Having a doctor recommend that you take Lithium may bring up feelings of fear and confusion. These sentiments are understandable, given that prescription Lithium has significant risks.
As a psychiatrist, I generally recommend Lithium for clients with behavioral health issues such as bipolar disorder and treatment-resistant depression with suicidal thinking. When treating these illnesses, dosages of Lithium can reach 1800mg daily. Supplements contain much smaller quantities of Lithium than the prescription form and generally range from 1mg to 5mg per dosage.
I have to admit, initially, I was skeptical that such a low dosage would have any effect on my clients. I’m happy to say I was wrong. Here’s a little background on Lithium Orotate and some examples of what it’s used for.
Lithium Orotate Essentials
Lithium Orotate is an over-the-counter nutraceutical that consists of orotic acid (a compound produced naturally in the body) and Lithium (an alkali metal). Lithium is present in the diet, mainly in grains and vegetables. This is why the supplement is often called “nutritional lithium.”
Lithium has been added to the World Health Organization’s list of nutritionally essential trace elements. Lithium metal is in the drinking water of many cities, and there is a correlation of lowered incidences of crimes, suicides, and arrests related to drug addictions in these areas. This suggests that Lithium, at a low dosage, has a beneficial effect on behavior.
Another clinical indication of Lithium Orotate is for impulsive aggressive behavior associated with ADHD. I’ve seen a great effect on these individuals within my clinical practice.
Lithium is regarded as a neuroprotective agent. It’s being studied in certain neurodegenerative disorders, namely: Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease. It’s been shown to disrupt glycogen synthase kinase-3, a key enzyme responsible for the development of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
As you can see, Lithium Orotate is really a different drug than full-dose prescription lithium. Should you want to learn more about Lithium Orotate or have your lithium level tested, find an integrative psychiatrist or functional medicine provider who can order a hair metal analysis for you.
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