Lithium is an element. It gets its name from "lithos," the Greek word for stone, because it is present in trace amounts in virtually all rocks. Lithium is approved the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a prescription medication for use in bipolar disorder. People also sometimes use lithium supplements as medicine, but these supplements contain much lower doses of lithium.
Lithium is used for mental illnesses, including bipolar disorder, depression, and schizophrenia. Lithium supplements may also be used for other conditions, but there is limited scientific evidence to support these uses.
Is a Form of:
Also Known As:
Atomic number 3, Carbonate de Lithium, Citrate de Lithium, Li
How Does It Work?
Exactly how lithium works is unknown, but it might help mental disorders by increasing the activity of chemical messengers in the brain. Lithium might also be needed for other functions in the body, like the development of blood cells.
- Bipolar disorder.Lithium is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a prescription medication for bipolar disorder. It helps stabilize patients quickly. It is also used in lower amounts to prevent another episode. No research has evaluated the use of lithium supplements for bipolar disorder. Do not use lithium supplements to treat bipolar disorder.
- Schizophrenia. Lithium is sometimes used in combination with antipsychotic drugs for schizophrenia. But no research has evaluated the use of lithium supplements for schizophrenia. Do not use lithium supplements to treat schizophrenia.
- Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Lithium is sometimes used for patients with aggression and ADHD. However, other drugs are usually tried first. No research has evaluated the use of lithium supplements for ADHD. Do not use lithium supplements to treat ADHD.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- For acute manic episodesbipolar disorder: 1.8 grams or 20-30 mg/kg of lithium carbonate per day in 2-3 divided doses is used for episodes of mania or severe depression. To prevent another episode, the usual adult dose is 900 mg to 1200 mg per day in 2-4 divided doses. 24-32 mEq of lithium citrate solution, given in 2-4 divided doses daily, has also been used. Doses usually should not exceed 2.4 grams of lithium carbonate or 65 mEq lithium citrate daily. Stopping lithium therapy suddenly increases the chance that symptoms of bipolar disorder will return. The dose of lithium should be reduced gradually over at least 14 days.
- For bipolar disorder: 15-60 mg/kg (0.4-1.6 mEq/kg) per day in divided doses has been used.
Lithium Supplements Frequently Asked Questions
What is lithium supplement good for?
In addition, lithium orotate is used to reduce stress, relieve pain, and improve memory. It's important to note that there is currently a lack of scientific support for lithium orotate's effectiveness as an alternative to lithium. Research on the health effects of lithium orotate is very limited.
Are lithium supplements safe?
Lithium seems to be safe for most people when taken appropriately with careful monitoring by a healthcare provider. Lithium carbonate and lithium citrate have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Lithium can cause nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, muscle weakness, fatigue, and a dazed feeling.
What is the best lithium supplement?
Weyland Lithium Orotate
Simple Nutrition. These 5mg Lithium Orotate capsules are made in the USA ensuring top-tier quality.
How long does it take for lithium orotate to work?
It usually takes several weeks for lithium to begin working. Your doctor will order blood tests during your treatment. This is because lithium can affect how well your kidney or thyroid work and because it works best if the amount of the drug in your body is kept at a constant level.
Does lithium make you happy?
Manic-depressive patients experience severe mood changes, ranging from an excited or manic state (eg, unusual anger or irritability or a false sense of well-being) to depression or sadness. It is not known how lithium works to stabilize a person's mood. However, it does act on the central nervous system.
Does Lithium change your personality?
The effect of lithium carbonate on affect, mood, and personality of normal subjects. Substantial affect and mood changes are induced by lithium carbonate. Lethargy, dysphoria, a loss of interest in interacting with others and the environment, and a state of increased mental confusion were reported.
Can lithium help with anxiety?
In general, doctors will begin by addressing the bipolar disorder through the prescription of a mood stabilizer like lithium. Once the bipolar symptoms have stabilized, the doctor then will prescribe medication for treating the anxiety disorder.
What are the 3 main symptoms of lithium toxicity?
Symptoms of mild to moderate lithium toxicity include:
- stomach pains.
- uncontrollable movements.
- muscle weakness.
Does lithium cause weight gain?
The mood-stabilizing drug lithium remains an effective mainstay of treatment for bipolar disorder—but unfortunately, it can cause weight gain. Although the possibility of gaining weight while taking lithium is well known, this side effect does not affect everyone who takes the medication.
How can I get lithium naturally?
Lithium is a highly reactive, light metal naturally found in very low levels throughout the body. It is available as a dietary supplement and is commonly found in drinking water and in many foods, including grains, vegetables, mustard, kelp, pistachios, dairy, fish, and meat.
What can I take instead of lithium?
Aripiprazole (Abilify), lamotrigine (Lamictal), lithium, olanzapine (Zyprexa), risperidone (Risperdal) Consta, and quetiapine (Seroquel) or ziprasidone (Geodon), (either one in combination with lithium or valproate) are the only drugs that have been approved by the FDA specifically for maintenance therapy for bipolar
Is there a natural lithium?
Lithium orotate is a substance that consists of lithium (an alkali metal) and orotic acid (a compound produced naturally in the body). Available in dietary supplement form, lithium orotate is touted as a natural treatment for a wide range of mental health problems.
Should lithium be taken at night or in the morning?
Lithium tablets should be prescribed once daily at night to enable morning trough plasma levels to be conveniently taken (see below). Lithium liquid is usually prescribed twice daily. A lithium level should be taken no earlier than 5-7 days after starting treatment.
How long can you stay on lithium?
If you are just starting lithium treatment, you will probably need to stay on it for at least 6 months to find out whether it will be an effective treatment for you. If you've been completely free of relapses after taking lithium for 3–4 years, it may be appropriate to see if you can manage without it.
What drugs should not be taken with lithium?
Lithium should not be taken with certain blood pressure medications, such as hydrochlorothiazide. Nor should it be taken with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen, often marketed as Advil, and naproxen, including Aleve.
Can lithium increase suicidal thoughts?
Results Patients who purchased lithium had a higher rate of suicide than persons who did not purchase lithium. Depressive and bipolar disorders are associated with a high risk of recurrence1,2 and a 10- to 15-time increased rate of suicide compared with the suicide rate in the general population.
Does lithium make you feel like a zombie?
I initially had issues with sluggishness and memory recall. I literally felt like a zombie for the first couple of weeks of taking it. My memory recall is not a quick as before the lithium but the trade off is well worth it.
Does Lithium take away creativity?
Lithium does affect creativity, but its effects are significantly less than mood effects. So the first place to look for sources of reduced creativity is inadequately treated depression.
What are the most common side effects of lithium?
Common side effects of lithium can include:
- Hand tremor (If tremors are particularly bothersome, dosages can sometimes be reduced or an additional medication can help.)
- Increased thirst.
- Increased urination.
- Weight gain.
- Impaired memory.
- Poor concentration.
Is Lithium a mood stabilizer or antipsychotic?
Mood stabilizers are medications that help control the highs and lows of bipolar disorder. They are the cornerstone of treatment, both for mania and depression. Lithium is the oldest and most well-known mood stabilizer and is highly effective for treating mania. Lithium can also help bipolar depression.
What are the symptoms of lithium deficiency?
If you are struggling with anything from anger, irritability, low mood, depression, bipolar disorder, addictions, substance abuse, eating disorders, cognitive decline, Alzheimer's, or other mood or brain problems, you may want to get evaluated for lithium levels.