The Big Little Mineral

Lithium could power your life

By Karen Frye

Usually when we think of minerals, we think of calcium, magnesium, zinc and so on. But there’s a trace mineral, lithium, that could possibly change your life in wonderful ways.

Unfortunately, trace minerals are scarce in the food supply, often due to modern farming practices. That’s one of the reasons we put our faith in supplements.

Lithium is found in nearly all rocks and, as water flows over and through rocks and soil, it picks up small amounts of this trace mineral. When people drank regularly from springs and wells, they would get little doses of lithium on a daily basis. At one time, people — including Mark Twain and several past U.S. presidents — traveled to Lithium Springs in Georgia to collect drinking water because of its natural abundance in the mineral. Believed to have beneficial effects on people’s moods, it was at one time used to treat depression.

While most people drink treated water today — removing harmful substances as well as natural trace elements — more recent research reveals a wide range of health benefits associated with the use of lithium.

One of the important things lithium does is slow down the aging process by regulating the enzyme glycogen synthase kinase-3, GSK-3. Too much of this enzyme can lead to age-related conditions that we accept as part of growing old.

Some studies have found that people who live in areas with even modest levels of lithium in their drinking water tend to live longer. Even those who take low doses for medical reasons have lower mortality rates from diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Lithium is critical in slowing down the aging process, protecting the brain, and improving mental health. Small doses may be effective in slowing cognitive decline and conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Could it be the secret ingredient in the “Fountain of Youth” that we all seek?  PS

Karen Frye is the owner and founder of Nature’s Own and teaches yoga at the Bikram Yoga Studio.

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