Tag Archives | lithium

Should Lithium Be Added To Drinking Water To Prevent Suicides?

lithiumMother Nature Network has the latest news on the previously discussed sort-of-logical-yet-profoundly-horrifying concept:

A study carried out in June of 2011 demonstrated that drinking water contaminated with lithium could actually lower suicide rates. So should lithium be added as a supplement to the water supply, as is done with fluoride?

In the study, 6,460 samples of drinking water were tested across 99 districts in Austria. Districts with higher levels of lithium tended to report lower suicide rates. In some areas lithium occurs naturally in the water supply, likely leached out of rocks and stones.

The results weren’t terribly shocking, as lithium has been used for decades to treat depression. This was the first time its effect was measured based on trace amounts within drinking water, however.

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Lithium in the Water Supply

The New York Times Magazine’s annual Year In Ideas issue is well worth reviewing. Here’s what I thought was the scariest idea of 2009 … subduing the population by putting lithium in public water systems (as if fluoride wasn’t bad enough, which of course the Times does not acknowledge, stating exactly the opposite):

America has been adding fluoride to its public water supplies for decades, based on overwhelming evidence that even low levels of the substance can significantly reduce tooth decay, with no major side effects. Now research from Japan suggests expanding the list of aqueous additives — namely, to lithium.

Lithium often occurs naturally, in trace amounts, in water supplies, particularly in areas with a high concentration of granite. In The British Journal of Psychiatry earlier this year, the neuropsychiatrist Takeshi Terao and other researchers showed that communities in Japan’s Oita Prefecture with higher levels of naturally occurring lithium in their water supplies had fewer suicides than those with lower levels.

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