Lithium is a nutritionally
essential trace element with the atomic number of 3. It has the potential to decrease mortality and
provide anti-aging capabilities and has therapeutic properties with
bi-polar and manic-depressive disorders. Lithium also has an effect
sodium balance in the body.
In addition to
treating patients with
depression, lithium has been used with some success for
Ménière's disease, Huntington's chorea and
alcoholism. It may also be beneficial for brain injury, spinal
cord injury, stroke,
Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis but trials
are still underway.
Lithium deficiency can cause bloating, gastrointestinal disorders, heartburn, low stomach acid (lower part of stomach) and bipolar/manic depressive disorders. Patients with bipolar disorder usually have low lithium levels and very high sodium levels as lithium provides a balancing effect and can displace sodium in the body. The intake of higher amounts of lithium has a tendency to raise calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and potassium levels through its effect on kidney function and it has tendency to raise manganese through its effect on liver function (which depresses thyroid activity).
Bismuth and lithium frequently test low in patients who suffer
from low stomach acid levels corresponding to upper (bismuth) and
lower (lithium) parts of the stomach and they are always low in
those with an active infection of the Helicobacter Pylori bacterium, which is responsible for some
gastric ulcers and a number of other medical conditions. Bismuth,
through its antimicrobial action, is more appropriate for peptic
involvement to inhibit H. Pylori activity, where it supports an
increase in upper stomach acid levels, while lithium is more
indicated for lower gastric duodenal involvement, where it supports
an increase in lower stomach acid levels.
Supplements are not advised though as excessive lithium can cause hypothyroidism,
mental confusion, staggering gait,
diarrhoea, weight gain, goitre, tremors, liver disease,
kidney disease, frequent urination, lethargy,
oedema, slurring speech, brain damage and death.
Lithium overdose symptoms
Goitre (swelling of the thyroid gland)
Nausea and vomiting
Magnesium can be used to treat lithium overdose.
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