Lithium orotate — known by the names lithium carbonate, lithium citrate and simply lithium — is a compound used to treat a number of neurological conditions. Although lithium orotate is considered safer than other lithium-based compounds, there are still a number of side effects, drug interactions and potentially serious conditions that can result from regular lithium orotate use.
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Lithium orotate is derived from the natural element and alkali metal lithium. RxList reports that scientific researchers believe lithium in any of its forms may help increase the effectiveness and activity of neurotransmitters — the chemical compounds responsible for transmitting messages between neural cells — in the brain. However, the Global Healing Center contends that lithium orotate is the most easily absorbed of the different types of lithium, as well as the one with the least serious side effects.
Lithium orotate is commonly used as a treatment to control both bipolar disorder and depression. It is also thought to be useful in treating ADHD-related aggression, impulsive behaviors and schizophrenia. The Global Healing Center adds that lithium orotate use has been linked to a number of benefits to the cerebral cortex of the brain: protection against toxins, decreased effects of aging and an increase in neural cell growth.
Short-term lithium orotate use can cause fatigue, dizziness, a feeling of confusion, nausea, diarrhea and weakness, while using the drug for longer periods may result in weight gain, fluid retention, swelling, hand tremors, loss of appetite, digestive problems, excessive thirst, unusually frequent urination and a worsening of any pre-existing skin disorders, including acne and psoriasis. Keep in mind that the Global Healing Center advises that the side effects of lithium orotate tend to decrease over time. However, if extreme doses of the compound have been ingested, excessive sleepiness, vision problems and ringing in the ears can be the result.
Taking lithium orotate at the same time as you are taking an antidepressant such as Praxil, Zolof or Nardil; a dextromethorphan such as Robitussin DM; or a blood pressure medication such as Vasotec or Procardia is strongly discouraged due to the risk of potentially harmful side effects or a dramatic decrease in the effectiveness of either or both drugs. You should also avoid lithium orotate if you are using Demerol, anticonvulsant drugs, certain muscle relaxants and water pills.
Do not use lithium orotate if you suffer from thyroid, heart or kidney disease; have a surgical procedure scheduled within two weeks of beginning use of the drug; suffer from exhaustion or dehydration; or are pregnant or nursing an infant. Because lithium orotate use increases the risk of blood poisoning problems, never use the compound unless you are under the direct supervision of a physician who can regularly order tests of the lithium levels in your blood to prevent you from reaching toxic levels. Some individuals may be at risk for developing hypothyroidism when taking lithium orotate for long periods of time.