The Benefits of Lithium

Lithium is a mineral, part of the same family as Sodium and Potassium. It is the lightest metal in the periodic table. This trace element is thought to be essential for proper functioning and maintenance of health in humans. In the body it is found in greatest concentration in the lymph nodes followed by the brain and bone marrow.

The evidence of decades of autopsies and CT scans have shown that brains shrink with ageing. There is now evidence that lithium has the ability to protect and renew brain cells. (Lancet medical journal report from researchers at Wayne State University report 8 of 10 individuals taking lithium showed an average of 3 percent increase in brain grey matter in 4 weeks.)

Lithium enhances nerve cell DNA replication and in this way may help to generate new nerve cells.

General neuroprotective effect. Brain cell injury occurs with the over-activation of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors. Lithium can inhibit this over activity as well as increasing the major brain protective protein called ‘bcl-2’. Dr. Jonathan Wright states “Lithium not only protects brain cells against normal wear and tear, but also offers additional protection against a whole variety of toxic molecules, including patent medications. It can also promote brain cell regeneration and increase brain cell mass. In essence, the research suggests that lithium is a brain anti-aging nutrient.”

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. A new treatment which may be a ray of hope for people stuck in this seemingly hopeless disease is a medication called Memantine which has recently been released in Europe for the treatment of Alzheimer’s. Memantine works by protecting the brain against the excitooxin, glutamate. Lithium also protects the brain from glutamates degenerative action and in this way may also slow Alzheimer’s disease.

Another intriguing finding is that there is 10 years of data accumulated from 27 Texas counties, researchers found that the incidence of homicide, rape, burglary and suicide as well as other crimes were significantly lower in counties whose drinking water naturally contained 70-170 mcg of lithium per litre than those with little or no lithium in their water. Researcher say that these results suggest that lithium at low dosage levels has a generally beneficial effect on human behaviour…increasing the human lithium intakes by supplementation, or the lithiation (adding lithium) of drinking water is suggested as a possible means of crime reduction at individual and community level.

The amounts of lithium recommended for brain anti-aging range from 10 to 20 milligrams from lithium aspartate or lithium orotate daily

or Lithium orotate 120 mg once or twice a week. (This is 1/10th to 1/20the the pharmacological dosage used in bi polar disorder- 300 to 1200 mg.)

In summary these areas have been found to be influenced by Lithium

· Causes the formation of new brain cells in adults
· Reduces risk of, or even prevents, Alzheimer’s disease
· Protects brain cells against nearly any toxin (including drugs)
· Used in the treatment of depression as part of integrative Rx
· Increases a major brain protective protein (BCL-2)
· Reduces brain cell death caused by ischemic stroke
· Repairs brain “signaling pathways”
· Improves sense of direction in experimental animals
· Reduces gout (lithium slows crystallization of uric acid)
· Helps eliminate seborrheic dermatitis
· Reduces aggressive behavior in children
· Reduces “irritability” in nervous system
· Relief of migraine headaches using low dose lithium
· Reduces cravings for alcohol
· Improves Vit B12 and folate uptake
· Supports anti inflammatory activity and anti fungal activity
· Immune stimulant in cancer -observed to reduce WBC loss and bone marrow damage in cancer chemotherapy Rx
· Lithium has been used to normalize the deleterious effects of hyperthyroidism. Thyroid function should be checked before and after lithium institution.
· Lithium orotate, especially in low doses, does not accumulate in the blood and does not require serum monitoring.

References
Jonathan Wright Nutrition and Healing August 2012
Wenzel and Patarachia The Earths Gift to Medicine 2005
Greenblatt Breakthrough Treatment of Depression
Neiper Revolution in Technology Medicine and Society 1985