Lithium is a mineral salt which was discovered in the 1800’s. Its name comes from the Greek word lithos which means ‘stone’ because the lithium crystals are a beautiful and hard rock. Lithium is chemically very similar to sodium and is able to displace sodium (and vice versa) in many bodily processes. This could account for its therapeutic uses in support of people with manic disorders since the 1950’s. Its acceptance however, has been extremely slow. This could be because it is a natural mineral and is not as profitable for pharmaceutical companies as synthetic drugs. Despite this, recent studies have shown that lithium may be an essential nutrient needed in trace amounts. Our bodies only require about 2-3mg of lithium. People who suffer from mania often absorb lithium very well.
Lithium aspartate is commonly used as a natural treatment for hypothyroidism and other thyroid diseases as it helps to spread iodine evenly throughout the body. Lithium aspartate is supposedly good for dementia and Alzheimer’s. It also helps improve memory and reduce anger and rage. Lithium is known to be effective in the treatment of manic depression/ bipolar disorder when taken in high doses. It helps to control symptoms of mania such as rushed speech, poor judgement and reduced need for sleep. It has been helpful in reducing aggressive behaviour in adults and children.
Bipolar is a severe mood disorder characterised by manic and depressive cycles. Lithium has been a recurring treatment of choice for bipolar disorder serving as an effective mood enhancer in 70-80% of bipolar patients. Context Lithium is one of the most common prescriptions for bipolar despite its well known risk of toxicity.
Lithium in its elemental form has never shown any major side effects. Lithium aspartate is a health supplement and has a higher bioavailability than the forms of lithium prescribed for the treatment of clinical depression.
Sources of Lithium:
- Dairy is a good source of lithium. As Lithium is a salt, it is absorbed by dairy cattle from their food and water and released into the milk.
- Water contains traces of lithium as a natural mineral however the location of the source would determine the amount present in the water.
- Herbs are a great source of Lithium. Seasoning your foods with herbs as well as drinking herbal teas (such as camomile tea) can increase your Lithium intake.
- All vegetables contain Lithium to some degree; however vegetables which contain the highest amount of Lithium are the nightshade vegetables such as potatoes, peppers and tomatoes.
- All grains are a good source of Lithium as the salt from the earth is absorbed by the grains.
- Some other sources which have been shown to contain lithium are sugarcane and seaweed.
In conclusion, Lithium aspartate is used in the treatment of hypothyroidism and other thyroid diseases. It can help with mood swings, depression, Alzheimer’s as well as ADHD. Although Lithium aspartate has no side effects, it is important that you take it under the supervision of a qualified health practitioner.
The information and material provided is representative of Megan Bosman's opinions and views. It is meant for educational and informational purposes only, and is not meant to prevent, diagnose, treat or cure any disease. This article is owned by Megan Bosman and may not be copied in whole or part without the permission of Megan Bosman.
My name is Megan, I'm a non-practicing Nutritionist. I live in Cape Town with my husband and two crazy dogs. Read more.