Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fountain of youth from the tap? Environmental lithium uptake promotes longevity, scientists demonstrate

Date:
February 18, 2011
Source:
Friedrich-Schiller-Universitaet Jena
Summary:
A regular uptake of the trace element lithium can considerably promote longevity, suggests new research by scientists in Germany. The researchers have demonstrated by two independent approaches that even a low concentration of lithium leads to an increased life expectancy in humans as well as in a model organism, the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans.

Dr. Kim Zarse from Jena University investigates how low-dose lithium exposure may affect mortality in nematodes.
Credit: Photo: Jan-Peter Kasper/University Jena

A regular uptake of the trace element lithium can considerably promote longevity. This is the result of a new study by scientists of Friedrich Schiller University Jena.

Professor Dr. Michael Ristow's team along with Japanese colleagues from universities in Oita and Hiroshima have demonstrated by two independent approaches that even a low concentration of lithium leads to an increased life expectancy in humans as well as in a model organism, the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans.

The research team presents its results in the online edition of the scientific publication European Journal of Nutrition.

Lithium is one of many nutritional trace elements and is ingested mainly through vegetables and drinking water. "The scientific community doesn't know much about the physiological function of lithium," project manager Ristow says. According to an earlier study from the US, highly concentrated lithium showed to be life-prolonging in C. elegans, the Professor of Nutrition in Jena continues. "The dosage that has been analyzed back then, however, is clearly beyond the physiologically relevant range and may be poisonous for human beings," explains Ristow. To find out if lithium has a life-prolonging impact at much lower concentrations, the scientists then examined the impact of lithium in a concentration that is regularly found in ordinary tap water.

In a collaborative effort with Japanese colleagues, the Jena scientists analyzed the mortality rate in 18 adjacent Japanese municipalities in relation to the amount of lithium contained in tap water from the respective regions. "We found that the mortality rate was considerably lower in those municipalities with more lithium in the drinking water," Ristow explains the key finding. In a second experiment, the Jena scientists examined exactly this range of concentration in the model organism C. elegans. The result was confirmed: "The average longevity of the worms is higher after they have been treated with lithium at this dosage," Ristow says.

Even though the underlying mechanisms still remain to be clarified, the scientists assume that the higher longevity they observed in humans as well as in nematodes C. elegans can be induced by the trace element lithium.

Moreover, the scientists speculate about using low-dose lithium as a potential dietary supplement in the future. "From previous studies we know already that a higher uptake of lithium through drinking water is associated with an improvement of psychological well-being and with decreased suicide rates," Professor Ristow explains. While low-dose lithium uptake on the basis of the new data is clearly thought to be beneficial, more studies will be necessary to thoroughly recommend such a supplementation, the scientists conclude.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Friedrich-Schiller-Universitaet Jena. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Kim Zarse, Takeshi Terao, Jing Tian, Noboru Iwata, Nobuyoshi Ishii, Michael Ristow. Low-dose lithium uptake promotes longevity in humans and metazoans. European Journal of Nutrition, 2011; DOI: 10.1007/s00394-011-0171-x

Cite This Page:

Friedrich-Schiller-Universitaet Jena. "Fountain of youth from the tap? Environmental lithium uptake promotes longevity, scientists demonstrate." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110218111709.htm>.
Friedrich-Schiller-Universitaet Jena. (2011, February 18). Fountain of youth from the tap? Environmental lithium uptake promotes longevity, scientists demonstrate. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110218111709.htm
Friedrich-Schiller-Universitaet Jena. "Fountain of youth from the tap? Environmental lithium uptake promotes longevity, scientists demonstrate." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110218111709.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Observation Boat to Protect Cetaceans During Ship Transfer

Observation Boat to Protect Cetaceans During Ship Transfer

AFP (July 22, 2014) As part of the 14-ship convoy that will accompany the Costa Concordia from the port of Giglio to the port of Genoa, there will be a boat carrying experts to look out for dolphins and whales from crossing the path of the Concordia. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts

New Orleans Plans to Recycle Cigarette Butts

AP (July 21, 2014) New Orleans is the first U.S. city to participate in a large-scale recycling effort for cigarette butts. The city is rolling out dozens of containers for smokers to use when they discard their butts. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spectacular Lightning Storm Hits London

Spectacular Lightning Storm Hits London

AFP (July 19, 2014) A spectaCular lightning storm struck the UK overnight Friday. Images of lightning strikes over the Shard and Tower Bridge in central London. Duration: 00:23 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins