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Lithium Orotate for Depression and Brain Health

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, one of the leading causes of disability is mental disorders. OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and major depression are among the most common.

The rising trend of mental disorders – plaguing numerous countries worldwide – has pushed experts to further investigate the etiology of psychiatric disorders and find treatments to cure them. [1]

Lithium (an alkali metal) has had roots in psychiatry since the mid-1800s. According to research, lithium treats and prevents manic episodes in psychotic patients by improving brain activity. Thus, many practicing psychiatrists and psychologists have started micro-dosing patients with lithium supplements, especially those suffering from bipolar disorder (Source: WebMD). [2]

Benefits of Lithium Orotate 

Lithium orotate is a substance made of lithium and orotic acid. It is available as a dietary supplement to naturally treat many health problems – particularly mental health issues. Many consider it a superior option for lithium therapy. [3]

Lithium orotate benefits both the mind and the body. Lithium orotate is used to treat and prevent the following:

  • To promote brain cell regeneration and mental abnormalities
  • To support healthy mood regulation
  • To improve blood sugar metabolism
  • To strengthen immunity
  • To improve bone health
  • To improve cognitive functions 
  • To reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety 
  • To alleviate migraines and insomnia 

Lithium Orotate For Mental Health 

How lithium actually works is unknown. However, many studies suggest that it helps mental disorders by influencing the activity of chemical messengers in the brain (Source: Sagepub). It is also neuroprotective and prevents cognitive decline like Dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Parkinson’s.

Therefore, many mental health professionals now use lithium orotate and other lithium supplements to treat:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Cluster headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Migraine

Treating Depression With Lithium Orotate

Lithium orotate is used as a mood stabilizer as it can be highly effective in treating and managing anger, aggression, mood swings, attention deficit disorder, anxiety, and depression.  (Source: Mind)

Dr. Suruchi Chandra, MD, and an Integrative Psychiatrist, supports the use of lithium to treat depression and other mental health concerns. She says: 

“Low-dose lithium supplementation is a much safer treatment option with few side effects. In fact, patients start feeling less anxious, irritable, and depressed just days after taking low-dose lithium.

Dr. Melissa Quinn, a triple board-certified physician and integrative psychiatrist, also microdoses her patients with lithium orotate to prevent and treat depressive symptoms. (Source: BrainMD)

Here is some scientific evidence about the positive impact of lithium orotate for the treatment of depression:

The Evidence

  • Research 

There is conclusive evidence supporting the use of lithium orotate for depression. Research shows that lithium can be effective against episodes of depression and suicide ideation. 

Moreover, 40 years worth of research shows that lithium has anti-suicidal effects, proving highly effective in preventing severe symptoms and side effects of depression such as:  

  • Clinical Data

An open study of 42 alcoholic patients was conducted to evaluate the impact of lithium orotate on mental health. The subjects were dosed with 150 mg/day for six months. Lithium orotate supplementation not only proved beneficial in treating alcoholism but also reduced migraines and depression. (Source: Drugs)

Other studies also show that lithium orotate can prevent and treat migraine attacks and depression associated with bipolar disorder.

Lithium Orotate Supplements For Health and Depression

Over-the-counter lithium orotate is a health supplement. It is a low-dose source of lithium. Non-controlled studies around the use of low-dose lithium orotate in treating alcoholism, migraines, and depression have shown positive results. 

Lithium supplements have the same amount we regularly consume from our food and water, i.e., around 0.64 – 3mg (Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). While lithium orotate typically comes in 5mg capsules – a low dose compared to lithium medications. 

Lithium medication generally comes as lithium carbonate with 112 – 225mg of lithium – 100 times the amount found in food, water, and low-dose supplements.

Thus, lithium orotate is an excellent option for those who need more lithium than ionic and plant-based lithium, without the risk of severe side effects of high-dose lithium medication for depression, anxiety, and brain fog.

Lithium Orotate Dose For Depression 

The recommended daily dietary/nutritional dose of lithium is 1 mg/day, and that of lithium orotate is around 20 mg/day. [Source: JPands

Case studies of higher dosage consumptions (240 mg of lithium orotate/day) also exist, showing no apparent signs of toxicity. Still, more adequate clinical studies are required to support dosage recommendations. [4]

Note: Self-treating a chronic mental condition (such as depression) with lithium orotate, is not recommended. Do not avoid or delay professional care as it may result in severe consequences. If you want to use lithium orotate to treat a chronic mental health condition, consult your physician before changing your supplement regimen.

References

  1. Psychotherapy and the etiology of psychiatric disorders by Guze SB. 1998. Retrieved from: https://europepmc.org/article/med/3244699
  2. The role of lithium in the treatment of bipolar disorder: convergent evidence for neurotrophic effects as a unifying hypothesis by Machado-Vieira R, Manji HK, Zarate CA. 2009. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2800957
  3. Lithium orotate: A superior option for lithium therapy? by Anthony G. Pacholko, Lane K. Bekar. 2021. Retrieved from: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/brb3.2262
  4. Possible dangers of a “nutritional supplement” lithium orotate by Richard Bolan. 2013. Retrieved from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23376874/
  5. Lithium: https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1065/lithium
  6. Lithium Orotate: https://www.drugs.com/npp/lithium-orotate.html
  7. The Benefits of Lithium Orotate: https://www.verywellmind.com/the-benefits-of-lithium-orotate-89475
  8. Low-Dose Lithium Supplements For Mental Health: https://www.chandramd.com/blog/low-dose-lithium-supplements
  9. Lithium Orotate for brain health, mood and anxiety: https://www.calgaryagemanagement.com/lithium-orotate/
  10. Nutritional therapies for mental disorders by Shaheen E Lakhan and Karen F Vieira. 2008. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2248201/
  11. Benefits Of Lithium Orotate: According To Triple Board Certified psychiatrist: https://brainmd.com/blog/benefits-of-lithium-orotate-according-to-triple-board-certified-psychiatrist
  12. Low-Dose Lithium: An Effective Treatment For Mood Disorders: https://ndnr.com/anxietydepressionmental-health/low-dose-lithium-an-effective-treatment-for-mood-disorders/

 

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