Chen, G. (1999). 
Biological Psychiatry, 46(7), 929–40.

Clinical and preclinical evidence for the neurotrophic effects of mood stabilizers: implications for the pathophysiology and treatment of manic–depressive illness.
Manji, H. K., Moore, G. J., & Chen, G. (2000). 
Biological Psychiatry, 48(8), 740–754. 

Lithium up-regulates the cytoprotective protein Bcl-2 in the CNS in vivo: a role for neurotrophic and neuroprotective effects in manic depressive illness.
Manji, H. K., Moore, G. J., & Chen, G. (2000). 
The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 61 Suppl 9(suppl 9), 82–96.

Enhancing neuronal plasticity and cellular resilience to develop novel, improved therapeutics for Difficult-to-Treat depression.
Manji, H. K., Quiroz, J. a, Sporn, J., Payne, J. L., Denicoff, K., A. Gray, N., … Charney, D. S. (2003). 
Biological Psychiatry, 53(8), 707–742. 

Overview of the mechanism of action of lithium in the brain: fifty-year update.
Lenox, R., & Hahn, C. (2000). 
Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 6140(suppl 9).

Efficacy of lithium in mania and maintenance therapy of bipolar disorder.
Bowden, C. L. (2000).
The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 61 Suppl 9, 35–40.

Therapeutic potential of mood stabilizers lithium and valproic acid: beyond bipolar disorder.
Chiu, C.-T., Wang, Z., Hunsberger, J. G., & Chuang, D.-M. (2013). 
Pharmacological Reviews, 65(1), 105–42. 

Lithium in unipolar depression and the prevention of suicide.
Coppen, A. (2000). 
The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 61 Suppl 9(suppl 9), 52–6. 

Optimizing lithium treatment.
Dunner, D. L. (2000). 
The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 61 Suppl 9(suppl 9), 76–81. 

In vivo imaging of the pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics of lithium.
Kilts, C. D. (2000). 
The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 61 Suppl 9(suppl 9), 41–6. 

Introduction-Fifty years of lithium use in the treatment of bipolar disorder.
Nemeroff, C. (2000). 
Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 61(suppl 9). 

The psychopharmacologic specificity of the lithium ion: origins and trajectory.
Soares, J. C., & Gershon, S. (2000). 
The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 61 Suppl 9(suppl 9), 16–22. 

Reduced suicide risk during lithium maintenance treatment.
Tondo, L., & Baldessarini, R. J. (2000). 
The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 61 Suppl 9(suppl 9), 97–104. 

Beneficial effects of mood stabilizers lithium, valproate and lamotrigine in experimental stroke models.
Wang, Z., Fessler, E. B., & Chuang, D.-M. (2011). 
Acta Pharmacologica Sinica, 32(12), 1433–45.

Neurotrophic signaling cascades are major long-term targets for lithium: clinical implications.
Yuan, P., Gould, T. D., Gray, N. a., Bachmann, R. F., Schloesser, R. J., Lan, M. J. K., … Manji, H. K. (2004). 
Clinical Neuroscience Research, 4(3-4), 137–153.