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Danger! Lithium Orotate

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.

(1) http://mysite.verizon.net/res003jh/lithium-orotate/
(2) http://www.marsvenus.com/p/lithium-orotate
(3) http://www.health.umn.edu/research/corridors/brain/blood-brain-barrier/index.htm
(4) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/34690
(5) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18072162
(6) http://www.ehow.com/about_5531532_lithium-orotate-information.html
(7) http://www.ehow.com/about_4614151_side-effects-lithium-orotate.html

21 thoughts on “Danger! Lithium Orotate

  1. “If you need to be on lithium, get it through your doctor or psychiatrist, not off the internet.”

    You must live in a nation that cares enough about its citizens to provide them with free or low-cost healthcare. I am uninsured in Texas (which coincidentally has the highest rate of uninsured in the US), and I need lithium for my bipolar. I can’t pay $250 or more for every psychiatrist visit on top of the exorbitant cost of prescription medication. I take 15mg of lithium aspartate daily, and I can function thanks to it. I get it from the local health food store. So maybe it will give me kidney disease later on, but I’d rather die from kidney disease than suicide. Hopefully one day the working poor will no longer be systematically shafted by the government, and I can get the professional care I need. Until then, I have my lithium aspartate, and I am so grateful for it.

    • I am sorry to hear that you can’t afford a doctor. It boils my blood when people say things like that because as a Canadian, our healthcare system may suck at times, but I’ve never gone completely without.
      If it makes you feel any better, lithium aspartate is much safer than lithium orotate.
      Is there any way you can get levels drawn to see if the dosing is correct? To make sure you’re in the therapeutic range?
      Take care.

  2. Good day! I could have sworn I’ve visited this blog before but after looking at some of the articles I realized it’s new to me.
    Anyhow, I’m certainly delighted I discovered it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back frequently!

  3. Thank you for your timely warnings. My husband is now discharged from the Service having served several tours of duty in Iraq. I cannot begin to tell you how many “supplement sellers” there are out there hawking this dangerous stuff to Veterans with PTSD and similar disorders! It is a pure targeted marketing and moneymaking scam that puts already disabled and desperate Vets health at even greater risk. Let’s hope the FDA bans this dangerous substance and shuts down those selling it, the sooner the better!

    • Karen, if you believe this guy without checking out the facts on this substance Good Luck! You shouldn’t write things like the FDA should ban a substance you know nothing about. You are believing every word this guy says. Do your own research. If you think the FDA is on your side, good luck!

  4. An article that badly muddles up lithium carbonate and lithium orotate. The 1979 study that criticized orotate as more dangerous to the kidneys than carbonate…. didn’t adjust for the fact you need to take LOWER doses of lithium with lithium orotate, because it is a more effective delivery system to the brain, whereas lithium carbonate goes throughout the body.

    (The claim lithium orotate goes to “straight to the brain” is clearly false as only a correctly-aimed bullet does. However, I don’t see that statement on the web page you cite. If John Gray says it in the video then he is talking sloppy English.)

    Elsewhere on the internet one person states that they take lithium orotate and get their blood levels taken by their doctor. They have been LESS THAN 0.1 mmol/L blood lithium, when standard blood therapeutic range for lithium carbonate starts at 0.4 mmol/L with the top of the range being 0.8, 1.0, or 1.2 depending on where you are in the world.

    He says he gets benefit from it at the level…. and yet that is way, way less than the level deemed necessary to get a reliable effect with lithium carbonate. It’s those kind of levels that threaten the kidney and thyroid, not than the ones we have difficulty detecting!

    As for you case of lithium orotate toxicity. She took EIGHTEEN tablets. That’s plain misuse.

    And the tablets did NOT contain 120mg of lithium. That’s a metal. They contained 120mg lithium orotate, and would be providing 4.596mg per tablet. Plus they contained they would have contained fillers that may have been the cause of some of her problem not the lithium orotate at all.

    Yes, she had a negative reaction….. if you over-dose sufficiently on water it will damage your kidneys and kill you. What should be do? Ban WATER?

    Arguing from an over-dose is ALWAYS a bad argument for whether something is safe.

    Eighteen tablets of lithium carbonate are likely to do you far more damage whether at the 300mg standard US size or the 400mg standard UK size. Even half that amount is likely to do that. In some circumstances a quarter will.

    There are questions about effective lithium orotate really is, particularly as a replacement for lithium carbonate. There are issues about things bought over the internet (AND that very much includes prescription drugs.)

    But be careful not to play into the hands of the pharmaceutical companies. They don’t want a cheap over-the-counter to work. They want to keep selling depakote, the anti-depressants and the anti-psychotics. That make them real money, and they will defend those medicines with the real money, but because of the profit margins there is next to no-one to back the over-the-counter preparations because the money to get FDA approval or otherwise back them simply isn’t there.

    But as someone who got myself out of manic psychosis with a vitamin supplement, while the medics wanted me to take an anti-psychotic that the UK government subsequently banned because of it’s ill effect on the heart (i.e. it killed people)….. I say look at the evidence properly, please.

    I highly recommend “The New Optimum Bible” by Patrick Holford, which told me everything I need to know to achieve that feat.

  5. Thanks a lot for your thoughts on Lithium Orotate. I have ordered a bottle from the US since it is not approved here in Sweden. I suspect that my episodes of depression and mania might be bipolar, but my psychiatrist don’t. My diagnoses are GAD, PD and ADHD (mixed type). I have planned to try lithium orotate as a “safe” alternative to prescription lithium, but I am going to talk to my doc first. I cannot thank you enough for bringing the dangers of LO to my attention. For sure, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. I should have understood that myself 🙂

    • Thanks. Do also understand the risks of buying supplements online. Listen to your psychiatrist, or try and get a 2nd opinion.
      Prescription lithium contains the same active ingredient: lithium! 🙂
      Check this link out on buying supplements online.

  6. I was curious if you ever thought of changing the page layout of your website?
    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
    But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better.
    Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or 2 images.
    Maybe you could space it out better?

  7. i read that lithium orotate .. is safer then lithium carbonate.. and doesnt have as many dangers and side effects.. i am on carbonate.. and im swollen. . only 125 mg. but i am always swollen .. feet hands ..eyes.. legs. so i am trying orotate as of tonite. wish me luck… i am coming of an anti d. ..and taking 5htp .. so god knows what road i am in store for.. but i am sick of weight gain .. on anti d..and im tired of waking up like a truck went over me . so ive dropped them ..and il go on from here .. i wont go back.. ill suffer it out first. long and hard.. … the weight gain .has me depressed..

    • You shouldn’t do this unsupervised. If you won’t see a doctor, why not a natural practicioner like a naturopath? They at least know of these substances.
      Lithium orotate and lithium carbonate contain the same base ingredient: lithium.
      Lithium itself causes weight gain, in any formation. Swelling can be because of kidney damage or other factors. Get yourself checked out, a physical. I can’t diagnose, obviously, but you need someone watching over what you take, prescription or not.

  8. The rat’s kidneys were destroyed by the Lithium Orotate BECAUSE the same amount was used as with lithium carbonate. Lithium Orotate is a much more bio-available form of elemental Lithium necessitating a much lower dose. I myself have been using Lithium Orotate on a daily basis for 2 years to control my bipolar II symptoms with great success, along with NAC and fish oil. I’ve had absolutely no side effects from these “over the counter” medications, though I have spent many years on prescription meds that either did not put a dent into my symptoms, or if at all effective, left me feeling just as shitty but in a whole new way (and after reading your blog, I’m guessing you know exactly what I’m talking about…) I credit Lithium Orotate, as well as the other supplements, with saving my life and I mean that quite literally. I know I would be dead right now, from either my own hand or by one of my many fun manic accidents (car accident, breaking into my neighbor’s house cause I thought it was mine, locking myself out of my house while naked… oh, does the fun ever start?!) Thousands of people over many years have tried and continue to use Lithium Orotate without any ill effect. Just because Big Pharma hasnt put their stamp of approval on it (and therefore reap no profit) doesnt mean it is worthless or worse, dangerous. I’m saying all this because I do not feel its right for you to dissuade people from trying every avenue available to them to feel better. Thank you.

    • Readers can judge for themselves, of course. There are always different sides.
      However, with lithium, buying online can be dangerous and going without regular level checks is dangerous too. This is a serious condition that is being treated and should not be taken lightly.
      Lithium is often used alone (monotherapy) because it is very effective, just as a side note.
      Thank you for the link.

  9. Lithium is also testable with a blood test, mine was .01 , it is also used by the body to get b12 and folate into the cells super important! Everything in moderation … but safe when needed

    • Lithium is generally tested in a blood test and looked for while taking the med, but I didn’t know it was in the system naturally. Interesting! The human body is amazing how everything works together.
      Anything can be dangerous with too much in the system. If a kid eats an entire thing of Flintstones vitamins (or even an adult) it can be harmful! Even too much vitamin D can cause mania. (I live in Canada, and I’m a computer geek, guess what I’m low on)
      Thank you for that comment.

  10. Ha, this is hilarious, you need to read up more on Lithium Orotate man. It doesn’t accumulate in the system like carbonate, to the point that there are never any traces of lithium element in hair strand tests or in blood levels, to the point where on the outside, one doesn’t seem to be getting it at all. And that girl who got admitted to the hospital after taking 18? If you read the original report, she had tremors for a bit then after an hour she was fine. Hardly a scare. So calm down, Orotates theraputic range is insanely low compared to carbonate, despite it having better bioavailability, no one is dying, people are either seeing no effects or positive ones. Are you working for a pharmaceutical company or something?

    • You do realize that lithium orotate is lithium too? Just a different formation? Lithium carbonate is a different chemical formula than lithium orotate. Both of them build up in your body to create a lithium level that has to be measured through blood tests. The therapeutic range is still the same because it doesn’t matter if its carbonate or orotate: they measurement in the blood test is only for lithium. Carbonate or orotate is how its administered and absorbed into the body.

      I don’t work for a pharmaceutical company. Why would that matter?
      Lithium carbonate is available by prescription in most countries, lithium orotate is a “supplement”, as it is in mineral form, rather than a salt, like carbonate. However, lithium carbonate is FDA approved and prescribed by doctors, where lithium orotate is not, people are self prescribing, not having levels checked, not telling doctors, and there are dangerous interactions with other medications, OTC or prescription – which is a problem. It’s irresponsible. Nothing is side effect free, and the studies done on lithium orotate are few and far in between.

      I do agree that lithium carbonate has side effects. I can’t take it, I had a rare reaction called diabetes insipidus. I’ve written about it all over this blog. So don’t tell me I’m pushing lithium carbonate. It worked great for my moods, but wrecked my body, even with regular blood tests (every 3 months) and normal, average levels (never higher than 0.8).

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