Lithium Orotate (mineral transporter)
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Q:  Lithium Orotate (mineral transporter)


I have heard that the natural mineral form of Lithium when combined with a mineral transporter can be many times more effective than Lithium carbonate without the risk of toxicity and other side effects. Is this a viable treatment option for someone who has been diagnosed with Bipolar II disorder?

Thank you in advance for your thoughts.
 

Hello Ms. V' -- 
Glad you asked, because I'll bet other folks have wondered about this too, and there's an important lesson to be learned here, I think.  I presume you're talking about the stuff sold by Serenity Now, right? 

First question to ask:  where's the evidence?  Maybe there is some; maybe this is a great new thing.  So, off we go to the website, and your job is to find some evidence that this stuff works as they say it does (hint: here's the crucial claim:   "When Serenity is used the lithium is rapidly transported into the cells so that the levels of lithium in the blood remain low").  Web address: http://www.findserenitynow.com/index.html

Or, if that didn't work, maybe we can get more evidence from this other site that talks more about the originator of this idea, Dr. Hans Nieper.  Here's a site for that, and you can go there with the same job: find some evidence, besides the "say-so" of the writer of the site: Arrowheadhealthworks.  Or, if you still haven't seen evidence, you could search further (I'm on reference 3 from a Google search for "lithium mineral transport").  Now you come to a paper that seems likely to provide evidence for this idea, if there is any:  How orotate works.  

You don't have to dig too deep in this paper to wonder if the references are there just to dazzle, not to document the basis for something being effective.  But let's look at the specifics for lithium, which are down in the next to last paragraph before the references.  There you'll find a single reference regarding the idea that lithium transport is different when orotic acid (the "transport enhancer" in question) is present.  It's from 1971.  A single experiment testing mRNA synthesis in rat brain.  

This is crucial to understanding what somebody is trying to do to you.  They are basing a treatment on an experiment that has never been done in humans.  These are the kind of experiments that are necessary, but precede the research to demonstrate that a treatment is effective, usually by several if not many years.  We can presume that the orotate research never reached the point of being tested in humans, because if it had, the more recent work would have been the reference to cite in this paper. 

(Some really acute reader might point out that on my own website I've discussed using metformin for mood based in part on work that's more than 25 years old (in "metabolic syndrome").  This would be a fair criticism.  However, I hope if you read that you'll notice:  1) the work 25 years ago was a direct test of the theory, not indirect, as you may have noticed was the nature of the Nieper work; and 2) there is a very recent use of metformin, in humans, for the specific reason in question -- or very, very close anyway, light years closer than from the Nieper rat work to the issue of lithium effectiveness -- published in a leading psychiatric journal.Morrison )

Now, for the fun part.  I really get a kick out of this.  Take a look at the warning one of these sites posts, regarding the need for the buyer to beware; and then compare my warning; and see which one makes more sense to you, especially in terms of this lithium/orotate business ("business": that' probably a very appropriate term here).  

Thanks for spurring this little romp through the difference between evidence and $$$. 

Dr. Phelps


Published May, 2003
 

 

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