Alzheimers lithium treatment research Lithium carbonate is a pharmaceutical drug available only by prescription that is used to treat persons with bi-polar disorder, a psychiatric condition. Two other forms Lithium asparte and Lithium oranate are not pharmaceutical drugs but are sold as natural supplements. The United States government is now doing a study on the prescription form as a possible Alzheimers lithium treatment
Lithium "has been shown to improve behavioral and cognitive deficits in animal models of neurodegenerative diseases, including stroke, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, fragile X syndrome, and Huntington's, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's diseases.
To read this study click on Neuroprotective effects of Lithium
In 2000 researchers at Wayne State University found that this mineral "can protect brain cells from premature death. Further they found that lithium may even cause brain cells to regenerate after a loss from disease. Eight of 10 individuals taking lithium had an average of 3 percent increase in brain grey matter in just four weeks. See: Gregory J. Moore, Joseph M. Bebchuk, Ian B. Wilds, Guang Chen, and Husseini K. Manji, Lithium-Induced Increase in Human Brain Grey Matter The Lancet, Oct. 7, 2000, vol. 356, pp. 1241-1242.
In 2003 Lancet reported that US researchers have shown that a drug used to treat bipolar disorder could be used to inhibit formation of plaques and tangles."
In 2008) researchers from Universidad Autónoma de Madrid stated "the use of specific GSK-3 inhibitors, like lithium, could be a potential therapy in Alzheimer's disease."
Dr. Jonathan Wright M.D. has written widely about the use of natural supplements in health care. In an article he notes "Another well-known cause of brain cell injury is over-activated N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors. Lithium can inhibit this over activity. And lithium also increases production of a major brain protective protein called "bcl-2" in both human and animal brain cells."
He states: Scientists determine how healthy brain cells are by measuring levels of a molecule called N-acetyl-aspartate (NAA). A decrease in NAA is thought to reflect decreased nerve cell viability, decreased function, or even nerve cell loss. In a study of 19 research volunteers given four weeks of lithium, 14 experienced a significant increase in NAA, one had no change, and four had a small decrease."
Further Alzheimers patients often have excess aluminum in their brains. ( It is not known yet if this is a factor in causing the disease BUT lithium helps chelate aluminum so it is removed from the body.)
Alzheimers lithium Dosage for the natural supplement. Dr. Wright writes:
"The amounts of lithium I recommend for brain anti-aging range from 10 to 20 milligrams (from lithium aspartate or lithium orotate) daily. I've actually been recommending these amounts since the 1970s. At first I was exceptionally cautious and asked all of my patients taking lithium to have regular "lithium level" blood tests and thyroid function tests. After a year or so, I quit asking for the lithium level blood tests, since 100 percent of them came back very low. Another year after that, I stopped requesting routine thyroid function tests, too, only doing one when I was suspicious of a potential problem. In the 30 years since, I've rarely found one."
He also recommends that anyone taking one of these supplements also take "a teaspoonful or two of fish oils (EFA) along with 400 IU of vitamin E (as mixed tocopherols) each day."
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