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Should We All Take a Bit of Lithium? NY Times Article


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Does anybody have any thoughts or experiences...may help prevent suicide, prevent dementia, improve mood:



"Lithium is a naturally occurring element, not a molecule like most medications, and it is present in the United States, depending on the geographic area, at concentrations that can range widely, from undetectable to around .170 milligrams per liter. This amount is less than a thousandth of the minimum daily dose given for bipolar disorders and for depression that doesn’t respond to antidepressants. Although it seems strange that the microscopic amounts of lithium found in groundwater could have any substantial medical impact, the more scientists look for such effects, the more they seem to discover. Evidence is slowly accumulating that relatively tiny doses of lithium can have beneficial effects. They appear to decrease suicide rates significantly and may even promote brain health and improve mood."



Available on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Nutrient-Carriers-Advance-Research-Lithium/dp/B000VHCU8M/ref=pd_sbs_hpc_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=0TGKYJ2W2TDVT78BCN3X This product is 120 mg which translates to 4.8 mg of elemental lithium.


^^the reviews are interesting

Edited by eamom
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Another article:

"It can be speculated that very low but very long lithium exposure can enhance neurotrophic factors, neuroprotective factors and/or neurogenesis, which may account for a reduced risk of suicide.

The authors of the two Japanese studies get rather enthusiastic, recommending supplementation at a level of about 2mg per day for human populations with the proposed effect to control behavior, increase longevity, and reduce suicide."


Also mentions that Lithium is anti-inflammatory for the brain. (This might be the higher doses?)

"When rats are given lithium-laced or lithium-free food for 6 weeks, the lithium-dosed rats had less arachidonic acid, and more 17-OH DHA, which is an anti-inflammatory metabolite of the fish oil, DHA. 17-OH DHA seems to inhibit all sorts of inflammatory proteins in the brain.

Interestingly enough, lithium has been shown to be the only effective drug (at least to slow the progression down) in another inflammatory, progressive, and invariably fatal neurotoxic disease, ALS, which is also known as Lou Gerhig's disease (2), and lithium is being studied in HIV, dementia and Alzheimer's disease."

Edited by eamom
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It doesn't look like there is a test for lithium deficiency?



WilliamSFebruary 26, 2011 at 2:23 PM

Is there a believable test for lithium deficiency? Might be interesting for people to experiment with a low dose if they had reason to believe they were not replete. I also wonder if anyone has established whether or not psychiatric patients who respond to lithium are deficient compared to healthy people.




Emily Deans, M.D.February 27, 2011 at 10:06 AM

William - as far as I know there is no test for lithium deficiency. The test we use for measuring lithium levels is for phamacologic doses - for bipolar disorder a dose is typically 900-1500 mg daily, and that will typically land you a trough blood level of between 0.6 and 1. Tests generally don't measure anything less than 0.3. A 2mg dose would be well, well beneath 0.3.



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eamom -- we started with the recommended dose, 120mg x2. ds was 6 and 50 pounds. we went to 120mg x1 on the third day and staid on it for 10 days. we did see one positive thing, ds did not cry but in every other aspect he became very hard to manage. it seemed like this was the precise opposite of what she he should have been taking.

brand was: vitamin research products

i don't regret trying, which i think tells you more than te

Edited by pr40
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I think the 120 mg is 4.8 mg of the elemental Lithium? It's kind of confusing.


I have heard of kids taking much less, like less than 1 mg /day of the elemental. So maybe 1/4 tablet 1x daily might be a better starting point for the smaller pandas kids?

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I recently started ds13 (120 lbs) on lithium orotate. After investigation, his 23andMe results seem to point in that direction. I haven't had his blood lithium level tested yet, but will do so. As with anything, "low and slow" is the way to take it. I started him on one 120mg (4.6mg elemental lithium) per day. I felt that he probably reacted a bit to that dose so I backed him down to half a pill for a couple weeks, and now give him a whole pill once a day. Lithium assists with transport of B12 into the cells, which I think is a big deal in our case also. My son can't tolerate methyl B12 so I give him hydroxy B12 (this is suggested within 23andMe results, but played out CLEARLY in practice - he can't tolerate methyl donors).


So, PR40 - it may be that by giving him too high a dose of the LO to start you kicked up some processes that caused the change in behavior and it may not have been the LO at all. He may need the LO, but starting at a lower dose and figuring out what is going on behind the scenes (i.e. with B12). That "hard to manage" behavior speaks of overmethylation to me as I've seen that in my own son. A few years ago, before I knew anything about genetics, etc, I tried him on a B-complex once a day. A very high quality complex comprised of the "methyl" forms of the B vitamins because those were supposed to be "best". He went OFF THE CHARTS angry, irritable, reactive. Even he said, "what the heck is wrong with me??" I now know that I overmethylated the heck out of him for those horrible few days.

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Can you tell me more about Lithium and 23andme? Which SNPS should we be looking at? Thanks!

I'm at work so don't have my notes/test results with me, but this link explains it fairly well: http://chronicdiseaserecovery.wordpress.com/2013/04/30/mthfr-and-lithium/


Oh, that link also has a link to Dr. Amy's presentation on lithium! Haven't watched it myself yet, but bound to have great info!


Amy Yasko's book "Feel Good Nutrigenomics" has a whole chapter on lithium, though it doesn't get terribly specific about SNPs


It's not a "magic pill" for us, but I realize there never will be one. So many factors play into it all. I do feel it's helping, though, as another piece of the puzzle.

Edited by monarchcat
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