Lithium Side Effects Without The Lithium?
I've had a strange and (thus far) impossible to diagnose disorder for seventeen years. I have akathisia (restlessness and involuntary movements) that cannot be attributed to drugs, what I'm pretty sure is diabetes insipidus (thirst and frequent urination that don't correlate to blood sugar), cervical dystonia (clenched muscles in the neck), insulin resistance, liver inflammation (including high liver enzymes and high ferritin), psoriasis, fatigue, brain fog, and body aches.
Most of these symptoms could be explained by lithium. It causes akathisia, diabetes insipidus, dystonia, psoriasis, and brain fog. More importantly, it's the only cause of chronic akathisia I can find that occurs naturally and isn't neurodegenerative. I *did* take antidepressants (which can cause akathisia) for a number of years, mostly intermittently, but I quite them completely for six years, during which time my akathisia continued unabated. It's possible the antidepressants are the cause (or *a* cause), but lithium explains a lot more.
I read that sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) counteracts the effects of lithium, so I took several gelcaps filled with it (after determining that this was definitely a safe dose). It seemed that my dystonia and was greatly reduced and my restlessness somewhat improved. I'm planning to repeat the experiment a few times before I draw any conclusions.
So it all sounds convincing, except that it isn't. I've just had a blood test, and my lithium is so low, the test couldn't detect it; below 0.1. Of course, the test is designed to monitor blood levels in people who are taking lithium daily as a medication. Is it possible that a different type of lithium test would detect something? Great Plains Laboratory, for example, has a lithium hair test which apparently measures levels as low as 0.004. But even if the test did detect, say, a level of 0.01, would it even mean anything? I don't think any doctor is going to put me on dialysis to remove that amount of lithium from my body. And since it's so far below toxic levels, it doesn't seem very likely that it would cause the symptoms listed above. The Great Plains test is designed to catch lithium *deficiencies*; I don't know that it would be of any use in my case
Is it possible that something else could emulate the side effect profile of lithium? As I understand it, much of what lithium does, it does through the sodium channels. Could sodium somehow cause all this? Could anything else be affecting the sodium channels?
Any advice or information would be greatly appreciated.