Monday, March 14, 2016

Is Violence, in Part, a Lithium Deficiency State?

Violence, particularly firearm violence, leading to suicide and homicide is a significant problem worldwide. A majority of suicidal and homicidal violence involves males; homicidal violence is prevalent among young men and suicide is the leading cause of violence worldwide. 

Lithium, in pharmacological doses, has been used successfully for decades in treating bipolar disorders, and has been shown to decrease violent crime in this situation. Interestingly, lithium, in trace amounts, as occurs in some drinking water, has been inversely related to aggression, and suicidal and homicidal violence. Lithium is naturally found in vegetables, grains and drinking water, and dietary intake varies from nearly zero to 3mg daily. Elemental lithium, in trace doses, has been shown to improve mood in weeks. Moreover, lithium, in trace amounts, has no toxicity. 

In order to ensure adequate dietary intakes of elemental lithium daily for the purpose of decreasing aggression and violence, we propose considering the fortification of cereal grain products with lithium and also the addition of lithium to vitamin preparations for adults. Importantly, randomized trials in various populations are needed to test this hypothesis.

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1NCH Physician Group, 1845 Veterans Park Drive, Suite 110, Naples, FL 34109, USA. Electronic address:
2Comando Brigata Alpina "Julia"/Multinational Land Force, Medical Service, 8 Via S. Agostino, Udine 33100, Italy. Electronic address:
Med Hypotheses. 2016 Apr;89:40-2. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2016.02.002. Epub 2016 Feb 10.

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