The Natural Way

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Coral calcium continues to be a hot product on the market. The ads show the beauty of a Polynesian island lined with palm trees surrounded by emerald green water. There is even a guy with a name which sounds like "barefoot mailman" who authoritatively states the amazing benefits gained if you supplement with his coral calcium which comes from just one ocean, far away.

Just what is true and what is romantic fantasy conjured up by slick advertising agencies to sell worn and tired baby boomers on the new fountain of youth? It is always hard to separate story from reality. The story is almost always more interesting and certainly more dramatic. Here is what I know and believe about supplementing with coral calcium.

Calcium is good for you. It does many things for your body, the most prominent being the health of your bones, reduction of colon cancer risk from polyps, reduction of kidney stones and the ability to keep heart rhythm steady.

Regular calcium supplements containing calcium carbonate, gluconate and citrate are notorious for their poor digestibility in our systems. However, a product called AAAcalcium (Advacal) is the exception. AAAcalcium comes from Japan, near the same ocean which produces much of the coral calcium, and is very digestible. It has very strong science supporting its use, especially for bone density. Also, calcium in the form of phosphate and lactate is available on the shelf and is highly digestible. These products, with the exception of AAAcalcium, all contain magnesium and vitamin D.

Is there anything special about calcium from coral? Yes and no. Science hasn't caught up with the marketing claims yet. Early findings seem favorable but evidence is scant. Coral calcium, because it comes from a living sea creature, has dozens of minerals which occur naturally, some say as many as 72. Is there a difference in the calcium according to what sea it is harvested from? Sure, but the difference is probably not important.

My own experience with coral calcium is that it significantly reduced my shoulder pain from a rotator cuff injury. It had no adverse effects such as constipation and it worked quickly, within 10 days.

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