Lithium, Mortality Rates, and Longevity

Lithium is known to extend life in nematode worms, though I haven't seen much further exploration of the mechanism. Here, Japanese researchers show that lithium intake is also associated with human mortality - though as for all such large statistical studies, one would want to see confirming work from other parts of the world before taking it as fact: "Lithium is a nutritionally essential trace element predominantly contained in vegetables, plant-derived foods, and drinking water. Environmental lithium exposure and concurrent nutritional intake vary considerably in different regions. We here have analyzed the possibility that low-dose lithium exposure may affect mortality in both metazoans and mammals. ... Based on a large Japanese observational cohort, we have used weighted regression analysis to identify putative effects of tap water-derived lithium uptake on overall mortality. Independently, we have exposed Caenorhabditis elegans, a small roundworm commonly used for anti-aging studies, to comparable concentrations of lithium, and have quantified mortality during this intervention. ... In humans, we find here an inverse correlation between drinking water lithium concentrations and all-cause mortality in 18 neighboring Japanese municipalities with a total of 1,206,174 individuals ... Consistently, we find that exposure to a comparably low concentration of lithium chloride extends life span of C. elegans ... Taken together, these findings indicate that long-term low-dose exposure to lithium may exert anti-aging capabilities and unambiguously decreases mortality in evolutionary distinct species."

Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21301855

Comments

Lithium induces autophagy, the mechanism behind calorie restriction.

Posted by: Anonymous at February 14th, 2011 2:47 PM

@Anonymous: So it does. Thank you for that pointer. That's what I get for skipping through abstracts too rapidly when I post; I miss the half that make sense to me in favor of the half that only talk about low-level protein-protein interactions.

Posted by: Reason at February 14th, 2011 2:57 PM

Lithium a "robust neuroprotective agent" can repair lost neurons, help with bipolar disorder and depression, slow or stop ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), perhaps prevent Alzheimer's, and also reduces craving for alcohol. Tomato paste is a good source of lithium and you can also take 5 to 10 mg capsules of lithium daily, sold without a prescription.

Posted by: anameymous at February 22nd, 2011 11:06 AM

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