(started 1/2014; co-written by MS3 Sarah Bobnick)
Low-dose lithium, and
ultra-low-dose lithium, can have tremendous value for some people.
The limited research available
suggests that lithium orotate could be riskier to kidneys than regular lithium.
The idea that lithium, given as the
orotate version, reaches the brain better than regular lithium, has not been
Therefore there is no clear reason
to use lithium orotate. It has no
clear evidence for superiority over regular lithium, and might have more risk.
The only reason it continues to get any attention at all is because of
the marketing efforts of those who profit from it.
What is lithium orotate?
regular form of lithium, available by prescription, is lithium carbonate. This
is plain old lithium, combined with carbonate to make a solid. It can also be
combined with orotate to make a solid.
there was a claim that the orotate version delivered lithium to the brain more
effectively. And therefore it could be given at much lower doses than regular
lithium, yet still provide benefit. Research
in support of this claim is very old and very limited.
orotate is marketed as a dietary supplement and so does not require regulation
by the Food and Drug Administration. Because
it is not regulated, those who sell it can make claims about its benefits
without much restriction. Let the
of low-dose lithium
lithium can cause side effects such as tremor, and diarrhea.
If people get those side effects, they often want to stop taking it (they
actually ought to start by talking to their docí and then turning it down a
little bit). These and other high-dose effects have given lithium a bad
reputation. But low-dose
lithium can still provide numerous benefits:
can add to the antidepressant effects of other treatments (e.g. exercise,
psychotherapy, light therapy, or antidepressant medications).Bschor
Lithium, even at low doses, can help people pull out of mixed states (combination of depression and agitation/anxiety/irritability and/or sleep disturbance).
Possible anti-Alzheimerís effect?
recent studies are suggesting that for someone who is likely to develop
Alzheimer's disease, very-low-dose-lithium might slow their progress toward that
currently-untreatable disease. In addition to several lines of research which
support this idea, there has even been a specific trial testing lithium in this
role. Forty-five patients with early signs of possible Alzheimer's disease were
randomized to either lithium or placebo. Those who received lithium showed
significantly less worsening of their cognitive abilities (almost none) compared
to those who received placebo, over the following year.Forlenza
for risk from lithium orotate
1979, one of the world's most respected lithium researchers , Mogens Schou,
studied the lithium orotate approach and found (in rats) that it seemed to
produce more kidney damage than regular lithium. That was the last time lithium
orotate was studied in a rigorous way.
woman did manage to get lithium toxicity from lithium orotate, but that was
after ingesting 18 pills at once. Pauze
At least this shows that some lithium orotate pills from the internet really do
contain a significant amount of lithium. )
is lithium orotate even considered ? By anyone?
think there are 2 reasons for this.
Is it better than lithium carbonate?
glimmer of evidence, from 2 studies in the 1970s, suggested lithium orotate
might deliver lithium to the brain better than regular lithium (lithium
first, the one that started all this, was by Hans Neiper (no abstract online for
is 1973 paper; a summary by a psychologist is in
Nieper made broad claims for the
benefits of low-dose lithium (many of which I agree with) but attributed them to
the orotate approach. He thought the
orotate allowed lithium to reach and stay in the brain better than lithium
carbonate. One study agreed. Kling
One study did not. Smith
hasnít it been studied more? Some might say this is because Western medicine
is only interested in making money and that by around this time, there was
little money to be made with pharmaceutical lithium.
However, in my opinion, if that was an accurate explanation, we would not
see the remarkable number of studies that have been produced recently on fish
oil or N-acetylcysteine, which also are not money-makers for Pharma. JP
link those pages
I think the research came to a halt because of Dr. Schouís findings noted
above. JP link Unfortunately, that was only a single study, in rats. But it was
enough to put a dagger through further research on lithium orotate. As far as we
know at this point, it might still be possible that lithium orotate is not really more dangerous, in humans, than lithium carbonate. One
study in rats is not enough to really know. However, it does leave the
burden of proof upon those who would promote lithium orotate to demonstrate its
safety. Unfortunately, doing that right would take a lot of money. I think that
is why we are stuck.
Follow the money (once again)
other reason there is so much noise on the Internet about lithium orotate is
because of all of the marketing that it receives from companies which are
profiting from selling it. I hope that you, gentle reader, have learned not to
trust those who are making money on something to give you accurate information
(How much of this stuff have I
I have read the Smith paper (online). I have not read Kneiperís 1973 manuscript, instead relying on the online summary by the psychologist who does appear to have read it (here). I have read abstracts only for all the other cited studies.
havenít I looked into this more?
Studied the full articles, for example? Because at this point the whole issue is
stuck, as described above, on the one study that showed greater
risk with orotate than with regular lithium. Even though itís only one
study, it was by a very reputable source. Thus
we now need further evidence showing safety, or
a lot more evidence for greater benefit from lithium orotate, before
anyone should consider using the orotate form. Besides, for low-dose lithium, we
can just use regular lithium carbonate, 150 mg, which bothers very few people.
If someone made a smaller one, I would probably use it sometimes, but I don't
really need it. (One can use a liquid lithium, lithium citrate, and make much
smaller doses than 150 mg, but again, I donít really need it so I very rarely
use this approach).