Lithium is a mineral salt that was discovered in the 1800s. Lithium is primarily available as a prescription medicine, but it can also be found in many foods.
Lithium is found in dairy products like milk and cheese, spring water, herbs like chamomile, vegetables like tomato, potato and peppers, and grains.
Lithium is primarily used to alter the moods of people who suffer from psychiatric disorders. Lithium once ingested spreads widely in the central nervous system and interacts with several neurotransmitters and receptors.
There is growing evidence, which indicates that lithium may be an essential mineral in the human diet.
Animals on low-lithium diets have shown reproductive problems, shorter life spans, poor lipid metabolism, and behavioral abnormalities
Lithium aspartate and lithium orotate are both forms of lithium. Lithium aspartate is lithium salt bound to an amino acid, aspartic acid. Lithium orotate is lithium salt bound to vitamin B13, also known as orotic acid. It is considered a safe alternative with lesser side-effects.
Who can benefit from taking Lithium
Lithium is a mood stabilizing drug and is used extensively in the treatment of bipolar disorder, in the treatment of both depression and mania. Lithium is more used to reduce the symptoms of mania rather than depression. However in combination with certain other drugs, lithium is used as an anti-depressant.
Lithium is known to be responsible for significant weight gain. It also increases appetite and thirst.
Lithium intake may cause more depression than before with suicidal thoughts and actions, and reduce the activity of thyroid hormone causing hypothyroidism.It is also believed to affect renal function.
Lithium can cause birth defects in newborn babies.If taken during a woman's pregnancy, lithium can cause her child to develop Ebstein's anomaly, a heart defect.
The required dosage (15–20 mg per kg of body weight) is slightly less than the toxic level. Hence blood levels of lithium must be monitored closely during treatment. The starting dosage of lithium should be 400–600 mg given at night and increased weekly on the basis of serum monitoring.