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Neuro-Rehab: Rebuilding the Brain and Nervous System

We know that correcting underlying deficiencies in magnesium and lithium can increase cognitive function, elevate mood, and promote healing processes in the brain and nervous system.

We've known this for years.

As companion nutrients, magnesium and lithium have a synergistic relationship – enhancing the beneficial effects of the other – and are necessary for optimal brain function, and a healthy nervous system.

For nearly 50 years, we’ve known that animals need lithium nutritionally, and when fed low lithium diets have higher mortalities as well as reproductive and behavioral abnormalities.

Small, nutritional doses of lithium from 5-20 mg/d have been used since the 1970s to treat depression, anxiety, headaches, migraines, chronic pain, alcoholism, drug addiction, stroke, autism, as an “anti-aging brain nutrient”, and to halt or slow Alzheimer’s progression, as well as being an important factor in suicide prevention [10-18, 20-26]. Nutritional doses correct underlying nutrient deficiencies caused by poor diet, caffeine, alcohol, stress, and fluoride which reacts with lithium to form an insoluble precipitate of lithium fluoride (LiF), thus rendering the lithium biologically unavailable [11,14].

It's not widely known (but soon will be), but lithium was also officially added to the World Health Organization’s list of nutritionally essential trace elements alongside zinc, iodine and others.

For over 40 years, outstanding members of the integrative medicine community (e.g. Jonathan Wright MD, James Greenblatt MD, Hans Nieper MD, and William Shaw PhD) have been utilizing low-dose lithium for its mood elevating, balancing, healing, and protective effects on the brain and nervous system.

alleviate "existing damage by stimulating new neuronal growth." Something he's bringing to the world's attention, but once again, something that we've known for quite some time.

What this means for you: if you've suffered any form of brain or nervous system injury, nutritional doses of lithium coupled with a broad spectrum nutrient regimen containing magnesium – by stimulating healing processes –can assist with your recovery.

A Missing Nutrient in Alzheimer's Disease Prevention and Treatment

In a landmark study published in Current Alzheimer’s Research (2013) – the author’s found that a very small dose (0.3 mg) of lithium administered once daily to Alzheimer’s patients prevented cognitive decline over a 15-month period. This small, “nutritional dose” is approximately 500-1000 times lower than what is used in pharmaceutical therapy, only with no side-effects.

Recent studies also suggest that magnesium deficiency is a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease.

We know that nutritional deficiencies and imbalances play a strong role in the prevention and treatment of virtually all chronic disease states. It’s time that mainstream medicine returned to its roots as the healing art that it once was – utilizing therapies that promote healing, and prevent and cure disease – as opposed to the “disease-management model” that it has unfortunately become, leaving the patient chronically unwell and taking 5 or more drugs for a lifetime.

Knowledge of the benefits of small, nutritional doses of lithium will soon be commonplace in the field of medicine and public health, and is part of a paradigm shift that is currently taking place.


1. Eby GA, Eby KL. Rapid recovery from major depression using magnesium treatment. Med Hypotheses. 2006;67(2):362-70.

2. Pan HC et al. Magnesium supplement promotes sciatic nerve regeneration and down-regulates inflammatory response. Magnes Res. 2011 Jun;24(2):54-70.

3. Moncayo R, Ortner K. Multifactorial determinants of cognition - Thyroid function is not the only one. BBA Clin. 2015 Apr 22;3:289-98.

4. Li W, Yu J, Liu Y, et al. Elevation of brain magnesium prevents synaptic loss and reverses cognitive deficits in Alzheimer's disease mouse model. Mol Brain. 2014 Sep 13;7:65.

5. Gröber U, Schmidt J, Kisters K. Magnesium in Prevention and Therapy. Nutrients. 2015 Sep 23;7(9):8199-226.

6. Komiya Y, Runnels LW. TRPM channels and magnesium in early embryonic development. Int J Dev Biol. 2015;59(7-9):281-8.

7. Xu ZP, Li L, Bao J, et al. Magnesium protects cognitive functions and synaptic plasticity in streptozotocin-induced sporadic Alzheimer's model. PLoS One. 2014 Sep 30;9(9).

8. Veronese N, Zurlo A, Solmi M, et al. Magnesium Status in Alzheimer's Disease: A Systematic Review. Am J Alzheimers Dis Other Demen. 2015 Sep 7.

9. Glick JL. Dementias: the role of magnesium deficiency and an hypothesis concerning the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's disease. Med Hypotheses. 1990 Mar;31(3):211-25.

10. Schrauzer GN. Lithium: occurrence, dietary intakes, nutritional essentiality. J Am Coll Nutr. 2002 Feb;21(1):14-21.

11. Marshall, TM. The Societal Consequences of Lithium Deficiency.


12. Marshall, T. Lithium, as a Nutrient. Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. Winter 2015. Vol 20, Number 4, 104.

13. Jonathan Wright, MD. Lithium – The Misunderstood Mineral Part 1. Tahoma Clinic Blog.

14. William Shaw PhD, Kurt Woeller DO, Daniel Rossignol MD, et al. Autism: Beyond the Basics. Treating Autism Spectrum Disorders. October 5, 2009.

15. Emily Deans, MD. Could You Have a Lithium Deficiency? Shocking but true. Lithium is an essential trace element. Psychology Today online.

16. Anna Fels, MD. Should We All Take a Bit of Lithium? New York Times. Sunday Review. Sept 13, 2014.

17. James Greenblatt, M.D. The Top 5 Minerals for Cognition, Memory and Mood.

18. Młyniec K, Davies CL, de Agüero Sánchez IG, et al. Essential elements in depression and anxiety. Part I. Pharmacol Rep. 2014 Aug;66(4):534-544.

19. Shirley DG, Walter SJ, Noormohamed FH. Natriuretic effect of caffeine: assessment of segmental sodium reabsorption in humans. Clin Sci (Lond). 2002 Nov;103(5):461-6.

20. Makoukji J, Belle M, Meffre D, et al. Lithium enhances remyelination of peripheral nerves. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Mar 6;109(10):3973-8.

21. Nunes MA, Viel TA, Buck HS. Microdose lithium treatment stabilized cognitive impairment in patients with Alzheimer's disease. Curr Alzheimer Res. 2013 Jan;10(1):104-107.

22. Forlenza OV, De-Paula VJ, Diniz BS. Neuroprotective Effects of Lithium: Implications for the Treatment of Alzheimer's Disease and Related Neurodegenerative Disorders. ACS Chem Neurosci. 2014 May 6.

23. Young W. Review of lithium effects on brain and blood. Cell Transplant. 2009; 18(9):951-975.

In this 2009 review, Young concluded, “Lithium has been reported to be beneficial in animal models of brain injury, stroke, Alzheimer's, Huntington's, and Parkinson's diseases, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), spinal cord injury, and other conditions. A recent clinical trial suggests that lithium stops the progression of ALS.”

24. Schrauzer, De Vroey. Effects of Nutritional Lithium Supplementation on Mood. Biological Trace Element Research. Volume 40 1994 pages 89-101.

25. Schrauzer et al. Lithium in scalp hair of adults, students, and violent criminals. Biological Trace Element Research. 34(2): 161-76. 1992

26. Zarse K, Terao T, Tian J, et al. Low-dose lithium uptake promotes longevity in humans and metazoans. Eur J Nutr. 2011 Aug;50(5):387-389.

About the author:

Dr. Timothy M. Marshall is a holistic neurospecialist, neuropharmacologist, and nutritional biochemist with a passion for natural solutions that rebalance and rebuild the brain and body – and promote greater health and healing. In overcoming his own health challenges in his youth, he learned that most disease is a result of living "out of sync" with nature – and that most disease processes are a function of toxin accumulation with one or more key nutrient deficiencies. Dr. Marshall graduated from the University of Arizona College of Medicine, specializing in neuropharmacology (subspecialties: toxicology and medicinal chemistry) with a B.S. in biochemistry from the same institution.

As a neuropharmacologist, functional medicine consultant, and lifelong advocate of natural methods of healing: Dr. Marshall specializes in the treatment of a broad spectrum of neurological disorders including depression, anxiety, traumatic brain injury, PTSD, stroke, sleep disorders, night terrors, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and ALS prevention and treatment, and autism spectrum disorders. By correcting underlying nutrient deficiencies (and imbalances) that are a common factor in nearly ALL chronic disease states, while simultaneously reducing the body’s toxin burden, healing mechanisms are enhanced and greater health can be achieved.

Contact Information

7555 N. Oracle Rd. Tucson, AZ 85704


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