Whenever anyone asks me what's the best way to take mineral supplements, I often give an answer they don't expect, "Orotates!" The blank looks I usually get tell me that further explanation is necessary.
A few years ago, Ed Sharpe wrote a long and thorough report about orotates and their benefits. I want to give credit to Ed for the original work as it was one of the most comprehensive reviews of the research I’ve seen. I suggest checking it out for yourself, but to provide a quick introduction, I've created an abridged version below.
What Are Orotates?
Orotates are the mineral salts of orotic acid, a natural substance found in our bodies, dairy products, and other food. Orotates are part of a system of electrolyte carriers that distribute minerals throughout the body. Some orotate molecules can pass through cell membranes without breaking apart, allowing them to be absorbed very efficiently. Because they’re absorbed so well, they make a fantastic delivery system for minerals.
Of all the minerals, magnesium is one of the most important. It’s helpful for migraines, the upper respiratory system, blood vessel elasticity, and cardiovascular health. Combining magnesium with orotates enhances mineral transport and is superior to other magnesium supplements.[4, 5, 6, 7]
Calcium supplements get credit for supporting skeletal health. Among them, calcium orotate is the most effective. Small servings of calcium orotate can be effective for promoting skin health and supporting normal blood pressure. If you’re looking for a calcium orotate supplement, IntraCal™ contains both calcium and magnesium orotate. Without magnesium, calcium can cause nerves to be over-activated, over-contracted, and tense.
Potassium deficiency is often a secondary consequence of magnesium deficiency. Another cause is the use of potassium-wasting diuretics to control high blood pressure. Potassium orotate supports cardiovascular health when combined with magnesium orotate. Potassium orotate supports wound healing and can speed up recovery following surgery. [10, 11] Potassium orotate also helps the body absorb vitamin C. Studies suggest regular potassium orotate supplementation has a positive effect on mental well-being.
Lithium carbonate, the treatment for manic-depressive disorders, is structurally different from lithium orotate. Lithium orotate offers neuroprotective effects, immune system support, and positive effects on liver, cardiovascular, thyroid, and immune function. If you suffer from an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, you should speak with your healthcare professional before taking lithium supplements.
Zinc is necessary for bone health and is vital for the immune system.[15, 16] Zinc deficiency causes atrophy of the thymus, reduction in white blood cells, and susceptibility to infection.[17, 18] Males who are zinc deficient can experience hypogonadism and low testosterone levels. Zinc is also important for growth hormone activity. One of the major, nutritional benefits of zinc is its antioxidant activity.[21, 22, 23]
Experiencing the Benefits of Orotates
- Nieper HA. Recalcification of bone metastases by calcium diorotate. Agressologie. 1970;11(6):495-502. Available as article #CA21 from the A. Keith Brewer International Science Library at (608) 647-6513 or on the Web.
- Nieper HA. The clinical applications of lithium orotate. A two years study. Agressologie. 1973;14(6):407-11. Available as article #CM12 from the A. Keith Brewer International Science Library at (608) 647-6513 or on the Web.
- Swain R, Kaplan-Machlis B. Magnesium for the next millennium. South Med J. 1999;92(11):1040-7.
- Rosenfeldt FL. Metabolic supplementation with orotic acid and magnesium orotate. Cardiovasc Drugs Ther. 1998;12(Suppl 2):147-52.
- Villanyi P, Votin J, Rahlfs V. Arteriosclerosis, myocardial infarct and blood lipids, their therapeutic modification by magnesium orotate [in German]. Wien Med Wochenschr. 1970;120(5):76-83.
- Jellinek H, Takacs E. Morphological aspects of the effects of orotic acid and magnesium orotate on hypercholesterolaemia in rabbits. Arzneimittelforschung. 1995;45(8):836-42.
- Nieper HA. Capillarographic criteria on the effect of magnesium orotate, EPL substances and clofibrate on the elasticity of blood vessels. Agressologie. 1974;15(1):73-7. Available as article #CM19 from the A. Keith Brewer International Science Library at (608) 647-6513 or on the Web.
- Altura BM, Altura BT. Interactions of Mg and K on blood vessels-aspects in view of hypertension. Review of present status and new findings. Magnesium. 1984;3(4-6):175-94.
- Franse LV, Pahor M, Di Bari M, Somes GW, Cushman WC, Applegate WB. Hypokalemia associated with diuretic use and cardiovascular events in the Systolic Hypertension in the Elderly Program. Hypertension. 2000;35(5):1025-30.
- Kolokol'chikova EG, Pal'tsyn AA. Electron-radioautographic study of the effect of potassium orotate on RNA and protein synthesis in fibroblasts during experimental wound healing [in Russian]. Biull Eksp Biol Med. 1983;96(8):115-8.
- Bilich GL, Nazarova LV, Sungurova EV. The enzymatic status of circulating lymphocytes as an index of the regenerative process in the lungs under stimulation with pyrimidine and purine derivatives. A clinical experimental study. Haematologia (Budap). 1982;15(1):71-81.
- Kuzdenbaeva RS, Kurakina VE, Iztleuov MK. Effect of anabolic substances on the state of the individual components of the glutathione-ascorbic acid system. Farmakol Toksikol. 1980;43(5):607-9.
- Karkishchenko NN, Khaitin MI. Comparative study of the indices of the antidepressive activity of potassium orotate and piracetam [in Russian]. Farmakol Toksikol. 1985;48(2):32-5.
- Lieb J. Lithium and immune function. Med Hypotheses. 1987;23(1):73-93.
- Atik OS. Zinc and senile osteoporosis. J Am Geriatr Soc. 1983;31(12):790-1.
- Igarashi A, Yamaguchi M. Increase in bone protein components with healing rat fractures: enhancement by zinc treatment. Int J Mol Med. 1999;4(6):615-20.
- Mocchegiani E, Giacconi R, Muzzioli M, Cipriano C. Zinc, infections and immunosenescence. Mech Ageing Dev. 2000;121(1-3):21-35.
- Fraker PJ, Jardieu P, Cook J. Zinc deficiency and immune function. Arch Dermatol. 1987;123(12):1699-701.
- Prasad AS, Mantzoros CS, Beck FW, Hess JW, Brewer GJ. Zinc status and serum testosterone levels of healthy adults. Nutrition. 1996;12(5):344-8.
- Kurtogu S, Patiroglu TE, Karakas SE. Effect of growth hormone on epiphyseal growth plates in zinc deficiency. Tokai J Exp Clin Med. 1987;12(5-6):325-9.
- Powell SR. The antioxidant properties of zinc. J Nutr. 2000;130(5S Suppl):1447S-54S.
- DiSilvestro RA. Zinc in relation to diabetes and oxidative disease. J Nutr. 2000;130(5S Suppl):1509S-11S.
- Floersheim GL. Synergism of organic zinc salts and sulfhydryl compounds (thiols) in the protection of mice against acute ethanol toxicity, and protective effects of various metal salts. Agents Actions. 1987;21(1-2):217-22.
†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.