Lithium can mildly increase health during ageing but not lifespan in mice

Aging Cell. 2021 Oct;20(10):e13479. doi: 10.1111/acel.13479. Epub 2021 Sep 17.


Lithium is a nutritional trace element, used clinically as an anti-depressant. Preclinically, lithium has neuroprotective effects in invertebrates and mice, and it can also extend lifespan in fission yeast, C. elegans and Drosophila. An inverse correlation of human mortality with the concentration of lithium in tap water suggests a possible, evolutionarily conserved mechanism mediating longevity. Here, we assessed the effects of lithium treatment on lifespan and ageing parameters in mice. Lithium has a narrow therapeutic dose range, and overdosing can severely affect organ health. Within the tolerable dosing range, we saw some mildly positive effects of lithium on health span but not on lifespan.

Keywords: ageing; healthspan; lifespan; lithium.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / drug effects*
  • Animals
  • Healthy Aging / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Lithium / pharmacology
  • Lithium / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Mice


  • Lithium