LithPro – One Amazing Supplement with Three Essential Ingredients
LithPro is a unique blend of 3 active ingredients and it has been specially formulated to provide support for optimal health and brain function. Developed by Dr Garry Gordon, one of the world’s leading experts in antiaging medicine and nutrition, LithPro combines (i) Lithium Orotate, (ii) Folate and (iii) Vitamin B12 (in the form of methylcobalamin) to make one amazing supplement therapy.
To fully understand the true benefits of LithPro, it’s necessary to look in more detail at each of these three active ingredients in turn.
1. Lithium Orotate
Lithium belongs to the same family as sodium, potassium and other elements. It is the most commonly used element for treating mood swings, bipolar disorders, mania and depression. It is also known for its ability to treat a number of conditions including stress, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), aggression, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), alcoholism and unipolar depressive illnesses (especially in Europe).
Lithium works by having a significant stabilizing effect on mood swings, depression and mania. Indeed, lithium is so successful in treating patients suffering from such conditions that it is the treatment of choice for recurring bipolar (manic / depressive) illness acting as an effective mood enhancer in 70-80 percent of bipolar patients.
Although lithium is extremely useful in the treatment of manic depressive illness, its pharmaceutical (i.e. prescription) versions (lithium carbonate and lithium citrate) are poorly absorbed by the cells of the body. This creates a significant problem because it is within cells that lithium exerts its therapeutic effects. The result is that, in order to have any therapeutic benefit, pharmaceutical forms of lithium have to be administered in such high doses that blood levels of lithium increase to such an extent that they border on being toxic (sic).
Symptoms of the toxic effects of lithium carbonate or lithium citrate can include thirst, frequent urination, hand tremors, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, blurred vision and muscular weakness. As a result patients using lithium carbonate and lithium citrate therapy in such circumstances have to be carefully monitored for signs of lithium poisoning.
But this is where Lithium Orotate, the type found in LithPro reigns supreme. Lithium Orotate (lithium salt of orotic acid) is vastly superior to lithium carbonate and lithium citrate because of its ability to increase the bio-availability of lithium many times over. Lithium Orotate is capable of transporting lithium directly to the membranes of mitochondria, lysosomes and the glial cells. Mitochondria are the powerhouses inside cells that take in nutrients, break them down and produce energy. Lysosomes are organelles found within cells that break up food so that it is easier to digest. Glial cells are the non-neuronal cells of the nervous system. Their role is to provide support and protection for neurons, the other main type of cell in the nervous system.
This result of this superior bioavailability is that the therapeutic dosage of Lithium Orotate is much lower than those of pharmaceutical forms of lithium. So, for example, a daily dose of 900 – 1800mg of lithium carbonate or lithium citrate, might only require a 150 mg per day dose of Lithium Orotate to achieve the same therapeutic effect. At such low doses the likelihood of experiencing any potential adverse lithium side effects is drastically reduced and the need for monitoring lithium levels in the blood is alleviated. And, even if you were unfortunate enough to suffer from any side effects – and it should be remembered that all medicines carry with them the potential for side effects to develop – the severity of these side effects would also be ameliorated with any side effects being far milder in nature.
Other conditions that respond to Lithium Orotate
Lithium Orotate has also been used successfully to treat a number of other conditions including migraine pain, low white blood cell counts, alcoholism and liver disorders. It may even have positive effects for people suffering from myopia (near sightedness) and glaucoma as lithium has a slight dehydrating effect on the eye which can result in improved vision and reduced intraocular pressure.
Lithium Orotate and its neuroprotective benefits
Given lithium’s effectiveness as a treatment for depressive illnesses, the neuroprotective effects of lithium may have been somewhat overlooked in the past. Fortunately, despite the fact that lithium therapy for bipolar disorders has been in use since the 1940’s, research has continued and one of the recent by-products of this ongoing research has been the amazing discovery that lithium offers significant neuroprotective benefits.
Researchers at Wayne State University School of Medicine have reported that not only can lithium help to protect brain cells from premature death; it may even cause brain cells to regenerate even if they are lost through disease. If this is the case then lithium may be of crucial importance in the treatment of diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease(1). Undoubtedly, further research is still needed. In May 2009 results of a 7 year longitudinal study into lithium led researchers to conclude that “future treatments that more directly target molecules in critical central nervous system pathways hold promise as novel, improved, long-term treatments for mood disorders as well as some neurodegenerative conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease”(2).
With its neuroprotective effects lithium may also help to safeguard your ability to remember things. Memories are stored in an area of the brain called the hippocampus which lithium is known to help protect. Unfortunately, the hippocampus is one of the first areas of the brain to suffer damage in Alzheimer’s Disease, with memory problems and disorientation often appearing as some of the first symptoms of the disease. By offering protection to the hippocampus and preventing its decline, lithium may again be of use in the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease and may be able to help protect you from senile dementia.
The second ingredient found in LithPro is Folate; it is a water-soluble B group vitamin (vitamin B9) that occurs naturally in food. The more widely known synthetic form of folate is folic acid which is commonly found in supplements and fortified foods. Folic acid is also known as folacin, pteroyl-L-glutamic acid and pteroyl-L-glutamate.
Folate was first identified in the 1930’s by Dr Lucy Wills. Dr Wills was able to demonstrate that anaemia during pregnancy could be reversed with brewer’s yeast. By the late 1930’s folate had been identified as the responsible nutrient and, by the early 1940s, it had been isolated in spinach leaves. This research and the subsequent isolation of the pure crystalline form of folate by a group of US based scientists known as “the folic acid boys” eventually resulted in the synthesis of Aminopterin, the world’s first anti-cancer drug.
The words folate and folic acid are derived from the Latin word “folium” which means ‘leaf’ because leafy vegetables are recognized as a principle source of the nutrient. However, today’s Western diets rely heavily on cereals and bread fortified with folic acid to try and meet daily dietary requirements.
Folate plays a number of important roles and should therefore be considered to be vital to ensuring optimum health. Folate is involved in the following areas:
The formation of new cells
Folate plays a crucial part in the formation of new cells:
- Folate is needed to make DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid). DNA is a nucleic acid that contains the hereditary material needed by all humans and indeed almost all other organisms. The information in DNA is stored as a genetic code made up of four chemical bases, with the sequence of these bases determining the genetic information available. Essentially our DNA forms our own personal genetic blueprint or genetic map
- Folate is also needed to make RNA (ribonucleic acid). Whilst RNA is very similar to DNA, it is structurally different in a number of important ways. RNA is essential to protein synthesis. It is also involved in a number of other important processes such as gene expression
Both DNA and RNA are the building blocks of cells and the role of folate in their production means that having sufficient levels of folate is especially important during periods of rapid cell division and growth such as during pregnancy and infancy.
Because folate is involved in the synthesis, repair and function of DNA, researchers have found that there is some evidence to suggest that sufficient levels of folate can also help to prevent changes to DNA that may in some cases otherwise lead to the development of cancer. Low folate levels appear to be associated with increased risks of developing breast, colon and pancreatic cancers. For example, in one study over 88,000 women who were cancer free in 1980 were followed for a period of 14 years. Researchers found that participants in the study aged 55 to 69 years who took multivitamins containing folic acid for more than 15 years had a markedly lower risk of developing colon cancer(3).
The production of red blood cells
Folate is also required by both adults and children to make normal red blood cells and to prevent anaemia(4). Red blood cells (also known as erythrocytes) are the most common type of blood cell. They act as the body’s principal means of delivering oxygen to body tissues via the blood supply. They are formed in the red bone marrow and live for around 120 days before they are broken down and replaced as part of the normal renewal process. Folate is needed to make red blood cells because it’s a crucial ingredient in DNA – without enough folate the body cannot make or maintain new cells. Therefore a lack of folate can cause you to develop anaemia (a deficiency in the number or quality of red blood cells) – although it should be remembered that folate deficiency is only one of a number of causes for anaemia.
The metabolism of homocysteine
Homocysteine is an amino-acid that is normally found in the blood. Problems with homocysteine can arise when levels become elevated because higher than normal homocysteine levels have been associated with cardiovascular disease and stroke. It appears that raised homocysteine levels may impair endothelial vasomotor function (which determines how easily blood flows through blood vessels), damage coronary arteries and make it easier for platelets (the clotting cells found in blood) to clump together and form blood clots which could result in a heart attack.
Folate is essential for the metabolism of homocysteine and a deficiency in folate may in turn lead to a rise in homocysteine levels which, as we have seen above, is a risk factor for developing cardiovascular disease. Studies have shown that folate supplementation can decrease homocysteine levels and improve endothelial function(5).
Vitamin B12 (as methylcobalamin)
The third ingredient found in LithPro is vitamin B12, this is a term given to a class of water-soluble vitamin that are naturally present in some foods, added to others, and available as a dietary supplements and prescription medications. In particular, vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal products, including fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk, and milk products. It is generally not present in plant foods.
Vitamin B12 exists in a number of different forms all of which share structural similarity and physiologic activity in the body. As the various forms of vitamin B12 contain the mineral cobalt, the vitamin B12 compounds are collectively known as cobalamins.
A number of vitamin B12 types exist in nature, but there are four types that humans can utilize:
- Cyanocobalamin (CN-Cbl)
- Hydroxycobalamin (OH-Cbl)
- Adenosylcobalamin (AdeCbl)
- Methylcobalamin (MeCbl)
Although cyanocobalamin is cheap and easy to create and therefore is the most commonly found form of B12 in supplements, it is methylcobalamin (as found in LithPro) that is easier to absorb and is readily used by the body, and in addition methylcobalamin easily crosses the blood-brain barrier.
Vitamin B12 is crucial for proper human metabolism. Like folate, it is essential for the creation of DNA, proper red blood cell formation and has a role to play with folate in relation to homocysteine levels. Like folate, a deficiency in B12 may lead to an increase in blood levels of homocysteine which, as we have discussed above, is associated with an increased risk in relation to developing cardiovascular disease.
As the form of vitamin B12 that is active in the central nervous system, methylcobalamin also has a neurological role to play and is involved in the maintenance of healthy nerve tissue.
If you were to become deficient in vitamin B12 you would experience symptoms such as megaloblastic anaemia (an anaemia that results from inhibition of DNA synthesis in red blood cell production), weight loss, constipation, loss of appetite, fatigue and weakness. Cognitive symptoms include depression, confusion and dementia. You would perhaps also notice neurological changes such as tingling and numbness in the hands and feet. These neurological symptoms are not necessarily accompanied with anaemia.
Not only is vitamin B12 essential for proper metabolism, it has also been used to treat a number of different conditions including sleep disturbances and liver disease.
The relationship between Vitamin B12 and Folate
It is important to be aware that a relationship exists between vitamin B12 and folate. If you were to take large amounts of folate you could mask the damaging effects of vitamin B12 deficiency by correcting the megaloblastic anaemia caused by vitamin B12 deficiency without correcting the neurological damage that also occurs. In fact you might even exacerbate the anaemia and worsen the cognitive symptoms of B12 deficiency. Permanent nerve damage could occur if the vitamin B12 deficiency were left untreated. And as we age, we are at greater risk of having a vitamin B12 deficiency. It is important, therefore if you are over 50 to ensure that any folate supplement also contains vitamin B12 – LithPro has been developed to take care of this potential problem by containing both ingredients.
Take 1 capsule twice daily with meals or as directed by your health care professional. Under your doctor’s supervision, up to 4 capsules a day may be administered.
1. Fugate L. Lithium’s Potential Role in Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease. http://intelegen.com/nutrients/lithium.htm
2. Moore GJ, Cortese BM, Glitz DA, Zajac-Benitez C, Quiroz JA, Uhde TW, Drevets WC, Manji HK. A longitudinal study of the effects of lithium treatment on prefrontal and subgenual prefrontal gray matter volume in treatment-responsive bipolar disorder patients. J Clin Psychiatry. 2009 May;70(5):699-705.
3. Giovannucci E, Stampfer MJ, Colditz GA, Hunter DJ, Fuchs C, Rosner BA, Speizer FE, Willett WC. Multivitamin use, folate, and colon cancer in women in the Nurses’ Health Study. Ann Intern Med 1998;129:517-24.
4. Zittoun J. Anemias due to disorder of folate, Vitamin B12 and transcobalamin metabolism. Rev Prat 1993;43:1358-63.
5. Doshi SN, McDowell IF, Moat SJ, Payne N, Durrant HJ, Lewis MJ, Goodfellow J. Folic acid improves endothelial function in coronary artery disease via mechanisms largely independent of homocysteine lowering. Circulation. 2002 Jan 1;105(1):22-6.
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