Trace lithium is inversely associated with male suicide after adjustment of climatic factors

J Affect Disord. 2016 Jan 1;189:282-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2015.09.070. Epub 2015 Oct 3.


Background: Previously, we showed the inverse association between lithium in drinking water and male suicide in Kyushu Island. The narrow variation in meteorological factors of Kyushu Island and a considerable amount of evidence regarding the role of the factors on suicide provoked the necessities of adjusting the association by the wide variation in sunshine, temperature, rain fall, and snow fall.

Methods: To keep the wide variation in meteorological factors, we combined the data of Kyushu (the southernmost city is Itoman, 26°) and Hokkaido (the northernmost city is Wakkanai, 45°). Multiple regression analyses were used to predict suicide SMRs (total, male and female) by lithium levels in drinking water and meteorological factors.

Results: After adjustment of meteorological factors, lithium levels were significantly and inversely associated with male suicide SMRs, but not with total or female suicide SMRs, across the 153 cities of Hokkaido and Kyushu Islands. Moreover, annual total sunshine and annual mean temperature were significantly and inversely associated with male suicide SMRs whereas annual total rainfall was significantly and directly associated with male suicide SMRs.

Limitations: The limitations of the present study include the lack of data relevant to lithium levels in food and the proportion of the population who drank tap water and their consumption habits.

Conclusions: The present findings suggest that trace lithium is inversely associated with male but not female suicide after adjustment of meteorological factors.

Keywords: Lithium; Rainfall; Suicide; Sunshine; Temperature.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Climate
  • Drinking Water / chemistry*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lithium / analysis*
  • Male
  • Seasons
  • Sex Factors
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • Temperature


  • Drinking Water
  • Lithium