Society expects men to be confident, proactive, and strong. Men are supposed to take the lead and approach women first. Some are able to live up to such expectations while others can hardly deal with the pressure.
Men, just like women, can also feel anxious and depressed, have introverted personalities, and suffer from mental disorders that stop them from meeting the standards set by society on what a real man is.
Unlike women though, there is noticeably less talk geared towards the mental and emotional health of men. That is just sad and worrisome considering that the suicide rate of men is now higher than that of women.
So, as a guy, what should you do? Where do you start?
As you know, physical fitness is just one aspect of wellness. Your physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual health determines your overall wellness. However, you should not treat these aspects individually. They are actually interconnected; that means they can affect each other and your overall wellness.
Take the relationship between your physical fitness and emotional health as an example. If you are disciplined when it comes to your diet and workout regimen, you will end up with a ripped body which can make you feel good about yourself.
As a result, you are less likely to suffer from low self-esteem that might otherwise make you more emotionally vulnerable.
Not only that – the minerals and nutrients that you consume can also influence your emotional and mental health. One such mineral is lithium.
The Less Known Element Called Lithium
Calcium, zinc, iron, and phosphorus are usually among the most talked-about minerals required by the body. Magnesium is also put in the spotlight often but many guys are still not well-informed regarding it’s role in testosterone production.
Then there is lithium: a breakthrough natural medicine for mental illnesses, but is less known than other minerals and often misunderstood.
In 1949, Australian psychiatrist John Frederick Joseph Cade discovered that lithium carbonate can improve the mood of people suffering from manic depression disorder (now referred to as bipolar disorder).
Prior to its discovery, electroshock therapy and lobotomy (a surgical procedure that involves opening the skull and cutting off parts of the brain) were the prominent treatment for patients with psychosis, one of the most common mental disorders back then and even up until this day.
Although lithium carbonate cannot treat all types of mental illnesses, it is still regarded as a breakthrough medicine because it shows that there can be a safer and more humane way of treating mental disorders. A treatment that still leaves the patients functioning in everyday life.
Sources of Lithium
Potable water, particularly those that are from natural and unpolluted sources such as mountain springs, contains trace amounts of lithium. You can also get small amounts of this mineral from certain foods such as:
– Dairy products such as milk and cheese
– Meat, particularly from cows and goats
– Seafood such as scallops, oysters, lobsters, and shrimps
– Legumes such as soybeans, lentils, and chickpeas
Lithium supplements are also available and are greatly advantageous for people of certain anxiety-prone personality types. Supplements are necessary when your drinking water and foods contain too little amounts of this mineral, which means most of us.
Even if you don’t have bipolar disorder, you can still take advantage of Lithium supplementation. Three of its noteworthy benefits are as follows:
– It helps you deal with depression.
– It helps you manage your anxiety.
– It improves your longevity.
Let’s get down to the details:
Lithium and Depression
Lithium is considered a fast-acting mood enhancer. This is advantageous in the treatment of multiple types of clinical depression, but it is also helpful in reducing the times when you just can’t handle your emotions.
The mineral helps enhance your mood by boosting the sensitivity for your serotonin (neurotransmitter). Serotonin can be viewed as a happy hormone because it promotes anti-depressant activity in the brain.
Lithium shows great potential in treating mental disorders. In fact, the research on lithium supplementation as a treatment strategy for resistant depression is deemed as one of the leading studies in the field.
Lithium and Anxiety
Lithium’s ability to boost serotonin sensitivity and production is also responsible for its ability to curb the frequency and intensity of anxiety. In a study that involved rats, it was found out that lithium can decrease anxiety levels.
Lithium and Longevity
Lithium gives you more time to enjoy the fruits of your labor. After all, what is the point of working so hard and striving to have a healthy body and mind if you only have limited time to enjoy the benefits, right?
The mineral’s ability to promote longevity is supported by several studies. In one study that involved Japanese neighborhoods, extensive exposure to low doses of lithium in water was found to have anti-aging effects. In fact, the mortality rate of neighborhoods exposed to water with trace amounts of the mineral is lower than that of neighborhoods whose water contains no lithium at all.
Possible Side Effects
Consuming too high doses of lithium, whether from water or supplements, can have side effects. It can actually be toxic to the body in excess. This is why you should only take it in small dosages as preferably a dietary supplement which makes it easier to judge dosage. The possible side effects include:
– Muscle stiffness
– Increased urination
There are some different lithium medicines and supplements available on the market today. However, not all types are advantageous for men and the suitable dosage differs from one person to another.
We recommend using the lithium orotate type in a dosage of 5mg (elemental lithium), 1-2 times per day. If you are suffering from difficult mental problems such as major depression, panic attacks, or severe anxiety (that has been hard to treat in other ways), you can try to increase the dosage as high up as 20-30mg per day, however side effects might start to appear after 10mg so keep an eye on how you feel.
Lithium Orotate versus Lithium Carbonate
For people with bipolar disorder, lithium carbonate is the type prescribed as a prescription medicine and the dosage is determined by their respective health care provider. For guys who are simply taking it as a supplement, lithium orotate is the most ideal option. This type does not come with the same side effects as that of lithium carbonate.
Compared to the dosage of other kinds of supplements, it is better to take lithium orotate supplements in smaller dosages. If your doctor has you on lithium carbonate for bipolar disorder you might also benefit more from switching to lithium orotate since it comes with fewer side effects and risks.
There are high expectations of men in today’s society. One of the best things you can do to meet the said expectations and manage the pressure from such is by ensuring your mental and emotional health is in a stable condition.
Taking low dosage lithium can help you do so even if you are prone to emotional problems. With this mineral, you can deal with depression and anxiety so you can be the most confident and most proactive man you can ever be.
Alex Eriksson is the founder of Anabolic Health, a men’s health blog dedicated to providing honest and research backed advice for maintaining optimal male hormonal health. Anabolic Health aspires to become a trusted resource where men can come and learn how to fix their hormonal problems naturally, without pharmaceuticals. Check out www.anabolichealth.com to learn more about Alex and his work. You can also find him on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook: