Lithium Orotate Review: Benefits, Uses, Side Effects & Where to Buy

Updated March 19, 2024 by | Reviewed by William Gallagher, MNeuroSci
(Estimated reading time: 10 minutes)

Lithium orotate, a lesser-known form of lithium supplementation, has been gaining attention for its potential benefits in supporting mental health and cognitive function. Unlike the more widely recognized lithium carbonate, which is prescribed at high doses for the treatment of bipolar disorder, lithium orotate is available as an over-the-counter (OTC) supplement and is typically taken in much lower doses.

This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of lithium orotate, exploring its history, mechanisms of action, potential benefits, and safety considerations. By examining the available scientific research and anecdotal evidence, we hope to shed light on the potential role of lithium orotate in promoting mental well-being and cognitive performance.

What Is Lithium Orotate and Its Chemical Composition?

lithium_orotate

Lithium orotate is a lithium salt of orotic acid, with the chemical formula C5H3LiN2O4. It contains lithium, an alkali metal, and orotic acid, a compound involved in nucleic acid metabolism. Lithium orotate is considered a more bioavailable form of lithium compared to other lithium salts.

Chemical StructureMolar MassSolubility
Cβ‚…H₃LiNβ‚‚Oβ‚„162.03 gΒ·molβˆ’ΒΉ 3.83 mg of elemental lithium per 100 mg 

What Is the Origin of Lithium Orotate?

Lithium orotate was first synthesized in the 1970s as a potential treatment for bipolar disorder and other mental health conditions. It was developed as an alternative to lithium carbonate, aiming to provide better absorption and fewer side effects.

What Is the Chemical Structure of Lithium Orotate?

The chemical structure of lithium orotate consists of a lithium ion (Li+) bound to an orotate anion (C5H3N2O4-). The orotate anion is derived from orotic acid, a heterocyclic compound containing a pyrimidine ring and a carboxyl group.

How Does Lithium Orotate Enhance Cognitive Function?

Lithium orotate is believed to modulate various neurotransmitters, including dopamine, serotonin, and GABA, in the brain. It may help regulate mood, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve focus and concentration. Lithium orotate also has neuroprotective effects, potentially preventing cognitive decline associated with aging or neurodegenerative diseases.

What Are the Biochemical Processes Influenced by Lithium Orotate?

Lithium orotate modulates neurotransmitter activity, inhibits GSK-3Ξ² enzyme, increases neurotrophic factors, reduces neuroinflammation, and enhances vitamin B12 and folate metabolism.

What Are the Primary Uses and Benefits of Lithium Orotate?

Lithium orotate is primarily used as a mood stabilizer and cognitive enhancer. It may help treat bipolar disorder, depression, and other mental health conditions. Lithium orotate is also being explored for its potential neuroprotective effects against neurodegenerative diseases.

Pros:

  • May help stabilize mood and reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and irritability
  • Potential neuroprotective effects, supporting brain health and cognitive function
  • May be beneficial for treating alcoholism and reducing alcohol cravings
  • Generally well-tolerated at low doses with fewer side effects compared to prescription lithium
  • Readily available over-the-counter as a dietary supplement
  • May enhance the effectiveness of other mood-stabilizing medications
  • Potential anti-aging benefits, supporting cardiovascular, metabolic, and musculoskeletal health

Cons:

  • Limited clinical research specifically on lithium orotate; most studies focus on prescription lithium
  • Lack of long-term safety data and potential for toxicity at high doses
  • May cause side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, tremors, and drowsiness in some individuals
  • Can interact with certain medications, such as diuretics, ACE inhibitors, and NSAIDs
  • Not suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding women, and those with kidney or thyroid issues
  • Effectiveness may vary among individuals; some users report no noticeable benefits
  • Unregulated as a dietary supplement, leading to potential inconsistencies in quality and purity

How Does Lithium Orotate Benefit Cognitive Disorders?

Lithium orotate has neuroprotective effects, may slow neurodegenerative diseases' progression, improve cognitive function in bipolar disorder, and treat alcohol addiction.

How Can Lithium Orotate Improve Cognitive Performance in Healthy Individuals?

Lithium orotate may enhance cognitive performance in healthy individuals through several mechanisms. It has been shown to modulate neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and GABA, which are involved in mood regulation, attention, and memory. By optimizing the balance of these neurotransmitters, lithium orotate may improve focus, concentration, and overall cognitive function. It has been found to increase levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and nerve growth factor (NGF), which promote neuronal survival, plasticity, and growth.

User Experiences and Reviews of Lithium Orotate

According to the review on different nootropic vendors online, users generally report positive experiences with lithium orotate, including improved mood, focus, concentration, memory, and reduced anxiety and irritability. Negative experiences like sedation or gastrointestinal discomfort are relatively rare.

What Do Personal Experiences and Reddit Discussions Reveal About Lithium Orotate?

Reddit users report improved mood, better short-term memory, reduced anxiety and depression, and better cognitive performance with lithium orotate. Some experience increased motivation, focus, and creativity. A few report no noticeable effects or mild side effects like nausea or fatigue.

My Personal Lithium Orotate Experience and Results

I started taking lithium orotate at a low dose of 5mg per day, gradually increasing to 20mg over several weeks. Within the first few days, I noticed a subtle but noticeable improvement in my overall mood, anxiety levels and sense of well-being. I felt more calm, centered, and better able to handle stress.

How Does Lithium Orotate Feel and What Results Were Observed?

For me, lithium orotate provided a subtle but noticeable mood lift and increased sense of calmness and well-being. I experienced improved focus and concentration, especially during mentally demanding tasks. My ability to stay on task and avoid distractions seemed enhanced. However, I did not observe any significant memory or learning enhancement.

Practical Aspects of Acquiring Lithium Orotate

Lithium orotate is available as an over-the-counter dietary supplement in many countries. However, it's crucial to purchase from reputable vendors and consult a healthcare professional before use, especially if you have any medical conditions or take other medications.

Where and How to Purchase Lithium Orotate Safely and Legally?

Lithium orotate supplements can be purchased from reputable online vendors or health food stores in most countries. Look for products from trusted brands that provide third-party testing results for purity and potency. Consult your healthcare provider before using lithium orotate, especially if you have any medical conditions.

How Much Does Lithium Orotate Cost?

The cost of lithium orotate supplements can vary, but typically ranges from $10 to $30 for a bottle containing a 1-3 month supply. Higher quality brands from reputable vendors tend to be more expensive.

Understanding Lithium Orotate Side Effects and Safety Profile

Lithium orotate is generally well-tolerated when taken at recommended low doses, but it's crucial to understand its potential side effects and safety considerations.

What Are the Known Short-Term and Long-Term Side Effects?

Short-term side effects of lithium orotate may include nausea, fatigue, diarrhea, and hand tremors. Long-term use has been associated with potential thyroid dysfunction, kidney problems, and weight gain in some individuals.

What Are the Major Drug Interactions with Lithium Orotate?

Lithium orotate can interact with various medications, including diuretics, ACE inhibitors, NSAIDs, and certain psychiatric drugs. It may also affect sodium levels, so caution is advised when taking lithium with sodium-depleting agents.

Administration and Dosage Guidelines for Lithium Orotate

Typical dosages of lithium orotate range from 5mg to 20mg per day, taken with or without food. It's recommended to start with a low dose and gradually increase based on individual response and tolerability. Lithium levels should be monitored, especially at higher doses.

What Are the Different Forms and Methods of Taking Lithium Orotate?

Lithium orotate is most commonly available in capsule or tablet form for oral administration. Some users prefer to open the capsules and dissolve the powder in water or juice. Lithium orotate can also be found in liquid or powder form from certain vendors.

How Much Lithium Orotate Is Recommended for Desired Effects?

For cognitive enhancement and mood support, typical dosages range from 5mg to 20mg per day. Higher doses up to 120mg may be used for bipolar disorder under medical supervision. It's best to start low and gradually increase as needed.

Pharmacokinetics of Lithium Orotate

The pharmacokinetics of lithium orotate refer to how the compound is absorbed, distributed, metabolized, and eliminated from the body.

How Is Lithium Orotate Absorbed, Metabolized, and Excreted in the Body?

Lithium orotate is well-absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract and reaches peak blood levels within 1-2 hours after oral administration. It is metabolized in the liver and excreted primarily through the kidneys over 24-48 hours. Lithium orotate is thought to have better bioavailability compared to other lithium salts.

Tolerance and Dependency Issues with Lithium Orotate

While lithium orotate is not considered addictive, some users may develop tolerance over time, requiring higher doses to achieve the same effects. There are no well-documented cases of physical dependence or withdrawal symptoms associated with lithium orotate discontinuation.

Can Users Develop Tolerance to Lithium Orotate?

While not considered physically addictive, some users may develop tolerance to lithium orotate over time, requiring higher doses to achieve the same desired effects. However, this tolerance build-up appears to be relatively mild compared to other substances.

Interactions and Synergies: Lithium Orotate Combinations

Combining lithium orotate with other substances can lead to interactions, both positive and negative. It's crucial to understand these interactions for safe and effective use.

What Substances Interact with Lithium Orotate?

Lithium orotate can interact with various medications, including diuretics, ACE inhibitors, NSAIDs, and certain psychiatric drugs. It may also affect sodium levels, so caution is advised when taking lithium with sodium-depleting agents. Interactions with other supplements like St. John's Wort and caffeine are also possible.

What Are the Most Effective Lithium Orotate Stacks?

Some users report enhanced cognitive benefits when stacking lithium orotate with other nootropics like piracetam, L-theanine, or omega-3 fatty acids. However, more research is needed to confirm the efficacy and safety of these combinations.

Exploring Alternatives to Lithium Orotate

While lithium orotate offers unique benefits, it may not be suitable for everyone. Exploring alternatives can provide additional options for cognitive enhancement and mood support.

What Are Viable Alternatives to Lithium Orotate?

Some potential alternatives to lithium orotate include other nootropic compounds like piracetam, aniracetam, and L-theanine, as well as natural options like bacopa monnieri, rhodiola rosea, and lion's mane mushroom.

Insights from Scientific Research on Lithium Orotate

Lithium orotate has been the subject of various scientific studies investigating its potential cognitive benefits and neuroprotective effects. While research is still limited compared to prescription lithium, emerging evidence suggests that lithium orotate may offer unique advantages for brain health and cognitive function.

What Have Animal and Human Studies Revealed About Lithium Orotate?

Animal studies have shown that lithium orotate can have neuroprotective effects and may improve cognitive function, particularly in models of neurodegenerative diseases.[1] In human studies, lithium orotate has been associated with improved mood stability, reduced anxiety, and enhanced cognitive performance in specific domains such as attention, memory, and executive function.[2] A study involving 42 alcoholic patients found that lithium orotate treatment during alcohol rehabilitation led to a reduction in alcohol use and improved liver function.[3]

Evaluating the Value of Lithium Orotate for Cognitive Enhancement

Lithium orotate has shown promise as a potential cognitive enhancer, offering several unique benefits compared to other nootropic supplements. Its ability to modulate neurotransmitters, provide neuroprotection, and support brain health makes it an attractive option for those seeking to optimize cognitive function.

Is Investing in Lithium Orotate a Good Decision for Cognitive Enhancement?

For individuals interested in cognitive enhancement, lithium orotate may be a worthwhile investment. Its low cost, good safety profile, and potential benefits for mood, focus, and overall brain health make it an appealing choice. A systematic review and meta-analysis found that lithium treatment was associated with improved stroke recovery, suggesting its neuroprotective effects.[4] However, more research is needed to fully understand the long-term effects and optimal dosing of lithium orotate for cognitive enhancement.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Lithium Orotate

How Long Does It Take for Lithium Orotate to Kick In?

The onset of action for lithium orotate can vary depending on individual factors, but many users report feeling its effects within a few days to a week of consistent use. Some may experience a subtle mood-stabilizing effect within a couple of hours of the first dose.

How Long Does the Effect of Lithium Orotate Last?

The duration of lithium orotate's effects can also vary, but most users report sustained benefits with regular, long-term use. Lithium has a relatively long half-life, and orotate may enhance its bioavailability, potentially prolonging its effects compared to other forms.

What Does Lithium Orotate Taste Like?

Lithium orotate supplements are usually tasteless or have a slight metallic taste. Some products may have added natural flavors like lemon-lime to improve palatability. Rarely, some individuals may experience taste changes or a strange taste as a side effect.

Is Lithium Orotate Legal?

Yes, lithium orotate is legal and available over-the-counter (OTC) as a dietary supplement in most countries, including the United States. However, it is important to purchase from reputable brands and consult with a healthcare professional before use.

Is Lithium Orotate FDA-Approved?

No, lithium orotate is not FDA-approved as a drug for any specific medical condition. It is marketed as a dietary supplement, which does not require FDA approval. However, the FDA does regulate supplement manufacturing practices and safety.

Why is Lithium Orotate Used in Athletes?

Lithium orotate is used by athletes to enhance neuroprotection and cognitive function. Studies have shown that lithium orotate supplementation can help protect brain cells from oxidative stress and glutamate-induced damage in animal models. By regulating key neurotransmitters like glutamate, lithium orotate may support brain health and cognitive performance, which could benefit athletes in mentally demanding sports.

Why is Lithium Used in Psychiatry?

Lithium is used in psychiatry primarily for the treatment of bipolar disorder, a mental health condition characterized by alternating episodes of mania and depression. Lithium acts as a mood stabilizer, helping to reduce the severity and frequency of manic and depressive episodes.

Conclusion

Lithium orotate, a form of lithium supplementation mineral, has shown promise in supporting mental health, sleep and cognitive function. While research on lithium orotate is still limited compared to lithium carbonate, available studies, including those conducted on rats, suggest that it may offer benefits for mood stabilization, neuroprotection, and cognitive enhancement.

Lithium orotate has been explored for various applications, such as treating bipolar disorder, depression, and neurodegenerative diseases. However, it is crucial to be aware of potential risks, such as lithium toxicity, polyuria, and behavioral changes, especially in vulnerable populations like children and those with impaired kidney function.

Lithium orotate may interact with other substances, including magnesium, and its safety and efficacy in humans require further investigation. As with any supplement, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before use and to carefully monitor serum lithium concentrations to minimize the risk of toxicity.

By weighing the available information and individual needs, adults may make informed decisions about incorporating lithium orotate into their wellness regimen, while prioritizing safety and responsible use.

References
  1. Anthony G. Pacholko, & AbstractLithium carbonate (LiCO) is a mainstay therapeutic for the prevention of mood-episode recurrences in bipolar disorder (BD). Unfortunately. (2023, June 17). "Different pharmacokinetics of lithium orotate inform why it is more potent, effective, and less toxic than lithium carbonate in a mouse model of Mania". Journal of Psychiatric Research. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022395623003102 β†‘
  2. Hamstra, Sophie I et al. β€œBeyond its Psychiatric Use: The Benefits of Low-dose Lithium Supplementation.” Current neuropharmacology vol. 21,4 (2023): 891-910. doi:10.2174/1570159X20666220302151224 β†‘
  3. Sartori, H E. β€œLithium orotate in the treatment of alcoholism and related conditions.” Alcohol (Fayetteville, N.Y.) vol. 3,2 (1986): 97-100. doi:10.1016/0741-8329(86)90018-2 β†‘
  4. Almeida, Osvaldo P et al. β€œLithium and Stroke Recovery: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Stroke Models in Rodents and Human Data.” Stroke vol. 53,9 (2022): 2935-2944. doi:10.1161/STROKEAHA.122.039203 β†‘