Life Extension Magazine®

Couple dancing supplementing with lithium for longevity

Lithium: Dietary Supplement of Year 2020

Lithium supports telomere length and healthy DNA, and slows brain aging at ultra-low cost.

Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, in August 2023. Written by: William Faloon.

Most years do not uncover a nutrient with so much longevity potential that it deserves a special award.

My enthusiasm about a nutrient that deserves a trophy extends beyond the scientific data. I also consider the consumer affordability factor.

Melatonin was my previous favorite. We introduced melatonin in 1992 and had a monopoly for a while.

Yet we charged only $8 for a two-month supply.

This garnered us nationwide media coverage after the New York Academy of Sciences validated melatonin’s ability to improve immunity and its affordability was recognized.

Accumulated data have uncovered a nutrient that costs less than melatonin and may provide greater overall benefits.

Prevent Cognitive Decline and Extend Longevity

Man and woman laughing

In the July 2020 issue of Life Extension® magazine, you’ll read how modest-dose lithium may protect against age-related disorders and extend healthy lifespan. This information is too important to delay. I therefore summarize here what lithium has been shown to do:1-13

  1. Humans in areas with higher lithium in drinking water live longer;
  2. Long term, lithium may help maintain longer telomeres;
  3. Lithium has been shown to regulate genes related to healthy DNA structure;
  4. Lithium appears to slow the rate of brain aging;
  5. People with higher lithium intake show improved mood;
  6. GSK-3 is an enzyme that plays a powerful role in regulating metabolism. Dysfunctional GSK-3 activity raises the risk of many chronic diseases of older age including Alzheimer’s, type II diabetes, mood disorders, cancer, and others. Lithium has been shown to inhibit overactivity of GSK-3;
  7. By itself, lithium extended fruit fly lifespan by an average of 11%; and
  8. Combined with two other compounds, lithium extended fruit fly lifespan by an average of 48%.

Rapamycin1 + Senolytic2 + Lithium3 = Fruit Fly Lifespan Extension by 48%

  1. Rapamycin benefits can partially occur when AMPK is activated.
  2. Health-conscious people today are utilizing senolytics.
  3. Scientists are seeking optimal dose for human lifespan extension.

A triple drug combination targeting components of the nutrient-sensing network maximizes longevity.10

Combination Treatments are Essential

When fruit flies received lithium, rapamycin, senolytic separately and/or in combination:

  • Each compound individually extended lifespan by 11%.
  • Pairing two extended lifespan roughly 30%.
  • Three combined extended lifespan by 48%.10

What I Discovered During Live Presentations

In my live presentations, I urge audiences to initiate supplementation with about 1,000 mcg of lithium a day. The response from those in the audience who try, on the spot, to order it using their cell phones is that no one offers this lithium dose.

This motivated me to investigate. I was pleased to find that lithium’s low-cost make it consumer friendly analogous to melatonin in 1992.

Its game-changing longevity potential, along with it’s affordability causes me to nominate LITHIUM as the 2020 nutrient of the year.

Those seeking the benefits discovered about lithium may want to add about 1,000 mcg each day to their supplement program.

The three slides in this article are from Power Point presentations I give to live audiences, suggesting that they supplement with lithium, which up until now, no one seemed to offer in what may be an ideal potency.

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call a Life Extension® Wellness Specialist at 1-866-864-3027.

Chart Data

PNAS – September 30, 2019

“Previous studies in fruit flies have achieved lifespan extensions of about 5-20%

…so we found it was quite remarkable that this drug combination enabled them to live 48% longer.”

Combined Interventions Are More Effective than Single Agent Therapy10





  1. Fajardo VA, LeBlanc PJ, Fajardo VA. Trace lithium in Texas tap water is negatively associated with all-cause mortality and premature death. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2018Apr;43(4):412-4.
  2. Zarse K, Terao T, Tian J, et al. Low-dose lithium uptake promotes longevity in humans and metazoans. Eur J Nutr. 2011Aug;50(5):387-9.
  3. Squassina A, Pisanu C, Congiu D, et al. Leukocyte telomere length positively correlates with duration of lithium treatment in bipolar disorder patients. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2016Jul;26(7):1241-7.
  4. McColl G, Killilea DW, Hubbard AE, et al. Pharmacogenetic analysis of lithium-induced delayed aging in Caenorhabditis elegans. J Biol Chem. 2008Jan 4;283(1):350-7.
  5. Nunes MA, Viel TA, Buck HS. Microdose lithium treatment stabilized cognitive impairment in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Curr Alzheimer Res. 2013Jan;10(1):104-7.
  6. Kessing LV, Gerds TA, Knudsen NN, et al. Association of Lithium in Drinking Water With the Incidence of Dementia. JAMA Psychiatry. 2017Oct 1;74(10):1005-10.
  7. Ishii N, Terao T, Araki Y, et al. Low risk of male suicide and lithium in drinking water. J Clin Psychiatry. 2015Mar;76(3):319-26.
  8. Castillo-Quan JI, Li L, Kinghorn KJ, et al. Lithium Promotes Longevity through GSK3/NRF2-Dependent Hormesis. Cell Rep. 2016Apr 19;15(3):638-50.
  9. Saraswati AP, Ali Hussaini SM, Krishna NH, et al. Glycogen synthase kinase-3 and its inhibitors: Potential target for various therapeutic conditions. Eur J Med Chem. 2018Jan 20;144:843-58.
  10. Castillo-Quan JI, Tain LS, Kinghorn KJ, et al. A triple drug combination targeting components of the nutrient-sensing network maximizes longevity. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019Oct 15;116(42):20817-9.
  11. Liu X, Yao Z. Chronic over-nutrition and dysregulation of GSK3 in diseases. Nutr Metab (Lond). 20162016/08/04;13(1):49.
  12. Freland L, Beaulieu JM. Inhibition of GSK3 by lithium, from single molecules to signaling networks. Front Mol Neurosci. 2012Jan 27;5:14.
  13. Adli M, Hollinde DL, Stamm T, et al. Response to lithium augmentation in depression is associated with the glycogen synthase kinase 3-beta -50T/C single nucleotide polymorphism. Biol Psychiatry. 2007Dec 1;62(11):1295-302.