Why aim to keep reducing lithium rather than aiming to stop taking it altogether?

The above is a question I was asked this morning. I have been asked this several times before. I rapidly typed the answer below. Not saying it is anything like a perfect answer. I put it here as it may help.

Hi A, Here is my answer…

Often, it seems, people get put on lithium because doctors and psychiatrist know so little about nutrition and do not realize how many mood troubles are caused by eating fake foods (foods with added sugar, toxic oils and so on)…

It is the last little bit of reduction that causes the biggest shock to the system.

This is my understanding, although be warned that I am speaking as a scientist, nutrition-expert and expert-by-experience-of-taking-prescribed-lithium rather than a pharmaceutical person, therefore I am sharing what I believe and not offering advice.

Dropping from say 800mg/day to 650mg/day makes little difference because your blood and cells are still flooded with a lot of lithium and your kidneys are still working hard to detox. Whereas, dropping down just from 20mg/day to zero may make a huge difference.

Here is a different way of looking at mineral supplements. We require only about 10mg/day of zinc (I’ve not looked up precise value)… If you are consistently consuming between say 20mg/day down to 10mg/day from real foods you’ll probably be okay. If though you were to go from 10mg/day down to zero-ish then symptoms of shortage will start to occur.

Supposing we consider lithium to be a nutrient… (it has not been proved that lithium is essential as it comes in real foods (less or none in fake foods) and so most people get plenty most days.  This makes it hard to work out what would happen to people who do not get enough as people start to run out of other nutrients, such as magnesium before anyone would notice a shortage of lithium.)

Supposing an adult human needs 1mg/day of lithium (this is quoted in at least one reputable book on nutrition). Then if consuming several hundred mg/day from tablets goes along with our concerns over the slight long-term toxic effects from lithium carbonate tablets. Reducing your lithium intake down to just a few mg will be matching any natural requirements (we are assuming there is a requirement), while stopping altogether could be a bit like choosing to eat only foods that contain close to zero zinc.

I do hope that makes sense. Sorry, it is a bit waffly.

By the way, zinc is a nutrient MOST people do not get enough off, which not only causes emotional troubles (extreme shortages can be associated with psychosis as zinc needs to be balanced with copper to avoid psychosis) Getting enough zinc is easier when we stick to ‘real food’. Very topical at this time; low zinc also makes people vulnerable to viruses.

Dear A, If you would like me to do some nutritional analysis for you to help identify for which nutrients you may have low intakes and which ones you may have excessively high intakes – I can do that.

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