Lithium: biological information
Lithium seems to have no biological role, but does have an effect on the body if swallowed. Sometimes, lithium-based compounds such as lithium carbonate (Li2CO3) are used as drugs to treat manic-depressive disorders. The dose is around 0.5 g - 2 g daily.
Levels in humans
The abundances of the elements in humans.
- Human abundance by weight: 30 ppb by weight
- Human abundance by atoms: 27 atoms relative to C = 1000000
How much lithium is in your body? Find out here.
You can use this form to calculate how much lithium your body contains. Enter your weight in either kilograms or pounds and click the "Calculate" button. You must enter a number, not text! Elements for which there are no data will always give a value of zero for the weight, no matter what you put in the weight box.
Hazards and Risks
Hazards and risks associated with lithium:
Lithium compounds are regarded as slightly toxic, and perhaps more so than the other Group 1 elements. Lithium appears not to have a biological role, which is not to say that lithium compounds do not have an affect. Sometimes, lithium-based drugs such as lithium carbonate (Li2CO3) are used to treat manic-depressive disorders in doses of around 0.5 g - 2 g daily. Some side effects are known. Ingestion of large amounts of lithium results in drowsiness, slurred speech, vomiting, and other symptoms. Excess lithium poisons the central nervous system.
- J.E. Huheey, E.A. Keiter, and R.L. Keiter in Inorganic Chemistry : Principles of Structure and Reactivity, 4th edition, HarperCollins, New York, USA, 1993.
- S. Budavari (Ed.) in The Merck Index, 11th ed., Merck, USA, 1989.
- N.N. Greenwood and A. Earnshaw in Chemistry of the Elements, 2nd edition, Butterworth, UK, 1997.