Dr. Ron’s Research Review – April 13, 2011

This week’s research review focuses on the anti-aging properties of lithium.

Low-dose lithium uptake promotes longevity in humans and metazoans

            (Zarse, Terao et al. 2011)

Dr. Ron

Low-dose lithium uptake promotes longevity in humans and metazoans

            (Zarse, Terao et al. 2011) Download

PURPOSE: Lithium is a nutritionally essential trace element predominantly contained in vegetables, plant-derived foods, and drinking water. Environmental lithium exposure and concurrent nutritional intake vary considerably in different regions. We here have analyzed the possibility that low-dose lithium exposure may affect mortality in both metazoans and mammals. METHODS: Based on a large Japanese observational cohort, we have used weighted regression analysis to identify putative effects of tap water-derived lithium uptake on overall mortality. Independently, we have exposed Caenorhabditis elegans, a small roundworm commonly used for anti-aging studies, to comparable concentrations of lithium, and have quantified mortality during this intervention. RESULTS: In humans, we find here an inverse correlation between drinking water lithium concentrations and all-cause mortality in 18 neighboring Japanese municipalities with a total of 1,206,174 individuals (beta = -0.661, p = 0.003). Consistently, we find that exposure to a comparably low concentration of lithium chloride extends life span of C. elegans (p = 0.047). CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, these findings indicate that long-term low-dose exposure to lithium may exert anti-aging capabilities and unambiguously decreases mortality in evolutionary distinct species.


Zarse, K., T. Terao, et al. (2011). "Low-dose lithium uptake promotes longevity in humans and metazoans." Eur J Nutr.