I started Jett at 3 years, 10 months old on lithium orotate because of all the possible benefits to the brain. With only 5mg a day, the rest of his sound sensitivity and teeth grinding went a way! Yeah! (I'm now able to only give 2.5 mg and get the same results.) I knew that both issues were mineral related and so I had seen great results with magnesium alone, but once I added the LO, they went away completely. So now I can finally vacuum without him freaking out. I can use the blender, even when he's in the room! And we can go to parties without having to leave early or take him into another room or outside for awhile to decompress from the sound over stimulation. I haven't exposed him to fire engines... his worst sound sensitivity yet, though! But he's fine with his baby brother crying (after about three months, he was okay even without the LO.)
At five years old, every once in a while, in the middle of the night, I hear Jett grind his teeth for a couple of seconds, but that's it. (We sleep in the same room.) And if he misses his dose of either the LO or magnesium, the sound sensitivity comes back just as badly within a day or two. So, LO is one of his must-have supplements.
Jett has been on LO for a year and a half. During that time, the lithium has caused an imbalance with Jett's potassium level. This has caused an imbalance with Jett's potassium/sodium ratio which has caused an imbalance in his sodium/magnesium ratio which effects his adrenal function making it more difficult for him to deal with stress -- which I believe has caused an increase in his visual stimming. It also effects the calcium/potassium ratio which effects thyroid function. So, I've taken him off LO and increased his magnesium from two to three MegaFoods capsules an hour before bed. He did not grind his teeth last night! So, the increase in mag is working to keep the teeth grinding at bay.
Note: Before starting, make sure that your child's thyroid is functioning properly. According to this article (which is about prescription lithium, not lithium orotate), your child needs to have a complete thyroid test before starting LO treatment. Jett's thyroid was properly treated before starting LO and no thyroid antibodies were present. Once on LO, make sure your child gets thyroid testing every six months or yearly.
What is Lithium Orotate?
Most people have heard of lithium used as treatment for bipolar disorder, mania and depression. But that is lithium carbonate and lithium citrate -- the pharmaceutical forms of lithium, which are chemical extracts unlike the naturally occurring mineral, lithium orotate (LO).
LO is not a drug. Just like calcium and potassium, lithium is something that every human body requires for mental and physical health.
LO is different than the other forms of the mineral. Whereas pharmaceutical drug forms of lithium require high doses to get into our cells, lithium orotate is only needed in a small amount because about 97% of it gets into the cell. The other great news is that unlike its pharmaceutical counterparts, lithium orotate is non-toxic, safe, has little side effects, and works on 70% to 80% of people who use it.
LO's bio-availability allows the mineral to penetrate the mitochondria, glia and lysosomes within our cells. The mineral stabilizes these lysosomal membranes, slowing the enzymatic reaction that leads to many of the negative side effects of other forms of lithium salts.
Overview of BenefitsBrain Protection
Studies show that LO can actually rejuvenate and build the grey matter nerve cells in the brain by up to three percent. (Hey, I'll take that!)
Small amounts of LO have been shown to offer anti-aging effects to the brain.
Neuroprotection From Environmental Toxins
LO has been shown to protect the system from numerous toxins, particularly in the grey matter of the brain.
Helps transport folate and Vitamin B12 into cells Without adequate Lithium, Vitamin B12 and Folate cannot get into cells and just floats around in the blood. Often due to a lithium deficiency, it may appear that the B12 level is adequate or even elevated B12 when in fact little of it is getting into cells where it is really needed.
Lithium may increase the creation of more white blood cells -- lymphocytes.
Too much lithium can cause an imbalance in the body with potassium. High levels of potassium causes further imbalances which can lead to all sorts of issues. So I do not recommend taking lithium.
Lithium should not be taken by those with renal or cardiovascular diseases, severe dehydration or exhaustion, sodium depletion, or in individuals using any form of diuretics or ACE inhibitors.
Also lithium works in balance with iodine. So, I do give Jett some iodine. I just put in a drop of kelp extract whenever I open a full bottle of water that the whole family uses. That way we all get a little bit throughout the day.
In one study, eight (of forty two people) showed side effects such as muscle weakness, loss of appetite or mild apathy.
Again, although no studies have been made on LO and the thyroid, other forms of lithium have been known to affect the thyroid so test for thyroid issues before and during use and keep the dose as low as you can.
Research on lithium in relation to Down syndrome
Lithium restores cognitive function in Down syndrome mice
Date: December 3, 2012
Source: Journal of Clinical Investigation
Summary: Researchers report that lithium, a drug commonly used for the treatment of mood disorders in humans, restores neurogenesis in the hippocampus, a part of the brain strongly associated with learning and memory.
Gene-silencing strategy opens new path to understanding Down Syndrome
Date: October 22, 2013
Source: American Society of Human Genetics
Summary: Inspired by natural process that silences one copy of female mammals' two sex-determining X chromosomes during embryonic development, researchers develop way to silence extra chromosome of Trisomy 21.
Scientists show proof-of-principle for silencing extra chromosome responsible for Down syndrome
Date: July 17, 2013
Source: University of Massachusetts Medical School
Summary: Scientists have established that a naturally occurring X chromosome "off switch" can be rerouted to neutralize the extra chromosome responsible for trisomy 21, also known as Down syndrome, a genetic disorder characterized by cognitive impairment. The discovery provides the first evidence that the underlying genetic defect responsible for Down syndrome can be suppressed in cells in culture.
Experimental compound reverses down syndrome-like learning deficits in mice
Date: September 4, 2013
Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine
Summary: Researchers have identified a compound that dramatically bolsters learning and memory when given to mice with a Down syndrome-like condition on the day of birth. The single-dose treatment appears to enable the cerebellum of the rodents' brains to grow to a normal size. This is promising research involving sonic hedgehog.
Faulty stem cell regulation may contribute to cognitive deficits associated with Down syndrome
Date: September 11, 2013
Source: Stanford University Medical Center
Summary: The learning and physical disabilities that affect people with Down syndrome may be due at least in part to defective stem cell regulation throughout the body, according to researchers.
To receive the benefits of anti-aging for the brain, neuroprotection from toxins etc., 120 mg (~5 mg of elemental) daily is suggested. BUT, for the DS population, it's best to keep the dose as low as possible. For Jett, he takes 2.5 mg (1/2 a capsule) once a day, which seems to be working well for him.
Consider starting with 1/2 capsule of 120 mg (~2.5 mg of elemental) once a day. If symptoms persist, increase to 1 tablet/capsule of 120 mg (~5 mg of elemental) once a day. If symptoms still persist, add a second dose. An adult or older child may need a dose of three times per day.
Less is more: I gave Jett a dose of 5 mg and then gave it twice a day until his symptoms went away. Then I went back down to 5 mg a day to see what would happen. I was able to stay at that dose since his symptoms subsided. Recently, I went down to 2.5 mg and saw that his symptoms are alleviated with that low of a dose.
Also, a daily supplement of 300-400 mcg folate is recommended as it enhances the brain's ability to utilize the protective properties of lithium orotate.
Dosage would continue with a small amount over a long period of time.