Which is the Best Coral Calcium?
Marine Coral Calcium or "Above-Sea", Fossilized Coral Calcium
If you are a little confused over which coral calcium is best, take heart. It is not as difficult as you may think to separate fact from fiction. Of the dozens of products available, they almost all come from one of two sources: below-sea "marine coral calcium " which is vacuumed from the ocean bottom or "above-sea coral calcium " which is from large chunks of coral.
The Truth about Robert Barefoot
Often Mr. Barefoot is mistaken as a doctor. Although he has studied chemistry, he holds no degrees. Robert Barefoot is a lecturer and writer - a hired spokesperson. In fact he is an excellent promoter of coral calcium - we thank him for bringing coral to the attention of the public through his infomercials, books and lectures. We concur with much of what Mr. Barefoot says about the benefits of coral calcium as a dietary supplement.
Marine Coral calcium is basically sand which contains a mixture of coral, sea shells, silica, rock, and sea life. It is exhumed from the ocean bottom via a 250' industrial dredging ship lowering a large pipe to the bottom of the ocean and vacuuming. We photographed this procedure on a recent trip to Okinawa (below). This process brings hundreds of tons of sand, coral, shells, marine flora and fauna to the ship deck. There is no way of separating sand from coral hence marine coral is a mixture which would be more accurately named "coral sand". It is not a matter of carefully harvesting bits of coral as they fall from the reef due to currents and fish munching on it, as is portrayed on some web sites.
Close up of sand which is processed and then called
Most of the raw material dredged from the ocean bottom is used for industrial purposes such as cinder blocks and road building materials, but a small portion is sold to a company called Marine Bio for human use and called "marine coral calcium". We have collected samples of the raw "marine coral" which appears identical to brownish beach sand with bits of shells and coral. It only gains its white appearance after heat treating and adding magnesium carbonate.
June 2002 photo of Marine Coral taken at Okinawan
Fossilized, above-sea coral is pure and hence has a higher calcium content (37% compared to 20 - 24% for most marine products). Thousands of years ago this coral was a thriving coral reef. Geologically, coral was pushed up above-sea level, free from the ocean pollution of the industrial era. Only the pristine white coral heads pictured below are harvested. This harvesting process involves removal of the protective layer of soil that accumulated over the eons, collecting the ancient coral and trucking it away for grinding.
Here is a picture of the mine we obtain our
2. Mineral Content
The marine coral promoters say that above-sea coral has the minerals washed out, yet we post a certificate of analysis showing precisely how much of each of the 73 minerals is contained in our coral. In fact the most important mineral, calcium, is found at about 37%. Most marine products contain 20% or 24% which one would expect due to the sand content. A brief glance at our certificate will show that their assertions are not true Click here for our Certificate of Analysis
Marine coral promoters still refuse to post such a certificate. One would expect they would proudly show their "superior mineral profile" if they had nothing to hide.
3. Ecologically Sound Practice
For years, the Marine Coral web sites have been saying they collect the coral bits from under and around the live coral reef. We responded saying "the dredging process generates a thick layer of silt which smothers the reef killing the coral larvae that grow future reefs in the areas surrounding the existing reefs. Click here to see What Scientists Say. The coral reefs are endangered and need all the help we can provide."
The turbidity from an Okinawan dredging ship settles
Coral larvae propagate in the dead coral debris around the reef
Now that we have posted this information, Mr. Barefoot has changed his story and suddenly his Marine coral promoters are saying the coral is being harvested 4 miles from the reef.
This change of story begs the question what else are they not being factual about. And if their coral is harvested miles away from the reef how can they have a pure coral product? We are asked to believe that only bits of pure coral is carried by currents for 4 miles where it is deposited with no sand, shells, rocks and impurities. Really? The delicate ocean bottom ecology is still being dredged and destroyed unnecessarily.
This close up of the giant ocean vacuum illustrates the potential for ecological damage and the impossibility of sucking up a pure coral product
By contrast, harvesting above-sea coral occurs by cleaning the top soil off of ancient coral heads and trucking them off to a grinding facility with minimal environmental impact.
4. Heat Treatment
5. The hidden truth about "high magnesium" coral
All of the 6 manufacturers of coral calcium in Japan have found coral to contain less than 1% Magnesium. Mr. Barefoot and the Marine Coral promoters claim to have discovered a better quality of coral because it has a naturally occurring high magnesium content - conveniently at 12% which is exactly what is needed to be in the commonly recommended two to one ratio of calcium to magnesium (24% calcium to 12% magnesium). We are certain that they have added magnesium carbonate to their product after the fact, but are not forthcoming about it.
Who do you believe?
Find out more about the Health Benefits of Coral Calcium
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