Your doctor might surprise you the first time he suggests you take lithium supplements for addiction. Your reaction is completely normal, given lithium’s reputation as a drug that is used to treat bipolar disorder and is associated with a number of side effects.
However, not all lithium is the same. Low-dose lithium supplementation has been shown to be safer than standard lithium medication, causing fewer side effects and showing extremely positive results in clinical trials. Studies have shown that patients feel less depressed and anxious, and their alcohol cessation success rates are considerably higher.
Lithium supplements are underused in psychiatry, mainly because they have been understudied. But promising results in clinical trials are slowly changing the picture. Lithium orotate supplementation has shown a very positive outcome for alcohol cessation. Before talking more about it, let’s first answer some commonly asked questions about lithium supplements.
You need a prescription from your doctor to get lithium medications. They are commonly prescribed for bipolar disorder. In contrast, supplements are readily available over the counter. They enrich your diet without posing any substantial health risks.
There are two key differences between lithium supplements and medications: the dose and the salt. Patients with bipolar disorder usually take lithium carbonate or lithium citrate. It is common to take 900 - 1200 mg of these medications daily. The side effects are serious and require constant medical monitoring.
There are three types of over-the-counter lithium supplements - ionic lithium, plant-based lithium, and lithium orotate. The last one is a salt with orotic acid which occurs naturally in the human body. Lithium orotate is effective in lower doses than lithium carbonate. In fact, taking just 5 mg of a supplement daily is beneficial to your mental state without exposing your body to any toxicity. Supplements contain similar amounts of lithium to what you consume daily in food and water. In this case less really is more.
How does lithium work?
The short answer is - Complex. Lithium influences the sodium transport across the nerve cell membrane, alters the metabolism of important neurotransmitters like Serotonin, Dopamine, and Norepinephrine, may alter the intracellular signalling in the nerve cell through second messenger systems, possibly affects gene expression associated with neurotransmission, may increase neuro protective proteins and activate nerve growth factors.
How long until it Works?
Commonly 1-3 weeks.
Lithium orotate and alcohol abuse
Lithium orotate crosses more readily cell membranes and shows increased residency-time and build up in the nerve cells compared to other Lithium compounds. This leads to higher effectiveness with smaller intake. Studies indicate that more than half of the people taking small amounts of Supplement Lithium Orotate daily over a period of six months stopped drinking alcohol completely and remained alcohol free in the next 1-10 years.
What are some other benefits from taking lithium supplementation?
Lithium supplementation helps with depression and suicidality. Studies have shown that higher levels of lithium in groundwater in some areas correlate with lower rates of suicide. Results consistently show that lithium protects against future episodes of depression. It also helps with anxiety, panic attacks, cognitive decline and brain fog.
How much lithium orotate should you take?
It is recommended to start taking 5mg of the supplement daily. The dose may be increased slowly to no more than 20mg per day. The topic is yet to be studied more extensively.
What are the side effects?
There have been no reported cases of death or serious side-effects in over 40 years of use in North America.
Should you monitor your lithium blood level?
The supplements contain low-dose lithium. There is no need for blood monitoring if you take the recommended dose.
The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or prescribe medication. It does not replace the integral role of your physician. Before starting any medical treatments, consult your healthcare provider. For further and more in-depth information on the topic, please read the sources.
Optimal amount of Lithium Orotate is incorporated into the UnAddicta Craving Support Formulation, which in synergy help the other ingredients to achieve safe and gradual effect.
Stahl’s Essential Psychopharmacology. Prescriber’s Guide. Seventh Edition. 2021
“Lithium in the prophylaxis of unipolar depression: a review” Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine (1983)
“Treatment-resistant anxiety Lithium and suicide in mood disorders: Updated meta‐review of the scientific literature” Bipolar Disorders: An International Journal of Psychiatry and Neurosciences (2017)
“Lithium in the episode and suicide prophylaxis and in augmenting strategies in patients with unipolar depression” International Journal of Bipolar Disorders (2017)
“Is there a role for lithium orotate in psychiatry?” Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry (2018)
“Low-dose lithium uptake promotes longevity in humans and metazoans.” European Journal of Nutrition (2011)
“Lithium orotate in the treatment of alcoholism and related conditions.” Alcohol (1986)
In Synergy our Neuro-Supplements may act on Receptors and Reward System Pathways in the Brain. They may influence the mechanisms of addiction, may reduce the symptoms of abstinence, and make the addictive behavior less pleasurable and gradually unwanted.
Used as standalone support, or in addition to your traditional Medical Treatment they may lower the required dosage and decrease the unwanted side effects.
Use UnAddicta in cases where you would like to stop completely, achieve gradual results, or reduce your addictive behavior.