Lithium salts are used as a mood-stabilizing drug in treating bipolar disorder and depression. Lithium is commonly used in batteries, glass and ceramic glazes, air conditioning, grease and electric cars. It is also used as a sanitizing agent for swimming pools and hot tubs.
People also come in contact with lithium when working with glazes used with ceramics and glass. Lithium has become an important component of batteries and electrodes. It is also used in lubricating greases, continuous casting mould flux slags, welding, pyrotechnics and air purification.
Lithium is likely present in a variety of foods. The main sources are cereals, potatoes, tomatoes, and cabbage, as well as some spices such as nutmeg, coriander seeds, or cumin, though these contribute negligible amounts in many geographic regions. Tea, a common beverage throughout the world, contains varying levels of lithium.
There are differing perspectives on whether lithium is beneficial in small amounts (e.g., a micronutrient). The United States has no current recommended dietary allowance for lithium.