Lithium Orotate supports serotonin levels

Lithium Orotate

David Tomen
David Tomen
16 minute read
Lithium helps prevent mood swings, is anti-anxiety and antidepressant, promotes neurogenesis, protects from neurodegenerative disease, and is anti-aging

Key Takeaways

  1. Lithium is a natural alkali metal essential for reproductive health and overall wellness in humans and animals.
  2. Historically used for therapeutic purposes, lithium is studied for its neuroprotective and mood-stabilizing effects.
  3. Micro-dosing lithium through supplements like Lithium Orotate offers cognitive benefits such as mood balancing, promoting growth factors and neurogenesis, and brain protection.
  4. Adequate lithium intake from diet and water may help prevent mental and neurological diseases, while low levels can be associated with depression, anxiety, and memory decline.
  5. Lithium Orotate is a popular micro-dosing option that provides mood stabilization, neuroprotection, and cognitive enhancement without toxic side effects of higher doses.

Lithium is a soft, silvery-white alkali metal so reactive (it sparks when it touches water) that it’s not found in nature on its own. Instead, it’s found in mineral compounds and in mineral water.

Cosmologists believe that lithium was one of the 3 elements synthesized in the Big Bang.[i] So it’s been around for a long time.Lithium orotate as a nootropic

Most of us associate prescription lithium with treating mental illnesses like bipolar disorder and mania (lithium carbonate). Or the lithium-ion battery in our phone. Which has a tendency to blow up occasionally.

Turns out that the anti-psychotic medication lithium isn’t even a drug. It’s actually a naturally occurring mineral. Lithium salts are part of the same family of minerals that include potassium and sodium.

As a nootropic, micro-dosing lithium provides some amazing anti-aging benefits. Recent research shows that low-dose lithium may also help slow the progression of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, dementia and Parkinson’s disease.

Low-dose lithium also helps neurogenesis and memory. And is a mood stabilizer.

Here we’ll investigate daily or frequent use of Lithium Orotate as a nootropic, and how it benefits cognitive health.

Lithium helps:


Lithium is an alkali mineral and one the trace elements considered essential for both animal and human reproductive health, and general health and wellness.

Discovered as a chemical element in 1817, lithium’s first recorded modern medical use was in 1871 for the treatment of mania.

But the use of lithium for therapeutic use goes back to ancient Greek and Roman times. People enjoyed soaking in alkali springs to help with physical and mental illness.

People have been using mineral springs for therapeutic use ever since. Lithia Springs in Douglas County, Georgia was so popular that people came for miles just to drink the water.Litha Springs poster 1988 advertising lithium therapy at a spa

The Sweet Water hotel, a luxury 500-room resort was opened in 1887. And attracted famous authors, business people and prominent politicians who came for the spring’s health benefits. The name “Lithia” stems from water rich in lithium.

Studies from around the world have shown the critical health benefits of lithium. One study using data from 27 Texas counties from 1978 – 1987 found that rates of suicide, homicide and rape were significantly higher in counties whose drinking water contained little or no lithium.[v]

Another study of lithium levels in tap water in 18 municipalities in Japan showed standard mortality ratios lower in places with higher lithium levels.[vi]

Yet another study conducted in Texas in 2013 confirmed the original findings in that state. Drinking water samples from 226 counties found a correlation between lithium levels and suicide rates.[vii]

Researchers who conducted meta-analyses of lithium levels and public drinking water suggested “increasing lithium levels of drinking water could potentially reduce the risk of suicide, and justify administering lithium to tap water.”[viii]

An article in the Lancet in 1949 by John Cade is credited for the modern medical use of lithium as an effective treatment for manic psychosis.[ix]

The United States FDA approved high dose lithium carbonate and lithium citrate in 1970 for the treatment of bipolar disorder. Carbonic acid and citric acid are mineral carriers used to transport lithium throughout your body.

Doctors also prescribe lithium off-label for treating migraines, seizure disorders and psychosis usually after other treatments have failed.

But as we dig deeper into the most recently published research on lithium, we realize this trace element is essential for optimal health and brain function.

The lithium we get from our diet prevents many neurological and psychiatric problems. Micro-dosing lithium as a nootropic with a supplement like Lithium Orotate can help make up for the what we don’t get from our food and water.

Lithium is naturally available from fish, processed meat, milk, dairy products, eggs, potatoes and vegetables. Your typical dietary intake of lithium can range from 2 – 600 mcg. Amounts vary depending on where the food is grown.

lithium orotate supplementation stabilizes mood

How does Lithium work in the brain?

Lithium helps brain health and function in several ways. But two in particular stand out.

  1. Lithium stabilizes mood. Recent research has discovered that lithium’s mood stabilization effects may be due to its ability to boost the production of new brain cells (neurogenesis).

Lithium inhibits the enzyme glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β). This inhibition upregulates brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) which stimulates neural stem cells to produce new neurons in the hippocampus.[x]

When neural stem cells produce new neurons in the hippocampus, mood and memory work as designed. But a breakdown in neurogenesis results in mood disorders.

Lithium has long been known to control mania and stabilize mood in bipolar patients. But it was not generally thought of as an antidepressant. Researchers in Tel Aviv provided the first evidence that inhibiting GSK-3β exerted a rapid antidepressant effect in mice.[xi]

Another team at Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Pennsylvania showed that feeding mice chow laced with low-dose lithium for 15 days produced a dose-dependent antidepressant effect.[xii]

Lithium induced gene transcription in the hippocampus, amygdala and hypothalamus. All areas implicated in depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, autism and schizophrenia.

  1. Lithium protects your brain.  Your brain cells are at constant risk of damage from exposure to toxins you encounter every day from food, air, water and your environment. And the excitotoxins produced by ordinary brain cell metabolism.

Glutamate plays a major role in the synaptic plasticity needed for learning and memory.[xiii] But over-activity of glutamate on its NMDA receptors causes neuron death and is implicated in Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and Parkinson’s disease. Lithium inhibits this overactivity.[xiv]

Lithium also increases the production of a neuroprotective protein called bcl-2.[xv] Researchers maintain that lithium is the only “medication” that has been demonstrated to significantly increase bcl-2 in several brain areas.

Lithium has also recently been evaluated in preventing and treating traumatic brain injury. In a study conducted in 2014, Dr. Peter Leeds stated that lithium had “demonstrated robust beneficial effects in experimental models of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). These include decreases in TBI-induced brain lesion, suppression of neuroinflammation, protection against blood-brain barrier disruption, normalization of behavioral deficits, and improvement of learning and memory, among others.[xvi]

Lithium Orotate for the treatment of traumatic brain injury

How things go bad

In 1985, the United States EPA estimated that dietary intake of lithium from food in the USA varied from 0.6 to 3.1 mg per day.[xvii] For comparison, people who live in the Andes in Northern Argentina consume 2 to 30 mg per day, with 2 – 3 mg just from drinking water.[xviii]

As your dietary sodium and caffeine increases, so does lithium excretion in urine which increases your requirement for this essential trace mineral.

Your exposure to stress and toxins from things like mercury, aspartame, MSG, Bisphenol A (BPA) and other excitotoxins also raise cortisol and other stress hormones. Increasing your need for more water-soluble nutrients like B-vitamins, magnesium, zinc and lithium.

Low lithium levels are associated with …

↑ Depression and anxiety increase

Memory and learning ability decline

↑ Insomnia increases

↑ Sensitivity to stress and chronic pain increase

↓ Natural healing processes decline

Adequate daily intake of lithium could help prevent many mental and neurological diseases due to this trace minerals effects on nervous system metabolism. And it’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

Lithium orotate stabilizes mood

Lithium Orotate benefits

The clinical research and studies on the neuroprotective benefits of lithium are so overwhelming, some scientists are beginning to ask “why isn’t everyone using lithium”?

Here’s a summary of how micro-dosing lithium using Lithium Orotate can benefit your brain.

  • Inhibits apoptosislithium inhibits GSK-3 which has been linked to apoptotic cell death
  • NMDA-receptorslithium reduces glutamate induced toxicity mediated by NMDA-receptors which helps in mood disorders, Alzheimer’s, and other autoimmune and inflammatory diseases
  • Neuroprotection – blocks the development of beta-amyloid tangles and plaque
  • Neurogenesis lithium promotes the increase of  brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) needed for synaptic plasticity in learning and memory. Lithium also boosts nerve growth factor and glial-derived neurotrophic factor affecting learning, memory, mood and overall brain health[xix]
  • Neuronal stem cellslithium stimulates the stem cells needed to produce new neurons (neurogenesis)
  • Stabilizes moodlithium is known for providing a calming effect in healthy people as well as those dealing with depression, bipolar disorder, and mania
  • Suicide prevention – adequate levels of lithium has been shown to reduce suicide risk in multiple studies worldwide
  • Depressionlithium helps with treatment-resistant depression. In fact, lithium has been shown to improve the effectiveness of antidepressant medications
  • N-acetyl aspartate (NAA)lithium increases NAA which has been associated with higher IQ scores[xx] (i.e. lithium will make you smarter!)

The benefits of supplementing with lithium go far beyond just optimizing cognitive health. Lithium also helps decrease insulin resistance, helps in treatment of alcoholism and other addictions, supports bone health, balances your circadian rhythm and more.

How does Lithium Orotate  feel?

My personal experience with Lithium Orotate has made me a believer in micro-dosing lithium. I’m Adult ADD and deal with mood swings from time to time.

If I’m going around the bend because something upset me, I take 5 mg of Lithium Orotate. Within 15 minutes my mood stabilizes and I feel normal again. Consistent use puts me in a happy does lithium orotate work for depression?

Many others report you’ll feel the results taking a low dose of lithium quickly. But for some, the full effect can take anywhere from 1 to 3 weeks. Micro-dosing 5 – 10 mg of lithium daily results in consistent results within a month or two for some. I’ve experienced great results within a couple of days.

So if you lash out at people in anger, and don’t fully understand why you get so angry – it could be your lithium levels are low.

Many neurohackers with depression and anger issues notice results quickly. Within the first couple of days you should feel more calm, relaxed, and experience less stress.

Keep in mind that lithium at any dose is not for everyone. But if you get adequate lithium from your diet and water, and still experience some of the mood swings talked about in this review, you could be dealing with other issues. You should know within a couple of hours of supplementing with low-dose lithium if this supplement is for you.

For some, Lithium Orotate means feeling excited about life for the first time in a long time. Anxiety and social anxiety are no longer a problem. Life is more fun and enjoyable.

Some say Lithium Orotate works better than any prescription that they’ve ever tried to treat severe depression. It provides a nice, smooth mood balance without all the toxicity associated with mega-doses of lithium carbonate.

If you’re dealing with PTSD or mild insomnia, you may want to try Lithium Orotate. Focus could improve, racing thoughts diminish and motivation levels could increase. You’ll have more coping ability.

lithium orotate supports better learning and memory

Lithium Orotate Clinical Research

Lithium Improves Memory

A study at McMaster University in Canada set out to determine the effects on hippocampus volume in 14 bipolar patients who received lithium therapy.

The researchers examined the effects of lithium on hippocampal volumes and memory performance and recall over 2 – 4 years. The patients had not received any type of medication prior to using lithium.

The study found increases in hippocampus volume over time. And evidence of improvement of verbal memory performance over the 4-year measurement period.

The researchers concluded that the results of the study were consistent with the literature stating the neuroprotective effects of lithium. And that long-term lithium treatment is associated with preservation of memory and recall due to increased hippocampus size.[xxi]

Lithium Increases Mood in Recovering Addicts

24 adults recovering from heroin or methamphetamine addiction participated in a study in San Diego. Group A received 400 mcg per day of lithium taken orally for 4 weeks. The placebo Group B naturally took a non-active placebo.

Subjects completed a mood test questionnaire containing questions about their ability to think, work, mood and emotions. For the lithium group, mood test scores increased steadily and significantly during the 4 week period.

The lithium group also reported significantly increased levels of happiness, friendliness and energy. Group B showed no improvement during the same period.

The researchers concluded that low-dose lithium provided a mood-improving and stabilizing effect.[xxii]

Lithium Orotate in the Treatment of Alcoholism

In this study, 42 alcoholic patients were treated with Lithium Orotate during alcohol rehabilitation in a private clinical setting for six months. The data was collected from clinical practice records for the 10 years following the initial study.

The patients received 150 mg of Lithium Orotate daily for six months along with calcium orotate, magnesium orotate, bromelain and essential phospholipids.

Ten of the patients had no relapse from 3 – 10 years. 13 patients stayed sober from 1 – 3 years.  The remaining patients relapsed between 6 – 12 months.

The researchers concluded that Lithium Orotate therapy was safe in treating addiction with minor adverse side effects.[xxiii]

Lithium Orotate Recommended Dosage

Lithium retains a grim and undeserved reputation. Likely because it was originally associated with serious mental illness. And like most medications, lithium can produce serious side effects if not monitored properly.Lithium Orotate formulated by Dr. Hans Nieper

Lithium carbonate or lithium chloride salts are typically prescribed for long-term control and to treat bipolar disorder at 900 – 1200 mg per day. The major problem with such high doses of lithium are some very serious and debilitating side effects.

For nootropic use, I suggest Lithium Orotate which typically contains only 5 mg of elemental lithium. Lithium Orotate is orotic acid combined with lithium.

Orotic acid reportedly makes the lithium more bioavailable than lithium carbonate. The lithium is released once it crosses the blood-brain barrier. So you’ll get the benefits of lithium supplementation while avoiding the toxic side effects of high doses.[xxiv]

Lithium Orotate supplements recommended dose is 5 mg two or three times per day. See “Where to buy Lithium Orotate” for more on lithium amounts in nootropic supplements.

Many neurohackers use Lithium Orotate only as needed. For example, when feeling anxious or in the middle of a mood swing.

For someone with bipolar disorder or manic disorders, increasing to two 5 mg tablets up to 3-times per day may be more effective.

Naturopathic doctors suggest stacking 1,000 mg of Omega-3 and 400 UI of Vitamin E (as mixed tocopherols) each day you’re using Lithium Orotate.

Lithium Orotate Side Effects

Do not confuse Lithium Orotate with lithium carbonate. The carbonate version of lithium is only available by prescription and comes with a host of side effects.

Prescription lithium used in excess has been shown to have adverse effects on thyroid and kidney function. This is NOT a problem when supplementing with Lithium Orotate when used at recommended dosages.

Lithium Orotate at low doses is non-toxic and lab tests are not required to monitor your lithium levels because it does not show up in blood samples.

Lithium Orotate should not be used if you are dealing with significant renal or cardiovascular disease, severe dehydration or sodium depletion, or if you’re taking diuretics or ACE inhibitors.

Do not use Lithium Orotate if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

You should check with your doctor if you are on any medication before using Lithium Orotate.

Where to Buy Lithium Orotate

Mother Nature has already put the antipsychotic “drug” lithium in drinking water. And you get some lithium from food depending on where it’s grown.

Supplemental Lithium Orotate typically comes in 120 or 130 mg capsules or tablets containing 5 mg of elemental lithium.

I recommend and use Lithium Orotate by Advanced Research (Amazon) which was formulated by Dr. Hans Nieper.

Nootropics Expert Recommendation

Nootropics Expert Tested and ApprovedLithium Orotate 5 mg 2 or 3 times per day.

I recommend using Lithium Orotate as a nootropic supplement if you’re feeling anxious or depressed. Or experiencing mood swings.

Your body does not make lithium on its own. So you must get this essential trace mineral from your diet, or a supplement like Lithium Orotate.

Lithium combined with orotic acid makes Lithium Orotate which readily crosses the blood-brain barrier, and you should feel its effects within 15 – 20 minutes of taking it.

Lithium Orotate is especially effective if you’re feeling stressed, or mentally overworked. Your brain uses lithium faster and it needs to be replaced. Which you can do by using Lithium Orotate.

Lithium Orotate is great if you are ADHD because lithium calms the hyperactivity in your brain.

Lithium supplements do not change your state of consciousness. It simply helps bring you back to feeling normal and happy.

I suggest trying Lithium Orotate as a nootropic supplement with your first dose at 5 mg and see how you react. If you experience no negative reaction, try another 5 mg in a few hours. Up to 3 – 5 mg doses per day.

You’ll likely experience the full benefits of Lithium Orotate within a week of consistent use.

I recommend and use Lithium Orotate by Advanced Research (Amazon).

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This post may also contain other affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

[i] Boesgaard A.M., Steigman G. (1985). “Big bang nucleosynthesis – Theories and observations”. Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics. Palo Alto, CA. 23: 319–378. (source)

[ii] Swann A.C. “Norepinephrine and (Na+, K+)-ATPase: evidence for stabilization by lithium or imipramine.” Neuropharmacology. 1988 Mar;27(3):261-7. (source)

[iii] Herbert V., Colman N. “Release of vitamin binding proteins from granulocytes by lithium: vitamin B12 and folate binding proteins.” Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology. 1980;127:61-78. (source)

[iv] Young W. “Review of lithium effects on brain and blood.” Cell Transplantation. 2009;18(9):951-75. (source)

[v] Schrauzer G.N., Shrestha K.P. “Lithium in drinking water and the incidences of crimes, suicides, and arrests related to drug addictions.” Biological Trace Element Research. 1990 May;25(2):105-13. (source)

[vi] Ohgami H., Terao T., Shiotsuki I., Ishii N., Iwata N. “Lithium levels in drinking water and risk of suicide.” British Journal of Psychiatry. 2009 May;194(5):464-5 (source)

[vii] Blüml V., Regier M.D., Hlavin G., Rockett I.R., König F., Vyssoki B., Bschor T., Kapusta N.D. “Lithium in the public water supply and suicide mortality in Texas.” Journal of Psychiatric Research. 2013 Mar;47(3):407-11. (source)

[viii] Terao T., Goto S., Inagaki M., Okamoto Y. “Even very low but sustained lithium intake can prevent suicide in the general population?”  Medical Hypotheses. 2009 Nov;73(5):811-2 (source)

[ix] Cade J.F.J. “Lithium Salts in the Treatment of Psychotic Excitement” The Medical Journal of Australia Vol. II No. 10, September 3, 1949 (source)

[x] Wada A. “Lithium and neuropsychiatric therapeutics: neuroplasticity via glycogen synthase kinase-3beta, beta-catenin, and neurotrophin cascades.” Journal of Pharmacological Sciences. 2009 May;110(1):14-28. (source)

[xi] Kaidanovich-Beilin O., Milman A., Weizman A., Pick C.G., Eldar-Finkelman H. “Rapid antidepressive-like activity of specific glycogen synthase kinase-3 inhibitor and its effect on beta-catenin in mouse hippocampus.” Biological Psychiatry. 2004 Apr 15;55(8):781-4. (source)

[xii] O’Brien W.T., Harper A.D., Jové F., Woodgett J.R., Maretto S., Piccolo S., Klein P.S. “Glycogen synthase kinase-3beta haploinsufficiency mimics the behavioral and molecular effects of lithium.” Journal of Neuroscience. 2004 Jul 28;24(30):6791-8. (source)

[xiii] Collingridge G.L, Watkins J.C. “The NMDA Receptor.” New York: Oxford Univ. Press; 1994.

[xiv] Chuang D., Christ L., Fujimaki K., Hashimoto R., Jeong M.R. “Lithium-induced inhibition of Src tyrosine kinase in rat cerebral cortical neurons: A role in neuroprotection against N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor-mediated excitotoxicity”. FEBS Letters 2003; 538(1-3): 45-148 (source)

[xv] Manji H.K, Chen G., Moore G.J. “Lithium at 50: Have the neuroprotective effects of this unique cation been overlooked?” Biological Psychiatry 1999; 46(7): 929-940 (source)

[xvi] Leeds P.R., Yu F., Wang Z., Chiu C., Zhang Y., Leng Y., Linares G.R., Chuang D. “A New Avenue for Lithium: Intervention in Traumatic Brain Injury” ACS Chemical Neuroscience. 2014 Jun 18; 5(6): 422–433. (source)

[xvii] Schrauzer G.N. “Lithium: occurrence, dietary intakes, nutritional essentiality.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2002 Feb;21(1):14-21. (source)

[xviii] Concha G., Broberg K., Grandér M., Cardozo A., Palm B., Vahter M. “High-level exposure to lithium, boron, cesium, and arsenic via drinking water in the Andes of northern Argentina.” Environmental Science and Technology. 2010 Sep 1;44(17):6875-80 (source)

[xix] Angelucci F., Aloe L., Jiménez-Vasquez P., Mathé A.A. “Lithium treatment alters brain concentrations of nerve growth factor, brain-derived neurotrophic factor and glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor in a rat model of depression.” International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology. 2003 Sep;6(3):225-31. (source)

[xx] Aydin K., Uysal S., Yakut A., Emiroglu B., Yılmaz F. “N-acetylaspartate concentration in corpus callosum is positively correlated with intelligence in adolescents.” Neuroimage. 2012 Jan 16;59(2):1058-64 (source)

[xxi] Yucel K., McKinnon M.C., Taylor V.H, Macdonald K., Alda M., Young L.T., MacQueen G.M. “Bilateral hippocampal volume increases after long-term lithium treatment in patients with bipolar disorder: a longitudinal MRI study.” Psychopharmacology (Berlin). 2007 Dec;195(3):357-67 (source)

[xxii] Schrauzer G.N., de Vroey E. “ Effects of nutritional lithium supplementation on mood. A placebo-controlled study with former drug users.” Biological Trace Element Research. 1994 Jan;40(1):89-101. (source)

[xxiii] Sartori H.E. “Lithium orotate in the treatment of alcoholism and related conditions.” Alcohol. 1986 Mar-Apr;3(2):97-100. (source)

[xxiv] Lakhan S., Vieira K.F. “Nutritional therapies for mental disorders” Nutrition Journal 2008; 7: 2. (source)

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Join The Discussion - 781 comments

Felix Comella
April 4, 2018

Dear David:

Thank you very much for your time and dedication. I have a question on lithium orotate. I am currently taking 2 or 3 doses of 5 mg a day and it’s working great for my anxiety, tension and irritability. My negative thoughts have almost disappeared. The problem is that it’s also giving me erectyle disfunction…

Any tips or suggestions here?

    David Tomen
    April 4, 2018

    Felix, ED never came up during my research on Lithium Orotate. Likely because it is such a small dose of lithium. So it comes as a surprise that Lithium Orotate had this effect on you. There are plenty of studies showing that male patients with bipolar being treating with much higher doses of lithium experienced ED. It seems that lithium prevents relaxation of the corpus cavernosum (

    I use Lithium Orotate daily and do not have this issue. But I also supplement with 6,000 mg of L-Arginine daily as well. Turns out that in clinical studies L-Arginine reversed this side effect in men having this problem ( You may want to try supplementing with L-Arginine and see if that helps. It’s perfectly safe to use daily and there is no tolerance.

      April 4, 2018

      Thanks David for your reply… 6,000 mg of L-Arginine is 6 grams, like 12 500 mg capsules of it. do you take them all at once or throughout the day?

      Thanks again brother!

        David Tomen
        April 4, 2018

        Felix, I buy bulk powder and make my own 1,000 mg capsules. Sometimes I take them all at once. And sometimes divide it into two doses. 1,000 mg of L-Carnitine also helps because it inhibits the enzyme the degrades nitric oxide production. So I use 6,000 mg of L-Arginine and 1,000 mg of L-Carnitine.

        April 5, 2018

        Awesome work David!

March 3, 2018

I have a family member who recently had a hyper-manic episode and was diagnosed as bipolar. They currently are taking zyprexa but they really don’t like it. Do you think LO would help them and would it interact with the Zyprexa.

    David Tomen
    March 3, 2018

    Bernard, Lithium Orotate may interact with Zyprexa (Olanzapine) but the doses of elemental lithium in a Lithium Orotate tablet or capsule are so low (i.e. 5 mg) that it may not be an issue. The do have some similarity in their mechanism of action in the brain.

    A great resource for checking drugs interaction with other meds and supplements is here >

    You may find other good options for bipolar disorder here on Nootropics Expert. Use the search function top right for “bipolar” and see what turns up.

jessica li zane
February 28, 2018

Dear sir,
I have tryed litium orotate.I also use vit e,b,k,d,c,and I use wild yam,5htp,dhea,athrroid supplement and spirulina.I started to have chest pains during my second or third this because of my combination of supplements?

    David Tomen
    February 28, 2018

    Jessica, I was likely because of at least one supplement. 5-HTP in particular is a potent supplement and I recommend avoiding it. And choosing something else to boost serotonin.

    What versions of Vitamin E, B-Vitamins and Vitamin C are you using? If any of them are synthetic they could be causing problems.

February 27, 2018

Hi David very informative as usual do you know anything about NSI-189?

    David Tomen
    February 27, 2018

    Dan, I have not researched NSI-189 but it works by promoting neurogenesis as I recall. We have several other nootropics that also promote neurogenesis. And I would be using those before trying an experimental drug. Seems safer to me.

      February 27, 2018

      Thanks for your reply David, I have been on Wellbutrin and NAC am still having anhedonia along with brain fog.What do you recommend?

        David Tomen
        February 28, 2018

        Dan, Wellbutrin is a norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitor (NDRI). And it’s an antagonist of acetylcholine receptors. And it negatively affects serotonin receptors. If you are still using Wellbutrin it means your brain (esp.. in the prefrontal cortex) is releasing more dopamine and norepinephrine. More acetylcholine should be available. But it sounds like you do not have access to as much serotonin as you should.

        There are all guesses because that’s the way Wellbutrin is supposed to work. But no guarantees that is exactly what it is doing or has done in your brain. Once you start messing with the balance of neurotransmitters …

        You may want to try Lion’s Mane to help repair some of the receptor damage ( And take a look at Phenylpiracetam for brain fog (

        But whatever you try please follow dosage instructions to a “T”. I also suggest you use the search function top right for “brain fog” and see what turns up.

thelma jackson
February 24, 2018

I have the lithium orotate.I am confused when you say 5mg and on the bottle it says 120mg.please email me asap so I can start taking the right dosage for me.thanks

    David Tomen
    February 25, 2018

    Thelma, the supplement is “lithium” + “orotate”. 120 mg typically contains 5 mg of “elemental” lithium. Which means a 120 mg tablet or capsule will supply 5 mg of lithium.

      February 8, 2019

      Why is it that I see 5mg tables of LO that say that they contain 5mg of Lithium and then 120mg tables that say the same? For example, a very well-respected brand is Pure Encapsulations which is 5mg of Lithium “as Lithium Orotate” Very confused…

        David Tomen
        February 9, 2019

        Brain, because if you measured 5 mg on a small scale you’d see how tiny the amount is. The rest is to fill the capsule and pad out the tablet.

February 19, 2018

HI David,
I have a general question and would appreciate tapping into your extensive knowledge. I will do my own research as well but want to know if I can even use nootropics at all.

I take 450 mg Wellbutrin, 20 mg Lexepro, and 8 mg Subutex (for pain). I have had depression most of my life and also have Fibromyalgia. I would like to try taking Mind Lab Pro to increase my motivation. I also have social anxiety which is a secondary but less important issue.
1. Do you know if there are any drug interactions with what I’m taking?
2. If not, what should I add to it to increase motivation? 3. Is there anything I should add to help with my social anxiety?
I would appreciate any input. I can’t continue to live my life the way I am… I am totally unmotivated and feel like I’m just waiting to die. Please help.

    David Tomen
    February 20, 2018

    Taylor, the first thing you need to do is learn exactly what each of the drugs you are using does in your brain. I’ve found a good place to start is Wikipedia. Learn as much as you can about each. Especially the section called “mechanism of action”.

    Then learn as much as you can about each nootropic you are considering. Again, learn about their “mechanism of action” in your brain.

    Then ask yourself what would happen if you combined a drug with a nootropic that does exactly or similar things in your brain. What would be the consequences? For example, if the drug increases dopamine and the nootropic increases dopamine too … what does too much dopamine mean? And how can it harm you?

    A good place to start with drug interactions is here >

    I’ve also written posts on increasing motivation and decreasing social anxiety. You can find those posts in the list here >

    I’ve been where you are right now. So I get it. But help is available starting right here. It will take dedication and a time commitment on your part. And it is a steep learning curve. Stick with it and you will get better. I know … I did.

      June 24, 2019

      Lithium Orotate is not listed on drug interactions website. I have the same question about wellbutrin and you didn’t clarify anything.

        David Tomen
        June 25, 2019

        Dom, You’re not likely to find “lithium orotate” on the drug interaction website. You may find “lithium” + some other version like carbonate. Are you asking about interactions between lithium and Wellbutrin?

Matthew Mason
February 19, 2018

Hi David, just had a question about some drug interactions with lithium orotate. I’m taking 10 mg abilify, 300mg lamotrigine, and 75mg synthroid. I have bipolar 2 disorder and am considering supplementing with low dose lithium. My psyciatrist has already cleared me for the use of lithium orotate which is good. The only thing is that he wants to wait and see if increasing my lamotrigine from 250 to 300mg will help my mood; I cycle a lot and its very frustrating. I am going to start taking lithium orotate if this med increase does not work. Are there any neggative drug interactions that you are aware of with these medications that I am on.

    David Tomen
    February 19, 2018

    Matthew, there are no drug interactions that I know of with the meds you are using and Lithium Orotate. Primarily, because the lithium dose is so low. But please don’t take my work for it. I’ve found a great place to check for drug interaction here > (Check for “lithium” but not “lithium orotate”).

    If you decide to try Lithium Orotate I suggest you follow the dosage instructions in this review including using 1,000 mg of a high quality Omega-3 and 400 UI of Vitamin E (as mixed tocopherols). Please do not use the “dl” synthetic version of Vitamin E.

    You may find it works even better by supplementing with folate and Vitamin B12 as well. Because lithium enhances the transport of Vitamin B12 and folate into brain cells. Which affects mood and aggression. But it can’t transport these vitamins into brain cells if there is not enough of each available.

February 18, 2018

Does LO Can help you or an aid to taper or withdrawing Rivotril (Clonazepam) another Benzo, i just take it for just 5 weeks, i dont like taking synthetic psych drugs, so i consult another psychiatrist. He gave me an anti-depressants/anti-anxiety drugs that he saids i needed to help me taper and gradually lower my dosages. I dont have any depression but anxiety i know, this makes me so confused. He said that “Jovia” That medicines is not habit forming, i can stop it anytime if i want it too. Is it true? Though its not a benzo drugs, but an anti depressants/anti anxiety. Pls i need help

    David Tomen
    February 19, 2018

    Ron, it depends on what definition you are using for “habit forming”. Detoxing from benzos and antidepressants is worse than detoxing from opiates. And one of the reasons people stay on them. Because they fear the withdrawal symptoms.

    Lithium Orotate can help boost the effectiveness of antidepressant medications. But is not much help in detoxing from them as far as I know.

    There are several natural alternatives for dealing with anxiety. You can read more about that here > The focus of that post is “social anxiety” but it applies to any kind of anxiety you are experiencing.

    But a BIG word of caution here …

    Many nootropics on Nootropics Expert can be dangerous (and sometimes deadly) when combined with prescription meds. Particularly antidepressants. So please be very careful and do your research before trying anything. Most mainstream doctors haven’t a clue so it’s up to you do do your homework.

    Carefully read through the full reviews linked to in the anxiety post. And if you have any questions please leave a comment at the bottom of the relevant review.

      Patricia volkova
      September 23, 2018

      Hi Ron, I nowadays use Pharmagaba in stead of Temazepam (a benzo). It works so well that I rarely have to use a Temazepam. Besides that I am on lithium (carbonate), and hope to be on LithiumOrotate within a view years. I also use magnesium and zinc (both relaxing) and orther suplements.

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