Are you worried about your lithium and sodium intake? Let’s first discover what both these elements are all about. Lithium is a mood-stabilizing medicine. It is used to treat mood disorders like major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder. Lithium is helpful in reducing episodes of mania and suicidal ideation among those who suffer from such mental health problems. Although the appropriate dosage of lithium varies from individual to individual, the recommended level is between 900 mg to 1,200 mg in divided doses each day. The safest level of the medicine in the blood is 0.6 and 1.2 milliequivalents per liter (mEq/L).
Lithium overdose takes place when its level reaches 2.0 mEq/L or above. Increased intake of lithium could be life-threatening. In case the level exceeds the recommended dosage, a medical emergency should promptly be sought.
On the other hand, the accumulation of sodium in your body occurs when you consume restaurant and packaged foods. Since it is already added in the food before you even purchase it, you will find it very hard to control its intake in the body. However, you can reduce the consumption of both lithium and sodium to lead a healthier and balanced life. Let’s first focus on how you can reduce lithium intake.
Symptoms of lithium overdose can vary from mild to severe. While the former may cause diarrhea, fatigue, tremors, weakness, and drowsiness. The latter is potentially dangerous as it could result in kidney failure, coma, rapid heartbeat, seizures, and even death.
Ways to lower lithium in your body
It is not possible to completely quit taking lithium, especially if you are being treated for serious mental health issues like major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder. However, there are certain things you can do to reduce its intake, but not before consulting your doctor. If you are suffering from any of the aforementioned mental health issues, you can take baby steps to restore your life to normalcy and also significantly reduce lithium intake.
The following tips will definitely help you in this regard:
- Exercise Regularly – people usually overlook the importance of regular workout or engaging their body in any kind of strenuous physical activity. When you push your body physically during workout, your mind releases a chemical called endorphins. It is also referred to as a happy chemical, and naturally helps you regulate your depressive or manic phases. The more regularly you exercise, the lesser episodes of acute melancholy you experience. As your mood improves step-by-step, your consultant will gradually lower your lithium dose. Remember, it does not happen overnight and could take longer. Just be patient and the good results will soon ensue.
- Meditate – meditation is one of the best ways to treat mood disorders like bipolar disorder and major depression. It clears your mind and makes you more focused. Practicing meditation is all about closing your eyes for up to 10 minutes and focusing your mind on a particular image or deep breathing patterns. The latter is obviously more helpful as you inhale and exhale breathe deeply, and you force your mind to focus on rhythmic breathing.
- Find a hobby – as you recover from acute episodes of depression, you can find an interesting hobby. It could be anything that makes you feel happy and enjoy your life.
- Eat healthy food – avoid consuming processed and oily foods. If you love to eat junk food, try to reduce it. Both types of foods contain high levels of sodium, which can be detrimental for you. As a matter of fact, your whole body is interconnected and eating healthy food definitely helps you maintain a quality lifestyle.
How to reduce sodium intake
- When you are shopping for food, make sure to choose products consisting of the lowest concentration of sodium per serving. If you are not sure, compare the labels of different brands to have a good idea in this regard.
- If you are looking for salad dressings, soy sauce, pickles, and mustards, find the ones with reduced sodium. For canned vegetables, look for the “no salt added” version. There are so many ingredients in canned foods that could easily make up for the salt.
- Last but not least, find products that have American Heart Association’s Heart-Check mark on them since they are included in the whole healthy dietary pattern.
- When preparing different types of food items, make use of herbs, garlic onions, vinegars, and citrus juices to avoid using salt.
Incorporate all these practices to reduce lithium and sodium intake, and lead a happier and healthier life!