Coral Calcium Osteopenia - is it effective ?

Coral Calcium Osteopenia supplements - are they worthwhile?

You may have heard claims that Coral Calcium supplements are especially good - that this form of calcium is the reason the people of Okinawa have such strong bones  . . .OR. . . you may have heard that the FDA sent out a warning about these supplements.

The difference between advertisers and reported government studies can be confusing. This page offers a review of Coral Calicium Osteopenia supplements. My hoe is that it will help you decide if these supplements are for you.

Frequently asked questions: Coral Calcium Osteopenia supplements

  1. What are Coral Calcium Osteopenia supplements?
    It is a dietary supplement derived from the
    pieces of coral from coral reefs. As such it is limestone made by the coral. Scientifically it is calcium carbonate. It often contains some magnesium and other trace minerals.
  2. Is the coral just ground up and packaged to make this supplement?
    The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database states that coral is "harvested and treated with heat, pressure, and chemicals to convert it to hydroxyapatite."
  3. I thought that coral reefs around the world are in danger. Wouldn't our using it to make supplements destroy the few reefs left?
    Coral reefs are endangered. They are protected by law. The coral used to make the supplement is coral that has dislodged from a reef by some natural event(s). For example, much of the attention focused on this supplement after a publication of a study reporting the longevetiy of people living on the island of Okinawa, Japan. The marketers who publicize coral made from Okinawan reefs often distinguish coral of " mountain or land grade, beach grade, and marine grade coral, referring to the material that is washed onto the land or the beach or deposited in the tidal basin, over long periods of time." No one is suggesting that manufacturers go out and chop up a reef.
  4. Is there any evidence that coral calcium is good for bones?
    There have been some scientific papers of surgeons using Coral Calcium in bone fusion surgery. I am unaware of any scientific study showing Coral Calcium as more effective than other forms of calcium carbonate. The only studi I have seen comparing different forms of calcium is one by T. Fujita in which he compared the effects of calcium carbonate supplementation with supplementation with Active absorbable Algal Calcium (AAA Ca). In this study, the AAA Ca was shown to be more effective in increasing bone mineral density. (If you want to read more about Active Absorbable Algal Calcium, go to Advacal ).
  5. What about the FDA and FTC warnings for coral calcium?
    There was a warning issued but if you read the warning carefully you will note that it does not mention Osteopenia or Osteoporosis. The warning was because advertisers were claiming that the product could help with all sorts of other conditions. The warning is quite short and to the point. Here is a report about the action from Sloan Kettering: Coral Calcium Osteopenia supplements (Opens in new window)

SORURCES: Yadhu N. Singh, PhD., Professor of Pharmacology, College of Pharmacy, South Dakota State University Brookings US Pharmacist:

Remember, advertisers make claims; it what they are paid to do. Those of us with Osteopenia or Osteoporosis who want to improve our bone density need scientific research studies so we can evaluate advertising claims.

Coral Calcium Osteopenia Osteoporosis has been highlighted in several journals. Here are some articles that you may want to get from your local library:

  • "By the way, doctor. I recently saw a TV ad for a product called 'coral calcium,' which is supposed to prevent osteoporosis and other diseases. What do you know about it?" by Robb-Nicholson C. Harvard Womens Health Watch. 2003 Aug;10(12):8.
  • "Is coral calcium a safe and effective supplement?" by Blumberg S. Journal American Dietetic Association . 2004 Sep;104(9): 1335-6.
  • "Effect of Praval bhasma (Coral calx), a natural source of rich calcium on bone mineralization in rats" by Reddy PN, Lakshmana M, Udupa UV.Pharmacol Resources. 2003 Dec;48(6):593-9.


If you think that you want to obtain your calcium from Coral Calcium, you are probably not doing yourself harm - unless of course the particular brand has excess lead in it. However, do check the cost of the brand you are using and compare it to the cost of other brands of calcium carbonate. Sometimes marketers raise prices as a way to sell more since people tend to think that if something is priced high, it must be extra special.

Research: Other Calcium supplements:

Here are some calcium supplements with positive research studies:

1. A supplement with many research studies: Advacal

2. A newer supplement that now shows some positive studies: Algaecal

3. Advaice about how to chooose a supplement and a  list of other supplements and their studies can be found at: Calcium  supplements

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