If you do a basic Google search for this supplement, it will bring up things like:
- Lithium orotate works!
- Lithium orotate is NOT a prescription drug!
- It is NOT toxic like lithium carbonate! (1)
Well, what do you think when something sounds too good to be true?
It probably is.
Over the counter supplements can be extremely dangerous when put in the wrong hands. Diet pills are a good example. So many diet pills are put up and pulled down from the market in any given month, and serious side effects are later reported: heart failure, anxiety, liver or kidney problems. Sure, people abuse over the counter supplements because they think they are safe, but some over the counter supplements can do far worse than a prescription medication.
This article is probably going to piss some people off because I’m fairly anti-over-the-counter-supplement, unless I need something for my cough or flu. Vitamins are always a good idea, but you should still make sure you need them. Sometimes more is too much. This is my side, and many medical professionals, sides of lithium orotate. I’m not saying it’s going to immediately kill you, it may work, but tell your doctor, as with any supplement you may be taking because they can interact with other medications and dietary supplements too. I can’t stress that enough. Also, it isn’t allowed in Canada.
Let’s get started.
What is lithium orotate?
Another way of delivering lithium. Lithium carbonate is generally used in bipolar disorder in doses of 300mg and up. They claim that lithium orotate goes “straight to the brain”(2) but this is untrue because medications have to be processed by the body, mainly liver and kidneys, and the blood-brain barrier has it’s own defence system, which basically means, drugs don’t go directly to the brain. The barrier is needed to keep the brain and central nervous system healthy. It treats medications as an enemy, not allowing them through. (3)
Okay, so lithium orotate is just another method of delivering lithium to the body in hopes of it helping bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, and whatever else.
Lithium orotate is a salt of lithium and orotic acid. There are no systematic reviews of the efficiency of lithium orotate for any condition. In 1979, it was found that lithium orotate was more dangerous to the kidneys than lithium carbonate.(4) Don’t forget about the thyroid! Lithium effects that, too.
Lithium attacks the kidneys. I know this because I have diabetes insipidus. People complain of symptoms such as urinating too much and being constantly thirsty on lithium orotate. I am not saying its causing diabetes insipidus in all the users, but that’s not necessarily good for you. Ok, I’ll stop giving you my opinion and give you some facts.
Lithium Toxicity from Internet Dietary Supplement (5)
The internet has made it easier to get supplements, and easier to overdose on them. An 18 year old woman presented in the emergency room after taking 18 tablets of a lithium orotate based product, each containing 120mg of lithium. She had a low lithium level, was vomitting, and given IV fluids. 90 minutes later, her lithium level was higher, and she was transferred to a psychiatric ward with stable vital signs, but also lithium toxicity.
Lithium orotate is not FDA approved. (6)
There is no research of it being used on humans, but it is available online to anybody.
Lithium orotate releases more lithium into the body than lithium carbonate, bringing us back to kidney issues. Kidney disease, kidney failure, and death. Talk to your doctor. Don’t believe everything you read, take caution, and read the bottle. Unlike a prescription bottle, whose to say if the information is accurate?
“Controversial claims regarding the actual benefits and side effects of lithium orotate are widespread. Much of the debate centers around the last recorded study done on rats in 1979 by Smith and Schou. In the study, equal amounts of all three lithium derivatives were given to the rats. The results indicated that lithium orotate was not eliminated by the rats’ kidneys, unlike the other two brands.” (7)
So what am I trying to say?
Lithium orotate could help you. Or it could not. It could damage your kidneys or kill you. If you need to be on lithium, get it through your doctor or psychiatrist, not off the internet. It’s been used since the 1970′s. You need kidneys and the risk of damage is lowered when a physician is having regular levels drawn and monitoring your treatment.