(NaturalNews) Many people automatically associate the word "lithium" with a drug given to sufferers of severe mental disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but lithium is actually a kind of salt that occurs naturally in the body.
People with bipolar and some other mental disorders have a lithium deficiency, which has traditionally been treated by psychiatrists with a variant of lithium called lithium carbonate.
The problem with lithium carbonate, however, is that it must be taken at toxic levels in order to achieve the desired effects in the brain. This results in a stabilized brain, but at the price of the side effects of too much salt in the body. These can include a slowed metabolism, thyroid damage, dry mouth, digestion problems, and trouble sleeping.
But some experts, most famously Dr. John Gray, say there's a safe alternative, and it can be used to treat more than just severe mental disorders. They say it can relieve everything from bipolar disorder and attention deficit disorder to everyday stress.
This substance is called lithium orotate, which is a combination of lithium and orotic acid. Orotic acid is something that's also contained in high concentrations in human breast milk, because it helps the brain absorb essential minerals.
Thanks to orotic acid, Dr. Gray and others claim, we can get all the lithium our brains need by taking lithium orotate in very small doses.
Despite these claims, however, very little research has been done on lithium orotate.
Perhaps the most known study was done all the way back in 1986, when researchers tested the long-term effects of lithium orotate on recovering alcoholics. The results were that not one of the 42 patients studied had a relapse for six months following the treatment, and ten of the patients had no relapse for over three and up to ten years.
Some of the patients did develop minor side effects, but these disappeared when the dosage of lithium orotate (which started out much higher than Dr. Gray currently recommends, at 150 mg. per day) was reduced. The researchers concluded that lithium orotate is effective for the treatment of alcoholism.
Why hasn't more lithium orotate research been done since?
Dr. Gray's hypothesis is that research has not been done because pharmaceutical companies wouldn't make much money from it. Lithium orotate is not a prescription drug, but a natural supplement that anyone can buy cheaply over the counter.
Pharmaceutical companies are making a pretty penny getting doctors to prescribe toxic doses of lithium carbonate to desperate mentally ill patients, so why tell them there's actually a cheaper, safer alternative?
Whether or not you believe that theory, lithium orotate is indeed a cheap supplement that's widely available. It is indeed a substance that occurs naturally in the body, and there is no evidence that it produces any side effects when taken in small doses.
If you find yourself struggling to deal with stress, it could be worth giving this supplement a try. Dr. Gray says he's been taking it himself for over ten years - not on a regular basis, but just popping a pill whenever he feels stress coming on.
Several of Dr. Gray's followers also claim to have taken the supplement or given it to their loved ones and found it immensely effective in treating ailments such as bipolar disorder, ADHD, depression, and stress. One YouTube commenter claims that his fiance "has been free of depression and bipolar for almost a week" since starting to take the supplement.
Of course, anecdotal evidence can't be counted as official, and the lack of scientific research on lithium orotate leaves us with little conclusive evidence on either side of the fence.
But we do at least have enough information to make a compelling case that this simple, naturally occurring salt substance deserves more attention and consideration from the medical community.
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