Which is the Best Coral Calcium?

Marine Coral Calcium or "Above-Sea", Fossilized Coral Calcium

Which is the Best 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.

At the same time it is fair to warn the consumer he is promoting a particular type of coral for personal economic reasons. Mr. Barefoot is currently recommending the marine variety of coral as superior, but a closer examination of its purity, processing and benefits compared to above-sea coral is warranted. He has represented most coral companies as a spokesperson at one time or another, and every company he represents at the time has "the best form of coral".

Mr. Barefoot formulated and endorsed the above-sea coral marketed by this web site… and of course it was the only kind to buy at the time. Although Mr. Barefoot is the most well known proponent of coral calcium, there are several other experts with arguably better credentials and less of a vested interest in coral sales who feel the above-sea coral is a better product for human health supplementation. Among several other notables, Dr Bruce Halstead, the world famous expert on marine biology, eminent physician and biomedical advisor to the Federal Government, who has no business interest in coral, endorses above-sea coral only. His views are expressed in his book "Fossil Stony Coral Minerals and their Nutritional Application".

We agree with Dr. Halstead, Clint Dewitt, Dr. James Chappell, Andy Bowers, Dr Stephen Holt and many other less publicized, but more credible sources of coral information who disagree with Robert Barefoot's current choice of coral source.

We favor above-sea coral calcium for the following compelling reasons:

1. Purity

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.

Marine Coral Calcium Sand image

Close up of sand which is processed and then called
"100% pure Marine Coral Calcium"

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.

Coral Calcium Sand image

June 2002 photo of Marine Coral taken at Okinawan
stockpile before it is whitened

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.

Above Sea Coral Calcium Mine

Here is a picture of the mine we obtain our
Above Sea, Fossilized Coral Calcium from

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
on the reef and kills it

Coral Reef Image

Coral larvae propagate in the dead coral debris around the reef

33 Reasons to Protect

The Coral Reefs and Oceans

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.

Harvesting of Marine Coral Calcium

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

Above sea Coral has not been heat treated. Marine Coral has been raised to 1000 degrees to reduce the high lead content common on materials taken from the ocean bottom.  In heat treating, Calcium transitions from the aragonite crystal form into the calcite form.  The aragonite form in our above-sea Coral is more crystalline and has a higher specific gravity than Calcite.

According to Professor Yoshino Yamauchi of the Aragonite Institute of Japan, "The ionization process of the aragonite fossil Coral is 6 times greater than that of calcite.  Fossil coral calcium is also much greater in electrical conductivity...it is capable of entering into an immediate chemical reaction whenever it is required by the body."

In layman's terms, the above-sea coral is about 6 times more bio-available than heat treated varieties.

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.

If Marine Bio, the only source of this high magnesium marine coral, really has discovered a coral sand patch that nobody else can find, we publicly challenge them to show us the raw product. The truth is all the marine coral manufacturers, including Marine Bio buy their product from the same large dredging ship company pictured above. Marine Bio is a relatively recent break-off company from Coral Bio who has been purchasing the sand for over 20 years. When we questioned Coral Bio about this high magnesium coral discovery that Marine Bio claims to have found, they scoffed at it. Both companies buy from the same stockpile.

We further questioned Marine Bio's main USA distributor Chemco as to why the sand in their tea bag coral producthas less than 1% magnesium, and the only form that contains high magnesium is in the capsules/powder where the added magnesium carbonate can be disguised - they offered no answers.

Who do you believe?

Many coral products are promoted with unsubstantiated claims, speculation and exaggeration. What you read above is supported with scientific fact, pictures, lab reports, and direct quotes from marine biologists. We hope we have been instrumental in separating facts from fiction. The bottom line, however, is that above-sea coral calcium works better than any product we have ever encountered.

Find out more about the Health Benefits of Coral Calcium


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