Orotic acid (OA), a naturally occurring substance, is a key intermediate in the biosynthetic pathway of pyrimidines. Previous investigations in the heart suggest that orotate can protect recently infarcted hearts against a further ischemic stress and may be beneficial in certain types of experimental cardiomyopathy. At the Hamburg symposium on magnesium orotate, a number of studies of this form of metabolic supplementation were presented that indicate orotic acid and its magnesium salt have a modest beneficial effect on the myocardium under conditions of stress ranging from myocardial infarction to severe physical exercise. The following conclusions can be drawn: (1) Orotic acid can improve the energy status of the recently infarcted myocardium (rat hearts). (2) Orotic acid may improve myocardial purine and pyrimidine levels by stimulating hepatic release of uridine into the bloodstream, which in turn augments depleted myocardial pyrimidines and purines (rat heart). (3) Orotic acid improves the tolerance of the recently infarcted heart to global ischemia (rats). (4) Magnesium orotate may reduce the severity of chronic myocardial dysfunction and structural damage in cardiomyopathy (cardiomyopathic hamsters). (5) Magnesium orotate may improve exercise tolerance in patients with coronary artery disease and in trained athletes (humans). (6) Magnesium orotate has only a weak inotropic effect, if any, on normal hearts (rats). (7) Further clinical testing is indicated to determine if the effects described could be of significant clinical benefit in the treatment of heart disease.