British researchers using meta-analysis of nine major studies have shown significant relationship between the concentration of natural lithium in drinking water and the prevalence of suicides in the settlements of the countries of Europe, USA and Japan. In those places where the concentration of the substance in water was higher, the number of suicides on 100 thousand of population was lower. About it write the scientists in The British Journal of Psychiatry.
Lithium drugs — one of the most effective and used psychotropic substances from the group of normotonikov (often, especially in English literature, from called mood stabilizers or mood stabilizers). They are most often prescribed to patients with bipolar disorder is to prevent manic episodes, and patients with cyclothymia or resistant depression. Less lithium is used for the therapy of suicidal, but in this case, as shown by some small studies, lacks very small dosages.
Based on the effectiveness of low-dose drug lithium against suicidal tendencies, since the beginning of 1990-x years, scientists have begun to test the relationship between the number of suicides in certain areas and the concentration of a substance in public drinking water (natural lithium in water can be quite a lot: in the Argentine town of San Antonio de Los Cobres in 2010 found concentration of 1,000 micrograms per liter). Thus, the authors of the first such studies foundthat in areas of Texas where the concentration of lithium in drinking water were highest, the number of suicides and violence was higher.
Since then, similar investigations were carried out not only in USA but also in other countries, and have led to different (often contradictory) results. Anjum Memon (Anjum Memon) from Medical school Brighton and Sussex decided to summarize all the known data using meta-analysis. They selected nine studies that have examined the relationship between the concentration of lithium in the samples of drinking water and suicide rates (number and gender) are most likely — for several years. The work was dedicated to several countries (USA, UK, Austria, Greece, Japan and Lithuania), and in total, the analysis took into account 1286 settlements.
The researchers found a negative correlation between levels of lithium in drinking water and suicide rates in the studied regions among men (p = 0,08) and women (p = 0.03), and among the whole population (p = 0.006). In other words, in those localities where lithium in water was found more number of suicides per 100 thousand inhabitants was lower. Interestingly, this relationship was maintained even in cases where the analysis took into account areas with low (less than 80 micrograms per liter) content of lithium in water and low (less than 10 cases per 100 thousand of population) ranking of suicides.
Scientists have concluded that natural lithium contained in drinking water could potentially reduce the number of suicides — just as this occurs during therapy with lithium preparations. Of course, a causal connection to say it is still not possible: for this, according to scientists, it is necessary to conduct additional studies, for example, to measure the level of lithium in the blood of individuals in the population, and to manipulate them experimentally.
Generally, in drinking water, you can find a lot of interesting things — but not everything can somehow affect the health. For example, last year, who said that micro-plastic concentration in drinking water is not dangerous. However, all conducted to date, studies have not very high quality — and it can be different.