Lithium and Longevity

Lithium is a mineral that is found in rocks and soil and even in water. It has been reported that in areas with a higher level of lithium in the drinking water the population experiences lower death rates, lower suicide rates, increased longevity and lower risk of neurodegenerative diseases. Researchers examined individuals with bi-polar disorder who are prescribed lithium as a mood stabilizer and found additional benefits to supplementation.

Lithium supplementation was associated with longer telomere length. Telomeres are little caps on the end of chromosomes that protect them and allow cells to replicate. Shorter telomeres are associated with aging and chronic illness.

  • Lithium was found to improve mitochondria through speeding up the energy making process and reducing free radical induced oxidative stress.
  • It acts as a neuroprotective agent by preventing inflammation, oxidative stress, programmed cell death, and mitochondrial dysfunction in the brain.
  • Bi-polar individuals are more likely to develop dementia, however, lithium supplementation was associated with reduced rates of dementia. One study involving 70 year olds found that only 5% of those on long-term lithium therapy developed Alzheimer’s disease but in those not taking lithium the rate was 33%.
  • Higher lithium levels in local drinking water was correlated with lower dementia rates in the area.
  • Lithium increased the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor which is involved in brain repair, protects brain cells and serves as a neurotransmitter.

 

In those without bi-polar disorder, low dose lithium supplementation was shown to benefit cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems, metabolic and cognitive function, inflammation and acts as an antioxidant.  Lithium orotate is the best form for low dose supplementation.

*Crazy Water brand mineral water contains small amounts of lithium. It can be found at Sundrops.

 

 

Neuropsychopharmacology, March 2019        Frontiers in Psychiatry, September 2022    PLOS Medicine, March 2022  Fundamental and Clinical Pharmacology, February 2023

PLOS Medicine, March 2022          eLIFE, June 2017

 

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