Lithium in Our Water

According to this article from the Sacramento Bee, this is a good thing.

An excerpt.

“An element commonly found in aircraft and some batteries is said to have an anti-suicidal effect when consumed via public drinking water, new research has found.

“A compilation of studies conducted between 1946 and 2018 show that areas with high concentrations of lithium in public drinking water had “correspondingly lower suicide rates,” according to a news release.

“Research that has touted this connection suggests the element — sometimes dubbed the “magic ion” — could be used to combat risks associated with mental health conditions, especially in communities that have a high prevalence of criminal behavior, chronic substance abuse and risk of suicide.

“The study was published Monday in The British Journal of Psychiatry.

“This study shows that the boundaries between medication and nutritional interventions are not as rigid as we used to think, opening up the possibility of new treatments that span both domains,” Dr. Carmine Pariante, a professor of biological psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at the King’s College London, said in the news release.

“More knowledge of the beneficial properties of lithium and its role in regulating brain function can lead to a deeper understanding of mental illness and improve the well-being of patients with depression and other mental health problems.”


“Lithium is a naturally occurring element found in vegetables, grains, spices and rocks where it is weathered down into soils and thus into public drinking water, the researchers said.

“It’s also the lightest-known metal that is “so soft that it can be cut with a kitchen knife and so low in density that it floats on water,” according to LiveScience.

“What’s more, lithium is a mood stabilizer, the National Alliance on Mental Illness says. It’s widely used in medications for the treatment and prevention of bipolar disorder, which involves episodes of depression and mania.

“These health benefits have “been known for centuries,” the researchers said, and have ties to an ancient Native American medicinal spring famous for its lithium-enriched water and “health giving properties.”

“In fact, the popular soft drink 7-Up contained lithium when it was created in 1929,” according to the researchers.

“The team identified 415 studies that looked at the association between lithium concentrations in drinking water and suicide rates in 1,286 regions in Austria, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Japan, the UK and the U.S., according to the paper.

“They then narrowed it down to 15 studies that demonstrated that “higher levels of trace lithium in drinking water may exert an anti-suicidal effect and have the potential to improve community mental health,” lead author of the study Dr. Anjum Memon, chair of epidemiology and public health medicine at the Brighton and Sussex Medical School, said in the release.

“Although the levels of lithium found in drinking water are “far lower” than those found in medicines, the duration of exposure to the element in water “may be far longer,” Dr. Allan Young, chair of mood disorders at King’s College London, said in the release.”

Retrieved July 29, 2020 from

Be well everyone!

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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