Need to Understand Lithium Dumping

I have a question on “lithium dumping”. I picked this term up from Yasko when I did a couple of tests and got her comments two years ago. I seem to have this going on, but do not understand it.

I have been reading lithium discussions on several threads, but didn’t find anything to answer my question, and those threads were years old, so thought I would start a new one.

I saw that @Freddd posted to the B2 I love you! thread a couple months ago with a discussion about Li and would be interested to see if he has a theory on this, as I know he recently discovered that he really benefits from Li supplementation.

Two years ago I did a Hair Analysis (Hair Elements) and my Li was off the charts high. I was not supplementing with Li at the time or B12 either, except a B Complex capsule with a tiny bit of methylB12. So then 5 days later I had my Dr. check Li in blood work, and it was very low (<0.3; ref: 0.6-1.2 mmol/L). I conveyed this to Yasko and the response I got was a referral to “dumping” and that I should supplement with Li and keep rechecking with Hair Analysis tests.

This made no sense to me that just giving my body more Li was going to solve anything, if my body was just dumping it. So I haven’t rechecked Li since, but have been taking 5 mg of Li Orotate ever since. I have tried increasing it at times but suspected that might have brought on more fatigue. It could very well have been other factors causing the fatigue too. I’ve also read that one needs to be careful with Li supplementation because it can impact the thyroid.

I really can’t say that there has been any improvement in my health since starting Li 2 years ago, and in fact it has continued to decline. During that time, I was taking 1,000 mcg each of methylB12 and hydroxylB12 and a little folinic acid (experimenting occasionally with methylfolate). Incidentally, I have recently started on Freddd’s protocol, so I stopped the hydroxyl and folinic and started Freddd’s “Quartet” at low doses. Overall I would say that I am doing better since starting that.

I know it might help to do some more testing to better understand my “lithium dumping” tendency, and see if I have made any progress after 2 years of supplementing. I’m considering doing the Hair Analysis again, plus a Urine Toxic Metals and Essential Elements to go with it, but wonder if I would be wasting my money. I’m pretty sure a HA will still show Li to be off the charts high.
Due to the COVID situation, I’m not comfortable going to a lab for a blood draw right now.

So if anyone can help me understand what might be going on in my body with this “dumping”, and what to do about it, I would really appreciate it.

These are my SNPs:
MAO A R297R +/+ TT
MTHFR C677T +/- AG
MTHFR A1298C +/- GT
MTRR A66G +/- AG
CBS C699T +/- AG


Psalm 46:1-3
Great Lakes
Are you able to get the hair test done without going to the lab? I would have that done.

I tend to think hair analysis though is more of a cumulative longer term picture whereas the blood test is more immediate but I'm thinking if the hair analysis still shows it as being high it might help you to know if you should continue to try supplementing or wait until something else in your system balances out.


Senior Member
This website:
has been invaluable to me and here's what Roberts says the important part is in green:

COMT (+/+)
VDR Taq (-/-)
Highest dopamine levels
Better tolerance to toxins and microbes
Low need tolerance for dopamine precursors and methyl donors
Greatest susceptibility to mood swings
COMT (+/+) VDR Taq (-/-) individuals will be susceptible to iodine and lithium depletion as they detoxify, and we will have to watch for this and supplement

So the body will dump lithium as a toxin when detoxing under certain conditions.

Further on he says basically the same thing:
Lithium and iodine may be lost (swept out) in the process of heavy metal detoxification. These minerals are felt to help balance or mitigate mood swings that might occur as a result of fluctuations in dopamine levels, so low dose supplementation makes sense in COMT +/+ individuals.

Hope this helps.


Senior Member
Can I ask which ones? I have a lot of COMT and VDR showing on my MTHFR variant report with a mixture of +/+, +/-, and -/- in the VDR genes and +/- and -/- in all the COMTs.

The main ones are listed below but the whole COMT genome is important and this applies if it's down regulated overall (++). You would know if this applies to you if you experience anxiety or problems with methyl donors. The VDR SNPs accentuate this depending on it they're up or down regulated. The website explains it fairly well.

COMT V158M rs4680 AG
COMT H62H rs4633 CT
VDR Bsm rs1544410
VDR Taq rs731236
Thanks @Judee The Hair Analysis is fairly cheap, so I may try it again. I’m just pretty convinced that the results will be the same, but I could certainly be proven wrong.
Thanks @drmullin30 The info you provided from is interesting. Even though I don’t have COMT SNPs (or at least the Yasko favorites), what he describes could still be what is going on with me.

I looked back at my Hair Analysis and iodine was about 25th percentile, whereas lithium was 100th. Not sure if the fact that iodine isn’t up there with lithium is relevant or not.

The elements that stood out on the report, as really high or really low were (in percentiles):
Chromium 3
Molybdenum 0
Lithium 100
Phosphorus 10
Strontium 90
Zirconium 4

These are all of my COMT SNPs (just ones that are +/+ or +/- from the original 23andMe report):
rs2239393 COMT A 26166G G AG +/-
rs6269 COMT A-1324G G AG +/-
rs174675 COMT A309G T CT +/-
rs174696 COMT C28914T C CT +/-
rs165599 COMT G*522A G AG +/-
rs5993883 COMT T13376G G GG +/+
rs4646312 COMT T24075C C CT +/-
rs740601 COMT T26501G T GT +/-
I’ve read more on the heartfixer website that @drmullin30 provided. It seems that Roberts focuses only on these COMT SNPs, and mine are all -/-: V158M H62H 61. I don’t see where he mentions any of the others.

Also, my VDR Taq is +/- whereas he focuses on the COMT +/+ or +/- and VDR Taq -/- combination. So I guess if I put heavy weight on my genetics then Roberts’ discussion may not apply to me. But, I have to say that I certainly have some of the symptoms of COMT downregulation, like high homocysteine and mood swings.

Roberts does seem to allow for the possibility of “acquired COMT dysfunction” but he doesn’t elaborate on that.

So . . . I don’t know.
And, here are some more thoughts from Yasko sources and other online research. Guess I am still left wondering how best to decide if I do need to supplement with more lithium (tests?) and what supports to give my body to reduce dumping of lithium (if that is going on). I welcome feedback from anyone.

I guess at this point, from all of my reading, I am not very confident in the usefulness of Hair Analysis for lithium, but may go with a Urine Toxic & Essential Elements Test. But, if this “dumping” phenomena is real, I’m not even sure that I am going to gain much insight from a UTEE test. I think it would need to be many UTEE tests to look for a pattern.

I am cautious about taking too much lithium, as there are many studies out there correlating lithium supplementation with thyroid issues, but those studies were for high doses used for treating bipolar. I think supplementation at low levels is uncharted territory. But Yasko is obviously very cautious about it too.

I see from some sources that follow Yasko that she seems to theorize that these SNPs are associated with excess lithium excretion: MTR+, SHMT+, and MTHFR C677T +. But I haven’t seen that on Yasko’s website. I am MTHFR C677T +/- and MTRR +/-. My SHMT 1 was “not found” (which I don’t understand).

This is from Yasko’s 2005 book: “Li is concentrated in the thyroid and can inhibit iodine uptake. Important to monitor levels of Li and iodine and supplement only as needed for low values that may occur as a result of detoxification and excretion of mercury.”

Currently on Yasko’s website, she stresses that supplementing with B12 may lower lithium, which is why she is very adamant about monitoring lithium levels. But she doesn’t say anything about dose and always adds "consult with your doctor”.

This statement from Yasko’s website caught my eye “Potassium levels drop coordinately with low lithium”. I have been struggling with potassium deficiency, so wonder about this lithium/potassium connection. Specifically, I wonder if since recently increasing my methylB12 intake, I have lowered my lithium and that is making my potassium deficiency worse.

These are some interesting statements from a 2013 article by Dr. Nancy Mullan. She follows Yasko’s work and quotes Yasko frequently.
--It appears that lithium may be increasing the production of COMT and inhibiting the production of thioredoxin reductase.
--Dr Amy emphasizes that this is her hypothesis . . . She noticed that certain SNPs are associated with excess lithium excretion. They are MTR+, SHMT+, and MTHFR C677T +. An out of balance methylation cycle will also cause increased lithium excretion.
--Dr Amy suggests only low dose lithium support because lithium also inhibits ribonucleotide reductase.
--The average intake of lithium from the diet should be up to 3100 mcg, or 3.1 mg. Dr Amy wants to supplement with very low level lithium, around 2.5 mg. She wants to do it consistently and she does not want to get near biologic doses.
--Lithium has an impact on thyroid hormone production because it competes with iodine for uptake from the GI tract.

So . . . comments are welcome.


Senior Member
Roberts does seem to allow for the possibility of “acquired COMT dysfunction” but he doesn’t elaborate on that.

As Roberts mentions in there somewhere the important driver for good COMT function is the SAMe to SAH ratio so if your methylation isn't working properly you'll have a poor ratio and this is what he means by acquired dysfunction.
Thanks for that @drmullin30 There is a test that measures SAMe to SAH ratio. I can't remember which one. I wonder if that would be more revealing for me than lithium levels in hair or urine? I suppose both would be best, but those tests do add up in cost. Thanks again.


Senior Member
his statement from Yasko’s website caught my eye “Potassium levels drop coordinately with low lithium”. I

Fred had this exact experience. When he started supplementing Li he needed a fraction of the potassium he had been taking and I also have noticed a major drop in potassium need since introducing Li supplement.

If you're worried about dosing you could try this supplement which I've had good success with and so have others:

It has 1.5 mg of Li per 40 drops. I take enough to give me 2mg a day of Li.

I also supplement 800 mcg per day of iodine but I did high dose iodine therapy for a couple of years so this is just a maintenance dose.
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Thanks @drmullin30 I've been taking 5 mg per day of Li Orotate (KAL capsules), for over 2 years and at times up to 10 mg/day. I'm actually wondering if I should take more than 5 mg or hold here. Do you have an opinion on orotate vs the trace minerals form?
I've also been taking 500 mcg per day of iodine.
So many decisions . . .


Senior Member
I too saw Freddd's words about his positive experience with lithium. I tried to take it months before, but it seemed to worse my palpitations, potassium need. I remembered again about it month ago. I've read @L'engle experience with 2,5mg lithium orotate a day for 3 weeks made her thyroid more hyper

So I decided to try that dose and did have thyroid tension. I lowered dose where I don't feel any sensations - 1/40 of capsule (yes, 1/40 of 5mg lithium orotate). And after ~15 days of this treatment I found out my thyroid is really more hyper, my potassium need is much more, palpitations harder. It seems to fade in 2 weeks already as I stopped lithium.

My guess is people with genetic type like Freddd's and Drmullin30's who worked folate and b12 to very high (relatively to RDA) doses have problems with absorbtion or maintaining nutrients and they will have success with lithium. Ones like me (I would probably die with 10mg+ of folate on regular basis, even with potassium and copper by hand) must be very careful with lithium.
Thanks @Kadar Those links you provided look really interesting. As a general rule, I get nervous about super high doses of anything. I've worked my way up to 650 mcg/day of mfolate, and that may be as high as I go.
My latest thought on lithium is to take a partial capsule throughout the day, and try to take it an hour or so before I take B12, in hopes that what I do take gets used in the right way. Do you see any merit in that approach?
One thing I wonder about is whether the content of my capsules is uniform enough that I get a consistent dose when I take only part of a capsule. Thoughts on that?
Thanks @Hip I have pretty much come to that conclusion too. I wonder if Hair Analysis is valid for some people but not for others, due to the nature of their hair, type of shampoo they use, etc.
I think urine tests are probably the route I will go, but I’m looking ahead and seeing a lot of money spent on those.
@drmullin30 I’ve read the heartfixer material more thoroughly and I think it is starting to sink in. The first time I read it, the part about the SAMe/SAH ratio, and all of the complicated reactions related to COMT, caused my eyes to glass over and my brain just refused to process it. All of the discussion about high homocysteine and heart attacks probably caused my brain to refuse also. But I think it is starting to gel a bit now.

If I am understanding it correctly, what could be going on with me is that my MTHFR C677T SNP, and compromised methylation status, have created high homocysteine (which I have had for many years) which is causing a back-up in the COMT action that would normally convert SAH to homocysteine.

So this would indicate to me that my primary focus should be on getting methylation moving, and lowering my homocysteine levels. At the same time, it might help to pretend that I do have COMT SNPs with downregulation, and do some things to help my COMT be more functional, like:
Limiting intake of bioflavonoids and catecholamines
Supplement with PC and creatine, to decrease SAMe expenditure
Try to reduce my oxidative stress.

It is complicated though, because if I were COMT + (and VDR Taq -/-) then his recommendation is to limit methyl donors and dopamine precursors like tyromine. But because of my MTHFR status, that doesn’t seem like the right thing to do (???).

If things ever settle down with COVID so that I feel brave enough to venture to a lab for a blood draw, I think knowing what my SAMe/SAH ratio is would be really useful information. I’m annoyed that none of the doctors I went to in the past ever thought to do that.

So what do you think of my conclusions? On track, or off?
When doing my search for lithium dumping I came across an old thread (Significant Improvement Story -- Focus on Thiamine Deficiency) with part of the discussion touching on lithium. @alethea described a battle with balancing electrolytes and also dumping of lithium. The active form of B1 (Benfotiamine) is what seemed to correct the problem. I had never paid much attention to B1, other than that it is in my B-Complex (but not the active form). I see that @alethea is still in the directory, so was hoping they might care to expand on the lithium dumping aspect.
Anyone else have good experience with Benfotiamine? Any thoughts on whether this active form is actually superior to the standard form in most supplements?