Lithium

Lithium Carbonate is a natural salt that is dug out of the ground (dirt) and is very similar to table salt.

During the late 19th Century, French doctors noticed that the people who dug salt in the salt mines had very few mental problems. They discovered that it was their exposure to lithium that accounted for the unusually healthy minds.

Because lithium is naturally found in dirt and could not be patented, pharmaceutical companies were not interested in researching it or marketing it. It was only after tremendous pressure by the medical community and the public that the government subsidized the marketing of lithium.

Lithium is an essential trace mineral that is required by the brain for proper functioning. Inadequate levels of lithium in the brain produce one or more of the following symptoms: nervousness, impatience, attention deficit, “scattered thinking”, inability to concentrate, not being able to focus or stick to the point, starting many projects and not following through with them, and insomnia. In severe lithium deficiency, manic depression or bipolar disorders are common.

The normal source of lithium in the diet is deep well water. In some locations, such as West Texas, water provides 2 to 6 mg of lithium per day. This is one of the reasons that people in Abilene or Amarillo are much more relaxed than people in Houston, where the water has zero lithium.

Lithium is chemically related to sodium and iodine, and like sodium and iodine, is eliminated through the urine. Most of our patients eat from 1000 to 3000 mg of sodium per day, which will force out whatever little lithium they may have. Coffee, juice, diuretics and soft drinks also deplete the lithium from our bodies.

Surface water (rivers, lakes, rain and many springs) has very little if any lithium. When we measure the lithium levels in our Houston patients, we invariably find great deficiency of this essential mineral, while our patients from the hill country or West Texas usually have adequate levels of lithium in their hair analysis.

Like table salt, iodine, or any other mineral, lithium is toxic at very high doses. For example, the doses normally used by psychiatrists to treat manic depression are from 900 to 1800 mg per day (which are 150 to 300 times more than what we use) and will produce some kind of side effect in 10 – 15% of the patients. At these very high doses the levels of lithium in the blood must be monitored to prevent possible kidney damage, etc.

Please keep in mind that they prescribe 150 to 300 times higher doses than what we recommend. If you were to take 150 to 300 times the normal amount of table salt or magnesium, or even water, you would definitely suffer from toxic effects as well. The point is that doctors routinely prescribe 900 to 1500 mg of lithium a day, so we feel very safe at a dose of 6 mg/day. In fact, much of the world’s population get more lithium than that from the drinking water.

Low dose lithium supplements are available at health food stores.

Should you look lithium up in the Physician’s Desk Reference, you would see a long list of side effects and dangers. Again, realize that this only applies to pharmaceutical doses (close to 300 times higher than we recommend), not to physiological doses. We have found that low doses of lithium are effective in treating ADD, hyperactivity, nervousness, insomnia, and stress in individuals who show low levels of lithium in their hair analysis.

In summary, when the mineral levels in the body indicate a lithium deficiency, and in particular, when attention deficit, nervousness, lack of focus, or insomnia are present, small amounts of lithium supplementation are indicated.

At a low dose, lithium is effective and as safe as table salt.

Lithium in Water

  • Empty a 300 mg capsule of Lithium Carbonate into a quart of water. The lithium readily dissolves in the water.
  • Drink 2 ounces of this water with the evening meal. This will provide about 20 mg of Lithium Carbonate or 7 mg of elemental lithium per day. This amount is non-toxic, yet effective.
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