One of the minerals that we need, lithium is essential to address many health conditions especially those related to our cognitive functions. Among the conditions wherein lithium is very important to manage is bipolar disorder. Due to its importance, it just follows that having sufficient supply of this alkali metal is crucial to the healthy functioning of our body. For this sole reason, many medical professionals recommend to their patients the regular intake of lithium supplements as this is beneficial to us.
Commonly prescribed at five to 20-milligram dosage before bedtime, lithium supplement is becoming popular nowadays due to its health benefits. This is usually offered to patients in a dietary supplement as a sort of alternative medicine mainly to address abnormal activities detected in the patient’s brain. To have a closer look at this, it is best to dig in deep to the different aspects of lithium supplements including the risks associated with their use as well as their side effects. Also covered are the benefits of lithium supplements.
A Quick Look at Lithium
The mineral was discovered in 1817 by Johan August Arfvedson, a chemist from Sweden. Years after the substance’s discovery, researchers found the mineral to have great potential in medicine. Its entry in medicine has been known after a study by Alfred Baring Garrod, a physician from London was published in the journal The Nature and Treatment of Gout and Rheumatic Gout in 1859. At this time the research was focused on its effectiveness in treating people who were suffering from gout. Several studies followed until the 1890s that have assessed how lithium treatment is crucial to a lot of diseases.
A century after and the lithium was released in a pharmaceutical form. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has given its approval to the drug after it was proven to be a useful and helpful treatment in the field of psychiatry. Its approval to be used in medicine has spread from the U.S. to other countries including Italy, Germany, Great Britain, and France.
Benefits of Lithium Supplements
The popularity of lithium drug has caused psychiatrists and other medical experts to recommend the daily intake of lithium supplements to those who are in great need of this mineral. Those who are not into pharmaceutical treatment or those who want to explore alternative medicine are also getting in the bandwagon and are exploring the benefits of lithium supplements. To learn more about this aspect, let’s discuss the different benefits of lithium supplements, especially in the area of psychiatry and brain science.
Among the health conditions that the effectiveness of lithium supplements can be experienced are alcoholism, glaucoma, and insomnia. In addition to these, the supplements are also beneficial to treat anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, cluster headaches, and Parkinson’s disease. Above all, the benefits of lithium supplements are really popular to patients who are diagnosed with depression, bipolar disorder as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
To add up to the long list of the benefits of lithium supplements, recent clinical studies found the supplements to be helpful in treating or helping patients survive suicidal tendencies and even mania. As compared to antidepressants, many researchers also found that lithium is more helpful as it stabilizes mood and does not trigger symptoms such as anger, restlessness, agitation as well as irritability. Moreover, its effectiveness is not limited to adult patients as even young patients can be given with these supplements, although its use is most popular in pediatric patients with ADHD and bipolar disorder.
Side Effects or Risks Associated with the Use of Lithium Supplements
Like other supplements and drugs in the market, lithium supplements also have side effects that patients should always watch for. A study featured in the 2007 issue of the Journal of Medical Toxicology found some toxic effects that those who intake the supplements can experience. Among the side effects or symptoms of toxicity cited in the study are tremors and nausea.
Aside from the above mentioned side effects, lithium supplements are also said to cause damages to our kidney if its use is not well monitored. Other adverse effects that have been reported by patients are ataxia, dementia and other long term brain problems. Cardiac arrhythmias, coma, dehydration, and syncope are among the serious and life-threatening side effects of the supplements.
Safe use of the supplements is highly recommended by medical experts to save patients from these side effects. In addition to following the dosage prescribed by physicians to patients, experts are also reminding those who will take the supplements not to use them along with anticonvulsants, loop diuretics, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, meperidine, antidepressants, methyldopa, and calcium channel blockers to avoid adverse drug interactions.
What Could Be the Future of Lithium Supplements?
Due to the extensive benefits of lithium supplements, lithium’s alternative medicine use growing as the day passes by. Many medical experts have started to work on improving the recognition of lithium as an important ingredient or content in nutritional supplements as its neuroprotective benefits are proven to be really helpful. Low dose lithium is also deemed to be cost effective and reliable as this type of supplement is effective in boosting neurotrophic factors release which is highly needed to alleviate the different symptoms of psychiatric disorders.
My Personal View on the Benefits of Lithium Supplements
We cannot deny the benefits of lithium supplements to both adult and pediatric patients. These have been proven by clinical studies and through the personal testimonies of those who have tried them. From anxiety to serious psychiatric disorders like bipolar disorder, suicidal tendencies, and post-traumatic stress disorder, lithium supplements have been proven to be helpful.
However, just a reminder to all of those who are interested in adding the supplements to their daily routine, it is still best to consult with medical experts before trying these supplements as there are side effects that patients can experience once they have tried them. Also just to be on the safe side, it is really essential to always be observant of the symptoms to save yourself from any life-threatening adverse effects.