Is Putting Lithium in Drinking Water To Prevent Suicides A Good Idea?

May 1, 2009

(ChatahBox)—A recent study conducted in Japan, suggests low levels of naturally occurring lithium in tap water may prevent suicides. This surprising study, just published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, has led some mental health professionals to consider the possibility of treating public tap water supplies with lithium to promote good mental health.

Has this modern society at the dawn of the twenty-first century, become so stressful and harmful to our mental health that we all need a good dose of lithium?

Japanese researchers from Oita University wondered if naturally occurring levels of the metal lithium contained in drinking water supplies had any effect on mental health of the residents who consumed it.

Lithium is a popular prescription drug used to treat bi-polar disorder, in much higher does as a salt compound. The drug works as a mood stabilizer, treating both mania and depression. Lithium metal salts are also used to make batteries.

So, the Japanese researchers tested the tap water of 18 different communities in Japan, measuring the levels of lithium in each water supply. The lithium levels in the water ranged from 0.7 micrograms per liter to 59 micrograms per liter.

The researchers then calculated the suicide rates of each of the 18 communities and discovered the regions with the highest levels of lithium in the water supply had significantly lower suicide rates.

The researchers said, “Our study suggests that very low levels of lithium in drinking water can lower the risk of suicide. Very low levels may possess an anti-suicidal effect.”

Lithium salts used to treat mania and depression can have serious side effects and is considered by the FDA as possessing teratogenic properties, which can cause birth defects if consumed by pregnant women in their fist trimester. It’s also not recommended for nursing mothers.

Although, depression and suicide are serious health issues that need to be addressed, it’s highly doubtful a proposal to treat public drinking water with lithium, even at low levels would be politically expedient and considering its potential harm to children, it would justifiably spark intense debate.

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Comments

One Response to “Is Putting Lithium in Drinking Water To Prevent Suicides A Good Idea?”

  1. David Valentine on May 6th, 2009 9:04 pm

    This is a terrible idea. It reflects the madness of the mass hysteria that the swine flu. just because a handful of people are ill it doesnt mean the entire population should be medicated. If people are depressed they have antidepressants to medicate their problems. The whole population should not be zombified by a drug that supresses human emotions as it potentially kills peoples humanity. less depression but also less emjoyment, low sex drive and even a limp noodle isnt really a promotional concept. The people suggesting this should be removed from their positions because it is quite simply an attack on a persons being. if i sneak a drug into someones drink i would be arrested and the preachers should be treated in the same way . This is a criminal idea. Its the same concept seen in movies such as 1984 and THX1138 it must be stopped . The police state needs a leash

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