Top Foods for Lithium: Boost Mood, Stem Cells, Longevity, + More!

Top Foods for Lithium: Boost Mood, Stem Cells, Longevity, + More!

In This Article

Lithium Citrate vs Lithium Orotate 

Did you know that the mood-enhancing benefits of lithium were the “up” in the original 7 Up? It was “7 Up Lithiated Lemon Soda” until 1936, when it was renamed just “7 Up,” still with its 7 ingredients—one of which was lithium.1 

waterfall natural nature

In the 1800s, a natural lithium spring outside of Atlanta attracted presidents and celebrities like Mark Twain and the Vanderbilts, all convinced of the healing lithium waters, called sweet water by Native Americans. 

Today, most people think of lithium as a pharmaceutical drug for bipolar states of mania and depression, and it has been the go-to drug for this since 1949. As a drug, high dosages of the potentially toxic form, lithium citrate, are used, but studies suggest lithium as much lower dosages of the nontoxic form, lithium orotate, plays a key role in supporting mood stability, longevity, and cognitive health.2 

Benefits of Lithium Orotate 

sun happy vitamin d pitta summer sunflowers

A number of observational studies have found that in areas where there is a higher amount of lithium in the drinking water, there was a significant decrease in suicides.2 The effect of consuming trace levels of lithium in the diet have been so well-studied for mood, longevity, and cognitive function that many leaders in the field of psychiatry are advocating for certain foods to be enriched with lithium in the same way salt was iodized in the 1920s.2 

Studies also link optimal lithium levels to healthy heart function, optimal blood sugar levels, and higher energy levels, along with increasing vitamin transport.2 Lithium has also been shown to increase concentration of the grey matter (cortex) of the brain, while increasing size of the amygdala (emotional cortex) and hippocampus. It has also been shown to stimulate natural production of neural stem cells and to have protective anti-oxidative effects for the nervous system.2 Lithium stimulates activity of mood-supportive agents, such as glutamate, dopamine, serotonin, gamma-aminobutyric acid, acetylcholine, and glycine.2 

In a Japanese study where all-cause mortality was evaluated, they measured the lithium content in the drinking water of over 1.2 million people in 18 neighborhoods. The ones drinking from the highest lithium water sources saw a significant reduction in all-cause mortality compared to those where the water had less lithium.3 Lithium was also shown in animal studies to extend the lives of roundworms, yeast, and fruit flies as much as 46%.4,5,6 

Microdose with Lithium 

In another study on humans, a daily microdose of just 300mcg of lithium was shown to significantly reduce age-related cognitive decline just three months after starting to take a lithium supplement.7 Lithium has been shown to inhibit an enzyme called glycogen synthase kinase (GSK-3). Without enough lithium, the cells struggle to protect themselves from excess GSK-3 and the ravages of aging and a host of age-related health concerns.2,5,7 

lifespa image, spring, sprouts, soil

Studies also suggest that lithium depends on the availability of other minerals and works synergistically with other minerals to maximized its effectiveness for mood, longevity, and cognitive support.2 Mineral deficiencies pose a serious threat to our health, as they are responsible for thousands of biochemical processes. Soils have been demineralized with modern chemical farming techniques and farmers struggle to healthfully reintroduce missing minerals back into their soils—but commonly in forms difficult for us to absorb.10  

Mineral Deficiencies 

It is estimated that up to two-thirds of the world’s population might be at risk for deficiency in one or more essential mineral element. According to the Copenhagen Consensus 2008, mineral deficiencies are one of the most serious challenges to humankind.9 


Albion laboratories, the world’s leader in patents on supplemental minerals, and the source of LifeSpa’s Essential Minerals (with lithium) published a conservative estimate of mineral deficiencies in the United States:8 

  • Magnesium: 75% 
  • Iron: 58% 
  • Copper: 81% 
  • Manganese: 50% 
  • Chromium: 50% 
  • Zinc: 67% 

Getting Lithium and Minerals from Your Food  

94% of Americans don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables to get an adequate amount of minerals in their diet, and even when we do, our soils are so depleted that even organic foods are lacking in mineral content.8 

Many studies now tout the importance of getting environmental dosages of lithium. It is found in certain foods and many water supplies, but the amount of lithium available in one’s diet depends on the soil where your food is grown and the source of your drinking water. 

Main Sources of Dietary Lithium 

lifespa image, basket of potatoes
  • Cereals 
  • Potatoes 
  • Tomatoes 
  • Cabbage 
  • Some mineral waters 
  • Nutmeg 
  • Coriander seeds 
  • Cumin 
  • Black tea 
  • Green tea 
  • Red (rooibos) tea  

Keep in mind, all of this depends on the soil and geography. It is estimated that cereal grains and vegetables cover from 66 to over 90% of the daily lithium consumed. The rest comes from food of animal origin and drinking water.  

One study predicted that a vegetarian diet, high in grains, legumes, and vegetables will provide more lithium than a diet that includes intake of animal proteins, but once again this all depends on the soil.2 

Lithium Conclusion 


It is a challenge to know exactly how much lithium you are getting from your food and water. The low-dose range for optimal lithium supplementation is 250mcg-1000mcg. LifeSpa’s Essential Minerals has 250mcg of lithium orotate per two capsules, plus it provides industry-leading absorption rates of all the other minerals needed to offset potential deficiencies. 

Essential Minerals Dosage: Four caps a day for one month. Two caps per day thereafter to maintain optimal levels of essential minerals and lithium. 
We recommend "Where you Eat Matters: 20 Ayurvedic Eating Tips":

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Dr. John


  9. White PJ, Brown PH. Plant nutrition for sustainable development and global health. Ann Bot. 2010;105(7):1073-1080. doi:10.1093/aob/mcq085

5 thoughts on “Top Foods for Lithium: Boost Mood, Stem Cells, Longevity, + More!”

  1. I think micro dose of 250 mcg is okey to make necessary connections between cells. Metals are conductors. To much and you get short circuits. Break. One day i opened one capsule of 5 mg lithium Orotate( no additives) with teeth and sensed metallic taste on my tongue. It started to worry me. Battery reaction with “others” metas in my body( ex machinist). Are there more rules, not to use minerals with vitamins together? Vitamin C is helping Iron to be better absorbed by the body, what I don’t need( Iron is positiv charged, Vit C is antioxidant). Authentic kimchi makes me more happy.
    This is 2020, toxins and contradictions rule. We are loaded with heavy metals, and how interacting metals affect body voltages? If you aren’t salty enough, is body accumulating the metals? New electric car batteries made in China, aren’t made from Lithium but from Chloride. Better backward evolution?
    Butter, sea salt, cholesterol, eggs, … know the story.

    • Hi Marinko,

      I am not a fan of mineral-vitamin supplements. I suggest getting vitamins from food as well as minerals but our soils are mineral deficient and have been for decades. That is why I do suggest supplemental minerals (not iron unless deficient) and vitamin supplements only if needed on a case by case basis. The science behind lithium is compelling and very depleted in soil. Slow long term deficiency can cause cognitive and emotional problems which are so prevalent today.

      Be Well,
      Dr. John

      • Where to move Dr John? We in midwest are now getting worst organic produce from California. Organic Leeks ( good for detox) are all spotted with yellow , clearly sign that Leeks need mineral supplements? Cabbage heads are to light and yellowish. With no sulphur ( sulforaphane) smell. Don’t try to find Organic Black radish now in Covid-19 restrictions. Richest soil is in USA is in Iowa, over 19 inches deep ( if I remember correctly) , but it’s destroyed with corn production for export ( nobody wants to import USA GM corn anymore ) and fuel. And they need to use special water filters, to bring roundup, Raptomicin, Arsenic ( Iowa is big egg producer to) levels down, so they can take shower? Children walking over fields and getting mysterious sicknesses? Talking about shooting yourself in the foot, when you live in flat state. Arrogance at work.

        • Hi Marinko,

          Yes I lived in Iowa in the 80’s and we could not drink the water.

          It is hard to say where the best place is but for sure in my opinion the key is to keep our body healthy enough to both digest and detox well naturally which is why I write so much on this topic.

          Be Well,
          Dr. John

  2. In my opinion, the government shouldn’t be allowed to put anything in the water. In fact, they should be made responsible to remove the microns of prescription drugs, endocrine disruptors, and any and all other foreign substances. Everyone should have that pure baseline of water. From there, people can decide what they want and need for their bodies and get them in their diet, if desired. This government has ZERO right to tamper with the water, air, etc. and should be developing ways to get the additional microns that enter from peoples’ urine and waste disposal out of the water.


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