Is lithium the reason Soylent is improving mood?


I read the recent NYTime’s opinion article on lithium, then did cursory search, and found that lithium was added to Soylent as a supplement – at least in trials in 2013 – I can’t find it mentioned by Rob since this blog post. The Soylent 1.0 ingredients list doesn’t contain it.

I’d like to know how much lithium is in Soylent, if it’s still there, before trying a supplement like lithium aspartate. If it is added to Soylent, what salt binder is used – orotate or aspartate?

If lithium is no longer added, I’m curious why it was ultimately removed.


There were a lot of changes between Rob’s early experiments on himself and the actual pre-production versions of Soylent. That same post talks about Rob overdosing on potassium, and comparing it to overdosing on magnesium…

I suspect the reasons Lithium is not part of the official formula:

  1. Lithium is common in the soil, and therefore is common in grains like oats. Deficiency is very rare.
  2. Lithium, when used in dosages to change mood or treat disorders, is closely monitored via blood tests to avoid toxicity.
  3. Lithium levels react to changes in sodium intake, water intake, caffeine intake, alcohol intake… it would be unwise to add it to an all-purpose one-size-fits-all recipe like Soylent.


Lithium is common in soil, but it varies from region to region, so the amount in Soylent would depend entirely on where the ingredients are sourced from. If not measured, it’s entirely possible to end up with a deficiency or surplus. I’m guessing Soylent has some level of lithium content from other ingredients if Rob showed an interest in it early on, and if it’s rather high, I would find that interesting in terms of the mood effects it has on people.

Also, the dosages to treat mood disorders aren’t what I’m interested in – those are measured in the hundreds of milligrams, and the bad reputation lithium carbonate gets partially comes from the fact that those levels are toxic. You don’t need to measure your blood for 2mg of lithium aspartate though.

Saying it would be unwise to add lithium would be like saying it’s unwise to add magnesium for a one-size-fits-all diet. A one-size-fits-all diet is exactly what Soylent is, and your body functions better with lithium than it does without, as evidenced by the crime and suicide data in the research cited by the NYTimes article.


Be careful about the strength of your opinion versus the strength of your evidence - that wasn’t a news article called, “We Should All Take a Bit of Lithium.”

That was an opinion piece asking the question, “Should We All Take a Bit of Lithium?”


You should read the first sentence of this thread, if you suspect any misunderstanding. You might also want to read the article, if you’ve confused an opinion article for the research it references.

You could also bring up any scientific evidence that suggests lithium is harmful in sub 5mg doses, instead of discrediting sources by association.


As someone who takes psych meds it would be important for me to know if anything like that was at noticeable levels.


i would check out this discussion over at r/nootropics

this thread appoints to the same article.