"Prescription lithium is in the form of lithium carbonate, and doses can be as high as 180 mg. It is these high doses that are responsible for most of lithium's adverse side effects. Some of the more common side effects include a dulled personality, reduced emotions, memory loss, tremors, or weight gain [5,6]. Another form of lithium called lithium orotate, is preferred because the orotate ion crosses the blood-brain barrier more easily than the carbonate ion of lithium carbonate. Therefore, lithium orotate can be used in much lower doses (e.g. 5 mg) with remarkable results and no side effects [49,50]. Clinical trials involving 150 mg daily doses of lithium orotate administered 4 to 5 times a week, showed a reduction of manic and depressive symptoms in bipolar patients . In addition, lithium orotate is available without a prescription, unlike lithium carbonate, which is considered a prescription drug by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Studies have also shown that the amino acid-derivative, taurine, as an alternative to lithium, blocks the effects of excess acetylcholine that contributes to bipolar disorder "
While most information on nutritional lithium is for it's use in helping people with mental symptoms (and many practitioners in natural health will use lithium for that), I have primarily seen it help people with Grave's disease. While herbals for Graves disease (ie. bugle-weed, lemon balm, mother wort) help the cardiovascular symptoms lithium is my starting point for a supplement that will help with other symptoms.
Unfortunately many people are afraid of taking lithium because they have heard it is dangerous. Lithium is a trace mineral, our bodies need it. It is not dangerous in low dose. Any mineral, vitamin or substance (including air and water) is dangerous in too high a dose. That's what happens with prescription lithium carbonate. The dose is too high and creates toxic side effects.
However, this should not scare people away from using low dose nutritional lithium, which is available as a non-prescription supplement.
Another article from 1986
In this there was some minimal side effects, although they gave a much higher does than lithium oratate is usually given in (they used 150 mg per day - instead of 5 to 20 as in most supplements).
Study noted many benefits from lithium - including helping some with hyperthyroidism
"Further advantages for this lithium therapy were noted, i.e., improved liver and cardiovascular functions, reduction (and in some cases abolishment) of migraine headaches, alleviation of the Meniere's symptoms, and amelioration of seizures. There were increases in the white blood cell counts in the patient with chemotherapy-induced leukopenia and reduction of edema and ascites in patients with liver cirrhosis, as well as the pleural effusions and lymph node swelling in the patient with lung cancer. No manic episodes occurred during lithium orotate treatment in three patients with this affective disorder. The hyperthyroid condition was also improved in four patients"