Any role for Lithium?

A reader asked me about this element today. I know that the abundance or absence of some minerals/elements have health impact. A simple introduction is here. A quick summary of interesting studies is shown below


Lithium increases hypothyroidism [2020] [2020], unfortunately hypothyroidism is common with ME/CFS [2019]. This makes it a high risk experiment if thyroid levels are low. Zinc supplements may reduce the risk [2017]

It’s known impact on the microbiome is below (and has been added to the analysis site)

” Lithium, valproate and aripiprazole administration significantly increased microbial species richness and diversity, while the other treatments were not significantly different from controls. At the genus level, several species belonging to Clostridium, Peptoclostridium, Intestinibacter and Christenellaceae were increased following treatment with lithium, valproate and aripiprazole when compared to the control group. “

Differential effects of psychotropic drugs on microbiome composition and gastrointestinal function [2018]

“Bacterial richness was increased in both treatments compared to vehicle-treated animals; moreover, at the genus level, lithium increased the relative abundance of Ruminococcaceae and decreased Bacteroides

Psychotropics and the Microbiome: a Chamber of Secrets [2019]

Bottom Line

It appears that Lithium was tried on ME/CFS patients a few decades ago [See the old egroup CFSFMExperimental posts on the wayback machine). We can infer that the results were not significant on the patient population as a whole. On the flip side, it does appear to have positive neurological impact for select conditions, with some risk. For Autism where it is known that the SHANK3 defect is present, we need a well constructed study to determine the benefits to risk factors.