Pharmacies & Prescriptions

Parent Q&A

  • Psychiatrist for lithium microdosing?

    (2 replies)

    Does anyone know of a psychiatrist or other healthcare professional with experience prescribing microdoses of lithium? This is perfectly legal (lithium is an element, not a drug); as reported in the New York Times and elsewhere, there is good evidence that consuming very small amounts of lithium (e.g. in the water supply) has public health benefits (lower rates of depression and suicide) and may reduce dementia risk. The trouble is, there's little profit to be made here by the pharmaceutical industry. Given some questions about the form of lithium to take as well as possible side-effects, I'd be interested to hear of doctors knowledgeable in this area.  Thank you.

    I can't recommend a psychiatrist but I took lithium for years. I adapted well, but it caused weight gain, injured my thyroid, and required periodic liver and kidney tests. Lithium is probably the most effective medication for bipolar disorder, but is considered more of a "anti-convulsant/mood stabilizer" than an antidepressant. There are other anti-convulsant medications that are better tolerated and have fewer side effects. I was very happy to stop taking lithium. But everyone's experience is individual.

    You may have read that doctors don't prescribe lithium because it's an element, can't be patented, and pharmaceutical companies can't make money off it. Not true. In fact, lithium must be prescribed and is dispensed in a pill, with various patented and generic formulations manufactured by Big Pharma. My dosage was covered by my medical insurance. So the pharmaceutical companies are doing just fine with lithium.

    Also, just because something is natural doesn't mean it's good for you. Lithium is an element, but so are lead and uranium.

    I looked at the NY Times article and read some of the studies you referred to. The epidemiological evidence for lithium micro-dosing looks compelling, but quite scarce. Other treatments such as fish oil and exercise have more evidence of being useful. I don't want to say you shouldn't continue on this path, but you may want to re-evaluate, based on your specific health goals.

    Try emailing Catherine Stayer.  I believe she is a doctor that could help.

    drstater [at]

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