Coral Calcium Watchdog Update
Coral Facts & Fiction There is a confusing array of Coral Calcium Products on the market with widely ranging prices. Naturally every company tries to position their brand as the premium form of Coral. Claims include "most absorbable Coral on the market" "clinical grade Coral" "Fossilized Coral","Sango Coral", "Ionized Coral", "Robert Barefoot's formula" and so on. Some argue over who was first to bring it to America and who has the "exclusive rights". Others suggest Coral is a "scam" on the one hand, and the "fountain of youth" on the other. What is the truth? Let's separate Coral Facts from Fiction: Coral: "Fountain of Youth" or "Scam" Coral is neither a fountain of youth, nor a scam. Coral Calcium is an excellent source of calcium and minerals which are in an exceptionally bio-available form. When people lacking calcium and trace minerals finally absorb them, some exciting benefits may occur creating this fountain of youth idea. No clinical trials of any significance have been done, so there is no medical evidence one way or the other. Lab assays show the mineral content is real, hundreds of doctors (at this stage mostly Chiropractors and Naturopathic Doctors with only a small handful of MD's) now recommend the product, personal testimonials attesting to benefits number in the thousands. We categorize coral as a very good health supplement - nothing more and nothing less. One should take it with the expectation it will support your body like any other excellent health supplement. Robert Barefoot Mr. Barefoot, often confused as a Doctor, is not an MD or other type of medical practitioner. He is a chemist who has specialized in the study of calcium, an author and a dynamic lecturer. Like other excellent promoters, Mr. Barefoot has been known to oversimplify certain issues and overstate certain benefits of the type of coral he gets paid to promote, in our opinion. We think his overstatements may ultimately bring criticism to an excellent health supplement. It should be noted that there are other less-visible experts on coral calcium that offer balancing perspectives. Method of Action Most agree that coral works very well, but how is really up for debate. The method of action for Coral is unknown. Some say it is by regulating body pH, others claim a homeopathic action, some espouse a cell salt theory. We favor the view that the synergy between the minerals found in coral plus the fact that they have been pre-digested by the coral polyps and hence in an organic form that is easy to assimilate has more to do with how it works than anything. Okinawan Coral Most coral calcium products on the market are from the Japanese prefecture of Okinawa. A few are beginning to blend coral from other countries in their formulas without telling the consumer. Some of the countries that either currently market coral in America or soon will are, Caribbean, India, Brazil, and China. No blended product is included in our recommended list of coral products. Sango Coral What about Sango - some say Sango is the best. Actually Sango is simply a local Okinawan reference to Coral in general - so all Okinawan Coral is Sango. Ionized Coral All Okinawan Coral is ionized too - that just means it takes on a charge (a positive one to be specific) so don't be fooled by companies claiming to have a superior product because it is "Ionized" Coral Calcium. The important thing is that this ionization makes it far more useable for humans compared to regular calcium supplements. Clinical Grade Some claim to have "clinical grade" but no explanation is offered as to how this is different from any other. Coral is a whole food source of calcium and minerals and there is no standard grading system including "clinical grade". Something that does matter more is particle size. It comes in a range of sizes from 2 microns (like flour) up to 44 microns. The smaller, the better for absorption. Physician Formulated The Coral formulas on the market are very simple formulations based on Dr Carl Reich's work from 1950 through 1992 where he combined Calcium and Vitamin D to work miracles in patients. A physician's involvement is arguably overkill. Choose your coral product by the criteria listed on our "Coral Product Comparison" page. Robert Barefoot Formula Several companies, each with a different formula, either have Bob Barefoot's name on their formula or advertise that they represent him in one way or another. Robert Barefoot has licensed his name to a company which has developed several brands and markets through several distributors. Confusing matters further, Mr. Barefoot has represented most of the Coral companies at one time or another as his mission is to help America heal itself and he tends to hop from company to company. If you see his name on a bottle of coral, one thing is certain - Bob Barefoot is not producing it as he has parted company with the licensor of his name. Not that it really matters - plain ground up coral in powder form works very well on it's own. Any formula containing some Vitamin D and maybe a few other goodies is a bonus with or without Barefoot's name on it. Again, choose your product using criteria other than who's name is on it or who formulated it. See product comparison . Exclusive Rights If any company owned the exclusive rights to Coral calcium there would not be so many competing companies creating such confusion now would there? Coral Calcium was first introduced to America about 9 years ago through a Multi-level Marketing company selling it in tea bag form. Later the capsules became more popular as the entire mineral content could be swallowed. Over time about 7 or 8 other MLM companies started marketing Coral products and several regular distribution companies have recently joined in. Magnesium Content There are several schools of thought on how much Magnesium should be in calcium supplements. An article in the JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) indicated there should be absolutely no magnesium in calcium supplements. Other experts claim a 2:1 ratio of Calcium to Magnesium is ideal. The Okinawan race, noted for their longevity due to the minerals they ingest from the giant fossilized mineral reef they live on do not add magnesium at all. What we know for sure is the medical community is undecided - and that all pure coral products works extremely well with or without a 2:1 ratio. Coral Microbes Although super qualities have been attributed to these microbes, we do not believe they exist in commercially available coral, if at all. Marine coral is heat treated and Fossilized coral is ozonated. Both processes will kill any living microbe. The coral works, but not because of microbes. Above-Sea Coral vs. Below-Sea "Marine" Coral. There are two sources of Okinawan Coral. Coral which is mined above sea level and Marine Coral (below-sea) which is vacuumed from the ocean bottom near the Coral reefs. Which is best, Above-Sea or Below-Sea sourced coral? Laboratory analysis of the two kinds shows each variety has 74 minerals and have similar quantities of the minerals. Above-Sea Coral tends to have a little higher percentage of Calcium - 35 to 38% while the Marine variety has 20 - 24% calcium. So when you read about a company having 500 mg of Coral calcium per capsule, you know that roughly 1/3 of that is pure calcium - most of the better companies will point out the exact percentage. All of it comes from Okinawan Coral and toxic levels of heavy metals is a non-issue for all above-sea and almost all below-sea coral. The fossilized coral suppliers claim that theirs is in aragonite form which is more soluble than the marine variety which is heat treated and becomes a calcite form of crystal. This has been verified in a Japanese laboratory. The Marine coral suppliers say theirs is advantageous due to a natural 2:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium. Our research indicates that magnesium has likely been added to accomplish this ratio - which is fine. Some of the fossilized brands have magnesium added too, but the fossilized companies are up-front about it. Whenever a company promotes something as "naturally occurring" and it has been added, it makes us wonder where else the truth is being stretched on their product. A little foray to Okinawa last summer unearthed another matter of concern regarding "Marine" coral - that is the purity of a product that involves vacuuming the ocean floor. We obtained raw marine coral product samples which have a high sand content. This is not all bad as sand is not toxic or harmful. It is just not a pure coral product. These impurities are likely the reason Marine Coral has a lower calcium content than Fossilized coral. We know that Mr. Barefoot is currently promoting "Marine Coral", but one must remember his history of representing a number of coral companies over the years and each brand he represents at the time has "the best form". When he represented Fossilized Coral it was the best - currently he is representing Marine Coral, but we hear rumors that he may switch again soon to promoting fossilized coral. It doesn't really matter. We recommend that you choose your coral based on it's merits, not on who is promoting it. If one was to choose a coral based on the credentials of the promoter, one would be better off backing the likes of a Dr Bruce Halstead MD, PhD who is better qualified, and wrote the definitive title on Fossilized Coral Stony Minerals (available through several companies on the web) - his choice was Above-Sea sourced coral. Every company has a list of amazing success stories with their brand of Coral which we have no reason to doubt given the well documented longevity of the Okinawan people who live on a giant fossilized coral reef and ingest Coral minerals daily from their water! Although we would take "Marine" Coral if it were the only type available, we favor fossilized coral for reasons noted above. Some people also favor the fossilized form on ethical grounds - because the Marine vacuuming process can be damaging to the Coral environment.