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How Does Lithium Work In The Brain

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Encourages Mental Balance & Good Mood

How Lithium Treats the Brain

When people are deficient in lithium, they can become irritable and have a bad mood.;Lithium orotate balances the mind by lowering stress.

Lithium orotate is a natural way to bring calmness and clarity to your mind.

Scientists correlated higher levels of lithium in drinking water with more peaceful and calmer behavior in multiple epidemiological studies.

The Role Of Lithium Therapy: A Brief Overview

Lithium salts, brought to the forefront as a therapeutic option by John Cade in 1949 and Samuel Gershon in 1960 , have a well-established role in BD treatment, most notably the control of mania and the prevention of mood-disturbance recurrences. Lithium is thought to contribute to the management of affective disorders through a variety of mechanisms, with the antagonism of GSK3β and IMPase standing as perhaps the most prominent one . Inhibition of these enzymes is mediated through the displacement of the cofactor magnesium; lithium and magnesium share similar ionic radii, allowing lithium to act as a competitive inhibitor for the binding of the magnesium ion at the catalytic core of each protein . Also, a growing body of evidence has linked neuroinflammation to a host of affective disorders, BD included. As lithium may demonstrate anti-inflammatory capacities, attenuation of neuroinflammation may present an additional mechanism by which lithium addresses the symptoms of BD. While the above discussions are intriguing, it should be noted that the mechanisms of action for lithium in the alleviation of BD symptoms are far from being conclusively identified.


What Is Lithium Aspartate Used For

Unlike lithium carbonate which is only available with doctors prescription, lithium aspartate is an over-the-counter product. In fact, lithium aspartate and lithium orotate are the two most common supplements and they also happen to be within similar price range.

Lithium aspartate comes from aspartic acid while orotate is salt-derived. Both types of lithium supplements are used for almost identical purposes i.e. to manage and treat addictions, alcoholism, anxiety, depression, headaches, and to prevent brain aging.

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Important Things To Remember When Taking Lithium

  • Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any allergies.
  • If you are taking diuretics , tell your doctor since these may need to be carefully monitored.
  • Tell your doctor about any other medicines, supplements or complementary medicines you are taking, as they may interact with lithium.
  • If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or breastfeeding, tell your doctor straight away. Lithium may cause harm to a fetus or baby.
  • Tell your doctor first if you have any heart or kidney problems.
  • Lithium can cause drowsiness, so it is important to consider this if driving or operating heavy machinery

What Is Lithium Used For

How does lithium treatment work

Lithium is part of a class of psychotherapeutic drugs known as mood stabilizers. It is primarily used in the treatment of bipolar disorder, but is sometimes also used to treat patients with severe depression or schizoaffective disorder, says Michael Ingram, MD, and psychiatrist who runs a private practice in Los Angeles, California.

While other medications might work better for some people, lithium remains a common form of treatment for stabilizing manic episodes, characterized by racing thoughts, grandiosity, decreased need for sleep, and hallucinations, says Shayla Sullivant, MD, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. It can also be used as a maintenance drug to prevent future manic and depressive episodes.

Research has shown lithium to be effective in treating both manic and depressive episodes affiliated with bipolar disorder and in minimizing the risk of suicidal behaviors.;

“Lithium is one of the most effective medications we have for preventing both mania and depression in patients with bipolar disorder,” says Ingram.;

A 2015 review published in the International Journal of Bipolar Disorders examined more than 20 years of research on the use of lithium to treat bipolar disorder. It found lithium reduced the risk of suicide in patients by up to 75% compared with other drugs, like valproate, and a placebo.;

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Lithium Study Helps Scientists Unlock Ageing Puzzle

A common drug could hold the key to long life, in flies at least, according to research.

At low doses, lithium prolonged the life of fruit flies in lab experiments.

Scientists say the finding is “encouraging” and could eventually lead to new drugs to help people live longer and healthier lives.

Lithium is used in psychiatry to help stop mood swings but has a risk of serious side-effects at high doses.

How lithium acts on the brain is not fully understood, but in fruit flies the drug seems to extend life by blocking a chemical known as GSK-3.

“The response we’ve seen in flies to low doses of lithium is very encouraging and our next step is to look at targeting GSK-3 in more complex animals with the aim of eventually developing a drug regime to test in humans,” said Prof Linda Partridge of the UCL Institute of Healthy Ageing, who led the study.

The research, published in Cell Reports, found fruit flies lived 16% longer than average when given low doses of lithium.

At high doses, lithium reduced their lifespan.

“We found low doses not only prolong life but also shield the body from stress and block fat production for flies on a high sugar diet,” said co-researcher Dr Ivana Bjedov from the UCL Cancer Institute.

Immediate Action Required: Call 999 Or Go To A&e Now If:

  • youre having an allergic reaction
  • you have lithium toxicity

Lithium is generally safe to take for a long time. Most people take it for years with no problems.

If you’ve been taking lithium for some time, it can cause weight gain. It can also cause problems with your kidneys or thyroid gland.

Common signs of an underactive thyroid are tiredness, weight gain and feeling depressed. Signs of kidney problems include swollen hands or ankles, feeling tired and short of breath, changes in your pee and feeling sick. Tell your doctor if you get any these symptoms. Your doctor will test your thyroid and kidneys every 6 months to check for any changes.

If you find you’re putting on weight after taking lithium for a while, try to have a healthy balanced diet. Regular exercise will also help you keep your weight stable. Your doctor will usually monitor your weight while you’re taking this medicine.

Your doctor may discuss topping up levels of the hormone that the thyroid gland normally produces with a tablet.

Lithium is not an antipsychotic medicine, it’s known as a mood stabiliser. However, your doctor might prescribe an antipsychotic medicine with lithium.

Usually, if you have depression, you’ll be prescribed an antidepressant medicine first as they are considered more effective for depression than lithium.

However, when antidepressants have not worked, your doctor might prescribe lithium as well. This may be more effective and help your symptoms get better.

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Help With Ocd Behaviors

Obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD is a quite common, long-lasting disorder where a person has uncontrollable and recurring thoughts or obsessions and behaviors. They feel the urge to repeat certain thoughts and actions over and over again.

Supplementation with lithium is strongly related to the reduced severity of OCD symptoms, according to a study from the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Pregnancy And Breast Feeding

Lithium in Bipolar Disorder – One Minute Medical School

Lithium is a teratogen, causing birth defects in a small number of newborn babies.Case reports and several retrospective studies have demonstrated possible increases in the rate of a congenital heart defect known as Ebstein’s anomaly, if taken during a woman’s pregnancy. As a consequence, fetal echocardiography is routinely performed in pregnant women taking lithium to exclude the possibility of cardiac anomalies. Lamotrigine seems to be a possible alternative to lithium in pregnant women for the treatment of acute bipolar depression or for the management of bipolar patients with normal mood.Gabapentin and clonazepam are also indicated as antipanic medications during the childbearing years and during pregnancy. Valproic acid and carbamazepine also tend to be associated with teratogenicity.

While it appears to be safe to use while breastfeeding a number of guidelines list it as a contraindication including the British National Formulary.

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The Neuroprotective Effects Of Lithium

Psychiatric Times

Do you need help persuading patients to try lithium?

Do you need help persuading patients to try lithium? A major but often underemphasized benefit of lithium is its unique neuroprotective effects. Bipolar disorder seems to be a condition characterized by gradual progressive shrinkage in some areas of cortical gray matter as well as some tracks of white matter. These losses are associated with increased neurocognitive impairment. However, in patients who have been treated with long-term lithium, there is better preservation of white matter structural integrity.1 Reduction of gray matter volume in bipolar patients has been shown to be arrested, or even reversed to some degree, by lithium. No other mood stabilizers have this effect. Some ambivalent patients have been persuaded to accept lithium after reading the article by Giakoumatos and colleagues.1

At the microcellular level , lithium is protective against neuronal apoptosis and glutamate-induced cytotoxicity, and it promotes dendritic length and number in the hippocampus.2 The preservation of cognitive function in humans with bipolar disorder seems to occur through the brain-derived neurotrophic factor system: lithium markedly increases secretion of BDNF from cortical and hippocampal neurons and upregulates intracellular production of relevant proteins.3


Potential Concerns Regarding Use Of Lithium Orotate

7.5.1 Impaired renal function

LiOr received a brief surge of interest in the early-to-mid 1970s in part because of advocacy from Nieper, who argued for the use of orotate as a mineral transporter . This was predicated on the fact that mineral orotates, including LiOr, do not dissociate at physiological pH, and may thus diffuse across biological membranes more readily on account of their electrically neutral state. Interest was greatly curtailed in the late 1970s after Smith et al. noted that LiOr resulted in reduced glomerular filtration rates relative to Li2CO3â though the mechanisms underlying these effects are unknown and may be dose-dependent âand advised against its consideration as a treatment option ; however, the study in question employed equivalent high concentrations of LiOr and Li2CO3, thereby defeating the suggested purpose of administering LiOr in place of Li2CO3.

It should be noted that the putative transport capacities of the orotic acid carrier could potentially contribute to worsened organ toxicity. If the increased ease of membrane transport associated with LiOr compared to Li2CO3 is not unique to the BBB and/or elements of the CNS, then the elevated accumulation of lithium within off-target organs could accelerate development/risk of complications, for example, renal dysfunction.

7.5.2 Promotion of cancerous cell growth

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Determination Of Lithium In Blood And Brain

Blood samples were collected at different time points via transcutaneous cardiac puncture and the serum separated for determination of lithium levels. The Clinical Chemistry Department at the Sahlgrenska University hospital performed the lithium serum analysis using a Roche/Hitachi cobas 8000, c502 analyzer.

For brain tissue lithium determination, micro-dissection of defined brain regions was performed after 28 days of lithium treatment and the tissue pieces were snap frozen in dry ice and kept in 80. Neurogenic regions where delineated as previously described,,. Each region was carefully weighed and homogenized with an ultrasonicator in 10 volumes of 0.5N trichloroacetic acid followed by centrifugation. For each sample 50l was further diluted in 4.95ml of 0.02M HNO3 and the lithium concentrations in parts per million were measured using inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy . The lithium concentrations were quantitatively determined by using the emission at 670.780nm against acid-matched calibration solutions and the concentration was calculated from the dilution factor and the respective weight in grams for each tissue sample .

Early Applications Of Lithium Salts In Psychiatry

Can Dietary Lithium Supplements Improve Your Mental Health?

The use of lithium in psychiatry has roots in the mid-1800s. Some credit this early interest in lithium to Alfred Baring Garrod, who used lithium in the treatment of gout , as uric acid was often considered to be at the root of a host of diseases. In 1871, William Hammond became the first physician to prescribe lithium for mania, specifically lithium bromide . By the late 1890s, Li2CO3 had been used in the treatment of 35 patients with melancholic depression in Denmark . Surprisingly, this early Danish work with Li2CO3 was seemingly forgotten, as the use of lithium in psychiatry would not experience a revival until 1949 courtesy of Australian psychiatrist John Cade .

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Early Interest In Orotic Acid As A Carrier For Lithium

LiOr is the salt of orotic acid and lithium. As discussed previously, LiOr and various other orotate complexesâsuch as, calcium diorotate âwere presented in the early 1970s as a superior means of mineral delivery by Hans Nieper . He proposed that orotates cross biological membranes and enter cells more readily than traditionally employed salt formulations. Despite early success marked by clinical efficacy in humans, and an increase in brain lithium levels relative to Li2CO3 demonstrated in animal studies , research into LiOr was effectively curtailed following concerns regarding potential renal toxicity in 1979 .

Interestingly, LiOr is once again attracting attention for its putative ability to yield higher serum and brain Li+ concentrations than observed from equivalent doses of Li2CO3 . A recent editorial penned by Peter Devadason effectively highlights the growing interest in LiOr as a medication delivered in trace and/or supplemental dosages. The author notes the deleterious impacts of inadequate lithium intake, the reported benefits of LiOr administration, and the general lack of safety concerns associated with low-dose LiOr supplementation . Given the known issues associated with Li2CO3 use, perhaps it is time to explore LiOr in greater detail.

Thyroid Dysfunction And Renal Impairment

Side-effects of short-term Li2CO3 use commonly involve polydipsia, polyuria, nausea, diarrhea, and tremors. More severe side-effects, including cognitive impairment, nephrotoxicity, hypothyroidism and hyperparathyroidism , are typically observed during long-term treatment, that is, 10 or more years. End-stage renal failure is a possible, but largely unlikely outcome of long-term lithium therapy . While complications such as hypothyroidism can be managed via thyroid supplementation, this is not a desirable outcome.

The more dangerous side-effects of lithium are elicited because the drug decreases thyroid hormone synthesis and release, leading to elevated serum thyroid stimulating hormone , increases parathyroid hormone release through the interruption of parathyroid cell calcium-sensing mechanisms , and disrupts antidiuretic hormone actions on the collecting ducts of the nephron, with long-term effects culminating in nephron atrophy and interstitial fibrosis .

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Is Lithium An Essential Mineral For Your Mental Health

When most people hear the word lithium, they think of a heavy-duty medication with serious side effects for bipolar disorder, but evidence shows that lithium is likely helpful for many more conditions. In fact, most of us get some lithium every day from our food and water. At these trace levels, lithium appears to have beneficial effects for brain and mental health.

In my psychiatry practice, I often recommend lithium supplements for a wide variety of patients, not just those with bipolar disorder. With low-dose lithium supplementation, patients typically report fewer mood swings, less anxiety, and better sleep. After magnesium, lithium seems to have the most benefits and receives the most positive feedback of the supplements that I recommend.

In this article, we cast a new light on this misunderstood and overlooked mineral that has the potential to help the mental and cognitive well being of many more people.

Neurotransmitters And Mental Health

Why Does Lithium Help Bipolar Disorder?

How do messages in one part of the brain travel, and in doing so, result in actions? It’s only been in the last few decadeswhen scientists have isolated neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers of the brain that act to convey information from one region to anotherthat we are beginning to understand this process.

Neurotransmitters are contained at the end of one neuron An electrical impulse travels along the nerve and results in neurotransmitters being released into the space between one nerve and the next. Some neurotransmitters bind to receptors on the next nerve cell, which respond by transforming that message into another electrical impulse.

Neurotransmitters that are left in the synapse are taken back up into the original neuron to be used again.

There are several types of neurotransmitters in the brain. Some of these include:

  • Serotonin

Lithium is thought to interact with many of these systems in complex ways.

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Cautions With Other Medicines

This are some medicines that may interfere with how lithium works and this can affect the levels of lithium in your blood.

Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you’re taking :

These are not all the medicines that can affect the way lithium works. Always check with your doctor before you start or stop taking any medicine.

Salts And Product Names

Many different lithium salts can be used as medication, including lithium carbonate, lithium acetate, lithium sulfate, lithium citrate, lithium orotate, and lithium gluconate.

Lithium carbonate , sold under several trade names, is the most commonly prescribed, while lithium citrate is also used in conventional pharmacological treatments. Lithium orotate , has been presented as an alternative.Lithium bromide and lithium chloride have been used in the past as table salt; however, they fell out of use in the 1940s, when it was discovered they were toxic in those large doses. Many other lithium salts and compounds exist, such as lithium fluoride and lithium iodide, but they are presumed to be as toxic or more so than the chloride and have never been evaluated for pharmacological effects.

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