Low Dose Nutritional Lithium: Can It Take The ‘Ouch’ Out Of ‘Grouch’?

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Along with providing information on whether Nutritional Lithium supplements might be right for you, this article also links to Fullscript where you can buy supplements online through Fullscript’s secure healthcare formulary and get free shipping and 20% off the retail price of professional-grade supplements.

What is Lithium?

Lithium is a naturally occurring element that has long been recognized in the medical field for its use as a drug in managing bipolar disorder and other mood-related conditions. Nutritional lithium supplements usually contain around 1 to 5 mg of elemental lithium. It should not be confused with lithium drugs often prescribed at 900-1800 mg of lithium. The focus of this article is not on these higher-dose pharmaceutical uses, but rather on low-dose nutritional lithium, an often-overlooked dietary component.

Lithium at these low doses has been around for a while and low-dose nutritional lithium supplements are still being explored for their benefits to mood and cognitive health. If lithium supplementation seems right for you, this article will show you the best place to order low-dose nutritional lithium online. Here, we will delve into the emerging research and understandings surrounding this intriguing mineral, highlighting its potential role in supporting various aspects of mood and cognition.

Lithium in Food And Water

In some geographical regions, the concentration of lithium in drinking water is high, and there is little concern about being deficient in this trace mineral.

However, when the natural occurrence of lithium in water and soil is very low, it may lead to a corresponding deficiency in local water and food sources.

The use of certain water filters can also reduce lithium. This scarcity can result in a very low dietary intake of lithium for people living in these areas and this may be more of a problem than previously recognized. Research suggests lithium may be necessary in trace amounts to prevent neurological problems leading to irritability, mood disorders, and even contributing to suicide. Some are proposing that adding low levels of lithium to drinking water in low-lithium areas should be considered as a public health measure. [PMC8891154]

What are the Benefits of Low-Dose Nutritional Lithium?

  • Higher Lithium May Reduce Suicide Rates: In population studies, researchers have noted a strong inverse relationship between natural lithium in water supplies and suicide rates in the population. People living in areas with higher amounts of lithium in their drinking water have lower rates of suicide. [PMID: 32716281] This has led mental health clinicians to prescribe lithium for people with mood disorders or a risk of suicide. *
  • Mood Stabilization: Beyond its use for bipolar disorder, lithium can act as a general mood stabilizer. It can help to reduce aggression, impulsivity, and self-harming behavior. [Source]
  • Neuroprotection: Preliminary research indicates lithium might have neuroprotective effects. This means it could help protect brain cells, potentially slowing the progression of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. However, more research is needed in this area. [PMC8345730]

The Story Of 7up

The popular lemon-lime flavored soft drink, 7up, originally contained lithium citrate in its formulation. When it was introduced in the late 1920s, it was originally marketed under the name “Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda,” and one of its selling points was its ability to lift the consumer’s mood. The slogan “Takes the ‘Ouch’ out of ‘Grouch'” emphasized this benefit, associating the drink with positive feelings and well-being. The inclusion of lithium was not unusual at the time, as it was considered a beneficial ingredient, and it was also used in various medicinal products. However, the understanding of lithium’s effects on the body was limited, and eventually, concerns arose about its potential health risks. As a result, lithium was removed from 7UP’s formula in 1950, and the brand moved away from marketing the beverage as a mood enhancer.

Is Lithium Safe?

When taken at nutritional doses containing approximately 5 mg of elemental lithium, it is generally considered safe for most individuals. Unlike the higher doses used in psychiatric medicine, which can lead to potential side effects and requires careful monitoring, the consumption of lithium at these nutritional levels aligns with the amounts naturally found in a standard diet. It has even been linked to certain health benefits in some studies.

Medication Interactions with Lithium

Nutritional doses of lithium (such as around 5 mg of elemental lithium) are considered to be quite low compared to therapeutic levels (900-1800 mg) used in psychiatric treatments. Even at these low doses, it would be wise to consult with a healthcare provider before taking lithium if you are on other medications. That said, here are some medications that might interact with very low doses of nutritional lithium:

  • Medications for Thyroid Disorders: Lithium can affect thyroid function, and interaction with medications for thyroid disorders might occur.
  • NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs): Medications like ibuprofen and naproxen may also increase lithium levels in the blood.
  • ACE Inhibitors: Medications like lisinopril used to treat high blood pressure may interact with lithium and increase its levels in the blood.
  • Antipsychotic Medications: Some antipsychotic medications could potentially interact with lithium, leading to unexpected side effects or altered effectiveness.
  • Calcium Channel Blockers: These medications may have an effect on lithium levels and could lead to unexpected interactions.
  • Other Mood Stabilizers and Antidepressants: Combining lithium with other mood stabilizers or antidepressants might lead to unexpected side effects.
  • Diuretics: Diuretics could increase the excretion of lithium, thereby potentially reducing lithium levels in the body.

Supplements That May Interact With Nutritional Doses of Lithium

  • Potassium and Sodium Supplements: Potassium and sodium supplements may also affect lithium levels, although the relationship is complex.
  • Caffeine: It’s used in some supplements for energy, and it may reduce lithium’s effectiveness by increasing its excretion.
  • Calcium Supplements: There is some evidence that calcium channel blockers (used in heart disease) may interact with lithium, so calcium supplements might also theoretically interact, although the evidence is not clear.
  • Diuretics: Some supplements contain natural diuretics that could increase lithium excretion, potentially affecting its levels in the body.
  • Magnesium Supplements: Although more research is needed, some believe that magnesium might interact with lithium, possibly affecting its levels in the body.
  • Herbal Supplements: Certain herbal supplements, such as St. John’s Wort, could theoretically interact with lithium, but the evidence is not clear.

Order Lithium Online

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Lithium Orotate 5mg by Seeking Health

  • May help support cognitive health
  • May help support a healthy nervous system
  • May help support normal memory function
  • Bioavailable form

Lithium Orotate by Seeking Health provides 5 mg of lithium (as lithium orotate) per vegetarian capsule. Lithium orotate is a natural substance that consists of lithium (an alkali metal) and orotic acid, a transport carrier for lithium that may help increase its bioavailability. Lithium orotate can be taken in small doses due to its high absorption rate, as opposed to the popular lithium carbonate which is required at much higher doses and can have adverse effects. Lithium is known for its benefits in supporting neurological health.*
Take 1 capsule daily with or without food, or as directed by your healthcare practitioner.

Amount Per 1 Capsule Serving
Lithium … 5mg (as lithium orotate)


Food First!

Although this article discusses supplements in detail, don’t forget that we are absolutely committed to the “Food First” approach to nutrition. When it comes to your health, the totality of your eating habits far surpasses the impact of individual nutrients or any single supplement you consume. Even though this article doesn’t delve into the broader picture of your overall diet, it’s crucial to keep this element at the forefront of our minds. Your food needs to provide all the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals to nourish your body systems down to the cellular level.

Food choices, rather than supplements, are the most critical factors for a healthy gut microbiome. These trillions of tiny inhabitants in your gut affect your brain waves; they orchestrate your immune system. They possess the power to create molecules that can switch genes on or off and are even capable of synthesizing neurotransmitters. Opting for organic foods and steering clear of plastic packaging (including those labeled BPA-free) is a smart move to limit toxin exposure. The sum of all these parts leads to a powerful conclusion: the ultimate key to your health lies in the quality and balance of the food you consume. Supplements are secondary.

To Sum It Up

The exploration of low-dose nutritional lithium gives a glimpse into the potential usefulness for irritability and mood stabilization. The current body of research is promising and it emphasizes the complex relationship between nutrition and mental well-being. The using low dose lithium for mood enhancement should be part of a wider, more comprehensive approach to nutrition’s effect on emotional health. Registered Dietitians can provide personalized guidance on how to put together a plan to lift your mood and feel your best and reach your overall wellness goals.


This Article is Not a Substitute for Medical Advice

Dietary supplements are not designed to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The Supplement Sciences website seeks to provide comprehensive access to the most relevant supplement information along with convenient online ordering. We do not provide medical advice and cannot guarantee that every product suggested is completely without risk. Since each person is unique in their health history and medication use, it is important to discuss supplements with your personal physician. Specifically, pregnant women and individuals being treated for cancer or liver or kidney problems must consult their physician about every nutritional supplement they plan to take. People taking medications for the treatment of HIV or with a history of organ transplant must not take supplements without consulting with their physician.


About the Author

Stephanie Figon, MS, RDN, LD

Founder of NutriScape.NET. As a dietitian since 1992, Steph Figon has had experiences in consulting, 15 years in clinical, and has operated a private practice nutrition counseling office for since 2011. Connect on Linkedin

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