The name as vitamin is deprived of her, but she probably still has useful functions: the orotic acid formerly known as vitamin B13 is hardly known and has not been explored for a long time. Orotic acid (Acidum oroticum) is produced as an intermediate in the human metabolism of nucleic acids from the amino acids asparagine and glutamine in the production of uracil and cytosine. These bases are needed, among other things, for the "ladder joints" of human DNA, but are also essential for other functions such as signal transduction and catalyzing biochemical reactions.

Milk is rich in orotic acid

Foods also contain this substance: in yeasts and dairy products such as yoghurt, kefir, quark and buttermilk, sheep's milk contains more than 3 times as much orotic acid as cow's milk. Breastmilk is also particularly rich in orotic acid.

Orotic acid owes its name to its discoverers, the Italian researchers Biscaro and Belloni. They had isolated them for the first time at the beginning of the 20th century, from cow's milk - and its Greek name is "orós". At first it was thought that orotic acid was vital, so it was added to the vitamins.

Orotic acid and magnesium

Although it was denied her this status, the substance a number of positive effects are awarded: Orotic acid is to protect the liver and stop the progression of liver disease, it should counteract the development of cancer and - especially in interaction with magnesium, as a means of transport - Prevent cardiovascular diseases and positively influence lipid metabolism. It is intended to boost the energy supply in the cells, especially the heart muscle, thus increasing its performance. In addition, it should promote long-term memory.

Therefore, orotic acid is touted as a so-called. Biofaktor, which can compensate for deficiencies in the body and - in higher doses - effect as a drug can develop. As a means of cardiovascular protection, it is particularly often offered as a combination with magnesium.

Effect of orotic acid not scientifically proven

However, hardly any of these advertised effects has been sufficiently scientifically proven. Positive effects were found mainly in experimental studies in rats, in humans, however, only in a few clinical studies. Although it lowered cholesterol levels in rats, it also increased the likelihood of fatty liver disease. A recent study of nearly 80 patients with severe heart failure showed that those affected could actually benefit from an additional intake of orotic acid - both in terms of survival and extent of symptoms.

In order to really support and therapeutically use the substance, clinical research would have to focus more on orotic acid. However, there is already a proven field of application: orotic acid is increasingly the cause of certain metabolic defects in the urea cycle - if it is detectable in urine, this leads to the suspicion of a corresponding disturbance in the amino acid metabolism.

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