LITHIUM FOR A YOUTHFUL BRAIN?
I began using lithium orotate as a safe alternative to prescription lithium carbonate over 25 years ago, based on the recommendations of Dr. Hans Nieper in THE HOLISTIC HEALTH REVOLUTION. In general, lithium orotate has been effective in treating most patients with depression, even bi-polar depression, as well as a useful adjunct in ADHD, migraine and cluster headache. More recently excellent reviews by Dr Jonathan Wright have expanded the scientific proof of lithium's many benefits. .Lithium is a natural mineral, needed in trace amounts. It belongs to the same family as sodium, potassium, rubidium and cesium. Sodium and potassium are major minerals involved in cellular metabolism. The other 3 members of this family all affect brain function in essential but subtle ways. Interestingly, lithium is essential not only for maintaining a happy mood but for encouraging brain growth. In just 3 weeks, adults given lithium increased brain cell volume by 3%; lithium may indeed be one of the critical elements in preventing brain degeneration., Alzheimer's, Parkinsonism, and dementia. Normal brain excitotoxins, such as N-methyl-D-aspartate, and the notorious food mafia additive, MSG, discussed in an earlier article, may cause toxic loss of brain cells. Incidentally, NMDA may be the reason aspartame is so dangerous to the brain!
Lithium inhibits this NMDA receptor overactivity. Indeed, it appears that lithium is protective against even some of the complications of antidepressant and antianxiety drugs. Of course, I would argue that there are many safer alternatives to these minimally effective agents anyway! There is even experimental evidence that lithium prevents over half the brain damage from strokes. And lithium helps prevent beta amyloid secretion in the brain. Beta amyloid tangles are found in Alzheimer's. Additional lithium benefit may be its demonstrated ability to chelate and thus remove aluminum, a toxic mineral not needed by the brain or body.
Lithium has been highly effective in treating a variety of problems, probably because lithium is the mineral catalyst needed to manufacture serotonin from tryptophan; of course B 3 and B 6 are also essential in this process. Anorexia nervosa, ADHA, aggressive behavior, alcoholism, cluster headache, and fibromyalgia are all benefited from supplements of lithium. Lithium is also a tremendous assistant in preventing DNA viruses from replicating. Thus it can reduce the incidence of mononucleosis, herpes attacks. Dr. Wright reports that lithium orotate with Vitamin C reduces the frequency of gout attacks. And finally low dose lithium orotate, 20 to 15 mg daily, significantly helps increase levels of white blood cells and platelets in patients who have been suppressed with chemotherapy and radiation.
And, for those with hyperthyroidism, or Graves Disease, larger dosages of lithium have reduced the level of thyroid hyperactivity within 10 to 14 days. Of course the larger dosages of lithium require adding flax seed oil and vitamin E. to prevent some of the complications of high dosage lithium. In summary, I personally recommend that everyone who has normal kidney function take lithium orotate 15 mg daily. There are no reported negative effects from this dosage. For higher dosages, a physician trained in nutrition should be consulted.
For a complete list of references, consult THE TOWNSEND LETTER, February/March (p. 78-81) and April, (59-61) 2004 and, of course,