- Lithium is a mineral found in rocks & water throughout nature.
- Lithium extends lifespan in various organisms.
- Multiple studies found correlations between higher amounts of lithium in drinking water and longer lifespans.
- Epigenetic effects: lithium can activate genes that play a role in health while deactivating unhealthy genes.
- Lithium reduces the damaging accumulation of proteins in our cells. Protein accumulation plays an important role in aging.
- Lithium improves mitochondrial functioning. Mitochondria are the powerplants of our cells. The older we get, the less well they function.
- Lithium has been known to play a role in protecting brain cells and improving healthy aging of the brain.
- Low-dose lithium has various beneficial effects on health and aging. A low dose of lithium, as used in NOVOS, is hundreds of times smaller than pharmaceutical dosages.
LITHIUM IMPACTS AGING VIA
The Role of Lithium in Aging and Longevity
Lithium is a mineral that can be found in many places in nature. In fact, it is present in small amounts in almost every igneous rock. From these rocks lithium has seeped into water springs and rivers, and into our drinking water throughout human evolution to today.
Lithium is Associated with Longevity
Interestingly, scientific studies show that people living in areas with high amounts of lithium in the drinking water live longer on average (R,R). Although these studies don’t prove causation, they do point to a correlation between the amount of lithium in drinking water and degree of improvement in lifespan.
Effects of lithium
Lithium impacts various mechanisms involved in aging and longevity. Lithium can reduce inflammaging (aging-related low grade inflammation), improve mitochondrial dysfunction, reduce oxidative stress, influence membrane homeostasis, improve protein homeostasis/autophagy, and exert epigenetic effects.
The epigenome has drawn a lot of attention from scientists interested in lithium’s longevity effects. The epigenome determines which genes are switched on or off. The older we get, the more the epigenome becomes dysregulated. Lithium can counteract these changes by increasing the activity of beneficial genes, leading to more production of the proteins for which these genes encode.
For example, lithium is known to increase the production of neuroprotective proteins, such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) (R,R). Lithium can also increase the amount of enzymes that lengthen telomeres, and other proteins that improve cell survival (R). Exercise, healthy food, and stress-reduction also increase telomere length and cell survival. To learn more about telomeres, and some misconceptions about them, click here.
Besides lithium’s impact on the epigenome, this mineral also influences various other longevity mechanisms.
For example, lithium inhibits glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK-3) (R), an important protein that contributes to epigenetic and metabolic damage, and also plays a role in the Wnt pathway which is involved in cell fate and differentiation. GSK-3 inhibition by lithium also leads to NRF-2 activation. NFR-2 is an important gene switch (transcription factor) that activates various genes involved in protection against free radicals and oxidative damage (R).
Lithium increases autophagy. Autophagy is the process that clears damaged proteins and other cellular waste from our cells. During aging, autophagy decreases, leading to the accumulation of proteins inside and outside cells, hindering their proper function.
Lithium improves various other aging processes. Lithium enhances mitochondrial functioning, reduces inflammaging (low grade, aging-related inflammation), stimulates neurogenesis (the formation of new neurons), and improves functioning of neural stem cells.
Interestingly, a low dose of lithium is sufficient to attain many health benefits. Studies show that low-dose lithium, also called “microdosed lithium”, can exert beneficial effects on brain health and longevity. Low-dose lithium is an amount in the range of 300 microgram (ug) to a few milligrams (mg) per day.
This is in stark contrast to the amounts of lithium prescribed to treat psychiatric disorders such as bipolar disease. These doses are in the range of hundreds of milligrams of lithium per day, so at least hundreds of times higher than the low-dose amounts. NOVOS contains only 1 mg of pure lithium.