My Experience with Lithium Orotate and Bipolar Disorder – 3 months in
It’s been about 3 months since I started putting Lithium Orotate in my body instead of Lithium Carbonate. 7 years ago I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and in the last 3.5 years I have been trying many different things try to minimize the amount of medications I put in my body as I feel this strategy will prolong my life. It scared me crapless when I heard that people who experience the mental health system die on average 25 years earlier (I’ll put the link at the end of this post). I do still take 50mg of Quetiapine every night and that is the only unfortunate bit of medication I am taking right now.
Please keep in mind, I’m sharing my lived experience and this is not medical advice. Everyone is different and results of this type of self experimentation can vary. Consult your doctor before you doing any messing around, or a professional somewhere in the world that knows something about Lithium Orotate for Bipolar.
These are the 3 I know of: (I am not an affiliate of any of these guys)
Dr. Peter Smith – he does very detailed Skype consultations and has the Bipolar condition himself and his methods are based on self experimentation and clinical practice
“The Lithium Doctor” – he will talk to you for 3 minutes for free – enough time to get his blessing 🙂 and then you can pay for the extra time if you go over
Dr. John Gray
My Lived Experience with Bipolar “Disorder” and Lithium Orotate:
The kind of Lithium Orotate I’ve been taking the last 1.5 months is KAL brand Lithium Orotate because it’s available on vitacost.com at about $5 US a bottle for 60 capsules. You can get it on Amazon Prime for $9 USD for 120 capsules. Read on to see that there are many brands available.
I need 2 bottles a month as I take 4 per day (20mg of Lithium Orotate, 2 in the morning at least an hour after other minerals like Zinc and Magnesium, and 2 in the evening in the same fashion). It doesn’t seem to bother me at all if I take it on an empty stomach. It’s funny how cheap it is. I live in Canada and I don’t pay for my drugs because of low income but if you are in the USA where you have to pay $$$ for Lithium Carbonate, it might be a motivation to try switching at some point (as well as considering a zillion other factors). Keep in mind, there are lots of preparations to make before switching like making sure you have a safe and comfortable living situation, low stress etc etc as you don’t want to have other factors interfere with the possible success. If you are super stressed and feel unsafe, switching might be an extra stressor that will result in failure. It took me almost 7 years to switch and I have tons of learning in all aspects of life related to living with bipolar energy as well as safety plans. It’s not just whimsically messing around.
I have also taken Neurofuzion Lithium Orotate, Swanson Brand Lithium Orotate and Advanced Research brand Lithium Orotate in the last 3 months because I had a stash of different types of Lithium Orotate. Each one is 5mg capsules or tablets of Lithium Orotate, plus or minus a bit. The Advanced Research brand has 4.6mg of Lithium Orotate, Swanson has 5mg, KAL has 5mg, and Neurofuzion has 6mg per cap. Neurofuzion is way more expensive at $50 a month compared to about $10 a month for the others. I didn’t really notice a difference when I was on Neurofuzion for a few weeks. I don’t think I’ve really taken a long stint of the Advance Research brand yet as 4 tablets a day is 18.4mg per day instead of the 20mg I’ve been taking via the KAL brand. I’ve been saving it since I will be taking less in 4 tablets Lithium Orotate when I switch to it. I’ll be switching to it in a couple days as I’ll be out of the KAL brand and looking to use up my one bottle stash of the Advance Research brand. When I spoke with Peter Smith he recommended the Advanced Research brand so I guess I’m saving the best for last. I’ll let you know if my brain feels a difference.
The Advanced Research brand Lithium Orotate was created by Dr. Hans Napier with some super cool high technology sounding process of creating it (read about the Orotate molecule here – https://oawhealth.com/article/orotates-and-the-mineral-transporters-of-dr-hans-nieper/ ). It has some strange ingredients that are supposed to be good like Avicel, Prosolv, Compritol, Ac-Di-Sol, and Plasdone (I have a biochemistry background so these fancy nootropic sounding words get me all happy – either that or it’s the ABBA I’m listening to). KAL brand and I believe Swanson brand are just Lithium Orotate with no other goodies. Neruofuzion has other goodies that is perhaps why it’s so expensive. All of them that I’ve tried are capsules except for Advanced Research which are tablets.
Notes on Ordering Lithium Orotate Online:
I just looked it up on Amazon.com and there are even more brands that make Lithium Orotate and many are available on Amazon Prime. The Advanced Research brand is on there, but not via prime, so you might have to pay for shipping or wait a while. You can get Swanson brand on Amazon Prime. Neurofuzion isn’t on there.
Other brands that have Lithium Orotate on Amazon Prime (USA) are:
Weyland (vegetarian caps)
Complementary Prescriptions (vegetarian caps)
These vary in price ($9 USD to $40 USD), potency, and whether or not they have other helpers in with the Lithium Orotate. Some have vegetarian capsules, including the KAL brand. You can get KAL brand in 120 capsule bottles on Amazon Prime. It’s only 60 count on vitacost.com
If you order more supplements it might be worth trying vitacost.com or iherb.com. Right now, I’m taking a bunch of other supplements that compliment taking Lithium Orotate (eg. Zinc, Magnesium, St. John’s Wort, Taurine, Glycine, Bacopa, Multivitamin etc etc). I was taking certain vitamins and supplements for a month before I made the cold turkey switch. This may have played a role in my success so far. I collaborated with Dr. Peter Smith of balancingbrainchemistry.co.uk to learn what to take and when. It’s a learning process to figure out how to vary the doses of supplements depending on the state of Bipolar. This is a whole new language to learn and cost $$, and it’s a process that I find fun and interesting. He has tons of information on his website. I studied most of it before I spent money on a Skype consultation. It helps that I studied Biology in University so it’s not totally foreign to me. I’m going to keep going with it until at least after June and continue if I have success through a mental health crisis.
If learning about the body, nutrition and healthy living isn’t interesting, perhaps it’s best to forget about Lithium Orotate. I say that because healthy living has to go with exploring the possibility of taking healthier substitutes for medication. One must want to live a healthy life and always keep learning. The alternative is to keep popping Lithium Carbonate and giving all ones power over to doctors to say what to do and when and not have to use ones brain to learn a thing. The brain is a learning device. If we are learning, we are being congruent with what the brain is designed for. The brain loves our attention and knows when we are learning about it. It’s the same as how plants respond to human love, so do human braincells. It feeds back and feeds forward and feeds the braincells. We want a magic pill and then to keep doing everything the same. Lithium Orotate is not a magic pill that is anymore magic than Lithium Carbonate. It may not make things better, it may make them worse, just like Carbonate does. Some people have terrible side effects on Lithium Carbonate, others don’t. Orotate might not have any better results than Carbonate and sometimes the results of Carbonate suck anyway. And nothing keeps the lid on bipolar energy forever in general, unless many other modalities are explored at the same time. The question is, are you interested in living your life?
Back to the Supplement Ordering Process:
Unfortunately on vitacost.com or iherb.com they only have KAL brand Lithium Orotate, not Advanced Research, Swanson, Neurofuzion or any of the others listed. I order a lot of supplements from vitacost.com as they have a ton of selection and they ship all over the world. If you are on their mailing list they very very often send out coupon codes for 10-25% off. One trick if you need a coupon is to fill up your shopping cart and then just wait. If you don’t check out, they often send you 10% off within a day so you’ll complete your order. If you live in the USA, they offer free shipping over $50. I usually order $100 worth of stuff with at least 10% off, and get free shipping to Canada. I can only order up to 3 months supply of any one thing without the boarder holding it up, so this won’t help if you aren’t ordering other kinds of things. You can still get the discount they offer, but free international shipping doesn’t come into play unless the order is over $100, at least to Canada. They ship to tons of countries and when you estimate shipping costs in the shopping cart, they will tell you how much it will be based on what you have in your cart. If you buy more, you might eventually qualify for free shipping. One thing that happens sometimes is that certain items don’t ship internationally, but they don’t tell me that until I go to check out, so sometimes I have to revise my order. It sucks to have to pay the exchange but they DO NOT sell Lithium Orotate in Canada, and perhaps other countries are similar. They don’t have Lithium Orotate on Amazon.ca (Canada). Another trick if you order on vitacost.com is to sign up for a givingassistant.org account. If you have PayPal and you click through giving assistant to vitacost.com by putting vitacost.com in their search bar, you get 4% cash back on your order that you can get through PayPal. If you use my link to sign up, we both get $5.
For me, my ability to play around with what works for me is something I’m passionate and serious about. My worst nightmare is to be in a locked ward where I can’t choose what to put in my body at all. Since I have this freedom, I take the opportunity to learn more and more about how to navigate and surf these wild swings in energy. It seems to have a rhyme and rhythm; a life of it’s own. It doesn’t care if I’m doing well. It will not hesitate to pull the rug out from underneath me. I’m coming to terms with this and next time, it will be on my own terms as I’m making plans to have a crisis somewhere peaceful, where my brain can implode without making it into anyone else’s fault or problem. I’m wondering how this will change the flavour of the experience.
What drives me is curiosity and continuous learning. That was my motivation for switching cold turkey to Lithium Orotate. Since the switch, I haven’t noticed much of a difference, which is a good thing. Right now, I feel really good and that will continue for another 2 months or so until I “hit the wall” so to speak. Hitting the wall is what I call my bipolar crisis event. It happens when I’m at my best after several months of slowly increasing energy. It hits a peak at 8.5 months and I crash. I’m not sure if there is anything I can do to stop this energy from rising. I’ve tried in the past to stop the crisis that happens after the energy peaks to no avail. Lately I’ve been thinking about it more like a weather pattern. It seems I can’t stop the storm from coming, but I can prepare and carry an umbrella, rubber boots, and a rain poncho to weather the storm. Or I can be in shorts and a T-shirt and pretend it’s not going to happen and then be miserable when the storm comes.
Even though I’m taking Lithium Orotate now, this is the period of time in my bipolar biorhythm that I’m doing well anyway. I’m not a rapid cycler. When I hit the wall in June sometime, nothing is going to stop it. Not Lithium Orotate, not Lithium Carbonate, Seroquel or anything else. I am getting many strategies ready to go through a crisis. If you are considering switching, it would be a good idea to create many layers of safety and know these plans well.
Knowing that there are periods of time in my bipolar biorhythm that I do well, an experiment that I might do next after I navigate the upcoming crisis is to go medication free during the 2-4 months of time that I typically do well anyway, and then add medication back in when I get closer to the crisis point. I would continue on the Lithium Orotate as it’s a supplement and not a drug, but I would try to edit out the Quetiapine for as long as I can during the time of wellness. I’m not going to do that now as part of my experiment this time is to see if daily Quetiapine lessons the next crisis, delays it or stops it. I’m not counting on any of those things though. It’s nice to figure out what does what, and what is needed when.
I read a paper on the pros and cons (mostly cons) of what is called “antipsychotic maintenance treatment – time to rethink”. Antipsychotic maintenance treatment is the philosophy in psychiatry that people who experience psychosis should be on antipsychotics every single day for the rest of their life to treat it. This is the longest stretch that I’ve ever taken antipsychotics in this whole 7 years as I have not been on antipsychotic maintenance treatment ever previously. I’m not really afraid of it damaging my brain because I’ve experienced how quick the energy of the universe makes it grow back. Thank you neuroplasticity!! And right now, I feel super creative still even though I’m taking tranquilizers. I feel part of the bipolar mechanism is “too much neuroplasticity” at times. When I have a crisis my brain completely tanks and erases/suspends everything, but it comes back online every single time. Sometimes it takes longer than others, but it comes back no doubt. And each time I learn. I have a hope that isn’t false hope, it’s grounded in actualizing dreams and then falling apart, only to actualize dreams again.
The next experiment I’m thinking of is thus getting rid of doing maintenance treatment of any kind for Bipolar, and take meds during certain times in the cycle only. I can try this because I know my bipolar cycle. Or maybe, I’m getting to know that energy. That fabulously creatively destructive energy that would take all I might try to cling to.
I just listened to a presentation by Ron Unger called “Psychosis as Attempted Problem Solving” and it’s totally genius. I got access by signing up for his email list on recoveryromschizophrenia.org. He says everything so casually but it’s super profound. One sound bite was something like “tranquilizers relabelled antipsychotics”, “towards a transformation friendly mental health system”, and “our survival may depend on a better relationship with the visionary”. All this super resonates with me. Watch the whole thing to be fully inspired. 😉
Ron Unger also has 2 courses related to Psychosis, Dissociation and Trauma that I took and are pretty cool if you don’t know anything about psychosis and want to get a sense of it. It gets a great big “Lived Experience” stamp of approval from me. If you are a loved one supporting someone through bipolar, psychosis, and trauma, his courses provide understanding a practical ways to approach the person experiencing the phenomenon. Ron’s view is that something can be done therapeutically to heal psychosis over time. The mainstream view is nothing can be done, except for drugging it away, so why try anything else.
I also watch the documentary “The Solar Revolution”. I rented it of their website solar-revolution-movie.com but if you have Amazon Prime USA, you may be able to access it on Prime Video. There is tons of good stuff in it but one thing that stuck with me was that they pointed out that “tranquilizers only allow the strongest stimuli to reach our conscious perception”. To me this means that antipsychotics only allow the dominant, consensus, mainstream paradigm through to our conscious perception, and filter out the expanded perception of newer and deeper subtle perceptions that bring new meaning. This might not be all that bad of an idea for now as the awakening/transformation lets too much information much of the time to be practical. And our world is based on practicality, efficiency, productivity, commercialism etc.
Tomorrow it will be 2 years since the last time I was hospitalized in a psych ward. Before that I was in the psych ward 3 times in 14 months. The last hospitalization was particularly traumatizing and I had a bad bout of post hospitalization PTSD. After narrowly escaping being turned into an institutionalized mental patient, I vowed never to go back on my own 2 feet. Since then, I’ve “successfully” navigated 2 mental health crises without the hospital. This has pros and cons and isn’t fun but I like it better than being stripped of all my rights with other having the right to subject my body to any number of things with having any say. So now I’m over preparing for the next crisis to see what happens.
Again, this is lived experience and sharing my explorations. These aren’t recommendations as I’m not a doctor. I’m always experimenting in my lived experience, which gives me something to do. What I’m doing right now I might not be doing in 3 months. I find that the more I build a mountain of wellness in life and in knowledge, the easier it is to climb out of the abyss after I fall into it, sometimes. Life isn’t static, and wanting it to be is crazy. There are many more natural approaches to Bipolar out there than Lithium Orotate. See the resources page for other possibilities. The great things is there are no shortage of potential roads to increase wellness. I love exploring in many directions, including my passion for health through supplementation. If you want someone to talk to about Lithium Orotate, I’m speaking with Dr. Peter Smith for now. Here is one of his detailed pages on Lithium Orotate. And he has Bipolar so he has the knowledge and lived experience.
Another important point. Just because I’m on Lithium Orotate now does not mean I think I will never be back on Lithium Carbonate again. In my experience, “never” is a stupid word to keep in my vocabulary and can be very dangerous. It’s nice for me to have a break from Lithium Carbonate at the very least and learn how and when I can minimize it in order to preserve my kidneys and thyroid, which I need for later. My psychiatrist doesn’t know I switched off of Lithium Carbonate. They do know that I tapered off all meds last year. I’m lucky I have a supportive doctor who is very collaborative, not paternalistic, not blaming or shaming when they find out I experimented. After I tapered off meds and started having trouble, I went to my psychiatrist and they were very supportive and helped me navigate a crisis without hospitalization and get back on meds. They didn’t shut me out because I tried to do things my way for a while. The mental health system is full of lovely supportive human beings who will walk with you every step of the way, whatever steps you choose to take. Some might shut you out for “non-compliance” and if that is the case, it would be good to find someone else. If you have fear of the consequences from the system, that will negatively impact your possibility of success, no matter what it is. Non-compliance can be another word for listening to your own heart and thinking for yourself. Some say non-compliance is what saved them. If you don’t have professionals in your life that will allow you to make your own “bad decisions”, and decisions in general, it’s important to find supportive professionals.
Here is the link to the study “Morbidity and Mortality in People with Serious Mental Illness”
See page 4: “In fact, persons with serious mental illness (SMI) are now dying 25 years earlier than the general population”.
Don’t be one of them. There is so much we can do for ourselves.
Sending Love and Light