Magnesium orotate is a mineral salt that is normally found in small amounts in all living things. Each molecule of magnesium
orotate consists of two molecules of orotic acid in which a single magnesium atom replaces a pair of hydrogen atoms (one from
each orotic acid molecule).
Orotate (orotic acid) is a biochemical substance made by all living cells. It is a necessary raw material for making the genetic
material: RNA and DNA.
Magnesium is an essential mineral that serves as a cofactor for many enzymes made in the body. The optimum dietary magnesium intake for humans is still being disputed. Some authorities give a range of 30 to 400 mg/day
depending upon age, while others believe it is more like 400 to 1000 mg/day.
Of the minerals required in large amounts by the human body, the one most likely to be deficient is magnesium. Various disorders have been linked to magnesium deficiencies, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure,
anxiety disorders, dementia, migraines and osteoporosis. In addition, physicians have found magnesium compounds helpful for treating asthma, chronic lung disease, and cardiac conditions
such as heart attack and arrhythmias.
What we can’t tell you
In the U.S. and some other industrialized countries, government agencies like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have adopted
censorship as a method for intensifying their control over supplement users and their suppliers. Thus, FDA regulations prohibit
us from telling you that any of our products are effective as medical treatments, even if they are, in fact, effective.
Accordingly, we will limit our discussion of magnesium orotate to a brief summary of relevant research, and let you draw your
own conclusions about what medical conditions it may be effective in treating.
Magnesium orotate was introduced as a supplement by Dr. Hans Nieper, the innovative German physician, who used it to treat or prevent the following conditions:
- kidney failure from diabetes or high blood pressure
- viral diseases
- heart attacks
- blood clots
Nieper considered orotates to be superior to carbonates, chlorides, sulfates, and other anions as bioavailability enhancers
for minerals like magnesium.
Hans Nieper was a controversial figure whose treatments were denounced by many in the medical profession and were targeted
by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration — despite the fact that these critics had done essentially no investigation of these
treatments, and despite the fact that countless thousands of Nieper’s patients and followers found the treatments to be superbly
effective. Nieper died in 1998, but his influence lives on.
Other researchers have also studied some of the medical applications of magnesium ororate. Let’s look briefly at these applications.
Recovery from heart attacks and heart surgery
A substantial number of studies have been done using magnesium orotate supplements for patients who have had heart attacks
or heart surgery. The main benefits reported include: improved survival of tissue damaged by oxygen starvation, reduction of premature heartbeats, increase in exercise capacity, correction of magnesium depletion, improvements in skin appearance, and reduction in calcification of damaged heart tissue. The mechanism for these benefits is suspected to involve an improved availability of DNA and RNA precursors needed for repair
of damaged tissue, and an increase in the synthesis of glycogen and ATP, both of which provide energy to the heart muscle.
Magnesium orotate and athletic performance
Since magnesium orotate has been shown to improve the performance of heart muscle in patients who have had heart attacks,
and apparently does so by improving the heart muscle’s access to energy, it is not surprising that similar results have been
seen in studies in which the subjects were athletes rather than patients. For example, a 1998 study reported that “... 23
competitive triathletes competing in an event consisting of a 500-meter swim, a 20-km bicycle race, and a 5-km run were studied
after 4-week supplementation with placebo or 17 mmol/d Mg orotate. ... Swimming, cycling, and running times decreased in the
Mg-orotate group compared with the controls.”
Cardiovascular disease and cholesterol profiles
As science writer Ed Sharpe has pointed out, magnesium orotate has been reported to improve the elasticity of blood vessels.
A daily dose of 380 mg magnesium orotate over 15 months was sufficient to normalize or greatly improve the elasticity of peripheral
blood vessels in 60 of 64 of Hans Nieper’s patients.“Such an effect on vessel elasticity suggests the use of magnesium orotate
for lowering blood pressure as well as for inhibiting arteriosclerosis.”
Hungarian studies during the 1990s found that magnesium orotate influenced LDL and HDL cholesterol levels in the arteries
of rabbits and inhibited plaque formaiton. “Atherosclerotic alterations in each vessel could be influenced moderately by Mg-chloride, quite well by orotic acid and
excellently by Mg-orotate. From these results one can conclude that orotic acid and Mg-orotate have a beneficial effect in
the prevention and therapy of heart and vessels diseases.”
In combination with potassium orotate
Hans Nieper usually combined magnesium orotate with other supplements to take advantage of synergies. For example, he recommended
a combination of magnesium orotate (1.5 to 2.5 grams per day) plus potassium orotate (138 to 300 mg daily) for treating coronary
heart disease. He also suggested adding the pineapple enzyme bromelain (120 to 140 mg per day) to inhibit platelet aggregation
and dissolve fibrin clots. In this way he reduced the mortality rates by 90% or more compared to patients in other studies
who received conventional medications.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
The main symptoms of ADHD are inattention, instability, and physical aggression with no self-control. Children with ADHD have
significantly lower-than-normal magnesium levels in red blood cells. In a 2004 study of 52 hyperexcitable children, intervention for six months with magnesium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) reduced
hyperactivity, hyperexcitability, and aggressiveness in all treated patients and improved school attention.
Autism, a neurodevelopmental disorder, is characterized by three behavioral impairments: impaired social interaction, impaired
communication, and restricted and repetitive interests and activities. According to a recent online survey, approximately 30% of parents give their autistic children a supplement of magnesium
and vitamin B6. There is no agreement of what dosages of magnesium and vitamin B6 should be used.
In a recent study French researchers showed that children with autism had significantly lower red blood cell magnesium levels
than controls. Intervention with magnesium and vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) reduced autistic symptoms in 23 children out of 33,
stereotyped restricted behavior in 18 children, and abnormal/delayed functioning in 17 children. It improved social interactions
in 23 children and communication in 24 children.
For a good introductory discussion of mineral salts and other related mineral transporters, see the review Mineral chelates, salts and colloids by Alvin Hashimoto. For an explanation of possible mechanisms through which orotates operate in the body, see the article How orotates work: The biochemistry of ‘vitamin B13’ by Ed Sharpe. An overview of magnesium orotate usage for heart attack patients is found in Rosenfeldt’s 1998 review Metabolic supplementation with orotic acid and magnesium orotate.
Are magnesium orotate supplements useful for the conditions and purposes mentioned above? We aren’t allowed to tell you, so
you should take a look at some of the references cited here, and then decide for yourself.