I do not recommend calcium from
coral. Actually it is not much different from oyster
shell, which is a lot cheaper. Both extract minerals
and trace minerals from the water, and both are composed
of calcium carbonate, which is a terrible form of
calcium to be taking.
Coral is a colony of living animals, called polyps.
As fish respirate they release carbon dioxide into
the water, which reacts with calcium to form calcium
carbonate. The polyps extract the calcium carbonate
from the water to cement themselves to a hard surface.
New polyps then cement themselves to the old dead
polyps and the cycle continues causing the coral to
grow. In the process other minerals are extracted
from the water, but the primary component of coral
still remains calcium carbonate.
The big problem with calcium carbonate is that it
is very alkaline, and neutralizes acids. With the
big push to alkalinize, this may sound good at first,
but parts of the body need to be acid, and being too
alkaline in the blood is also a problem. The biggest
concern here is the stomach, which definitely needs
to be acid. The stomach needs to be acid actually
for several reasons. For instance in order to digest
proteins the body uses an enzyme called pepsin. But
pepsin cannot work without sufficient stomach acid
being present. And vitamin B12 cannot be absorbed
from the gut either, unless there is sufficient stomach
acid. But stomach acid levels naturally decline with
age, which is why B12 deficiencies are common in the
elderly. Another problem is that many minerals cannot
be absorbed unless there is sufficient stomach acid
present, or unless they are pre-acidified, such as
citrates, or reacted with other acids in the stomach,
such as fruit acids or vinegar added to foods. Carbonates
actually interfere with the absorption of minerals,
like calcium, and even more importantly silica.
Silica is the most important nutrient for bone health,
and is also essential for healthy hair, nails, teeth,
tendons, ligaments, arteries, etc. Silica deficiencies
are also responsible for wrinkle formation since silica
is essential for elastin formation, which helps keep
the skin from sagging.
Another very important purpose of stomach acid is
to control the growth of microbes, such as bacteria
and yeast in the stomach since most cannot tolerate
a high acid environment. Therefore, as stomach acid
levels decline the risk of infection increases. For
example, the most common cause of heartburn is a lack
of stomach acid leading to an overgrowth of stomach
yeast. Fermentation from the yeast leads to a carbon
dioxide build up in the stomach. The resulting pressure
tires out the sphincter muscle at the top of the stomach
and it gives way allowing the gas to escape up the
esophagus. When this happens, traces of acid go with
the gas causing the heartburn. Unfortunately the medical
community is still stuck on the long outdated idea
that excessive stomach acid causes heartburn, and
they do not bother to read their own medical texts.
Excessive stomach acid, a condition known as hyperchlorrhydria,
is considered extremely rare. Yet antacids and acid
blockers, which cover up the symptoms while making
the underlying problem worse, are the second largest
selling drug class. One of these compounds commonly
used to neutralize stomach acid is calcium carbonate,
such as Tums, and coral. Stomach acid is the first
thing the carbonate in the coral is going to come
into contact with making it more effective in alkalinizing
the stomach than the blood. This is a real bad idea!
The best way to get around this problem is to get
your minerals from food or herbs. Minerals in plants
are naturally chelated, which means they are bound
to proteins. Being bound to proteins the body will
accept these sources like foods, and the proteins
help chaperone the minerals into the body where they
are separated and can do their job of helping to reduce
acids in the blood, not the stomach.
There are actually different chemical compositions
in the corals taken from above the water and below
the water. The below water coral has more nutrients;
this is in part due to what else is in it. The below
water coral is actually coral sand dredged from the
bottom. Therefore, it not only is the broken down
coral being sucked up, but also any little plants
and animals in the sand. The above water coral has
been weathered and leached of many of its minerals.
In short, there are better choices for calcium than
coral. For instance if you want a great source of
calcium and trace minerals then you could use Atlantic
kelp, which not only contains these minerals, but
also vitamins, which are not found in coral. Seaweeds
contain algins, which bind with heavy metals such
as those found in the coral, and the seaweeds themselves.
By binding with the heavy metals algins pull these
heavy metals from the body. Coral and colloidal minerals
from shale deposits being sold as “plant derived”
cannot do this.