Lithium in your water? Might it be beneficial?

Here’s an interesting finding. A research team compared the top ten lithium-enriched regions of Austria (areas with naturally occurring lithium in the water) to the top ten lithium depleted regions of the same country. Those regions with greater naturally occurring lithium levels had statistically fewer suicides than those regions that had low naturally occurring lithium. The research does not prove a causal link between suicide levels and lithium levels in the water. It could be that there are better treatments or facilities in those regions. But, it does give you pause.

Lithium is, you may recall, a salt which is used to treat affective disorders like bipolar disorder. For many years doctors considered it the gold standard treatment. Many still do even though compounds like Wellbutrin and some anti-psychotics are also used to treat bipolar disorder.

While NO ONE is considering prophylactic use of Lithium (like we do now with fluoride in the water), this research does beg the question: at what point would preventative Lithium be appropriate? In other words, how many lives would need to be saved to make it something that we would want to give to everyone? Or, should we only give it to those who are deemed at-risk?

Assume for a moment that the cause for the lower suicide rate is the presence of Lithium in the water. Further assume that the research data is accurate in finding that the suicide rate in the Lithium enriched areas is 11:100,000 while the suicide rate in the depleted area is 16:100,000. I doubt that anyone would promote public distribution in order to save 5:100,000 but I do wonder what the number would need to be before anyone would recommend blanket addition to the water supply.

1 Comment

Filed under Psychiatric Medications, Psychology

One response to “Lithium in your water? Might it be beneficial?

  1. D. Stevenson

    Well…..another question to research would be if there are detrimental effects to the lithium in the water.

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