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LITHIUM

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 on the potassium and 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

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.

Lithium overdose

Supplements are not advised though as excessive lithium can cause hypothyroidism, mental confusion, staggering gait, memory problems, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, weight gain, goitre, tremors, liver disease, kidney disease, frequent urination, lethargy, oedema, slurring speech, brain damage and death.

Lithium overdose symptoms

  • Colitis

  • Diarrhoea

  • Encephalopathy

  • Frequent urination

  • Goitre (swelling of the thyroid gland)

  • Hallucinations

  • Hearing disturbances

  • Hypo-adrenalism

  • Hypothyroidism

  • Lethargy

  • Memory problems

  • Mental confusion

  • Muscle twitching

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Oedema

  • Slurred speech

  • Staggering gait

  • Tremors

  • Visual disturbances

  • Weight gain

Magnesium can be used to treat lithium overdose.

 

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Highest sources of lithium in micrograms per kilogram

  • Milk 7533 µg

  • Eggs 7373 µg

  • Tomatoes 6707 µg

  • Mushrooms 5788 µg

  • Cucumbers 5017 µg

  • Pork 3844 µg

  • Black tea 3737 µg

  • Red cabbage 3579 µg

  • Cauliflower 3462 µg

  • Beef 3428 µg

  • Swede 2966 µg

  • Paprika 2316 µg

  • Poultry 2379 µg

  • Marjoram 2289 µg

  • Soft cheese 2276 µg

  • Asparagus 2217 µg

  • White cabbage 1874 µg

  • Herring 1734 µg

  • Cocoa 1728 µg

  • Potatoes 1592 µg

  • Apples 1449 µg

  • Rice 1260 µg

  • Butter 1070 µg

  • Cinnamon 1046 µg

  • Barley 995 µg

  • Wheat flour 905 µg

  • Lentils 748 µg

  • Semolina 538 µg

  • Honey 527 µg

  • Bananas 383 µg

  • Red wine 329 µg

  • White wine 305 µg

NOTE:  One µg is one microgram.

Natural sources of lithium in alphabetical order

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