Geologists and other scientists recover lithium from spodumene, a type of mineral, and from brine, a type of water with a high lithium carbonate concentration, according to The Encyclopedia of Earth. Brine is the primary source and, in the United States, it is estimated that there are about 760,000 tons in reserves.
Lithium is an element and it does not provide vital biological functions for humans. Doctors use it as a mood stabilizer in the lithium ion Li+ form. Lithium salts may also be beneficial in stabilizing the mood. In the industrial world, lithium is a common component in the manufacture of ceramics, glass and aluminum.