Coral Calcium is Here to Stay, Despite the Controversies

Stephen Holt, M.D.

Coral Calcium Supreme Brand Subjected to Deceptive Marketing
“It is a crying shame” that one brand of coral calcium supplement associated with deceptive marketing practices has tainted the good name of the valuable holistic mineral supplement, coral calcium. The TV shows that promoted the ridiculous idea that coral calcium should not be purchased in health food stores are comical and they contain outrageous and preposterous treatment claims about coral calcium. More worrisome, was the unethical nature of the promotions which gave false hope to many people with tragic illnesses. However, the good news is that the use of high-quality coral calcium is continuing with considerable customer satisfaction and high repurchase rates. The perceived benefits experienced by the users of coral calcium continue.

New Book Attempts to Uncover the Truth About Coral Calcium
In the second edition of my book on coral calcium, I attempt to clarify the consumer confusion that has arisen about coral calcium (“Natures Benefit from Coral Calcium: A Definitive Guide” Second Edition, Wellness Publishing, April 2003, available at or toll-free at 1-888-CORAL CALCIUM). There are specific trademarked products that are in question because of their association with illegal treatment claims. However, it is important that people realize that not all such products are contaminated by illegal treatment claims (; and they do not contain irrational or potentially toxic additives, such as milligram amounts of cesium, that have been proposed as valuable by misguided formulators and manufacturers.

Upon information and belief, the Food and Drug Administration impounded some of the inventory of the product Coral Calcium Supreme™. Mr. Andy Bowers, an executive of Coral Inc., noted at a recent national nutritional conference (NNFA, Las Vegas, June 2003) that the product Coral Calcium Supreme™ was the only coral calcium product in the market that was affected by the serious sanctions taken by the Federal Government. The Coral Calcium Supreme™ product is referred to specifically in a very serious lawsuit filed by the Federal Government against Mr. Barefoot and others (

Cesium in Coral Calcium Supplements Creates Safety Concerns
It has been incorrectly stated that milligram amount additions of cesium to the product Coral Calcium Supreme™ and some other coral calcium supplements are safe and effective. Furthermore, the same purveyors claim that cesium is a cancer preventive. Cesium is an element that has no proven biological role in humans (see and it can be toxic. The issue of toxicity of cesium in dietary supplements is well-described in medical literature, in the following references: “The Saliba Study” of a life-threatening abnormality of heart rhythm, “The Lyon Study” of cesium toxicity from self supplementation and “The Pinter Study” of serious cardiac arrhythmias induced by cesium.” (Saliba W, Erdogan O, Niebauer M. Pacing Clin Electrophysiol (part 1): 515-517, 2001, Lyon AW, Mayhew WJ. Ther Drug Monit. 2003 Feb; 25 (1): 114-6, Pinter A M.D., Dorian P M.D. and Newman D M.D. N Engl J Med. Vol. 346, No. 5, Jan. 31, 2002, p 383).

What Type of Coral Calcium is Used? Debunking the Notion of “The Formula”
Some suppliers would have one believe that additives in a “coral calcium formula” is an important issue. Nonsense, the real issue is the quality of the coral calcium used, not some arbitrary formula, even though additions of nutrients such as vitamin D may be valuable. It was not clear just what kind of coral calcium materials are used in Coral Calcium Supreme™. Promoters of that product, which is currently under investigation by the FTC, tout the unproven advantages of SMP44, a type of coral material which has been alleged to be “dolomite,” in simple terms “limestone,” by competing suppliers. It is stressed that these matters remain contentious and unresolved (

Emerging Science on Coral Calcium
The coral calcium controversies, fueled by absurd treatment claims, have damaged the dietary supplement industry. Many people are outraged by the acts of deceptive marketing and the medical community has prematurely “turned off” the subject of coral calcium; but coral calcium has clear benefits in the promotion of well-being, at least in anecdotal reports, and it has interesting emerging science.

Studies in rats and humans show that supplemental coral calcium is absorbed into the body, up to a maximum of about 60% to 70%, more likely 40%. In studies at Japan’s Kagawa Nutrition University, coral calcium produced improvements in bone mineral density. The greatest increases in bone density were noted in subjects given a regimen of milk and supplemental coral calcium followed by strength training and walking.

In another Japanese study, at the Higashi Sapporo Hospital, 2.8 g/day of coral calcium produced favorable reductions in a variety of symptoms and signs. These are open-label, pilot clinical trial observations of limited conclusive value. At the Aichi Syukutoku University, volunteers who ingested the alkaline-ionized, coral calcium-treated water showed a measurable increase in brain relaxation waves, as measured by an EEG. Over a three-month period, coral calcium seemed to improve blood sugar control in a few individuals with diabetes.

In addition to the findings in these various studies, Japanese authors have reported that rapid swings in blood calcium levels may be less common with the use of coral calcium and other supplements made from marine calcium sources than with more conventional calcium supplements. This observation has no clear explanation. Chewing gum containing coral calcium and regular coral calcium seemed to have digestive benefits by reducing heartburn and non-specific abdominal pain in a small group of subjects. Coral calcium is misnamed, its biological effects are more likely to be due to its content of many minerals (up to 70 or so) in small amounts, rather than due to its content of calcium alone.

Many “treatment” claims for coral calcium are based on anecdotal, spurious or frankly untrue information. There is no credible evidence that coral sand collected on land is more beneficial than that collected from under the sea, and vice versa, despite the rhetoric. The real issue in the potential efficacy of coral calcium is its quality in supplying a holistic micro-mineral profile. Only coral calcium collected without harm to coral reefs, and free of heavy metals and organic pollutants, should be used in supplements.

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