Whenever I hear the word “lithium”, my mind flashbacks to the 1990s hit song “Lithium” by the rock band Nirvana! I was a sucker for the band during those days! Now being a medical graduate, Lithium doesn’t only mean the “curled-lip condemnation of blind faith and the born-again Christians the greatest singer Kurt Cobain knew in his youth but an important element in medicine that I have to study; widely popular for being the antidote to bipolar disorder. See how education can change your perspective in seconds!
Lithium is one of the most effective elements to develop mental health. Moreover, there are tons of health benefits of Lithium that is yet to be uncovered by the scientists and by me! As the famous saying goes by, “curiosity killed the cat,” I too became quite curious about this miraculous element and started digging information about it. Fortunately, it didn’t kill me but I’m about to share some of the major benefits of the element.
But before that, let’s start with its introduction.
What is Lithium?
Lithium is generally the trace mineral that falls under the electrolyte minerals along with Sodium and Potassium. Many health associates take Lithium as the vital and essential trace nutrient for our body with the daily recommendation of 1 mg per day for adults.
Some of the well-known health benefits of Lithium are described below.
- Promotes the growth of Normal Brain Health
According to recent studies, it has been almost proven that Lithium increases the grey matter volume in the prefrontal cortex of the brain. The process is described as the neurogenesis whereas, the increment happens with the generation of new stem cells in the brain.
The benefits of Lithium to brain is not only limited to grey matter; it also reduces the risk of neurodegenerative brain shrinkage. According to a research conducted back in 2004 by Chuang DM, he found that the smaller amounts of lithium orotate can be used to support therapeutic brain levels of lithium for longer periods of time compared with lithium carbonate.
- Enhances the Bone Health
Apart from the spectacular brain benefits of Lithium, it is equally beneficial to the bone health. The study has discovered that the effects of calcium and phosphorus to bone formation can be enhanced with the help of Lithium supplements.
Many researchers believe that it supports and give strength to the bone. Whereas, it is also necessary for the formation of bone.
Also Read: Osteoporosis: Risk Factors, Elderly Consideration, Treatment and Prevention
- Increases Concentration
In a randomized double blind study crossover study comparing the effects of methylphenidate and lithium in adults with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), it was found that Lithium was more successful to address the common symptoms of ADHD such as short attention span, concentration and focus.
In addition, it also takes care of the secondary symptoms like mood imbalance. So, if you are having such problems then you might want to take this health benefits of Lithium.
- Aid to Tourette Syndrome
Tourette syndrome is simply known as the motor system disorder which includes involuntary movement of the muscles and uncontrollable vocal sounds.
Out of many commonly prescribed drugs, scientist has found that Lithium has better impact on Tourette syndrome. The experimented group showed improvement in both muscle and vocal sounds and there was no side effect reported. The problems were gone within some months and the Lithium group reported no recurrence of the symptoms.
- Gain Immunity
According to the recent research, Lithium might have potential immune bolstering effects. It has the same properties like our immune system and perform the same activity against harmful organism.
Besides, there’s one Lithium mechanism which helps to decrease the level of prostaglandin activity. If you don’t know what it is then Prostaglandins are tiny signalers that resides in every cell of the body. It is required for various metabolic actions. Sometimes, our body produces excessive prostaglandins which results into depressed immune function. In such case, Lithium plays a major role preventing its overproduction and controlling its immune suppressing effects.
- Promotes Longevity
A research study from Japan might make you go and grab the lithium supplements! The research demonstrated the unique and strong correlation between lithium and longevity. The study analyzed the 18 water municipalities consisting the population of over 1.2 million citizens. The population that consume the lithium through their water supply showed less mortality rates from all causes compared to other population. On the other note, scientist also believed that Lithium can act as an antioxidant along with anti-aging and life longevity benefits.
- Control the Obsessive-Compulsive Behaviors
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is simply a sub classification of anxiety disorders. OCD is quite dangerous and has been characterized and classified with their obsessive thoughts and behaviors.
There’s no exact reason or cause for this disorder, however scientist believe that the combination of biological, psychological and the surrounding environmental factors play big role in fueling this disorder.
There might be other possible treatments for this disorder but Lithium tops it all. The scientists believe that the common classic OCD treatment can be done with the help pf lithium supplements. Not only this, several compulsive patients and pathological gamblers have also raise their hands for positive response of lithium supplements. There’s estimation that it balances the modulating dopamine in the brain and helps to recover from disorder.
Aside of many health benefits of Lithium, OCD and Brain Health are the crucial ones. The rate of people suffering from OCD and other brain disorders is skyrocketing, hence its of prime importance to aware everyone about the benefits of lithium.
As the researches and experiments keeps on going, we’ve yet to discover the other potentials and effects of Lithium on our health. I personally think, lithium supplements are must but only under proper doctor’s consultation. Besides you can fulfill your lithium doses through dietary supplement like grains, mustard, kelp, pistachios, dairy, fish and meat.