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Lithium in Drinking Water Linked to Low Rates of Suicide

Oct, 2020

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Suicide is one of the major causes of death among individuals aged 15 to 24 years, with more than 800,000 deaths across the world each year.

A new systematic review of around 12 studies from across the globe has confirmed a link between low suicide rates and high levels of lithium in the drinking water. The research was published in the British Journal of Psychiatry. The research was conducted to determine whether adding trace levels of lithium to drinking water can reduce rates of suicide and improve wellbeing. The researchers found that geographical areas with comparatively high levels of lithium in drinking water had low rates of suicide.

According to a new study by the research team from King’s College London and Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS), lithium in the community’s drinking water may have an anti-suicidal effect and have the potential to improve community mental health. National suicide rates and mental health problems are increasing in many countries. More than 800,000 individuals across the world die by suicide by the year, as well as suicide is one of the major causes of death among individuals aged 15 to 24 years. A growing body of evidence suggests that natural sources of lithium may have a beneficial effect.

The researchers have found a distinct connection between high levels of lithium public water supply and lower rates of suicide, violent crime, and dementia. In early 2020, the researchers from McGill University designed a novel micro-dose of lithium to slow the development of Alzheimer's disease. However, the research has yet to go into rigorous human trials. Currently, the research is in the preclinical stages. Moreover, lithium is known to reduce suicide rates. Several previous studies have investigated local communities with higher than average levels of lithium in their water supplies. This new research provides the most systematic review of published evidence to date.

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