Life is stressful.
Stress can make you feel overwhelmed and anxious, making it impossible to feel relaxed and balanced.
There are some little things that make a big difference when you are feeling stressed.
One of our favorites: lithium orotate.
It's a natural supplement, but rarely gets mentioned in the supplement world. Probably because it’s often confused with the prescribed drug, lithium carbonate, which can be toxic.
Lithium orotate is not a drug and it’s not toxic.
In fact, science has shown that small doses of lithium can support the brain, hormones, and nerves during stressful times.
Most people get trace amounts of lithium in their food and water, but a bit more seems to make people a bit more friendly and peaceful.
Little things make a big difference.
Read on to learn how a little natural lithium could make a big difference in your life.
Table of Contents
What is Lithium?
It’s believed that hydrogen, helium, and lithium were the first elements created in the universe.
This explains why lithium is everywhere.
The sun and stars burn lithium for their light. The oceans, rivers, rocks, soils, fruits, vegetables, and all plants contain lithium.
Lithium batteries power our cars, our phones, and most electronics.
Lithium even gives a spark to fireworks. It's like the universe wants us to celebrate with it.
Lithium even powers you.
It's an essential micronutrient so the body needs it to live healthy. It’s most important to the brain and hormones, but we'll go deeper on that later.1
What is it?
Lithium is an alkali metal similar to potassium and sodium.
It was named in 1817 by Johan August Arfvedson, a Swedish chemist who avoided the snowy winters by studying minerals on Greek Islands. Lithos is a Greek word meaning “from stone” and lithium is a major mineral in granite rock.
Even though it was named in Greece, most lithium comes from Australia, Chile and Argentina now, but that is about to change.
The intersection of Chile, Bolivia, and Argentina is known as the Lithium Triangle.
In fact, half of the world’s lithium is in the Salar de Uyuni area of Bolivia.
It’s a massive and remote salt flat, 4,000 square miles of dried up prehistoric lakes. At 12,000 feet above sea level, it resembles a giant ice skating rink:
They only began extracting and processing the lithium in 2013, but as the global demand for lithium grows, so does the importance of Salar de Uyuni.
The New York Times has already labeled Bolivia the “Saudi Arabia of lithium.”2
The United States has one lithium mine, just east of Silver Peak, Nevada:
A newly-built highway now connects the mining operations directly to the “Gigafactory,” a billion-dollar facility building lithium-ion batteries for Tesla automobiles:
Just down the road is Alkali Hot Springs, where warm spring water loaded with lithium collects in two rock-walled tubs. Built by miners during the Gold Rush, these tubs are still used by locals and campers for soaking:
The Alkali Hot Springs is just one of the world’s healing hot springs. (Nevada has more than 300 hot springs in the state.)
Natural Lithium in Water
A natural amount of lithium is found in water everywhere.
Some drinking water in the United States can provide up to 2 milligrams of natural lithium every day, but most hold trace amounts.
Lithium levels in tap water vary a lot depending on where you live. For example, the drinking water in Los Angeles County averages around 0.5 micrograms of lithium per liter. However, nearby Orange County averages around 10 micrograms of lithium per liter. That’s a 20x difference between neighbors!3
The natural lithium in water brings a better quality of life.
Research data shows the amount of lithium in an area’s drinking water may have a direct relation to its crime rate.
A large study compared 10 years of data from 27 Texas counties:
“The incidence rates of suicide, homicide, robbery and drug arrests are significantly higher in counties whose drinking water supplies contain little or no lithium.”4
A study in Greece found very similar results. It's cities with the highest lithium levels in the water had less homicide, rape, and drug abuse.5
A third study in Japan investigated the association between lithium in tap water and depression, anxiety, and aggression, and suicidal behaviors among teenagers.
3,000 students from 24 high schools were surveyed:
Those with higher levels of lithium in the tap water had fewer “depressive symptoms and interpersonal violence.”6
Unfortunately, drinking more tap water is not always the best advice.
Thankfully, lithium is also naturally found in food!
Natural Lithium in Food
Just like water, there is natural lithium found in foods. This includes ALL plants, especially nuts and potatoes.
But just like water, the amount of natural lithium in foods depends on the soil.
Most dry areas have more lithium in the soil, but not enough water for growing that much food.
Still, there are many types of food that contain natural lithium.
You just have to eat a lot of them to make a difference.
Average amount of lithium in foods:
- Nuts: 8 micrograms per gram
- Cereals: 5 micrograms per gram
- Potatoes: 4 microgram per gram
- Fish: 3 micrograms per gram
- Vegetables: 2 micrograms per gram
The numbers may look big but it's micrograms.
To add perspective, a massive bowl of cereal gives you less than 1 milligram of natural lithium. You would have to eat about ten big bowls of cereal everyday to get the same amount of lithium packed in these two capsules of CHILL.7
Certain spices have higher levels of lithium too. Coriander, nutmeg, and cumin hold the most but, again, you would have to eat a lot to make a difference.
The same goes for tea. A quarter liter of black tea provides about one microgram of lithium. You would have to drink about 1500 liters or 400 gallons to get close to the amount of natural lithium in just two capsules of CHILL.
There is one more drink with lithium...
The popular soda drink 7 Up used to include lithium.
The original formula was called Bib-label Lithiated Lemon-lime Soda:
It hit the market in 1929, a week before the 1929 stock market crash. It was the start of the Great Depression and the new lithium soda helped people keep their spirits "up" and stay positive.
Few people remembered the long name but they remembered the strong feeling.
So the name was changed to 7 Up.
The "Up" was obvious but the reason behind the number "7" was never revealed. Nerds like to think it refers to the atomic mass of lithium, but it was probably related to the 7 ingredients in the formula.
Actually, lithium microdosing wasn't that surprising.
People had been using small amounts of lithium to relax for centuries...
The History of Lithium Research
There are documented accounts of the Greeks and Romans soaking in alkili-rich hot springs.
They believed the lithium water helped soothe sadness and mania.8
One of the first uses of lithium in "modern" science was in 1870 by a neurologist from Philadelphia named Silas Weir Mitchell.
He recommended lithium to calm his epilepsy patients.9
Almost 80 years later, John Cade, a psychiatrist in Australia, discovered lithium also helped his patients suffering from mental illness - particularly people with bipolar disorder, dementia, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Cade performed the first human clinical study for lithium in 1947. He gave 19 of his patients strong doses of lithium carbonate. 10 of them were manic patients.
The results were impressive for the small group:
All 10 of the manic patients experienced improved moods and better brain function.
Sadly, the research did not continue after one of the subjects died from the high doses Cade prescribed.
However, the results could not be ignored.
Cade’s simple study revealed that mental illness could the be the result of a physical imbalance and should be treated with medication, not just talk therapy.
This was a major shift in brain research.10
Unfortunately, at the same time in the United States, doctors were encouraging people with heart disease to use lithium chloride as a healthy alternative to sodium chloride, or regular table salt. Unaware of the overdose dangers, two people died from using too much.
Most American doctors lost their love for lithium after that.
Except one: Ronald Fieve:
Fieve began experimenting with lithium in 1958. He was earning his doctorate in psychiatry at Columbia University, when his adviser pointed to Cade’s lithium experiments.
Fieve started giving lithium to his bipolar patients and found it very effective:
“Lithium brought them back to normalcy in 10 to 15 days.”11
In 1970, Fieve and four other psychiatrists lobbied the Food and Drug Administration to approve lithium as a psychiatric medication to prevent mania. It was finally approved four years later.
What Does Lithium Do?
So what does lithium actually do to the body and brain?
To be honest, no one really knows.
The exact mechanics are still a mystery to the medical community.
Part of the problem is the best part about it:
Lithium can’t be patented because it’s an element on the periodic table. So there’s no money for pharmaceutical companies to pursue.
This is mainly why lithium has not been extensively tested as a treatment option for different health conditions, besides the more serious like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety, and depression.
Fortunately, there is a growing trend of doctors and people that use microdoses of lithium to treat mild symptoms.
Little things make a big difference.
So, even when science cannot fully explain what lithium does to the mind and body, the positive changes can still be measured.
Here's what we know so far...
Lithium Loves Nerves and Hormones
The nervous system is the hub for all thoughts, memories, and learning.
It monitors your life in real-time, collecting and analyzing information, before sending messages around the body through neurons.
Every neuron, or nerve, in your body contains neurotransmitters.
When a signal is sent through your nervous system, neurotransmitters are released into the space between one nerve and the next, called the synapse.
Some neurotransmitters bind to the receptors of the next neuron and relay the signal further along. Others fail to bind to receptors and simply return to the original neuron for later use.
These transmissions form thoughts, beliefs, emotions, actions, and urges.
Lithium helps this process by repairing damaged neurons and nurturing neural growth.12
Lithium softens the shock of stressful situations.
But lithium does more to lower stress. It's kind of a "fixer" in the body because it smooths out the communication between your brain and your body.
The nervous system and the endocrine system have a close relationship.
The nervous system constantly sends messages to the endocrine system, which releases hormones and brain chemicals that make adjustments in the body.
For example, when you experience something stressful, the nervous system triggers the endocrine system to release stress hormones that cause you to react a certain way.
Imagine running from a bear, running late to work, or running from a bad relationship.
Lithium helps this process by balancing the production of five different neurotransmitters and stress hormones:13
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that relays signals between neurons and the brain.
Dopamine is like a personalized reward system.
When the brain interprets an action or behavior as pleasure, dopamine gets released to encourage more.
Eating your favorite dessert? Dopamine.
Smoking some pot? Dopamine.
Having great sex? Dopamine.
These may all sound good, especially together, but too much of a good thing can turn bad. Really bad.
When something feels good, the brain keeps releasing dopamine so you repeat it. However, this can build up too much dopamine in the system.
When the brain realizes this, it tries to balance things out by downregulating the dopamine receptors - or numbing them - to get you to stop doing what you are doing.
This doesn’t always work. It can actually cause more of the same behavior, striving for that same rewarding feeling.
This can lead to addiction.
But it can also be used to your advantage.
Dopamine is the ultimate motivator.14
When that search for satisfaction is directed towards a goal or accomplishment, it actually increases focus, determination, a positive outlook.
This can further lead to a healthier brain and a better life.
In fact, a lack of motivation is associated with many brain and neurological conditions, including Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, dementia, stroke, depression, and even schizophrenia.15
This may be why lithium has shown success at treating these conditions.
It comes down to balance.
Lithium seems to have a balancing effect on dopamine:
- Lifting dopamine during depression and bipolar disorder.16 17
- Lowering dopamine during high stress.18 19
Bottom Line: Lithium improves dopamine neurotransmission.20
If dopamine is a motivator, then serotonin is a cheerleader.
Serotonin creates hope and optimism for life.
Like dopamine, serotonin is also a neurotransmitter, relaying signals through the nervous system. And like dopamine, serotonin changes moods and feelings.
However, serotonin impacts much more.
In the brain, serotonin shapes memories, learning, and behaviors.
In the body, serotonin affects eating, digesting, and sleeping.
In fact, most serotonin is found in the digestive system.
This is because it is synthesized from the amino acid, L-tryptophan, and L-tryptophan can only enter the body through your diet.
Turkey is often thought to be the only food source for l-tryptophan, but other meats like chicken and beef have it, as well as nuts and cheeses.
However, as diets grow more and more plant-based, it's easy to lack L-tryptophan.
This can lead to lower serotonin levels, which can lead to mood disorders, like anxiety or depression.
This is why Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most prescribed antidepressant medication for depression and anxiety. Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft are SSRIs.
SSRIs block serotonin from reabsorbing into neurons, also known as reuptake. This leaves more serotonin to bind to the receptors of available neurons. SSRIs are considered “selective” because they target serotonin and not other neurotransmitters.
Science is amazing.
SSRIs can be helpful, but they can also come with side effects. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, insomnia, dry mouth, and even erectile dysfunction are common among users.
However, the worst side effects for most people come after they stop taking them. The withdrawls can be crushing.
For some people, lithium can help balance serotonin levels more smoothly.
Research has shown that lithium can:
- Release more serotonin when it’s needed.21
- Shrink serotonin receptors when it’s not needed.21
Bottom Line: Lithium helps regulate serotonin levels.21
Glutamate is the main neurotransmitter in the brain. It carries 85% of the instant messages between the nerves in the brain.
Glutamate shapes learning and strengthens memory.
Glutamate also has an impact on your emotions because it is a precursor for GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), the amino acid that makes you happier.
Glutamate is naturally found in many foods, such as tomatoes, cheese, mushrooms, and soy.
It’s also used as a flavor enhancer in foods: monosodium glutamate, or MSG.
Unfortunately, you can have too much glutamate in your diet. And just like serotonin or dopamine, too much glutamate is not a good thing.
High levels of glutamate in the system can over excite neurons, damaging them, or even causing them to die.
This is known as excitotoxicity and leads to the worst neurological diseases, including Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and ALS.
On the flip side, too little glutamate in the system has been linked to anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder.
The secret is balance.
And guess what?
Lithium can also hep balance glutamate levels.
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin Medical School found that lithium “exerts a push/pull effect on the neurotransmitter glutamate.”22
When glutamate gets low, lithium is able to slow its reuptake into the neuron. This allows for more glutamate to build up in the synapses to be used when it is needed.
When glutamate is too high, lithium increases the reuptake back into the neuron for later use. This results in less glutamate in the synapses.
Researchers concluded that lithium “works over time to curb both the highs and lows” and bring glutamate within a “normal” range.22
Bottom Line: Lithium helps steady glutamate levels.22
The balancing effect of lithium goes beyond the nervous system and brain. It also helps the endocrine system and hormones.
The nervous system and the endocrine system have a close relationship.
Like every relationship, communication can become strained and weakened.
Lithium acts like a therapist for neurons and hormones, balancing their levels, their relationship, and keeping their communication flowing smoothly.
Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands. It’s known as the “stress hormone” because a ton of it gets released during stressful situations.
However, cortisol works day and night - not just when you are stressed out.
Cortisol is a serious multitasker. Most cells in the body have cortisol receptors. So it’s involved in most cell functions.
- Balance blood pressure
- Regulate metabolism
- Control blood sugar
- Support deep sleep
- Form memories
Just as lithium has such a normalizing effect on the brain, it seems to have the same effect on cortisol - especially for people with mood disorders.
The British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology explained this way back in 1979:
“There is a strong negative correlation between serum lithium and plasma cortisol levels.”
In other words:
When lithium levels are increased, cortisol levels go down. 23
More research continues to confirm the power lithium has on cortisol.
“Patients…showed a significant decrease in a.m. serum cortisol levels after 1 year on lithium.”24
There is even a research study titled, "Lithium Augmentation Increases the ACTH and Cortisol Response.” ACTH is the Adrenocorticotropic hormone produced by the pituitary gland in the brain. It helps regulate cortisol.25
Bottom Line: Lithium helps normalize cortisol levels.
Adrenaline seems to be directly affected by lithium too.
Adrenaline is like a big brother to cortisol:
They both come from the adrenal glands. They are both stress, “fight-or-flight” hormones. And they both affect your mood.
There is one big difference between the two hormones:
Cortisol works in the long term. Adrenaline works in the short term.
An adrenaline rush begins in the center of the brain: the amygdala.
It determines every dangerous or stressful situation and decides if it should involve the rest of your body.
If the amygdala senses danger or stress, then it sends a signal to another part of the brain called the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus rushes a signal through nerves to the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands alert the rest of the body by releasing the adrenaline into the bloodstream.
- The heart pump faster
- Boost blood sugar for energy
- Expand airways for more oxygen
- Enlarge the pupils for clear vision
All of these changes can give bursts of energy, faster reflexes, and superhuman strength.
Adrenaline also helps you feel good.
This is why we sled down snowy hills, skydive in sunny skies, and watch scary movies:
The adrenaline rush.
Adrenaline is helpful when you are trying to avoid danger but, again, too much of a good thing can turn bad.
Besides moments of danger, adrenaline is actually released when you experience any level of stress. Cortisol too.
- Late for work?
- Hate your job?
- Hate your boss?
Then every day is full of adrenaline and cortisol.
- Hate where you live?
- Hate who you live with?
- Worried about the next day?
Then every night is full of adrenaline and cortisol.
This combination of adrenaline and cortisol can make you feel sick, anxious, and create a long list of negative thoughts.
Besides feeling crappy all the time, this heap of feelings can lead to serious health issues like anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and other brain and mood disorders.
Luckily, there’s lithium.
Lithium can help regulate adrenaline levels.26
Research shows it can increase low adrenaline levels and decrease high adrenaline levels. 27 Especially for people struggling with depression and bipolar disorder. 15 28
Bottom Line: Lithium helps balance adrenaline in the body.26
Bipolar Disorder and Lithium
The National Institute of Mental Health defines bipolar disorder as:
“Bipolar disorder (formerly called manic-depressive illness or manic depression) is a mental disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, concentration, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.”29
Lithium is the oldest FDA-approved treatment for bipolar disorder and still the most preferred by doctors.30 31
This makes sense.
The calming influence lithium has over neurotransmitters and hormones creates a more calming effect on mood.
Bipolar disorder comes with intense mood swings, from manic highs to depressive lows.
Bipolar disorder symptoms:
- Racing thoughts
- Insomnia with energy
- Inflated self-esteem
- Too much talking
- Shopping sprees
- Foolish business investments
That's a wild list of negatives. It can be difficult to accomplish anything.
However, people who suffer from bipolar disorder can also be very creative and have high IQs - especially when they are younger.32
This explains why many artists, authors, actors, and musicians live with bipolar disorder and sometimes thrive with it.
The list is long but a few notable celebrities with bipolar disorder are:
- Jimi Hendrix
- Ernest Hemingway
- Vincent Van Gogh
- Frank Sinatra
- Ted Turner
- Mariah Carey
- Kurt Cobain
- John Gray
Depression and Lithium
Depression is half of bipolar disorder.
Since so many doctors prescribe lithium for bipolar disorder, some also suggest it for depression.
The research on lithium and depression is limited and mostly qualitative.
However, the information could change your life and the life of someone you love.
Some of the evidence on lithium and depression suggests it reduces suicide risk in people with mood disorders, like depression.
A recent clinical review of 300 studies on lithium showed:
“Lithium is an effective treatment for reducing the risk for suicide and suicide attempts in patients with affective disorders over the long-term course. Data also suggest that the expected higher overall mortality in patients with mood disorders using lithium is decreased.”32
Many studies on lithium and suicide risk compare the lithium levels in drinking water to suicide rates in different regions. A famous one in Texas looked at water samples from 226 counties. The counties with the higher lithium in the water had the lower the suicide rates. 34
Research on the drinking water in Japan, Italy, and Greece revealed the same relationship between lithium and suicide:
The more lithium in the drinking water, the lower the suicide rates.35 36 39
Despite these promising numbers on lithium, antidepressants and SSRIs, are still the preferred treatment for depression.38
However, that may be changing...
Between 1987-2012, Finland researchers followed 123,712 patients who had been hospitalized for depression.
They were astonished by two results:
1. 40% of patients were re-hospitalized for a mental disorder within 8 years.
2. People taking lithium were 50% likely to be rehospitalized, compared to those taking SSRIs or antidepressants.
“We were actually surprised to find that SSRIs and other antidepressants aren’t really very effective at keeping depressed patients out of hospital. It seems like lithium is a lot more effective than any antidepressant. And funnily enough, it seems that lithium is a lot more effective when used without antidepressants than when used with them.”39
This is promising but more research on low-dose lithium is needed.
Fortunately, more clinical data using microdoses of lithium is currently being compiled by The Buck Institute. We are looking forward ot their findings.
Maybe they should start with the original formula for 7 Up?
But besides lifting spirits, lithium can also help calm the mind and focus thinking.
ADHD and Lithium
You know someone with ADHD.
In fact, YOU may have ADHD and not even know it.
ADHD is the abbreviation for Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. ADHD is a mental health disorder that destroys all focus and, well, attention.
Besides the short attention span, symptoms include:
- Bad time management
- Unfinished tasks
- Stressed out
- Mood swings
- Hot temper
ADHD is more common than you think.
It is usually diagnosed in kids, but many adults have it and don’t know it because the hyperactivity part is missing.
ADHD can ruin an adult life:
The lack of focus leads to less listening. The restlessness leads to less commitments. The impulsiveness behavior leads to poor planning.
This all leads to unstable relationships, poor work performance, and low self esteem.
It can grow into anxiety and depression.
Most people diagnosed with ADHD are prescribed Ritalin, a methylphenidate, or Adderall and Dexedrine, both amphetamines. These have similar effects as cocaine.
Again, too much of a good thing can turn into a bad thing and lead to addiction.
Thankfully, clinical research suggests lithium might be just as helpful and less addictive.
An 8-week study determined:
"Ritalin and lithium produced similar improvements on the primary outcome measure and on measures of irritability, aggressive outbursts, antisocial behavior, anxiety, and depression.”40
This link between lithium and less impulsive behavior is often reviewed and researched.
Many people who are low in lithium have a tendency to be more impulsive, short-tempered, aggressive, violent, and engage in criminal activity. 41 42
One study actually compared the lithium levels in hairs of adults, students, and violent criminals. The criminal group had very little lithium or none at all.43
The majority of people with ADHD are not violent criminals.
However, the relationship between lithium and impulsive behavior definitely needs more research. It's crime there is not more funding devoted to lithium research.
Although that might also be changing...
Sleep and Lithium
Diet, exercise, and sleep are the foundations to a healthy life.
Sleep is most important to brain health.
More people are suffering from sleep issues and insomnia than ever before.
Most of the prescribed solutions come with some pretty big side effects. Most of the natural supplement solutions include 5 milligrams or more of melatonin. This can create its own list of side effects.
Fortunately, science is finding a little lithium can make a big difference.
Lithium can help people develop a regular sleep schedule.
Research shows that lithium helps support the circadian rhythm for a more consistent sleep schedule.48 49
Lithium can help people stay asleep longer with more slow wave sleep.50
Slow wave sleep is deep sleep time.
It’s when you dream.
It’s also when your brain organizes memories.
Longer periods of slow wave sleep help you wake up feeling rested, refreshed, and alert.
French doctors researched sleep and lithium even further to find out how lithium might affect the sleep of bipolar patients.
They found that their patients taking lithium slept longer and felt more rested in the mornings than those who didn't take lithium:
"Patients with Li (lithium) have better sleep efficiency and longer sleep duration than those without Li."51
Most of these sleep studies are conducted in labs using higher doses of prescribed lithium. However, doctors are concerned about the side effects related to high doses of prescribed lithium. They also anticipate better results when people can sleep in their own beds.
In response, there are new studies underway that use low-dose lithium at home. Some studies are even using advanced sleep tracking technology to give better feedback on sleep quality. This guide will be updated when new results get released.
The Best Form of Lithium
Lithium is available in many different forms.
This is because, just like magnesium, lithium needs a binder to deliver it from the digestive system to the cells in the body and brain.
A binder holds active materials together to guarantee absorption and an effective reaction.
Many compounds have been used as binders with lithium.
Some deliver more.
Some absorb better.
Some were mistakes.
Science has narrowed down the best forms of lithium to these:
- Lithium bonded with carbon and oxygen.
- Weak absorption rates.
- Used in high doses.
- Mainly prescribed for bipolar disorder and depression.
- Lithium bonded with citric acid.
- Weakest absorption.
- Used in high doses.
- Also prescribed for bipolar disorder and depression.
- Lithium bonded with orotic acid.
- Great absorption.
- Used in low doses.
- Available in supplement form.
- Lithium bonded with aspartic acid.
- Good absorption.
- Used in low doses.
- Available in supplement form.
oh, and the mistakes?
The biggest one:
Lithium Chloride: lithium bonded with chlorine!
This was used as a substitute for table salt in the 1940s. Two people died from it, which created the longstanding fear around lithium.
So which is the best form of lithium now?
That depends on what's needed.
Let’s break it down:
First, the drugs…
Lithium Carbonate vs. Lithium Citrate
Lithium carbonate and lithium citrate are prescription medications. Lithium carbonate is used more often than lithium citrate.
However, both of these are used in very high doses. And both of these come with their own side effects. More on that later.
Better choice: Lithium Carbonate is prescribed most often, but tough to say that makes it better.
Lithium Orotate vs. Lithium Aspartate
Lithium orotate and lithium aspartate are sold as natural supplements on Amazon, Walmart, and health food stores everywhere. There are superb supplement formulas that combine lithium with other ingredients too. ;-)
There is one major difference between Aspartate and Orotate:
Aspartate is derived from aspartic acid, an amino acid. It’s also considered to be an excitotoxin. This means it can bind to nerve cell receptors, over-stimulate them, and cause headaches, sore eyes, and other nervous system problems.
Orotate is derived from orotic acid, a natural compound in cells. It was originally thought to be part of the vitamin B complex, even labeled vitamin B13 at one time, but it is now thought to be more similar to an enzyme. There are no known side effects related to orotic acid or orotates.
Better choice: Lithium Orotate!
Lithium Orotate vs. Lithium Carbonate
The difference between lithium carbonate and lithium orotate comes down to the dosage amounts and absorption rates for the lithium. And these are hard to compare.
One is a drug: lithium carbonate.
One is a supplement: lithium orotate.
Lithium carbonate is prescribed in very high doses for serious mood disorders. It’s usually a doctor’s first choice for bipolar disorder:
"The gold standard for treating bipolar disorder in 1970 was lithium, and the gold standard in 2009 remains lithium.”52
The typical daily dosage of lithium carbonate for bipolar disorder is between 900-1800 mg/day. This provides 170-340 mg of elemental lithium.
Some doctors prescribe lower doses for depression, around 150 mg/day. This provides 29 mg of elemental lithium.
On the flip side...
Lithium orotate is a natural supplement that is taken in very low doses for stress relief, focus, and better sleep.
The biggest difference is it’s a supplement.
In other words, it helps make up for the natural lithium that is missing from our drinking water and foods.
The average lithium orotate supplement contains 1-5 mg of elemental lithium per dose. A prescription of lithium carbonate can be more than 50 times stronger than a natural lithium orotate supplement!
That’s a BIG difference.
Why such a big difference?
The short answer: Bioavailability.
The long answer: Lithium orotate absorbs into the body better than lithium carbonate.53
Lithium orotate is able to pass the blood-brain barrier and deliver lithium directly into the brain.
So there is even less, unused lithium left in the bloodstream.
Granted, this has only been officially recorded with animal studies, but it was significant:
“...the serum and brain lithium concentrations of rats were significantly greater after lithium orotate than after lithium carbonate.”53
Larger doses of prescribed lithium carbonate are needed to effectively reach the brain.
Again...more than 50 times larger!
These levels can be toxic.
So toxic, that doctors who prescribe lithium carbonate have to carefully monitor the blood levels of their patients to make sure they do not overdo it.
These high lithium levels can cause dry mouth, weight gain, and a ton of digestion issues. Prolonged use can be worse...
The largest doses of lithium carbonate can alter hormones and damage the kidneys.54 55
However, when the dosage is lowered:
"The chronic use of lithium at low doses did not affect renal function and was clinically safe.”56
A 2-year study on lithium orotate found “no adverse lithium side reactions and no need for monitoring blood serum measurements.”57
Little things make a big difference.
Just not a big profit. So, sadly, big medicine has largely ignored the big benefits of lithium in small doses.
Side Effects From Different Lithium Forms
Most of the side effects associated with lithium are from high doses of lithium carbonate.
Lithium carbonate can cause drastic mood changes - which may be necessary for the most serious disorders. However, it can also cause some negative side effects.
Before the serious kidney and hormone damage, it can bring on lethargy, a loss of interest in social interaction, and overall mental confusion. Even worse, lithium carbonate can cause vomiting, tremors, dizziness, and insomnia in some people.
Low-dose lithium orotate rarely brings side effects.
The most common side effects from lithium orotate are:
- Upset stomach
- Less appetite
- Dry mouth
However, these are rarely reported.
Everyone is different. As with any supplement, it's best to start small with lithium orotate. See how you feel as you gradually increase the dosage to the preferred amount.
The Best Lithium Orotate Benefits
Even without the corporate support for research, lithium orotate is proving to be full of powerful benefits.
The proof is with the people.
Google "lithium orotate" and read all the positive reviews from people who take it everyday...
The most common benefits people experience with lithium orotate are:
- Balanced mood
- Flexible attitude
- Stronger focus
- Clear thinking
- Improved judgement
- Reduced sorrow
- Less panic
Lithium orotate provides a subtle sense of peace. A steady calmness, full of potential.
Many people find it hard to describe the feeling. You can just feel it - especially after you stop taking it. Consistency is key.
How To Take Lithium Orotate
It may only take an hour to start feeling the effects of lithium orotate. However, it can take 3-4 weeks of daily use to feel a bigger change. Often the changes are so gradual, they often aren't noticed until you stop taking it.
The Perfect Lithium Orotate Dosage
Research suggests that every person should be getting at least 1 mg of lithium every day.58
However, our foods and water are often lacking even this essential lithium amount.
Lithium orotate supplements are available in different strengths, from less than 1mg to more than 10mg. As with any natural supplement, start slow.
This is a good maintenance dose that helps you feel relaxed and calm. It can also encourage deeper sleep and a more consistent sleep pattern.
Pop 2-3 CHILL capsules after dinner and 2-3 hours later, you can reach a zone that is ready for deep, restful sleep.
You first feel it in the body - as the magnesium glycinate reacts with the boron. Then you notice a shift in your thinking as the lithium orotate wipes away stressful thoughts and feelings.
After you fall asleep, your brain is still awake. It’s busy sorting through the day’s events, saving memories, and pushing out toxins that build up during the day. At the same time, your nerves and hormones are working together to help your brain work through this process and prepare you for the next day.
The next day?
Lithium helps people feel cool and calm, keeping a flexible attitude.
Big problems stop feeling massive and start looking manageable.
Lithium just helps you feel happy and balanced.
Science supports these feelings too.
According to James Kocsis, professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and an expert on lithium:
“It stabilizes membranes.”11
Little things make a big difference.
A little lithium makes a BIG difference.
CHILL combines a microdose of natural lithium with a potent amount of magnesium and glycine with to create a state of steady calmness.
Non-drowsy and non-addictive, CHILL can be taken anytime of the day. Try it after dinner to get deeply relaxed and ready for a night of rejuvenating sleep.