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Lithium Side Effects - No Side Effects, Many Benefits With Orotate Supplement Delivery System

Updated on July 31, 2012

Lithium was first used in the 1870s to treat gout, cluster headaches and depression. Today, lithium is mostly used to treat bipolar disorder and is available in several forms, including lithium orotate. The form used by American doctors is called lithium carbonate and is only available by prescription. It is the most effective treatment for bipolar disorder available.

Studies have shown that the mortality rate of manic depressive patients taking long term lithium treatment is considerably less than those not receiving the treatment. Other lithium treatments include cluster headaches, prevention of migraine headaches, gout, manic depression, lowering of mental stress, dermatitis, alcoholism, anger and Alzheimer's disease. LIthium is also known to have antiviral effects and immune boosting abilities. Unfortunately, it is not well utilized by cells, making high dosages necessary, which can lead to lithium side effects.

Toxic effects of lithium include vomiting, blurred vision, thirst, frequent urination, tremors, drowsiness, ringing in the ears, muscular weakness and poor coordination. Naturopaths and alternative medicine practitioners treat patients with the supplement lithium orotate, because the required dosage to achieve many of the benefits of lithium is much less than lithium carbonate, and at the lower dosage the risk of toxicity is greatly reduced. A few doctors have treated patients with lithium orotate long term and report no side effects of any kind. However, there is controversy over the effectiveness and safety of lithium orotate by many in the medical community because of the limited research available.

A common question asked regarding supplements is " what is the best way to take mineral supplements." There are many choices which include chelates, picolinates, orotates and citrates. Orotates are rarely used by psychiatrists to treat patients, but naturopaths and alternative care practitioners believe them to be a powerful nutrient delivery system. Orotates are mineral salts that occur naturally in the human body and in several foods including dairy products. In studies conducted, orotates were found effective in passing through cell membrane barriers making supplements bioavailable to the body. Lithium orotate is considered to be much more effective at penetrating cell walls than lithium carbonate. Therefore a much lesser dosage is required, eliminating the possibility of side effects while providing the same benefits as the carbonate.

Lithium orotate is available at health stores and some drug stores under several different brand names. When choosing a quality lithium orotate supplement make sure there is at least five milligrams of elemental calcium per capsule. These products are not regulated so there is no way to know whether you are getting the amounts stated on the bottle. Therefore always choose a reputable and well known brand name.

When taking lithium orotate there are several important considerations. Drink plenty of fluids but avoid caffeinated drinks. Make sure your daily intake of tissue salts is adequate. Lack of fluids and dietary salts can cause the body to hold on to lithium which can cause an unhealthy buildup. If you have kidney disease it isn't safe to take lithium because it cannot be properly removed from your system.

If you are pregnant or breast feeding you must avoid taking lithium supplements. Older people have a difficult time with lithium supplements because of reduced capacity to absorb and utilize minerals efficiently. Some medications do not interact well with lithium. Halidol and lithium are very toxic when mixed. Others include ibuprofen, naproxen and ssri antidepressants, When starting a anything new, its always a good idea to work with a natural health practitioner to help you reach your health goals effectively.

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    • profile image

      sammy 

      5 years ago

      I'm a BP II 60 year old man and have been off Valproic acid & lamictal cause they made me very sick. I do parsley shakes with flax every day and take fish oil vitamins. I feel fine but don't know if I go in and out of manic states and want to be productive moneywise again. I want to try lithium oretate but don't want side effects like weight gain or kidney issues as I work out every day. Also what brand is safe? What do I do?

    • profile image

      Rebecca Sauget 

      6 years ago

      I am please to say that I started taking this a week ago and it is everything wonderful. No more depression affects at all. I will continue to order it off of Amazon. com

    • profile image

      Tonya 

      6 years ago

      Hi. My roommate has been on lithium orotate for several months 2 3 times a day. Was great at first, but then we had some financial circumstances hit. She began to backslide and is now in full blown depression again. Should we increase, decrease, or keep dose the same. It was awesome while it lasted.

    • profile image

      Hestia the Griek 

      6 years ago

      I've heard today for the first time about Lithium Orotate from John Gray seminar.

      I'm strugeling with chronic depression I think life long, a few months ago I stopped using the antidepressant and still looking for an alternative.I'll try this one, hope to share good news with you.

    • profile image

      Sara 

      6 years ago

      I have a diagnosis of Bipolar and spent about 30 years of my life on and off lithium carbonate. I tried lithium orotate but haven't used it consistently. I think I'm going to end up using a combination of lithium carbonate and lithium orotate. I guess that some day they will take the lithium orotate off the free market and place it in the hands of Big Pharm. It looks like life without a psychiatrist "looking in" on their "subjects" is the wave of the future!

    • profile image

      Tonya 

      7 years ago

      I take lithium orotate for two years now and no side effects at all. I was diagnosed Non specific bi polar. Since I've been taking it I haven't had any symptoms of bi polar at alllllll.

    • profile image

      Heidi 

      7 years ago

      I've taken both Lithium Carbonate (prescription) and Lithium Orotate (supplement)... I have Bipolar Disorder II and both work in controlling my moods, however the Orotate is better in my opinion because I don't get a tremor with it. The Carbonate caused a hand tremor. It sure would be nice if there was more scientific research on Lithium Orotate!

    • profile image

      Chris 

      7 years ago

      There have been a number of studies linking low dose Lithium (20 mg) with neurogenesis, or the creation of new brain cells. I believe even folks who weren't bipolar received the startling benefits of a 3% increase in gray matter in the brain.

    • profile image

      Nina 

      8 years ago

      My nephew used Lithium Orotate and it has turned his life around. I'm hoping more for cognitive improvement and stress reduction. Your site gave me courage to try it.

    • profile image

      Ryan 

      8 years ago

      I've been taking this for about 4 months. Advanced Research brand, anywhere from 10 - 40 mg a day. The only side effect that I notice is frequent urination. I know another person who is taking this who is having the same side effect. However, this brought me out of a severe depression without making me manic. It also seems to improve my memory and helps me think more clearly. I wish there were more studies done on it.

    • TheLadyCoco profile image

      TheLadyCoco 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for the Info I think I need to talk to my doc about maybe trying this

    • AJHargrove profile image

      AJHargrove 

      9 years ago from USA

      Very detailed and clear. You've really done your research.

    • Web D Zine profile image

      Web D Zine 

      9 years ago from The Interwebs

      Nice article. I didn't know that Lithium orotate was unregulated. Good info all in all.

      A slight aside....... There is a small town in Missourri called Lithium. It's name derives from the metal that is found in the soil of that area.

      I spoke with one of the older people who grew up there... the local legend / recollection was that no one ever had depression in Lithium, since they drank their water from the local wells. No idea of the veracity of the statement, but it does make you think.

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