Last updated: March 15, 2017
“I don’t believe in God, but I believe in lithium.” According to New York Times writer Jaime Lowe, lithium was one of the keys for unlocking her 20-year struggle with bipolar disorder . She isn’t alone and lithium as a mood stabilizer isn’t new. Lithium has been used since Greek and Roman times to produce a wide range of effects.
While the effects of lithium for those with bipolar disorder seem well-known, healthy adults can see plenty of benefits. Studies suggest supplemental lithium can increase grey matter in the brain . Other evidence suggests lithium can be neuroprotective by virtue of removing harmful toxins from the brain .
There seems to be no true consensus among neuroscientists about how lithium impacts the brain directly, but all evidence points towards benefits of supplementing with this element.
Also Known As
Editors’ Thoughts on Lithium Orotate
I’m surprised it has taken me so long to learn of lithium’s purported benefit for the brain. While the bipolar benefits are interesting, there seems to be little evidence that healthy adults can see solid benefits.
Some of the people on Reddit and Longecity claim benefits from using lithium orotate so the anecdotal data seems to be in favor. Even though I’m neutral on lithium, I take it probably 2 – 4 times per week in the form of Qualia (which has it in Step 2). I probably wouldn’t buy lithium orotate by itself, though.
Mansal Denton, Nootropedia Editor
Benefits of Lithium Orotate
The potential benefits of lithium orotate for bipolar disorder seems well founded. According to James Kocsis (a psychiatry professor at Weill Cornell Medical College), it stabilizes membranes and has “…so-called trophic or fertilizing activity on the brain.” 
For healthy adults, the lithium orotate benefits seem to include neuroprotective effects with multiple mechanisms. One neuroprotective mechanism is by inhibiting neuronal damaging proteins, which was recently published in a 2015 study in the Annals of Clinical Psychiatry .
The other neuroprotective effect comes from removing toxic chemicals and harmful metals from the brain . Both of these result in changes to healthy adult brains and theoretically are the cause of grey matter changes.
Finally, there are multiple forms of lithium one can consume for cognitive and physical enhancement. Lithium orotate is the most well-absorbed and viable option compared with lithium carbonate and lithium chloride .
Side Effects of Lithium Orotate
Most people, whether bipolar or healthy, do not see many side effects of lithium orotate. Some include confusion, constipation, diarrhea, and headaches. The dosage of lithium orotate is very low (only a few milligrams), which means toxicity and overdose can occur in those who aren’t careful with dosing.
Also, in some rare cases, lithium may increase the risk of developing Ebstein’s cardiac anomaly in infants born to women who take are supplementing with lithium during the first trimester of pregnancy . Anyone in the first trimester of pregnancy can play it safe and avoid lithium during this period, though this seems to be rare.
Finally, some evidence suggests long-term lithium use (10 – 30 years) can create negative kidney effects over time .
Lithium Orotate Dosage
The lithium orotate dosage for those with mania and bipolar disorder is in the range of 900 – 1800 mg per day. This is on the higher end of the dose spectrum. Other products, such as the 3 mg within the Qualia product, are a fraction of these larger doses and are probably safer for long-term health.
How and Where to Buy Lithium Orotate
Lithium can be found in many health food and supplement stores, though lithium orotate may be harder to find. This specific type of lithium is most effective so it behooves users to search online for the compound.
There are many ways to buy lithium orotate online, but we recommend Amazon with specific reliable suppliers. Our recommendation is linked here. However, as indicated above, Qualia seems to fulfill the lithium orotate need.
Selected Community Experiences
“For years I've suffered from short depressive/anhedonic episodes that seem to come at random. The thing that's been most helpful to me so far is tianeptine. With an acute dose of 20mg, I can effectively stop most depressive episodes. I do, however, suffer from occasional anxiety. My anxiety varies in intensity a lot, with days where I feel very un-anxious and zen, and others where I'm borderline paranoid and antisocial.”  – BitcoinOperatedGirl
“This only applies to lithium carbonate, the commonly prescribed form. The orotate doesn't have this danger as it's active at just 5mg of elemental lithium. Google for the difference as it's really important. Many patients go off of their Li carbonate in favor of a small dose of freely-purchasable-online Li orotate which they say works better.”  – m00k0w
- References (Click to Expand)