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By Dr. James Howenstine, MD.
May 5, 2004

Conventional medical thinking concerning the brain have always believed that the brain steadily decreased in size with aging and that when brain neurones (nerve cells) died they were lost forever. This explains why elderly persons generally have slightly smaller brains than younger individuals.

Preserving And Renewing Brain Cells With Lithium

Medical students are taught that there is a slow steady loss of brain cells with aging culminating in gradual shrinkage of the brain. Lithium has long been known to be an effective therapy for Bipolar Disorder (manic depression) when taken in high doses. However, recent research has shown that low doses of lithium preserve and renew[1] brain cells. Eight of ten persons given lithium showed an increase in brain grey matter of 3 % after only 4 weeks. By promoting brain cell regeneration and increasing brain size lithium can function as an anti-aging nutrient for the brain.

Lithium also accomplishes the following benefits for brain cells:

  • Lithium enhances DNA replication which is the first step to formation of new cells.
  • The damaging effects of excitotoxins. (monosodium glutamate (MSG), aspartame (Nutrasweet) etc. can be blocked by lithium.[2]
  • Animal research shows that lithium can decrease the areas of cell death after induced strokes by 56 %.
  • Lithium protects rat brain cells from the. increased levels of brain cell death caused by anti-convulsant drugs (Dilantin phenytoin , Tegretol, carbamazepine etc.)
  • Lithium may protect against adverse effects from mood altering drugs, alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, 'uppers"and "downers", and marihuana all of which cause brain damage with long term use.
  • Abnormally functioning signaling pathways may become repaired by lithium.
  • The aluminum felt to be a possible cause of Alzheimer's Disease (AD). is chelated[3] by lithium so it can be more easily removed from the body.

Research has suggested that lithium blocks the secretion of beta-amyloid in Alzheimer's disease and prevents damage from pre-existing beta amyloid. Overactivity of the brain cell protein tau contributes to death of neurones in Alzheimer's Disease. Lithium inhibits this tau protein damage and the formation of the neurofibrillary tangles seen in AD.

Ten years of research by 27 counties in Texas disclosed that the incidence of homicide, rape, robbery, burglary, arrests for drug possession, and suicide[4] were higher in counties whose drinking water contained little or no lithium. Counties whose drinking water naturally contained higher amounts of lithium had significantly lower rates of all these crimes. These counties with higher levels of lithium in their tap water experienced fewer hospitalizations for homicides, mental illness[5], psychosis, neurosis, schizophrenia, and personality disorder. Low dosage lithium benefits alcoholism and mood disorders seen in heavy users of alcohol and their relatives. This therapy is often obvious to family members[6] when depression, premenstrual tension, temper flareups and irritability cease affecting the individual. Lithium has been helpful in reducing aggressive[7] behavior in children. High dosages of lithium helped two adult women with severe anorexia nervosa[8] regain 26 and 20 pounds in six weeks. Both women experienced improvement in behavioral problems.

Low dosages of lithium have been found to be safe.[9] Dr. Jonathan Wright suggests 20 to 30 mg. of lithium aspartate or lithium orotate daily as an appropriate dose to stop brain aging. This is 1/3 to 1/6 the dosage of lithium carbonate used to treat manic depressive disorder. Dr. Hans Nieper of Germany has learned that lithium orotate or lithium aspartate penetrate cells more effectively than lithium carbonate so smaller doses can be used. One tablespoon of flaxseed oil daily along with 400 I.U. of vitamin E ensures that no lithium toxicity can develop. These lithium products can be obtained from Tehama Clinic 425-264-0059.

Should Lithium Be Added To The Water Supply In The U.S.?

The answer is yes, particularly for parts of the country where lithium water levels are low. Placing lithium in the water supply would almost certainly lower crime rates and would also improve the productivity of many emotionally troubled persons.

Is this likely to occur? Probably not because there is no large corporation that would profit from the placing of lithium in water. To understand the political environment surrounding an issue like this it is important to have an awareness of how fluoride was placed in U.S. water supplies.

Why did fluoride get placed in U.S. community water supplies? A politically important industry (aluminum manufacture) had an enormous problem disposing of the very toxic sodium fluoride created as a byproduct of the production of aluminum. Other than use as a rat poison, sodium fluoride had no economic value.

Was there any evidence that fluoride decreases the incidence of cavities? No, not then or since then.

Were any studies conducted to verify if the placing of fluoride in the water was safe for the American public? No.

Did anyone know how much fluoride should be added to water? No. The dose selected one part per million[10] was selected arbitrarily. When the legislation to place fluoride into U.S. water supplies was passed every congressman had bottled water placed in their offices. A prominent senator always carried a flask of spring water in his coat pocket when he dined in a fashionable Washington restaurant. He stated to his dinner companions " Not one drop of fluoridated water will ever pass my lips." Such are the guardians of our nation. Since placing lithium in our water could improve general health and decrease the need for pharmaceutical drugs there is little possibility this will occur.

Preserving Brain Function

An interesting study was done in elderly nuns living in a convent to try to ascertain what factors seem to contribute to declining brain function in the elderly (dementia). What was discovered was that those who were involved in activities that challenged the brain (learning new skills, working crossword puzzles, playing chess, etc.) were less likely to become demented than those who had no interests and were simply vegetating. This fits with "use it or lose it concept regarding brain function in the elderly" which appears to be valid.


1, Moore G.L. et al Lithium-induced increase in human grey matter. Lancet 2000; 356: 1, 241-1, 242
2, Nanaka S., Chronic lithium treatment robustly protects neurones in the central nervous system against neuro excitotoxicity by inhibiting N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor-mediated calcium influx. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of U.S.A. 1998; 95: 2,642-2,647
3, Radesater A., et al, Inhibition of GSK 3 beta by lithium attenuates tau phosphoralation and degeneration. Society for Neuroscience Abstracts 2001: 1, 437
4, Schrauzer,GN et al Lithium in drinking water and the incidence of crimes, suicides, and arrests related to drug addiction. Biological Trace Element Research 1990;105-113
5, Dawson E. B. The relationship of tap water and physiological levels of lithium levels of lithium to mental hospital admission and homicide in Texas. In Schrauzeer GN, Klippel KF (editors) Lithium in Biology and Medicine VCH Publishers, New York, 1991, pp. 170-187
6, Wright Jonathan Lithium Part 2 Other Effects Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients April 2004 pg.59-60
7, Wright J. Lithium, Part 2: Other Effects Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients April 2004 pp. 59
8, Bsreai A. Lithium id adult anorexia nervosa. Acta Psychiat Scand 1977; 55:97-101
9, Wright, J., Nutrition & Healing Vol. 10, Issue 7 Augiust 2003 pg.1-4
10, Mullins Eustace Murder By Injection The story of the Medical Conspiracy Against America pp 158 The National Council for Medical Research, P.O. Box 1105, Staunton, Virginia 24401

© 2004 Dr. James Howenstine - All Rights Reserved

Dr. James A. Howenstine is a board certified specialist in internal medicine who spent 34 years caring for office and hospital patients. After 4 years of personal study he became convinced that natural products are safer, more effective, and less expensive than pharmaceutical drugs. This research led to the publication of his book A Physicians Guide To Natural Health Products That Work. Information about these products and his book can be obtained from and at and phone 1-800-416-2806 U.S. Dr. Howenstine can be reached at and by mail at Dr. James Howenstine, C/O Remarsa USA SB 37, P.O. Box 25292, Miami, Fl. 33102-5292.









"Research has suggested that lithium blocks the secretion of beta-amyloid in Alzheimer's disease and prevents damage from pre-existing beta amyloid."