Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best Lithitate® dose to take?
It is still unknown what the best Lithitate® dosage is to take. There is evidence that a lithium dosage as low as 0.3mg/day or as high as 300mg/day supports long-term cognitive function with aging. Until more research can be performed to better identify the best dosage, a daily Lithitate® dosage of 5-10mg is reasonable to support long-term cognitive function with aging.
For how long should I take Lithitate®?
Lithitate® should be taken for as long as you wish to support long-term cognitive function and brain health with aging.
Will I notice improved cognitive function from taking Lithitate®?
It is not clear if lithium provides noticeable short-term improvements in cognitive function for most people, although one study showed improved cognitive function after only three months of 0.3mg lithium a day in certain people.
Should I let my doctor know that I’m taking Lithitate®?
Yes. You should always let your health care provider know about any over-the-counter medications, vitamins or dietary supplements that you are taking including Lithitate®.
Isn’t lithium a prescription medication used to treat psychiatric conditions?
Yes. A form of lithium called lithium carbonate when used in fairly high dosages of about 300mg/day is FDA-approved for treating a psychiatric condition called bipolar disorder. The dose of 300mg refers only to the weight of the lithium element and not the carbonate salt contained in lithium carbonate. Each capsule of Lithitate® contains 5mg of “elemental lithium”. Therefore taking 1-2 capsules/day of Lithitate® provides 5-10mg of elemental lithium, which is a far lower dosage than the 300mg/day of elemental lithium provided in lithium carbonate for treating bipolar disorder. Lithitate® should never be used to treat bipolar disorder.
Can lithium cause side effects?
When lithium is used in the high dosages required to treat bipolar disorder (about 300mg/day), it can cause side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, a metallic taste in the mouth, hand tremors/shaking, increased thirst, sleepiness, dizziness and incoordination. When lithium is used in a very low dosage of 5-10mg/day, as provided in 1-2 capsules of Lithitate®, it is unlikely to cause any side effects. However, you should always inform your health care provider if you feel like you may be experiencing side effects from any over-the-counter supplement including Lithitate®.
Can lithium interact with any prescription or over-the-counter medications?
When lithium is used in high dosages of 300mg/day for treating bipolar disorder, lithium can interact with several medications including prescription medications like water pills (a.k.a “diuretics”) and some blood pressure medications as well as the over-the-counter, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen. These interactions typically lead to increased lithium levels in the bloodstream, which can then lead to the lithium-induced side effects described above. When lithium is used at the very low dosage of 5-10mg/day such as that contained in 1-2 Lithitate® capsules/day, these above drug-drug interactions are unlikely to lead to any lithium-induced side effects because lithium levels in the bloodstream would still be very low. However, you should always inform your health care provider if you feel like you may be experiencing side effects from any over-the-counter supplement including Lithitate®.
If lithium is a prescription medication, how can it be available as an over-the-counter dietary supplement such as Lithitate®?
Because lithium is a natural earth element found in most of our food and water and because it was available as a dietary supplement prior to 1994, lithium is allowed to be distributed as a dietary supplement under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA).
Is it true that the aspartate salt carrier for lithium used in Lithitate® can act as an “excitatory neurotransmitter” and cause brain damage?
The very small amount of aspartate that is contained in 10mg of Lithitate® will not cause brain damage. How is this known? Because safety is determined by the dose. It is true that aspartate is an excitatory amino acid neurotransmitter in the brain and excessive excitatory neurotransmitter activity can cause brain damage. The question is: how much aspartate is too much? In order to answer this question, researchers injected adult mice with several extremely high doses of aspartate and measured their memory abilities and brain structure. What they found was that a dose of aspartate 462-times the amount contained in 10mg of Lithitate® did cause significant memory impairment and brain damage when injected into adult mice. However, and more importantly, a slightly lower but still extremely high aspartate dose 369-times the amount contained in 10mg of Lithitate® caused no memory impairment or brain damage when injected into adult mice. Because an injected aspartate dose the same as that contained in 738 Lithitate® capsules caused no memory impairment or brain damage in adult mice, a Lithitate® dosage of 1-2 capsules/day in humans will provide a completely safe amount of aspartate not that much higher than the aspartate amino acid we ingest in our protein every day.
Is there any reason to take lithium aspartate instead of lithium orotate?
Yes, there is. Several studies conducted in rat and hamster cancer models have shown high-dose dietary orotate to increase the rates of many types of cancer including liver, pancreas, kidney and lung cancer. For these reasons, the European Food Safety Authority concluded in 2009 that use of orotate in dietary supplements “is of safety concern”. On the other hand, aspartate has never been shown to increase cancer rates in either animals or humans. Aspartate is a natural amino acid found in most of the protein that we eat. After reviewing all available animal and human safety data on aspartate use, the European Food Safety Authority concluded in 2008 that supplemental aspartate intake of 50mg/day “was not of safety concern” but 4,000mg/day or more “could be of safety concern” in terms of potentially causing an amino acid imbalance in the bloodstream. There is about 76mg of aspartate contained in two capsules of Lithitate®. Therefore, based on the extensive safety review performed by the European Food Safety Authority, there are no reasonable safety concerns with aspartate intake from Lithitate®.