Best known therapeutically as a treatment for bipolar disorder, researchers are uncovering low-dose lithium’s potential age-defying properties.

Lithium is a soft, silvery-white metal that is used in the manufacture of aircraft and in certain batteries. From a health point of view, it is best known for its use in treating mood disorders, but low-dose lithium has also been shown in lab experiments to extend the lifespan of fruit flies and roundworms, while observational studies have suggested tap water naturally laced with trace amounts of lithium might improve human longevity.

Now researchers at The University of Toledo have recently found that low-dose lithium acts as a powerful anti-aging agent in the kidneys