The popular carbonated beverage 7Up contained lithium, the toxic element used in many popular battery cells. But it’s also perhaps the most widely used medication for bipolar disorder. The therapeutic benefits of lithium are the reason it was first used in 7Up.
When it was released for sale in 1929, only a few weeks before the stock market crash that signaled the beginning of the Great Depression, 7Up contained lithium. It was even marketed and named Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda. That’s a hefty mouthful of a name and it was soon shortened to 7Up Lithiated Lemon Soda. A little simpler, but they could do better, and they finally did in 1936 when they shortened it yet again to 7Up. How simple was that?
Why 7Up with lithium?
So why exactly add this element to 7Up? Lithium was added to 7Up as a marketing gimmick. It’s creator, Charles Leiper Grigg thought that it could be used as a selling point for the drink. He had the belief that because lithium was used as an effective mood regulator for those diagnosed as manic depressives, it to could be promoted as a mood regulator. The drink was patent medicine that was supposedly able to cure hangovers due to its use of lithium citrate.
If you’re an avid consumer of 7Up and are concerned about the presence of lithium, you need not worry. It was removed as an ingredient in 1948. Today it is just a tasty lemon-lime flavored soda drink without any therapeutic benefits other than re-hydration.