The relationship between lithium intake and health is a topic of minor interest, in that no-one is going to be building a rejuvenation therapy on the basis of the mechanisms by which lithium may very modestly slow aging in short-lived species. There is some evidence for greater human life expectancy to occur in areas in which there is more lithium in the water supply, but this sort of geographical epidemiology is fraught with confounding factors relating to wealth, preferences, culture, and migration. As researchers note here, lithium has both a narrow therapeutic window and only small effects on healthspan in mice.
The anti-depressant and mood stabilizing effects of lithium were discovered the mid 20th century, and administration of lithium salts is still the first-line therapy for bipolar disorders. Lithium can also ameliorate pathology in animal models of neurodegeneration, through multiple molecular mechanisms, and has been proposed as a therapy for Alzheimer’s disease. Suggesting that it may have a broader therapeutic range, lithium can also extend lifespan in fission yeast, C. elegans, and Drosophila, in the last by inhibition of GSK-3
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