Lithium is an alkali metal, related to potassium and sodium. It’s long been used to treat mental health imbalances, mainly targeting symptoms of anxiety and depression. Standard forms of lithium carbonate were creating numerous side effects and supplementation was not recommended, until lithium orotate was discovered.
What is Lithium Orotate?
Lithium isn’t a drug, it’s a mineral, similar to salt. You may not even realize that you’re deficient in this essential trace element. It’s present in all your tissues and organs and is chemically similar to magnesium or calcium. We require this element in order to maintain positive physical and mental health.
When it comes to lithium, many are familiar with pharmaceutical forms that are meant to treat depression, mania, and bipolar. Based on this association, people have the wrong perception regarding its benefits. As mentioned, lithium is not an anti-psychotic or anti-depressant drug, it’s a mineral.
Now, lithium orotate is very different than the pharmaceutical options on the market. These common lithium-based drugs require high doses in order to penetrate cells, whereas lithium orotate is only needed in small doses, considering approximately 97 percent will penetrate targeted cells. The best part is, lithium orotate is non-toxic and yields few side effects, working on around 80 percent of those who take it.
Key Benefits of Lithium Orotate
Lithium orotate has both mental and physical benefits. Here are some of the key ways in which lithium orotate can benefit your health:
Studies have shown that when taking Lithium Orotate, users are able to build grey matter in the brain, increasing these nerve cells by up to 3 percent. This is what’s known as neurogenesis or the creation of new brain cells.
It’s also believed that due to Lithium Orotate’s ability to inhibit the influx of calcium, it reduces excitotoxicity by NMDA receptors. In turn, this could protect against autoimmune disease, Alzheimer’s, and even diabetes. Similarly, small doses of Lithium Orotate have been shown to after anti-aging effects in the brain. This is particularly true when protecting your grey matter from toxins.
Supports Bone Health
It is critical that you protect your bone health, especially as you age. By focusing on bone health, you will significantly reduce your risk of osteoporosis. The two key minerals that form bones, calcium and phosphorus, may be enhanced when taking lithium supplements. Research supports this effect, showing that lithium has the potential to support bone strength and stimulate bone formation.
Provides Therapeutic Support for Tourette Syndrome
Tourette’s is a disorder that affects one’s motor system. In turn, individuals suffer from symptoms such as involuntary muscle movements and vocal sounds. In one study, it was found that taking lithium produced a better outcome than a commonly prescribed drug.
Also, those who were in the experimental group experienced fewer tics and did not experience as many involuntary vocal sounds. No side effects were reported and these effects appeared to last for months. This is encouraging as many commonly prescribed drugs do create a range of side effects.
Enhances Immune Function
In more recent research, lithium has been shown to have potent immune-boosting effects. When taking lithium, it has been found that levels of prostaglandin activity decreased. Prostaglandins are tiny signalers that are found in every cell, influencing a variety of metabolic functions. When prostaglandin activity levels are high, this can depress immune function. It’s not believed that lithium may play a role in preventing overproduction, reducing its immune-suppressing effects.
Research out of Japan has yielded some exciting results, finding a link between lithium and longevity. One study focused on 18 water municipalities that included over 1.2 million people. Results showed that populations who consumed higher concentrations of lithium in their water exhibited lower rates of mortality. This may be due to the way in which lithium acts as an antioxidant, potentially offering anti-aging and longevity benefits.
Potential Side Effects of Lithium Orotate
When taking any supplement, it’s critical to know both the positive and negative effects. Lithium orotate tends to be well tolerated in most people, however, some side effects may surface when taking high doses. The most common side effects if fatigue. This may be due to a reduction in the number of cells expressing orexin.
Lithium is also an inhibitor of magnesium which is also part of its mechanism of action. For anyone that suffers from a thyroid disorder, lithium orotate can reduce natural thyroid hormone levels. Lithium may also increase inflammation within your intestines. If you suffer from a condition such as Chron’s or colitis, lithium orotate is not recommended. Always speak with your doctor regarding any new supplement when you take medication for another condition.
Based on the superior bioavailability of lithium orotate, users need much less in comparison to pharmaceutical lithium drugs. In cases of severe depression, for instance, 150 mg of lithium orotate is taken daily in comparison to 900 to 1800 mg of its prescription counterparts.