According to the British researchers, lithium is increasing the life-span, at least in flies.
The results of the experiments that were carried out in laboratory showed that low doses of lithium is expanding the lifespan of fruit flies.
Scientists stated that this finding, which they define as promising, may make the development of new drugs that will allow people to live longer and healthier possible.
Lithium, which is used for the treatment of mood swings in psychiatry, can cause severe side effects if it is taken in high doses.
How lithium affects the brain is not still completely known, but it was observed that in fruit flies, it can elongate the lifespan by blocking a chemical substance known as GSK-3.
Results of this research that was carried out by the University of London was published in the scientific journal Cell Reports.
In the research, it was determined that the fruit flies which were given low doses of lithium lived 16% longer when compared to average.
It was also observed that when lithium is given in high doses, it shortens the lifespan of flies.
Leading researcher Professor Linda Partridge said “The results that we obtained from low doses of lithium in flies are encouraging. Our next step is to target GSK-3 in more complex animals and develop a drug that can be tried on humans later”.
Dr. Ivana Bjedov from the research team also said that low doses of lithium prevents fat formation during a diet with high sugar rate.
Claire Bell from the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation of UK says “It is encouraging to see that the researchers found an important piece of the aging puzzle” and adds “Thanks to this, it may be possible for us to fight against the aging process one day”.