Listen, we love a health drink,
and are familiar with ever so many of them. So, when we unexpectedly came across some bottled water laced with um, LITHIUM, we were like, whoa, that’s not something you drink every day.
OR IS IT?
Now, lithium, which is a nutritionally essential trace element found predominantly in plant-derived foods and drinking water, is totally natural, and you actually MAY be drinking it every day after all. For example, the amount of lithium present in your tap water depends on where you live: Interestingly, southern California and west Texas apparently have areas with high concentrations, and everyone knows people who live in these areas are chill AF. Coincidence!?
So, lithium is not necessarily new as a health tonic—fun fact: the original 7Up! formula contained lithium citrate—but it does have kind of a weird rep as it is most commonly associated with pretty serious psych meds. (Of course, in 2022, mental health meds are far less stigmatized, but we digress b/c that’s a whole other story.)
ANYWAYS, getting back to our original point, is that lithium happens to be “nutritionally essential,” and apparently has all sorts of different uses. For example, Sara Buchan, Clinical Director of Poppi Wellness + Bio – Optimization, a most excellent and very cool health center located in Hudson, NY, stocks Third Element naturally lithiated sparkling water in-house and recommends it to her clients. She says it tends to have a calming effect on some but is quick to clarify the dosage between what you’d find in an OTC lithiated water product and what a medical professional might prescribe for more therapeutic purposes is quite different:
Third Element sources their water from a natural aquifer in a remote west Texas town and costs a whopping $49 per 4-pack. According to their website, “Lithium at nutritional levels has been shown to deepen sleep, lift mood, prevent cognitive decline as well as hangovers.”
While this all sounds like great news, we turned to our in-house wellness guru, medical expert and naturopath Dr. Jacqueline Jacques, who has schooled us on CBD tampons, among other subjects that inquiring minds like us want to know about!
First off, Dr. J wants to make it very clear that lithium is most definitely not the new CBD because it works so differently. (In a nutshell: Lithium modulates dopamine, NMDA, and GABA receptors (say that five times fast!), whereas CBD is a cannabinoid that works in the endocannabinoid system to inhibit an enzyme called FAAH—here is a wiki explanation should you feel you want to take a deeper dive!) So, like to be clear, CBD is just the new CBD.
ANYWAYS, while Dr. J acknowledges that lithium may offer some benefits and that sure, there are some interesting studies surrounding its effects, she does want to caution that—as in most situations, sigh—less really is more: “Lithium is an ultra-trace element. That does not mean that small amounts in your daily drinking water might not have benefits, but what it does mean is that unless you have bipolar disease, more might not be better,” she explains. “It is SO American to say, ‘If a little is good, then Super Size me!” Good point Dr. J, good point.
She also cautions that “too much lithium in your daily diet can damage your thyroid gland and poison your kidneys,” so yeah, there’s that.
What is the bottom line here? If you’re lithiated water curious, we say go for it …as long as you keep it real with small doses and don’t go too crazy. But uh, maybe consult your doctor first? (Our lawyers appreciate us saying that.)