- What is lithium? Lithium is a mineral used in large doses (hundreds of milligrams) as prescription medicine to treat bipolar disease but at much lower doses (fractions of a milligram to a few milligrams) as a dietary supplement. The form in supplements is typically lithium orotate or lithium aspartate, while prescription medicine is lithium carbonate or lithium citrate (see What It Is). Although all forms will provide lithium, read labels carefully to understand how much lithium is being promised because lithium is only a small portion of lithium-containing compounds, e.g., only about 4% of lithium orotate is elemental lithium (see Forms of Lithium). Use the Results table to easily compare amounts of lithium in tested supplements.
- What do lithium supplements do? There is no conclusive evidence that supplemental lithium helps. However, some observational studies and small clinical studies suggest that low-dose lithium may improve mood, reduce the risk of suicide and reduce the risk and/or progression of dementia (see What It Does).
- How much lithium should I take? Suggested daily doses of supplemental lithium range from about 0.3 mg to 5 mg — similar to, or slightly above, the amounts of lithium obtained per day from what we normally eat and drink (see Dosage).
- Best choice for lithium supplements? Many products passed our tests for quality, in which products were tested for their amounts of lithium and potential contaminants (lead, cadmium, and arsenic) (see What CL Found). Three supplements were selected as Top Picks. Be aware that many supplements on the market provide more lithium than you want, but it is possible to use partial dosing (see Dosage).
- Safety and side effects of lithium: Too much lithium can cause toxicity and affect thyroid function (see Concerns and Cautions).