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Lithium in tap water shown to extend lives of organism, humans

(RxWiki News) Low concentrations of the trace element lithium appear to extend life in model organisms and humans alike, according to a new study.

Lithium, which is mostly ingested through vegetables and drinking water, was found to extend life in the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) as part of the study. Researchers also found mortality rates were considerably lower in regions of Japan where municipalities had higher dosages of lithium in tap water.

A higher uptake of lithium in drinking water had previously been studied for psychological effect and linked to lower suicide rates and greater psychological well-being.

Study author Dr. Michael Ristow, a professor of nutrition in Jena, Germany, said more research would need to be conducted before recommendation of lithium as a low-dose dietary supplement.

Lithium as a prescription belongs to a class of drugs known as antimanic agents and is used to treat bipolar disorder patients by leveling out abnormal activity in the brain.