Autoimmune reactions to the thyroid gland go largely undetected and cause many deleterious health effects including unexplained fatigue, weight gain, infertility and depression. There are an estimated 13 million Americans each year that have this treatable condition that go undiagnosed and needlessly suffer. And I predict that this number will rise dramatically, as we are exposed to more radiation and environmental toxins then ever before. Click here for a recent article on this topic published in the Journal of the Association for the Advancement of Restorative Medicine. I have given lectures for thousands of physicians over the years on ways to properly diagnose and treat this condition, and hopefully their patients are benefiting from the training. Our patients experience “miraculous” health benefits from proper treatment using prescription natural thyroid medication and simple diet and lifestyle changes. Their depression lifts, weight is no longer an issue, and energy levels rise.
Here’s to a healthy new you in the new year!
I recently read a good summary by journalist Sheila Casey of the benefits of the mineral lithium orotate (not to be mistaken with the prescription medication lithium carbonate) for protecting the brain from challenges like Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, mood disorders including depression, alcoholism, and brain injury, and to enhance brain function, increasing the number and the quality of new brain cells.
Lithium protects the brain against toxins of all kinds, including alcohol, and environmental toxins we all face. At HealthBridge we test the blood for lithium in patients who are challenged with mood disorders and often find an extreme deficiency of this mineral. I will prescribe the mineral when it is appropriate, while monitoring blood tests to make sure thyroid, kidney and liver function remain healthy.
Some food sources of lithium to incorporate into your diet include kelp (1000-2000mg taken daily) and pistachios (just a handful, 2-3 times per week).
Miracle Mineral Protects the Brain By Sheila Casey / RCFP
Numerous studies have found that a common mineral heals the brain by stimulating the growth of new brain cells and protecting brain cells from every known neurotoxin. It has been shown to reduce the incidence of violent crime, homicide, suicide, and drug addiction, while preventing the brain shrinkage and memory loss that otherwise occurs naturally with age, as well as helping people with alcoholism, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, cluster headaches and traumatic brain injury.
Although occurring naturally in tomatoes and in the water supply in many places, this mineral is rarely found in any vitamin-mineral supplement, and is not even commonly found in brick and mortar health food stores. Its name may surprise you: Lithium.
Most people think of lithium as a drug for crazy people. While high doses of lithium carbonate are used to treat bipolar disorder, and are available only as a prescription, both lithium orotate and lithium aspartate are available cheaply over the counter, in much lower doses, at outlets such as vitacost.com and iherb.com. (Note: We have no financial connection with either outlet.)
According to the controversial, and now deceased German orthomolecular physician Dr. Hans Nieper, the orotate form of lithium is more effectively transported inside cells, making it more effective at lower doses than the prescription form, lithium carbonate.
Lithium has also been shown to be effective at ultra-low doses, such as those found naturally in tap water. A ten year Texas study found that the incidence of rape, homicide, suicide, burglary and drug addiction was significantly lower in counties where the water supply contained 70-170 micrograms of lithium per liter, compared to counties where there is little or no lithium in the water. A similar study in Japan found that lithium in the water supply significantly reduced the risk of suicide.
Even a very thirsty Texan who drank three liters of water a day (100 ounces) would still be getting only a half a milligram of lithium per day, if they lived in an area where there is 170 mcg. of lithium per liter of water. Compare this to the amount commonly taken by bipolar patients: 900 mg/day of lithium carbonate, which contains 165 mg of elemental lithium. Put another way, the startling results of the Texas study were achieved with doses that were one-third of one percent of the amount taken by bipolar patients.
These highly beneficial effects from low dose lithium have prompted some researchers to call for adding lithium to the water supply in the amounts found naturally in the high lithium Texas counties.
One of these is Jonathan Wright M.D, author, founder of the Tahoma Clinic in Renton, Washington, and a member of the medical advisory board for the non-profit Life Extension Foundation. Dr. Wright first began working with lithium in the 70s, when research at a VA hospital showed that it dramatically reduced recidivism (otherwise known as “falling off the wagon”) among alcoholics. Not only were these vets drinking less, their families reported less anger, aggression and violence in the men, and less moodiness, weepiness and depression in the women. They were also sleeping better, and generally calmer and happier.
Wright later began using low dose lithium with the children of alcoholics, who often have some of the same mood problems afflicting their parents. (A February 2010 article published in the journal Addiction showed that kids with a family history of alcoholism are more likely to crave sweets, suffer from depression, and become alcoholics themselves.)
But Wright didn’t start using low dose lithium himself until 1999, when an article in the British medical journal The Lancet reported the astonishing finding that just four weeks of high-dose lithium therapy caused a three percent increase in brain volume — translating into billions of additional brain cells. These findings turned on its head the conventional wisdom that we are born with all the brain cells we will ever have, and that brain shrinkage is an unavoidable consequence of aging.
In the past ten years, says Wright, there has been an “avalanche of research” about lithium. In addition to proving definitively that lithium stimulates the brain to grow new cells, it has also been shown to be, Wright says, a “wonderful neuroprotective agent from any type of toxin there is.” This neuro-protective mechanism is so strong that one respected lithium researcher said, according to Wright, that it “verges on malpractice to prescribe any psychotropic medication without lithium to protect the brain.” Psychotropics include antidepressants, anti-anxiety meds, and sleeping pills.
Dr. Wright has even heard, anecdotally, from numerous patients, that when they are taking lithium they don’t get bad hangovers. Lithium protects the brain from the damaging effects of alcohol, reducing the pain the morning after. Wright cautions that one can’t simply pop a tablet of lithium along with a pitcher of margaritas to achieve this effect, one would have to be taking it regularly, prior to a night of overindulgence, to protect brain cells.
Likewise, it has been shown that if the blood supply is suddenly cut off to the brain, such as with a stroke, brain cells suffer much less damage if the stroke victim has been taking lithium. (It does not work to take the lithium after the stroke, when the damage has already occurred.)
Mentioning that a recent medical journal carried a story with the headline “Can lithium prevent Alzheimer’s disease?” Dr. Wright said, “You know when you see a headline like that, that in another ten years you’ll see the same headline without the question mark.” He then enumerated multiple ways in which lithium interferes with the Alzheimer’s disease process.
Although he has no family history of mental illness or alcoholism, Wright has been taking 20 mg/day of elemental lithium (in the orotate form) for over ten years, purely to protect his brain and keep his IQ and memory in tip-top form, for as long as possible, as he ages.
In over 30 years, Wright has encountered only two or three people who have had a possible reaction to a dose of 20 mg/day or less: they thought it might have caused a slight tremor — which went away when the lithium was discontinued. On the other hand, he’s had dozens of patients report that their benign tremor improved on low dose lithium
Wright cautions that every patient is different and it is wise to also take fish oil and flax seed oil, if one is taking lithium. These healthy oils are routinely used to treat lithium toxicity in patients who are so severely bipolar that stopping their lithium is not an option, and they add an extra layer of safety for those using over the counter lithium without a doctor’s supervision.
Wright defines low dose lithium as anything up to a maximum of 55 mg of elemental lithium per day, which is the equivalent of a single 300 mg. capsule of prescription lithium carbonate, or 11 tablets of over the counter lithium orotate or aspartate, which typically contain 5 mg. of elemental lithium per tablet. No one, he says, should consider going higher than that without regular blood testing to insure that they are not toxic, and damaging either their kidneys or thyroid gland. Symptoms of lithium toxicity are: tremor in the hands, rising blood pressure, and flu-like symptoms.
Given the many amazing neurological benefits of lithium, why has there been so little it in the press? A search at nytimes.com for “lithium alcoholism” brought up just two relevant articles: from 1973 and 1975. A search for “lithium Alzheimer’s” at both MSNBC and CNN brought up no relevant articles.
Dr. Wright has a theory about this, and it’s not flattering to either science writers, pharmaceutical companies or biosciences academics. The problem begins, he says, with the fact that lithium cannot be patented, so no real money can be made from selling it. Thus, there are no armies of press agents blanketing science writers with press releases touting its eye-popping benefits. And science writers, Dr. Wright says, “do not dig, and they have not been digging into this lithium at all.” If they don’t receive a press release about it, says Wright, science writers are unlikely to find out about new discoveries.
Not only is there no money to be made selling lithium, lithium represents direct competition to drugs that are currently earning many billions of profit for pharmaceutical companies. The central nervous system (CNS) drug market is expected to increase to $64 billion this year. By comparison, lithium aspartate is available at vitacost.com for less than $6 for a 30 day supply.
I asked Dr. Wright “If everyone were taking low dose lithium, as you are, wouldn’t there be a greatly reduced market for psychotropic drugs, Alzheimer’s drugs, alcoholism drugs?” and he replied:
“Yes. I don’t know when the news about lithium will break through into public awareness. When it does, it will probably be opposed, because there are so many professors who are on the payroll of patent medicine companies. Anybody who comes out and promotes something that is in competition with a product from the patent medicine companies is going to be called crazy and a quack by those on the payroll of those same patent medicine companies.”
The news that lithium is good for our brains raises some compelling questions. Is lithium an essential nutrient for human health that is deficient in our water supply and the soil that grows our food? With so many people now filtering their water or drinking purified bottled water, are we eliminating even trace amounts of lithium from our diets? Lithium is one of the most abundant minerals in the sea, with 50 micrograms in a tablespoon of seawater. Could that be part of the reason why people the world over flock to the sea, and feel so relaxed and calm after a day spent splashing in the waves?
Until these questions are answered, one thing seems clear: your brain has a good friend in lithium.
Sheila Casey is a DC based journalist. Her work has appeared in The Denver Post, Reuters, Chicago Sun-Times, Dissident Voice and Common Dreams.
A new study was just published in the Archives of General Psychiatry involving over 73,000 patients that points to the connection between inflammation in the body and depression. I identified this connection nearly 10 years ago, began publishing on it about six years ago, and coined the phrase “Sickness Syndrome” to help doctors to diagnose this prevalent cause for depression. I have been treating patients using this knowledge ever since.
It is time to take a new look at the underlying cause(s) of depression so that mainstream medicine can offer long lasting cures for this debilitating health challenge.
Scientists should more closely examine whether antidepressant drugs increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, according to a researcher affiliated with Harvard University whose review of 61 studies suggested a link.
The risk of cancer increased 11 percent on average for patients taking the medicines, according to a report that analyzed previous data and was published in yesterday’s issue of the peer-reviewed journal PLoS ONE. Read the full article by clicking here.
Preparing for a CME lecture (to air on PharmCon on June 9th, and categorized as live pharmacy hours for doctors) on augmenting the side effects and risks associated with oral contraceptives and other synthetic hormones popular among women and teen-aged girls. In addition to a significant increased risk in various cancers, the synthetic hormones also decrease serotonin levels, further increasing the chance of a woman being prescribed anti-depressant medications which appear to further increase her risk of cancer!
A solution could be to take well researched immunomodulators like BRM4 if you take synthetic hormones, or to avoid these hormones if at all possible and turn to more natural options like Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy.
In health and healing,
A recent article in the New York Times discusses several large studies that link seasonal allergies to depression and anxiety. The cause is an increase in inflammatory cytokines that lower serotonin levels. This is a classic example of Sickness Syndrome Depression, a condition identified years ago and finally gaining media attention. We often see cases of wrongly diagnosed anxiety and depression at our practice where patients are prescribed antidepressant medications instead of being treated for Sickness Syndrome Depression. To learn more about the syndrome click here. One treatment that is not yet mentioned on the site but that we have recently been using successfully in practice to treat Sickness Syndrome Depression and other psychiatric illnesses with an inflammatory component is BRM4 by Daiwa Health Development– an immunomodulator that alters levels of inflammatory cytokines throughout the body. The effective dosage is 4 capsules three times per day for 4 weeks, and then 4 capsules per day thereafter.
In health and healing,
A new article published in the November/December issue of Psychology Today reveals that gastrointestinal disorders, like infection, inflammation, and IBS cause anxiety and depression, and that probiotics may replace prozac and Valium as drugs of choice for some psychiatric disorders like anxiety and depression. This concept, first introduced over 5 years ago and referred to as Sickness Syndrome, is finally gaining the attention of popular media channels.
For those of you who are experiencing anxiety and depression, there are options available to you that go beyond masking symptoms and address at least one of the underlying causes of why you are feeling the way you do. We see the success of naturopathic medicine in treating anxiety and depression in our medical practice everyday, and treating digestive health is often the first step.
In health and wellness,
Exercising in the green, natural environments has long been known to boost – not necessarily the physical health benefit – but one’s mood, self-esteem and odds of avoiding mental illness such as depression and other psychological conditions. But a study has pinpointed exactly how much time spent working out in green environments – not sitting around outside but actually exercising in those parks, gardens, nature trails and nature-heavy environments – is required to achieve maximum mental health benefit. And it’s a mere five minutes. The study conclusions were released on May 1, by the journal Environmental Science & Technology.
Click here and type in “depression,” “anxiety” or any other mood-related health challenge in the search bar to learn more about what you can do to enhance your outlook and stave off depression and anxiety. Another helpful site is SickSyndrome.com.