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Lithium — More Than a Mood Stabilizer

A toddler, laughing in a field of red flowers.

A happy and laughing young woman.

Photo by Ivana Cajina on Unsplash

A look at the many uses of this element and how it can improve your life

Happiness is the quest of every person alive.

 I believe we all desire and deserve to be happy. The dream however is an oft-elusive one for many. I have always measured happiness in terms of hills and valleys. Life seems to be a continuous cycle of being down in the valley followed by lapses atop the hills. Be sure to enjoy these lapses as you may soon find yourself free-falling into the abyss of another valley…

We are often blessed with moments of sublime happiness.

Recently I came across an interesting tidbit of information that set me on a path of investigation. Several areas in the state of Texas and the world were found to have Lithium present.

Lithium is a naturally occurring element that resides in the soils and leaches into the drinking water. This “accidental” consumption  provides a plethora of health benefits.

The National Library of Medicine states that Lithium found in the drinking water supply has a positive impact on the mental and physical health of those who benefit from the water supply. The element was found in varying quantities depending on seasons and uptake.

Although Lithium is not considered a micro-nutrient, according to science its loss has a profound effect similar to a deficit of sodium, potassium and magnesium, to name a few.

Lithium — what it is

The element Lithium(Li) was first discovered in 1817 as a naturally occurring metal within the earth’s crust. Noted as the least dense of all the elements, it has been used to treat disorders of mentation since 1949 and lauded for its normothymic effect.

Lithium is used primarily in treating bipolar disorder, manic episodes, suicide and schizophrenia.

A number of studies have shown that elemental Lithium found naturally in the soils and leached into the drinking water supply. Also found in some of the fruits and vegetables we consume. It has been proven to decrease the rates of suicides, depression, rapes and crimes of violence as well as numerous benefits on the physical well-beings such as; Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, muscles, heart, bone and cartilage repair.

Many colorful vegetables that contain lithium
Photo by Dane Deaner on Unsplash

How is it used?

Lithium taken as Lithium orotate has greater ease of bioavailability and ease of transport across the cell layer by simple diffusion utilizing the sodium channels. Scientists believe that its similarity to sodium and magnesium affect its bio-availability and therapeutic levels. Blood level availability is also dependent upon various enzymes, hormones and vitamins. The management of Lithium in any disease process will need close and constant monitoring to titrate dose for maximum benefit per patient.

How does it benefit us?

Lithium has been known to increase density of the gray matter and increase the size of the amygdala and hippocampus (the emotional brain). It is known to stimulate the production of neural stem cells. Has protective effects against oxidative stress and its consequences. It modulates immune response.

Where can I find it?

A glass of clear drinking water known to contain lithium
Photo by KOBU Agency on Unsplash

 

Lithium is present in the water supply of many countries and in many of the foods we eat. Some of the main sources of Lithium are; cereals, potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage and some mineral waters. It is also present in some spices of nutmeg, coriander seeds, or cumin of course the amount present will depend on the soil in which they are grown.

Lithium is available as an over the counter(OTC) supplement and can also be prescribed by your physician for psychiatric disorders. Be sure to discuss with your primary care provider before  you  begin taking any new supplements or medications!

Contraindications:

Lithium is not the first line drug for persons with:

  1. Significant renal disease
  2. Cardiovascular disease
  3. Severe debilitation
  4. Severe dehydration
  5. On diuretic therapy
  6. Sodium depletion
  7. Pregnancy

The risk of toxicity is too high as the Lithium toxicity is closely related to serum therapeutic lithium levels. The care is best done under the care of a medical provider.

You should not attempt this on your own!


Conclusion:

Lithium appears to be the panacea for diseases of the psyche with added benefits to the physical body. It is water soluble and can be promptly bio-available for uptake by the cells. By its proven record it has the ability to influence the mood, depression and overall mental health of many.

It is naturally occurring in soil and as such is present in the drinking water supply of many. Lithium occurs naturally in many foods, albeit in varying degrees dependent upon its availability and uptake by plant life for use. It is touted as a micro-nutrient although the nomenclature does not reflect that at this time. It has proven to offer a number of health benefits, including some longevity.

Science continues to study the properties of Lithium as a first line of defense in the rising issue of mental and physical decline in the hopes that fortifying food with this element will become a strategy of primary prevention in mood disorders and pre-suicidal syndromes.

How much do I need?

Provisional recommended intakes set at 1000 μg/day for a 70-kg adult (14.3 μg/kg body weight).

References:

  1. https://www.researchgate.net
  2. https://www.psychiatryadvisor.com
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  4. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal
  5. https://www.researchgate.net/journal/1879-1379_Journal_of_Psychiatric_Research

Click here to learn more about stress and how to cope.

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Hand Sanitizing –Is It Safe?

A look at hand sanitizers and what it may mean for your health

Photo by Matthieu Joannon on Unsplash

My patient once told me he could easily identify nurses — they have worn-looking hands and tired feet! That was an eye opening moment for me, I realized his statement rang true. My hands were looking a bit worn. Could it be from the excessive use of washing and hand sanitizers? As a healthcare worker I spend many moments per day applying hand sanitizer or washing my hands.

At any given moment your hand harbors anywhere from 10,000 to 10,000,000 microbes awaiting an opportunity to strike. While some are relatively harmless others like Clostridium difficile and Escherichia coli can cause you serious harm.

What it is hand sanitizer

A hand sanitizer is a disinfectant usually in liquid, foam or gel form that is used to kill microbes.

Alcohol-based disinfectants — are the gold standard in the fight against opportunistic infections within and without healthcare organization. The composition of hand sanitizer solutions typically utilizes no less than 70% (v/v) isopropyl or ethyl alcohol. Scientifically proven to kill at least 99.9% microbes.

The CDC recommends a percentage of at least 60% alcohol is an effective and recommended concentration for use in healthcare setting.

While alcohol-based hand sanitizers can effectively reduce the number of microbes on hands, sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs. Soap and water has proven to be more effective in killing and removed microbes and preventing the spread of infections.

Dangers that lurk in your hand sanitizer?

  1. Ethyl alcohol no less than 70% concentration this is the “active” ingredient.
  2. Triclosan — Some short-term animal studies have shown that exposure to high doses of triclosan is associated with a decrease in the levels of some thyroid hormones. Triclosan is an active ingredient used to reduce or prevent bacterial contamination. It is commonly added antibacterial soaps and body washes, toothpastes, and some cosmetics. Causes hormone imbalance
  3. Water
  4. Phthalates — maintains pliability
  5. Isopropyl alcohol — another active ingredient
  6. Carbomer — creates the gel-like consistency
  7. Propylene glycol — pulls moisture from the air
  8. Tert-butyl alcohol —Tert-butanol is poorly absorbed through skin by inhalation or ingestion. Low toxicity seen at low doses and a sedative or anesthetic effect at high doses.
  9. Aminoethyl propanol — pH stabilizer
  10. Denatonium benzoate — a teratogenic (cancer causing) insecticide with a moderate toxicity to mammals
  11. Fragrance
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

How to use hand sanitizers

The correct way to apply hand sanitizer is to apply it to the palm of one hand (the product label should provide the recommended amount per use). Rub the sanitizer over all surfaces of your hands for 30 seconds including your thumbs until your hands are dry. Rubbing for 30 seconds enhances its efficacy.

If your hands are visibly soiled do not use hand sanitizer, instead wash for 20 seconds with soap and water.

Photo by Mélissa Jeanty on Unsplash

How can it harm us?

  1. Overuse can lead to resistance to antimicrobials.
  2. Sanitizers often reduce the amount of microbes with actually destroying them.
  3. May actually lead to bacterial resistance.
  4. Alcohol is drying to your skin.
  5. My lead to skin allergies.
  6. Can be volatile and therefore highly flammable.
  7. Cause hormone imbalances.
  8. Can be cancer causing.
  9. Skin absorption — measured as increased blood alcohol levels after continuous use for four hours by healthcare workers.
Photo by Collins Lesulie on Unsplash

How we can protect ourselves

As a healthcare worker, I have used a lot of hand sanitizer to date. I naively assumed that our regulatory agencies are monitoring and ensuring that products put out for public consumption are safe for our use. While doing this research I was truly horrified that some the ingredients present in hand sanitizers have the propensity to cause as much harm as COVID-19.

How can we protect ourselves? — by using soap and water to wash our hands whenever possible and reduce the use of hand sanitizers. We must make every effort to then keep the sanitizer-infused hands away from our faces and mucus membranes as well as refrain from eating until such a time as we are able to physically wash our hands.

We should attempt to limit the exposure of our children to these known dangerous and teratogenic chemicals and in so doing perhaps we can reduce our incidences of the many cancers, hormonal imbalances and many diseases present in our world today.

To reduce the spread of microbes we must employ the use of soap and water in lieu of using hand sanitizers if at all possible.

While I appreciate the protection afforded by hand sanitizers when I am unable to wash with soap and water I realize that this is not the best practice for our long term health goals.

References

  1. https:/www.cdc.gov
  2. https://www.fda.gov
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com
  4. https://stm.sciencemag.org
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc
Posted on 15 Comments

Un-masked

pexels-photo-3962285
Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

An strange encounter with a mask-less shopper.

Two days ago I took my 15-year old daughter to the store. Once a favorite pastime, it is now a journey of bare necessity. I was happy to browse around the isles while she did her shopping. Suddenly I was rudely yanked out of my reverie by what appeared to be a female shopper.

“Did you see Fauci, that someone taped and put him on the internet, he was speaking without a mask on”? I blankly looked at the speaker, a bit perturbed. Instinctively I shook my head no. In my mind the questions began.

Why would I feel the need to monitor whether Dr. Fauci wears a mask or not, he ought to know better but if not, what can I do about it. And why in God’s name is this strange woman interrupting me when I have my mask on and so does my daughter to ask me such a question. Then again, Why she this “unmasked” stranger decides to ask me about someone else when she herself does not have a mask on?

She continues rambling on that she has the video and can show it to me. No thank you I said to her, I will google it. Again she offers to show it to me. She tells me I have it here, let me show you. I repeat, no … she insists.

Again I tell her no and walk off.

My mind is questioning again, her insistence that I come to look at her phone. Why would I want to be that close to any person in the state of Texas that does not see fit to wear a mask to protect herself to view something on her phone.

She went on to state that she had broken her nose and found it difficult to breathe with a mask on and even went so far as to say that she had her mask in her pocketbook and can show it to me. Keep in mind no such words escaped my lips. I am not monitoring masks.

I kept walking to the cash register trying to get out of there. As I was in this bizarre information exchange with this unmasked stranger. I looked around and realized that several other patrons were mask-less as well.

The cashier to her credit was wearing a mask, although it was residing well below her nose. The theme song from the twilight show is now playing in my head.

I hurried my daughter out of that establishment and she said “mom that was really bizarre. What was that all about?”

I have no answers.

Photo by Macau Photo Agency on Unsplash

I told my daughter if she ever gets a ridiculous request like that do not, in today’s pandemic step closer that six feet to look at anyone’s phone or anything else. Most especially if that person is, in my opinion, disrespecting themselves and others by refusing to wear a mask. They should be deemed dangerous.

Later I reflect on what would make that unmasked stranger approach me with such bizarre information sharing? I was not speaking of masks, I was not on the phone, in fact I was not speaking at all.

Be vigilant and stay well.