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A Note to the Reader:
The author of this book is not attempting to provide advice on the treatment or prevention of disease. Whilst the health benefits of dietary supplements are reviewed, it is not the intention of the author to provide an alternative to the orthodox physician / patient relationship. Rather, it is the objective of the author to expand the dimensions of orthodox medicine itself by provoking more interest in remedies of natural origin. Food is being incorporated more into medical practices in the 21st Century, where diet and lifestyle will play a predominant role in preventive medicine. This book was not written to endorse the use of specific products or for any treatment purpose. The conclusions in this book represent the authors? opinions of medical, scientific, folkloric and lay writings on the various topics discussed.
The publisher and author accept no responsibility for the use of any agents mentioned in this book. Before any individual self-medicates, he or she is advised to seek the advice of a qualified health care professional. The author does not support unsubstantiated claims of health benefits of foods or dietary supplements. This book must not be interpreted as product labeling.
Coral calcium from Okinawa, Japan has become one of the most popular dietary supplements in the US. Consumer confusion about this dietary supplement prevails and clarification about its source, properties and potential biological effects is required. The development of interest in coral calcium as a food supplement reminds one of other phases in the popularization of some nutraceuticals (dietary supplements) where ?hype? may have transcended science. This circumstance tends to threaten any valuable category of dietary supplement. A dietary supplement can become damaged by over promotion and the propagation of misleading information. I am not necessarily describing a circumstance where individuals have given intentionally misleading information on the subject of coral calcium. Some opinions on healthcare matters are zealous whereas others are balanced. The enthusiasm for promoting a dietary supplement sometimes overtakes ?hard? facts. This has happened and continues to happen with many classes of dietary supplements, much to the detriment of the nutraceutical industry.
In this short book, my writings have moved towards investigative reporting, as I try to educate myself and others on the science of remedies of natural origin. I do not know all the answers to questions posed on the subject of coral calcium; and I must make it clear that my interest in coral calcium as a supplement was fuelled more than ten years ago from an initial position of almost cynical skepticism. My interest in coral calcium has graduated to the point of belief in this dietary supplement as powerful, poorly understood, promoter of health and well- being. In this book, I explore how and why coral calcium could work to benefit health, but I can only speculate on its potential biopharmaceutical actions. Steeped in folklore, arguments, rhetoric and emerging science, coral calcium is playing an increasing role in America's wide array of putative, health-giving food supplements.
There is no doubt that the interest in coral calcium has swept the nation. From humble beginnings as means of purifying water, coral calcium has been promoted in network marketing, radio shows, books, articles and more recently national TV infomercials. In the dietary supplement industry, one witnesses a repeating phenomena with product promotions, where the use of the supplement is driven more by the charisma and personality of the promoters, than it is by the clinical science behind the product. I stress that we have little in the way of controlled clinical studies on the benefits of coral calcium, but there are thousands of testimonials concerning its benefit. Marine biologists have clarified much about the habitat and composition of live coral and its fossilized remnants that have been called "coral calcium."
This book attempts to sort out science (or facts) from speculation on the subject of coral calcium from Okinawa, Japan. When it comes to coral calcium, many people ask, "Where's the beef?" This metaphor refers to a quest for "clear" facts about the health potential and benefits of coral calcium. The many anecdotal reports of the benefits of coral calcium are screaming to be further explored in scientific studies. However, much uninformed rhetoric about its origins characteristics and biomedical applications must be questioned. I have committed myself over the past three years to examine the origin, quality and biological characteristics of coral calcium in order that people may make informed judgments about its use and potential benefit.
There is a risk, as my publishers keep telling me, of writing books that nobody wants to read. There is more than "a measure of truth" in the statement that "the truth hurts." This reasoning should not apply to our quest for knowledge about the benefits of remedies of natural origin. Without open dialogue and rational arguments, there will be no material advances in "natural medicines."
Let me brighten the horizon of this book by stressing that I believe coral calcium to be a valuable, rediscovered remedy of natural origin with potential to promote health and well being. Coral calcium is a natural, holistic mineral supplement that supplies many elements or micronutrients (minerals) that are absolutely essential for the chemistry of life. In fact, the name "coral calcium" does not do justice this remedy of natural origin. Coral remnants or coral calcium appear to have much more to do with general micro-mineral supply to the body, rather than being merely another source of calcium in our diet.
Please read this book with optimism. It will give you some insight into how difficult it is to sort science or fact from speculations (or rhetoric) when it comes to potentially valuable dietary supplements. The nutraceutical revolution is now part of main stream medicine and a much greater burden of scientific proof has to be placed on scientists involved in developing supplements and also on supplement purveyors. I hope this book will encourage people to select the right kind of coral calcium supplements and trust that it may dispel some of the myths and fallacies that have crept into the biomedical application of one of natures greatest treasures -- fossilized or remnant coral from the sea and land mass of the Rukuyuku Islands of Okinawa, Japan.
Stephen Holt MD, September 2002
2. Health Benefits
4. Coral Calcium
7. Alternative medicine
8. Fossilized Coral
9. Coral Collection
10. Coral Processing
11. Nutritional Medicine
12. Dietary Supplements
13. Bruce Halstead
14. Robert Barefoot