Thyroid function threatened by bottled water containing lithium

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bottled-water-and-glass(NaturalHealth365) Your total body weight is made up of nearly 60 percent water. Therefore, it’s important to hydrate yourself as water has many benefits for your body. In fact, pure water is an invaluable source for treating thyroid symptoms as it regulates body temperature, relieves dry skin, eliminates fatigue, boosts cognitive function, loosens hard stools, and aids in weight loss. Drinking pure water is also preferred over most city (tap) water containing fluoride and chlorine which block iodine receptors in the thyroid and cause malfunction.

Because municipal water contains hazardous chemicals, bottled water has become a choice for many people who are health conscious about their thyroids. There are many types of bottled water with the most popular being purified, spring, and mineral.

Yet, while opting for bottled water over tap water may seem to be the viable choice for many, they may not realize that they also contain chemicals that are just as dangerous (if not more) as fluoride and chlorine. Recently, the Environmental Health Perspectives journal reported high concentrations of lithium in drinking water that wreaks havoc on the body – especially the thyroid.

Lithium used for treating severe mental conditions

Present in trace amounts, lithium is a chemical element found in rocks. Since the 1950s, it has been used as a treatment of several mental conditions with high levels of mania. By slowing the uptake of chemicals to nerves used to communicate, lithium stabilizes periods of great excitation, over-activity, euphoria, or delusions – especially in people dealing with bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and depression.

Here’s the problem: Thyroid function is severely affected by lithium found inside bottled water.

While lithium may have positive short-term effects for mental illness, it does not come without a price. It wasn’t long after its introduction that its toxic effects became known on the renal, digestive, skeletal, and neurological systems. Studies also show severe negative effects on the endocrine system that affect parathyroid and thyroid function.

Your thyroid gland is a small butterfly-shaped gland at the base of your neck. It produces thyroid hormone – which controls virtually every cell, tissue, and organ within your body. When damaged by invaders such as excess lithium, your body doesn’t function properly leaving it vulnerable to other chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, anemia, and autoimmune disease.

Could bottled water toxins actually cause higher suicide rates due to thyroid disorders?

Not only has lithium been proven to affect thyroid function, a very recent report in The World Journal of Biological Psychiatry showed there may be an association with high concentrations of lithium in drinking water and risk of suicide. The British Journal of Psychiatry also reported the same association in a recent study. Studies were conducted on communities within Italy and Austria, and the inverse association between lithium levels in drinking water and suicide mortality rate was confirmed.

Yikes! High levels of lithium have been found in the ‘purest’ of waters used for bottling.

As reported by the Environmental Health Perspectives journal, high concentrations of lithium in drinking water was discovered in the Argentinean Andes Mountains which has been bottled and marketed as the “finest” water in the world by several brands. This is the same water used for scientific studies that claim high levels in drinking water negatively affecting thyroid function.

However, brands across the globe have bottled water with lithium. The New York Times once reported Cherry Valley Spring Water (based in New York) and Lithia Springs Mineral Water (based in Georgia) contain lithium. Communities across Texas and California are also known for lithium in the water of their natural springs. Despite the research, manufacturers boast about the element in their waters and rely on unreliable studies from years ago that tout lithium as being “useful” for the body.

Avoid wasting your money: Don’t buy bottled water

While some manufacturers of bottled water exploit their product as being beneficial due to lithium, others have hidden the element on their labels due to recent bad publicity. In addition to lithium, other impurities have also been found in bottled water.

Research has also shown that more than 40 percent of bottled water is actually tap water redefined. Due to the unreliable market for bottled water, you may want to check into a quality water purification system and bottle your own.

Remember, your thyroid is a crucial gland that plays a huge role in your body, so take care of it.

Editor’s note: NaturalHealth365 is proud to offer the Big Berkey Water Filter – the finest (non-electric) water purification system on the market. And, yes, this product offers a special fluoride filter.  Order today.

About the author: Abby Campbell is a medical, health, and nutrition research writer. She’s dedicated to helping people live a healthy lifestyle in all aspects – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Abby practices, writes, and coaches on natural preventive care, nutritional medicine, and complementary and alternative therapy.


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  • pam r

    You never know what is inside the bottled water – very important info for people to be aware of. Plus, it sits around in plastic bottles. I have a reverse osmosis filter I bottle my water in glass jars. I carry around the glass bottles the other water has the plastic taste in it. Mine tastes better.

  • pam r

    It is not misleading -Distilled water means everything taken out including all minerals if it has anything in it other than water it is not distilled.

  • pam r

    There are many effective water filtration systems – I use a reverse osmosis filter. It takes everything out. Plus, why would anyone want to buy water that has been stored in plastic bottles.

    • Anti Everything

      Reverse osmosis make water acidic

      • pam r

        Just squeeze some lemon in it and add a pinch of sea salt

  • Wendy Allen

    Lithium helps the K/Na/Li pumps. Li may help the brain not shrink etc. Lithium in small amounts may help people. Too high of Li may block thyroid.

    https://www.tahomaclinicblog. com/lithium-the-misunderstood-mineral-part-1/

  • Distilled water has the advantage that it cannot, by itself, support life and thus can be stored for a very long time. When you are ready to use it, you can add sea-salt so it will not deplete your minerals.

  • wc

    Filtering tap water is not an option when it’s treated with ultraviolet light. That creates a lot of free radicals that can’t be filtered out. As a result of that this water eats through everything it flows through, the pipes in my city rust through every few years. Not only will that water make you age faster, but it is also carcinogenic. Some bottled waters are treated with UV light also, so you need to be careful with that. But for now I’m sticking with a trusted brand of bottled water.

    • Mary

      What is the trusted brand of bottled water?

  • Kanti

    it totally depends on the type of lithium. Lithium carbonate can be very toxic and is what big pharma gives for bi-polar and mental patients, lithium orotate or ascorbate do not carry the same toxicity as carbonate and are quite beneficial to most of us as we rarely get it anywhere and it is extremely beneficial for many bodily functions especially the brain and nervous system. it has been studied that it may help MS drastically…

    • kathleen

      Right, but it says in the studies above that the lithium in spring water was causing problems-so it does not sound like it’s the OK kind

      • Lee

        Kathleen, if you note my very long post just above yours, you’ll see that there is no factual basis for the article’s position that the lithium in spring water causes problems.

        • The water from the Andes Mountains does present high levels of lithium in water which may affect the thyroid. Many brands package this water from the Andes Mountain.

    • Lee

      Kanti, Thank you for clarifying the painful confusion within
      this article. Accurate research analysis and reporting are essential
      for the proper examination of scientific issues (such as: does lithium
      in bottled H20 harm human health?).

      It would have been useful for the author ask herself questions such as the following, before she published this article:
      1.) Do my six source citations prove my article thesis?
      Title of article: “Thyroid function threatened by bottled water containing lithium.”

      Citation #1 (ending in 827), concludes: “Exposure to lithium via drinking water and other environmental sources may affect thyroid function, consistent with known side effects of medical treatment with lithium.”
      Citation #1 is somewhat relevant. However, it doesn’t directly indite bottled water (referencing ground water only).

      Citation #2 (ending in 6600) concerns pharmaceutical lithium, centering on: “In recent years, concern has developed about the risk of lithium therapy in
      rare cases leading to chronic renal failure and even necessitating
      kidney dialysis.”
      The focus is on pharmaceutical lithium, without reference to bottled water.

      Citation #3 (Lancet article) concerns pharmaceutical lithium, centering on: “Lithium is a widely used and highly effective treatment for mood disorders, but causes poorly characterised adverse effects in kidney and endocrine systems.”
      Citation #3 references pharmaceutical lithium effects–including the endocrine system (which includes the thyroid)–but does not discuss lithium in bottled water.

      Citation #4 (ending in 0215) concludes: “A proposed association between trace lithium concentrations in drinking water and risk of suicide was only
      partially supported, and mechanisms for potential clinical effects of
      trace levels of lithium are unknown.”
      Citation #4 revolves around lithium & suicide (not thyroid disorders).

      Citation #5 (repsych. org) concluded: “The findings do not support the hypotheses that lithium prescriptions have measureable protective effects on suicide or that they interact with lithium in drinking water.”
      Citation #5 revolves around pharmaceutical lithium & suicide (& does not
      discuss lithium in water as causing hypothyroidism).

      Citation #6 is an informal, non-scientific piece, in which towns with lithium-rich natural springs tout the benefits of their water.
      Citation #6 is thus mis-used to cast aspersions on spring water. This article notes that the amount of lithium in water is less than 1% of the amount of lithium in a pharmaceutical dose. The article also offers this quotation,
      “”It seems doubtful that such a small concentration would have any effect,” said Dr. John C. Markowitz, associate professor of psychiatry at Cornell University Medical College. ”But I suppose it’s conceivable.”

      The presence of these six citations unfortunately imply that this article’s arguments have a factual or scientific bearing on the thesis of this article, but they don’t.

      2.) Do I have an obligation to the site (which pays me) to represent it
      fairly? That is, do I to hold myself to the same high reporting
      standards that Jonathan Landsman does?

      3.) As a site staff writer, do I have an ethical obligation to be aware of the site’s past offerings on the topic I’m about to cover?
      Fyi, in the past, this site has published enthusiastic pieces about spring water. While it’s perfectly legitimate to present a different perspective than past articles have, the value of such a perspective is based on whether that
      alternative viewpoint can be credibly and factually substantiated with
      reasonable argument–something that didn’t happen here.

      4.) As a writer who influences the public, what are my ethical responsibilities to my readers?

      To author Abby Campbell, I’ve read your articles here in the past. I support your deep interest in holistic living. As a feminist, I also support the good efforts of my sisters. I thus hope to be kind in noting that this is not the first time I’ve been witness to your lack of clarity about what is good journalism and what isn’t. I’m thus heartfelt in saying: please (please) try to learn from the feedback for this article, so that you don’t keep repeating poor thought habits inside your written efforts, with consequent imbalanced outcomes. By themselves, one flawed effort might be considered as somewhat
      inconsequential. Repetition of the habit, however, is far more serious–especially when influencing the public.

      (Alternatively, if there is no interest in becoming a better journalist, then consider moving over to a natural news site which thrives on unproven
      sensationalism. As I learned from personal experience, it will block comments which politely challenge flaws in the reasoning or evidence offered. I thus no longer frequent it, because I like to be able to rely upon the health news I read.)

      It’s telling that several here have already written to complain about the errors within this article. It may interest you to know that market research shows that the vast majority of readers who see errors in articles don’t take the time to publicly comment about those errors. Consequently, the fact that several have weighed in here (emphatically) is telling. As a fan of this site, and hence as someone who supports your over-all direction, I thus dearly hope you interpret such feedback as a wake-up call to start
      (now) in cultivating the use of reason which includes more accuracy,
      precision, and clarity. What I’m encouraging–strongly–is to take a critical thinking course, such as is offered by any community college (and often available on line).

      Such instruction would give you the skills to present your passion for health with greater credibility (and surely, an author and health coach desires to become a more credible influence). Without such additional training, my concern is that you’ll continue to make errors that the public will be able to see, but which yourself do not see (due to old habits of thought, and the blinders which come with them).

      To help further convince you of the need for some added training, I’ll add
      that (journalistic standards aside), even the modest standards of a high school English course have not been achieved in this article. That is, an English teacher who cared about her/his students (who wasn’t just phoning in the job), could legitimately have given you back this effort, saying: “Do not publish anything which you cannot prove–and most especially when writing about science-based issues. Re-write this. If you want a passing grade, this time show your grasp of the basic facts, of any sources which may directly validate the contents, and of the use of proper logic which may flow from those facts.” My regret for you, Abby, is that you apparently never had such a teacher.

      It is never pleasant to receive disagreeable feedback–especially in a public forum–but that experience can be greatly lessened by giving yourself some additional instruction. With just a semester’s worth of effort, your writing would surely transform, taking your evidence interest and grounding it good form. In the interim, while you endeavor to learn, it would be well worth your while to find a mentor who could preview your written work to flag thinking and reasoning errors before they reach the public. If you took a critical thinking course, for example, the instructor would surely be of service for such ends.

      What I most want to leave you with is the encouragement that you can acquire the basics of learning to think with more accuracy and consistency. Learning them won’t take that long, won’t be that hard, and truly, will make a real difference in every aspect of your life for its duration. My hope is that you’ll be motivated to do so by values for self-care, self-valuation, and self-respect, as well as the equally important value of responsibility to those whom you impact with your efforts. Thanks for putting yourself out there for the public (which requires courage). That courage will see you far, and most especially so if you take a few more steps to sustain it and support it. I wish you all the best.

      • Good afternoon, Lee.

        First, I’d like to say “thank you” for your very encouraging and positive comments on my green tea and vitamin C articles. I do my best in trying to present the most accurate information on the topics I write about.

        However, I’m sorry you are not pleased with this particular article. I really try to give my best regarding research and writing, and I’d like to respond to your notes on the citations I’ve used. Hopefully, this will clear up any misunderstandings:

        The first citation from the “Environmental Health Perspectives” addresses lithium affecting thyroid health. While it doesn’t mention “bottled” water, it does mention high levels of lithium within the water coming from the Andes Mountains which is where much of our bottled water comes from.

        Though the second and third articles were not directly related to the article topic, my points were made to build a case against lithium. The citations were given to back up my points. Thus, a good journalist backs up everything that is presented as factual.

        The fourth and fifth citations dealing with lithium and suicide are also not directly related to the topic. However, anyone that knows anything about thyroid disorders knows that depression is a major symptom which sometimes brings about suicidal thoughts. With suicidal rates being higher with lithium consumption, this can be dangerous for someone who may already have depression – such as those with thyroid disorders (in my opinion). However, this section of the article was not stating a fact that lithium would cause higher suicidal rates in thyroid patients. I was actually challenging readers with a question, “Could bottled water toxins actually cause higher suicide rates due to thyroid disorders?”

        The last citation supports the fact that there are manufacturing brands that tout lithium as being beneficial to drinking water. It backs up the brands that I’ve mentioned. Your rebuttal with Dr. John C. Markowitz’s comment within that particular citation is only an opinion and not based on scientific fact.

        As far as your other points, I respect Jonathan Landsman and tremendously. I was a fan prior to ever writing for them. It is now my privilege to research and write for them. However, I’m sorry that you see my writing as sensationalism. Hopefully, I can provide future articles that are up to your standards which you may also enjoy. I only look forward to comments as you’ve provided with my green tea and vitamin C articles. And, thank you for having my best interest at heart.


    • Thank you for sharing, Kanti. The type of lithium talked about in the article is natural occurring lithium. 🙂

  • kathleen

    What’s the confusion? The article refers to spring water. I did not read it was RO water or distilled water. I would prefer to know this about the expensive bottled spring water. serious issue this water was in studies that said it negatively impacted the thyroid. Don’t need that.

  • I’m sorry you feel this way, Ty. I didn’t feel the need to distinguish between different types of lithium as the article should be obvious that I’m talking about naturally occurring lithium. Both lithium carbonate and lithium orotate are chemically compounded. Why would I mention them?

  • musimann


  • BarbaraSteele

    Grains, vegetables, mustard, kelp, fish, blue corn, pistachios, dairy and meat all contain lithium as well as pink salt. I eat all these things as well as bottled water and I have no thyroid issues. If a person already has thyroid issues they should be concerned, but if you don’t, probably not. Your iodine levels are effected by lithium and that can also effect your thyroid, but that is easy to check (you can do an iodine paint test) and people who take natural lithium (for sleep issues, mood disorders, racing thoughts etc…) can have their lithium levels (as well as thyroid, iodine etc.) checked. Lithium has many brain benefits and can help ward off Alzheimer’s disease. Many people can benefit from taking natural lithium. If you are worried about it take under the care of a doctor or naturopathic doctor.

  • Carol

    Thyroid damage would only be from the toxic pharmaceutical version, Lithium Carbonate, which requires high doses to be effective against mania. Lithium Orotate, however, is safe, available OTC, and effective at low doses (such as that found in some water and foods). Lithium Orotate can decrease suicide, violence, mania, and help with depression and possibly ADHD. Studies published on PubMed report that low-dose lithium orotate is neuroprotective, increases neuroplasticity, and increases BDNF. Dr. John Gray (author of Men are from Mars) claims that lithium orotate sent his Parkinson’s into remission. Again, this compound is completely different from lithium carbonate, which has a justifiably dubious reputation, so the two should not be confused.

  • Carol

    The article cited does not prove that thyroid function is affected by spring water; the study’s discussion section states that “it is not possible to account for potential confounding by other elements, particularly boron”. It is true, however, that prescription lithium (namely, lithium carbonate) carries side effects in the huge doses that are needed to lessen mania. Fortunately, lithium orotate, a much safer form of lithium, is effective at much loser doses and is available OTC. Published research shows that low dose lithium orotate counteracts mania, suicide and depression as well as offering neuroprotection, greater neuroplasticity and an increase in BDNF & brain volume. Dr Gray (author of Men are From Mars) claims that low dose lithium orotate sent his Parkinson’s into remission. While all of this does not bode well for pharmaceutical profits, it is very promising from a public health perspective.

    • You are 100% right about iodine and lithium.
      Does anyone know where to buy a device that measures lithium in drinking water?

      • Catherine

        What a good question