Lithium orotate is a dietary supplement form of lithium administered in microdoses, similar to zinc and selenium. When most people hear the word “lithium,” they immediately think of a medication used to treat bipolar disorder.

This lithium carbonate is available only with a doctor’s prescription and is a distinct form of lithium. It is administered in much higher doses, between 1000 mg and 2000 mg per day, compared to lithium orotate’s 10 to 20 mg per day.

The prescription lithium is highly potent and associated with several potential risks and side effects, including tremors, acne, fatigue, and, more worrisomely, it may impact thyroid and kidney function.

Lithium orotate is available without a prescription and over-the-counter as many other dietary supplements. It is deemed safe, even by the FDA, and we have not observed any adverse effects when administered in the recommended doses.

Lithium is a unique mineral in terms of how it functions in the brain and how it affects one’s disposition.

Lithium can enter brain cells (neurons), which affects the cell’s inner workings in ways that can significantly positively affect mood. Even microdoses of lithium orotate may help calm brain activity, promote a positive mood, support emotional health and the brain’s natural detoxification process, provide antioxidant support, and promote the brain’s natural neurotransmitter balance [1].

We’ll explore the benefits, side effects, and contraindications of lithium orotate supplementation in this article.

Benefits of Lithium Orotate

Lithium plays an important role in the body.

Lithium deficiency in insulin-sensitive tissues may cause blood sugar issues [2]. Low levels have been found in children with developmental delay, attention deficit, nervousness, or lack of sleep.

The possible benefits of lithium orotate supplementation are summarized as follows:-

  • Boosts neurotransmitter activity
  • Supports detoxification enzymes in the brain
  • Promotes a positive mental outlook
  • Support emotional wellness
  • Alleviate depression, anger, and aggressive behaviors
  • In treating alcoholism

Lithium for Anxiety and Mood Support

When mood problems are genetic, lithium orotate may help. That means someone with a strong family history of mood or early-onset problems may benefit most, especially if the condition recurs when there are no apparent triggers (i.e., stress) [3,4].

Lithium orotate may treat irritability, agitation, or mood swings. In people whose medications were once effective but have since lost their effect. It helps medications work better after they have “pooped out.”

Why does it boost mood? Lithium may help regulate the neurotransmitter glutamate by keeping the amount between brain cells healthy. It protects neurons. Lithium in low doses promotes healthy brain aging, according to research [5,6].

Lithium for Brain Detoxification Support

Additionally, research indicates that lithium supports the brain’s natural detoxification process. It has demonstrated promise as a neuroprotective agent against aluminium-induced oxidative stress and free radical damage to the brain [7,8].

Antiviral Activity Of Lithium

In vitro and animal studies indicate that lithium exhibits antiviral activity, including against coronaviruses; however, lithium chloride has been the predominant salt form studied to date [9].

Lithium Orotate and Weight Loss

Stress eating is the leading global cause of weight gain.

Lithium does not affect digestion or metabolism, but it can be used to stabilize mood, thereby assisting those attempting to eat their problems away to lose weight.

It helps people get going, motivates them to stay active, and aids in diet organization. Indirectly, lithium can be used to control weight in this manner.

Lithium Orotate Dosage

As a dietary supplement, lithium orotate is promoted for use as a low-dose source of lithium. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for lithium is 1 mg daily, while supplementation with lithium orotate up to 20 mg per day has been suggested [10].

However, there are insufficient clinical studies to support dosage recommendations. There are reports of higher doses (up to 240 mg of lithium orotate per day) being consumed with no apparent toxicity [11].

It is common for adults to begin treatment with 10 mg per day for the first week or two and then increase to 20 mg per day if necessary and well-tolerated. At these low doses, side effects are uncommon, though it occasionally appears to cause slight sedation. In such cases, shifting the entire dose to bedtime is common.

Higher dosages are linked to adverse side effects.

*NOTE: Using any medicine without a physician’s consultation is unsafe. Always contact your doctor before starting any medication or changing its dose.

Lithium Orotate Side Effects

It is believed that lithium orotate is a safe, inexpensive, and frequently surprisingly effective supplement to other treatments, whether they are medications or natural therapies.

No adverse effects have been reported at low doses (lithium orotate 5 to 20 mg); however, adverse effects associated with lithium pharmaceutical preparations (lithium carbonate, lithium citrate) should be anticipated at higher doses.

Even in small doses, lithium orotate can cause the following side effects:

  • Nausea (urge or sensation to vomit)
  • Polydipsia (excessive thirst)
  • Polyuria (excessive urination)
  • Diarrhea
  • Sedation
  • Tremors
  • Severe side effects that occur after using it for ten or more years or at high doses include
  • Nephrotoxicity (kidney impairment) as lithium is not metabolized in the body and is excreted through the kidneys
  • Hair loss
  • Hypothyroidism ( a clinical syndrome of low thyroid hormones that causes weight gain, low mood, inactivity, and various other symptoms)
  • Hyperparathyroidism (an excessive hyper parathyroid hormone that affects calcium metabolism)

Contraindications of Lithium Orotate Supplementation

This supplement should be avoided in people with severe renal impairment. Due to the risk of lithium toxicity, lithium should not be given to patients with significant cardiovascular or renal disease, sodium depletion, dehydration, or severe debilitation.

If lithium use is unavoidable, it should be administered with extreme caution, including frequent serum lithium determinations and possible hospitalization.

Immediately discontinue treatment if clinical signs of lithium toxicity appear (e.g muscular weakness, drowsiness, diarrhea, mild ataxia, tremor, or vomiting) [12].

Lithium Orotate Supplementation in Pregnancy or Lactation

Insufficient data is available on lithium orotate salt during pregnancy and lactation. Lithium is excreted in breast milk and can harm nursing babies [12,13].

Lithium Orotate vs. Lithium Carbonate

Lithium orotate is an over-the-counter, non-prescription supplement form of lithium bound to orotic acid that is generally safe. It is used as a dietary supplement for mental tranquility and neuroprotection.

In contrast, lithium carbonate is a therapeutic lithium compound used to treat bipolar disorders, mania, anxiety, and depression. It has numerous adverse effects and contains high concentrations of lithium.

Is Lithium Orotate Safe?

Any drug’s safety is contingent upon its dosage and the individual’s physical fitness and sensitivity.

The supplement lithium orotate contains significantly less lithium than its prescription form, which typically ranges from 5 mg to 10 mg per day and can reach 20 mg. This dose of lithium is healthy and FDA-approved as safe.

Bottomline: Lithium Orotate Benefits and Risks

Lithium salts are used therapeutically for many brain disorders; however, their higher lithium concentrations pose toxicity risks. In contrast, lithium orotate is a safer lithium salt used to treat mood and behavior disorders.

Lithium is considered neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory, even at low doses. Additionally, it can help prevent brain aging and dementia.

Those who use lithium orotate as a dietary supplement assert that it has enhanced their quality of life.

Disclaimer: This article is only a guide. It does not substitute the advice given by your healthcare professional. Before making any health-related decision, consult your healthcare professional.

Editorial References And Fact-Checking

  • Basselin M, Kim HW, Chen M, Ma K, Rapoport SI, Murphy RC, Farias SE. Lithium modifies brain arachidonic and docosahexaenoic metabolism in rat lipopolysaccharide model of neuroinflammation. J Lipid Res. 2010 May;51(5):1049-56. doi: 10.1194/jlr.M002469. Epub 2009 Dec 29. Retraction in: J Lipid Res. 2018 Aug;59(8):1547. PMID: 20040630; PMCID: PMC2853431.
  • Hu M, Wu YS, Wu HW. Effects of lithium deficiency in some insulin-sensitive tissues of diabetic Chinese hamsters. Biol Trace Elem Res. 1997 Jul-Aug;58(1-2):91-102. doi: 10.1007/BF02910670. PMID: 9363324.
  • Chuang DM. Neuroprotective and neurotrophic actions of the mood stabilizer lithium: can it be used to treat neurodegenerative diseases? Crit Rev Neurobiol. 2004;16(1-2):83-90. doi: 10.1615/critrevneurobiol.v16.i12.90. PMID: 15581403.
  • Chuang DM, Wang Z, Chiu CT. GSK-3 as a Target for Lithium-Induced Neuroprotection Against Excitotoxicity in Neuronal Cultures and Animal Models of Ischemic Stroke. Front Mol Neurosci. 2011 Aug 9;4:15. doi: 10.3389/fnmol.2011.00015. PMID: 21886605; PMCID: PMC3152742.
  • Chen G, Rajkowska G, Du F, Seraji-Bozorgzad N, Manji HK. Enhancement of hippocampal neurogenesis by lithium. J Neurochem. 2000 Oct;75(4):1729-34. doi: 10.1046/j.1471-4159.2000.0751729.x. PMID: 10987856.
  • Zarse K, Terao T, Tian J, Iwata N, Ishii N, Ristow M. Low-dose lithium uptake promotes longevity in humans and metazoans. Eur J Nutr. 2011 Aug;50(5):387-9. doi: 10.1007/s00394-011-0171-x. Epub 2011 Feb 8. PMID: 21301855; PMCID: PMC3151375.
  • Bhalla P, Dhawan DK. Protective role of lithium in ameliorating the aluminium-induced oxidative stress and histological changes in rat brain. Cell Mol Neurobiol. 2009 Jun;29(4):513-21. doi: 10.1007/s10571-008-9343-5. Epub 2009 Jan 29. PMID: 19184412.
  • Shao L, Cui J, Young LT, Wang JF. The effect of mood stabilizer lithium on expression and activity of glutathione s-transferase isoenzymes. Neuroscience. 2008 Jan 24;151(2):518-24. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2007.10.041. Epub 2007 Nov 13. PMID: 18082333.
  • Nowak JK, Walkowiak J. Lithium and coronaviral infections. A scoping review. F1000Res. 2020 Feb 7;9:93. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.22299.2. PMID: 32518634; PMCID: PMC7255895.
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  • Balon R. Possible dangers of a “nutritional supplement” lithium orotate. Ann Clin Psychiatry. 2013 Feb;25(1):71. PMID: 23376874.
  • Newport DJ, Viguera AC, Beach AJ, Ritchie JC, Cohen LS, Stowe ZN. Lithium placental passage and obstetrical outcome: implications for clinical management during late pregnancy. Am J Psychiatry. 2005 Nov;162(11):2162-70. doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.162.11.2162. PMID: 16263858.
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  • Dr Faisal Rasheed, M.D.

    Dr Faisal is a certified Medical Doctor currently carrying the role of a Senior Medical Officer in the Orthopaedic Surgery Department of his local hospital. With his vast experience and knowledge in the medical field, Dr Faisal is well-equipped to share educational content that helps readers improve their health and wellness. During his hospital shifts, he diligently cares for and treats patients under him. And during his spare time, he enjoys crafting health and wellness content that inspires readers to make positive changes. LinkedIn


Dr Faisal is a certified Medical Doctor currently carrying the role of a Senior Medical Officer in the Orthopaedic Surgery Department of his local hospital. With his vast experience and knowledge in the medical field, Dr Faisal is well-equipped to share educational content that helps readers improve their health and wellness. During his hospital shifts, he diligently cares for and treats patients under him. And during his spare time, he enjoys crafting health and wellness content that inspires readers to make positive changes. LinkedIn