8m read|NOVOS

What’s the best low-dose (microdosed) lithium supplement? Is it safe?

Natural origin of lithium

Lithium is a mineral present in igneous rocks.

From these rocks, lithium seeps into water springs and rivers, and into drinking water and foods, such as potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage, nuts, fish and cereals.

People consume lithium on a daily basis via mineral water and healthy, natural foods. 

Amount of lithium in NOVOS compared to amount of lithium in drugs

NOVOS Core is a novel supplement aimed at slowing down aging. It consist of 12 of some of the most science-based ingredients to impact aging and act on longevity pathways.

One NOVOS Core ingredients is lithium.

The amount of lithium in NOVOS Core is 1 mg (1000 ug) of pure lithium per day in the form of lithium aspartate (20 mg of lithium aspartate). This is a very low amount of lithium compared to drugs.  

Lithium as a drug is given in much higher amounts, e.g. 1200 milligram per day, amounting to around 120 mg of pure lithium per day. 

This means that the amount of pure lithium in NOVOS is approximately 120 times lower than lithium provided as a drug.

Form of lithium in NOVOS compared to form of lithium in drugs

The form of lithium in NOVOS is lithium aspartate, while lithium in drugs is in the form of lithium carbonate or lithium citrate. There is no drug available worldwide that contains lithium aspartate.

Aspartate is an amino acid with a very low-side effect profile. Also, the daily amount of aspartate via a NOVOS supplement (19 mg of aspartate per day) is negligible for human metabolism. For example, 85 grams or 3 ounces of chicken breast contains 2,563 mg of aspartate.

Side-effect profile of a very low dose of lithium

The very low amount of lithium, as present in NOVOS Core, is also called “microdosed” lithium. 

Microdosed lithium refers to daily doses of lithium ranging from a few hundred micrograms to a few milligrams of pure lithium per day (e.g. between 300 ug to 5 mg of pure lithium per day).

The side-effect profile of microdosed lithium is very low. Microdosed lithium is deemed very safe.

To our knowledge, there have been no serious side effects reported with microdosed lithium.

Some people mention that lithium could damage the kidneys. However, this can be the case for much higher amounts of lithium, such as the amount given as a drug, e.g., 1000 to 2000 mg of lithium carbonate per day, and this is often after long term high dose administration (years).  

Studies show that low dose lithium can actually protect kidney cells (R).

The amount of lithium in NOVOS is comparable to the daily intake of lithium in various regions in the world

The amount of lithium in NOVOS is in the same range as the daily intake of lithium via foods and water in various regions in the world.

For example, the average daily lithium intake in Xi’an in China is 1500 uq day (1.5 times the amount of lithium found in NOVOS), 1090 ug in Stockholm (Sweden) (100% of the amount of lithium present in NOVOS), and 821 ug per day in Galveston, Texas (R) (80% of the amount of lithium present in NOVOS).

There are various regions in the world with relatively high amounts of lithium in the drinking water. For example, lithium levels in some Texas counties can contain up to 219 ug of lithium per liter (R). Given an adult ideally needs to consume two liters of water per day, this amounts to 438 ug of lithium per day via drinking water, about half of the amount of lithium in NOVOS. 

San Pellegrino mineral water contains 200 ug of lithium per liter. At 2 liters per day of water intake, this is 50% of the dose of lithium in NOVOS from commercial commonly available mineral water.

Some spring waters in Poland contain between 2.1 and 14.9 mg of lithium per liter (R,R). This is 2 to 15 times the daily amount of lithium in NOVOS.  

In some lithium-rich regions in northern Chile the drinking water can contain between 1500 and 5000 ug per liter of lithium, without adverse effects on health (R,R). Given an adult has to consume two liters of water per day, this amounts to 3 to 10 times the amount of lithium as found in NOVOS. In such regions, daily lithium intake can reach 10 mg (10 000 ug /day), or ten times the amount of lithium in NOVOS, also without evidence of adverse effects in the local population (R). 

Despite the presence of high levels of lithium in the drinking water or foods in specific regions, in most regions in the world lithium intake is very low (R). 

However, one often-cited study claims that the average lithium intake in the US ranges between 0.65 and 3.1 mg per day (R). However, this estimate is likely an overestimation. A more recent and more comprehensive estimate is 0.5 mg per day (R,R), and even at less than 0.2 mg per day (R). 

Most Europeans take in too little lithium (R). For example, the mean lithium intake for the French population is estimated at 48.2 ug per day (R). The daily food intake of lithium of Polish students is only 10.7 ug of lithium (R). For adults in Belgium, the estimated daily intake is only 8.6 ug of lithium (R). 

While in some regions the amount of lithium in drinking water can be very high, the mean concentration of lithium in European bottled waters is estimated at 0.94 ug/L. The mean lithium content in Scandinavia accounted for 0.54 and 0.64 ug/liter (R). 

According to some researchers, the daily requirement for lithium is at least 1000 ug/day:

“As proposed by Schrauzer (2002), the daily requirement for Li is 1000 μg/day for a 70-kg adult (14.3 μg/kg body weight). According to other authors, this is a cautious estimate, not reflecting individual differences that may require even higher consumption to maintain optimal health.” (R)

Given the various health benefits and safety of microdosed lithium, some researchers recommend fortifying foods or water with lithium (R,R).

Association of longer lifespans and health effects in areas with high amounts of lithium in the drinking water

Studies show that people living in areas with high amounts of lithium in their drinking water live longer on average (R,R,R). 

Although these studies don’t prove causation, they do point to a correlation between the amount of lithium in drinking water and longer lifespans. 

Experiments in animals do point to causative effects, given lithium can extend lifespan in multiple species (R,R,R,R,R), and can slow cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s in mice and have neuroprotective effects (R,R).

Higher amounts of lithium in the drinking water have been associated with less suicide risk (R,R,R,R,R) and less neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease in humans (R).

Lifespan extension by lithium in non-human organisms

Studies show that lithium extends lifespan in different species (R,R,R,R,R).

Health effects of lithium in humans

Studies in humans found that people who take lithium have longer lifespans (R,R) and less brain aging (R,R,R).

Clinical trials found that micro-dosed lithium could improve brain aging in humans (R).

Health effects of lithium

Lithium impacts various mechanisms involved in aging and longevity. Lithium can contribute to a healthy epigenome (R,R,R), which can increase the production of healthy levels of neuroprotective proteins, such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) (R,R,R,R). 

Lithium can also target inflammaging at the cellular level (R,R,R), help the body to deal with senescent cells (R), reduce oxidative stress and support autophagy (R), helping the cells to recycle proteins.

Conclusion

A large amount of scientific evidence and studies, both in animal models and in humans, demonstrate that lithium, and especially low-dose or microdosed lithium, can exert various positive health effects and can even slow down aging and extend lifespan. 

Furthermore, many studies in animals and in humans show causative benefits and demonstrate the efficiency of microdosed lithium in terms of neuroprotective and lifespan effects. 

This is very interesting, given microdosed lithium, which pertains to doses at least 100 times lower than used in a pharmaceutical setting, has a very good safety profile. 

The good safety profile of microdosed lithium should not be surprising given this amount is similar to the daily intake of lithium in various regions in the world, or is in the same range as when consumed via drinking water in specific regions with-lithium rich water. 

Furthermore, association studies found that people living in regions with a high intake of lithium (e.g. via drinking water) live longer, have less neurodegenerative diseases and less suicide risk, while human clinical trials show that micordosed lithium can have neuroprotective effects, and animal studies demonstrating similar effects, plus additional longevity effects. 

This makes microdosed lithium a scientifically-backed, natural and safe supplement to promote health and longevity in humans. 

You can learn more about the longevity effects of lithium here.



 

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