Another “for what it’s worth” — i.e., I report, you decide. Writing about “bipolar disorder” (related to education in so far as its a behaviorial issue and affects learning), Pedro Bastos (member of the New York Academy of Sciences and the International Society of Sports Nutrition; Post-graduate degree in Exercise and Health from ESDRM; currently finishing his Master degree in Nutrition and Dietetics through Fundación Universitaria Iberoamericana (Spain)) says in the Paleo Diet Update:
Lithium, Bipolar Disorder and Acne Pedro Bastos
There are associations between antipsychotics and metabolic syndrome (1-3), and as you know from reading the Dietary Cure for Acne, metabolic syndrome and acne share a common cause (4) ― insulin resistance. There is also a positive association between bipolar disease and metabolic syndrome/weight gain/obesity. (5) Furthermore, the activity of the erythrocyte transport system, sodium/lithium counter transport, may be elevated in subjects with insulin resistance. (6-8) In light of this, we think it is possible that excessive lithium intake over the long haul may adversely affect this ion channel, and potentially impact insulin metabolism.
…Lithium carbonate appears to be the lithium form that causes the more severe reactions. Remember that lithium is also associated with several other adverse effects, especially kidney damage. (28,29)
Moreover, the pharmaceutical versions of lithium (carbonate and citrate) are not well absorbed by our cells where lithium’s effects occur. To obtain a therapeutic effect, high amounts of these forms of lithium are prescribed, which may increase blood levels to levels that can be toxic long term. That’s why psychiatrists regularly monitor blood levels of lithium as well as kidney function, such as creatinine.
Should you decide to stop taking lithium, please do so under the advice and supervision of your health care provider. You could also show her or him some references showing that omega 3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) in high dosage are safe, and may be effective for bipolar disorder. (35-44)
Nevertheless, based on the biochemistry of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids and the available studies (45-49) we believe that a diet containing a low omega 6/omega 3 ratio (as is the case with The Dietary Cure For Acne) may decrease the effective dosage of omega 3 fatty acids for bipolar disorder.
References are available at http://www.ThePaleoDiet.com/v5n2.shtml.