Effect of strenuous exercise on serum lithium level in man

Am J Psychiatry. 1982 Dec;139(12):1593-5. doi: 10.1176/ajp.139.12.1593.


The authors examined the effect of strenuous exercise on the serum lithium levels of four healthy, conditioned athletes who were stabilized on lithium carbonate for 7 days and who ran a 20-km race under hot, humid conditions. The subjects became substantially dehydrated during the race, and their serum lithium levels decreased, suggesting that sweat lithium loss may be substantial. (The sweat-to-serum ratio for lithium exceeded that for sodium by a factor of 4.) The authors conclude that contrary to widely held belief, heavy sweating may not increase the risk of lithium intoxication.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Weight
  • Dehydration / blood
  • Humans
  • Lithium / administration & dosage
  • Lithium / analysis
  • Lithium / blood*
  • Lithium / poisoning
  • Lithium Carbonate
  • Male
  • Physical Exertion*
  • Sodium / analysis
  • Sodium / blood
  • Sweat / analysis
  • Sweating


  • Lithium Carbonate
  • Lithium
  • Sodium