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Beware of scams like coral calcium.  Coral Calcium has been shown in scientific studies--including those on humans-to be no more available to the body than other forms of calcium.  As such, the infomercial claims about calcium from coral being a "superior" calcium are simply not true

Coral Calcium Claims

The principal promoter of coral calcium is Robert Barefoot. In his infomercial, he states, "Over 200 degenerative diseases are caused by calcium deficiency. That includes cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's, you name it. These diseases are caused by acidosis -- acidification of the body -- and lack of minerals, especially calcium. When you start taking coral calcium, your body alkalizes and drives out the acid."

Barefoot's theory is that in a healthy person, body fluids are alkaline with a high pH reading and high in oxygen levels, whereas in a sick person, body fluids are acidic with a low pH reading and low in oxygen levels.

He claims scientists have found that many diseases thrive in an acidic, low-oxygen environment, but cannot survive in an alkaline, high-oxygen medium. So he concludes that to ensure health, the body should have an oxygen-rich alkalinity of around 7.5, making it incapable of hosting diseases like cancer.

What the Experts Say

"There are no data to support Barefoot's claims that coral calcium is effective against a large range of diseases," says Stephen Barrett, MD, whose Web site QuackWatch.org contains a lengthy investigation on coral calcium.

While it can be effective against some symptoms of stomach distress, Barefoot's claim that his product is effective against more than 200 diseases is preposterous. The idea that coral calcium could reverse cancer is ridiculous, and this kind of advertising is irresponsible, dangerous, and very illegal, and I don't think it's going to last."

The Federal Trade Commission agrees. In June, the FTC charged Barefoot and associates with making false and unsubtantiated claims about his product. The FTC and the FDA also warned others against making similar claims.

Barrett, who is a retired psychiatrist and vice president of the National Council Against Health Fraud, tells WebMD that although some people may not be getting enough calcium in their diet, and a supplement may be necessary, coral calcium is not the answer.

"There is no reason to buy coral calcium because it's overpriced and it may contain things that you don't want," says Barrett. Coral calcium has not been extensively tested, explains Barrett, and it is not known what it actually contains. It could contain contaminants from the ocean, which has been polluted.  

"Since it costs more, and isn't any better than a purified calcium supplement, it doesn't make sense to buy it," says Barrett. "And, the trace minerals that it may or may not contain are usually obtained through a healthy diet -- you don't need coral calcium to get them."

Coral calcium is just another source of calcium, whether you're getting it from carbonate, citrate, lactate, or coral calcium," says Miller. "I'm not aware of any data that suggests coral calcium has any benefits that normal calcium does not give you, and the disadvantage to taking it is cost."

Be Wary of Coral Calcium and Robert Barefoot

Stephen Barrett, M.D.

"Coral calcium" is a dietary supplement said to be derived from "remnants of living coral that have fallen from coral reefs, as a result of wave action or other natural processes." It is also said to be mined from the old ocean beds at the base of the coral reefs in Okinawa, Japan [1:120]. Simply put, "coral remnants" are limestone, which coral organisms originally manufacture as a protective shell. Since coral reefs are protected by law, "coral calcium" is made by grinding up limestone that no longer contains live organisms.

Limestone has no unique health properties. It is merely calcium carbonate, with some magnesium and trace amounts of many other minerals. Limestone fertilizer, available at garden centers, costs as little as a dollar for an 80-pound bag. (Note: Limestone fertilizer is not suitable for human use as a calcium supplement. I mention it only to illustrate how inexpensive the raw ingredients can be.) For people who need to consume extra calcium, purified calcium carbonate pills are safer and far less expensive than "coral calcium." But Robert R. Barefoot, of Wickenberg, Arizona, would like you to believe that limestone obtained from Okinawa provides "the scientific secret of health and youth" and can cure cancer. His ideas are promoted through books, lectures, his Web site, an audiotape, two 30-minute infomercials [2], interviews, and thousands of Web sites that sell "coral calcium" products. Although his sales pitch is preposterous, he has gained a wide audience. During the past two years, I have received more than 200 e-mail inquiries stimulated by his infomercial, which is more than I have received about any other product. His book, The Calcium Factor [1], first published in 1992, has undergone five editions and on January 31, 2003 enjoyed an Amazon Books sales rank of #412, which is extremely high. On the same day, his Death By Diet [3], originally published in 1996 and now in its fourth edition, was ranked #1790; and his other book, Barefoot on Coral Calcium [4], was ranked #8114. Searching Google for "Robert Barefoot" yielded more than 31,000 hits, and searching for "coral calcium" found more than 80,000! In January and February, Barefoot's "A Closer Look" infomercial was among the most frequently shown infomercials and was the most frequent one connected with a dietary supplement. In March 2003, a newer infomercial version hit #1 on the frequency list and a Google Search for "coral calcium topped 120,000. Barefoot's Cure America Web site listed his email address as kingofcalcium@hotmail.com, which, considering his probable sales volume, is probably an apt description.

Questionable Credentials

Thousands of Web sites refer to Barefoot as "Dr. Robert Barefoot" or Robert Barefoot, Ph.D. However, he is not a medical doctor and does not have a Ph.D. degree. In 1999, Barefoot was not permitted to testify as an expert in a case in which the Maryland Attorney General stopped the marketing of T-Up (an aloe vera concentrate) and cesium chloride for the treatment of cancer and AIDS. The case was extremely serious because the regimen had killed several of its users. During hearings in the case, the defendants sought to have Barefoot testify that cesium was effective. The curriculum vitae that Barefoot submitted described his formal education after high school as "1964   Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, Chemistry" and "1967    Graduated with Honors, Chemical Research Technology." [12] This means that his highest educational credential is a diploma (not a university degree) that reflects only three years of coursework. The presiding Administrative Law Judge noted that Barefoot had formal training and experience in inorganic chemistry but had not had any professionally supported or supervised training or done any professionally recognized research in organic chemistry and biochemistry in the human body. Although Barefoot described having many discussions with doctors and patients about using cesium for treating cancer, the judge concluded that "this experience and study was not scientific." In 2000, a civil court judge ordered the defendants to pay millions of dollars in restitution and $3.7 million in civil penalties [13,14]. In 2001, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals upheld this decision in a ruling that explained why Barefoot's exclusion had been justified [15]. One of the defendants received a 46-month prison sentence in a parallel criminal case [16].

Web sites also describe Barefoot as a "world-renowned chemist." His curriculum vitae states that between 1968 and 1972 he published six scientific research papers on analytical chemistry and diagenesis.  Diagenesis refers to the changes that occur in sediments as they are buried under other sediments. This appears to have some relevance to the formation of limestone, but it certainly has nothing to do with human biology or human health. Searching Medline, which is the most comprehensive database of medically-related journals, I located no articles with Barefoot listed as author. His curriculum vitae states that he has patented an ore-extraction process and headed two companies that serviced the petroleum industry. His marketing activities have attracted considerable attention, but I doubt that he deserves to be called a "renowned chemist."

Coral calcium products are a waste of money, and some are irrationally formulated. For professional advice on calcium intake, ask a registered dietitian (R.D.) or physician to help you.

For Additional Information

Here are some more articles which prove coral calcium is a scam:

Coral Calcium - 7 Sneaky Tricks Coral Calcium Vendors Employ
http://www.ultimatecoralcalcium.com/7sneaky.htm

Coral Calcium - Why Coral Calcium Vendors are Lying to You
http://www.ultimatecoralcalcium.com/vendors.htm


FTC and FDA Take New Actions in Fight Against Deceptive Marketing

FTC Charges Marketers of Coral Calcium Supreme Dietary Supplement and a Pain-Relief Product With Making False and Unsubstantiated Claims

The Federal Trade Commission has charged the marketers of a dietary supplement called Coral Calcium Supreme with making false and unsubstantiated claims about the product's health benefits. This action is part of a series of initiatives the FTC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are taking against the purveyors of products with unsubstantiated health and medical claims. In a complaint filed in federal district court, the FTC alleges that Kevin Trudeau; Robert Barefoot; Shop America (USA), LLC; and Deonna Enterprises, Inc., violated the FTC Act by claiming, falsely and without substantiation, that Coral Calcium Supreme can treat or cure cancer and other diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and heart disease. The FTC charges that these and other claims go far beyond existing scientific evidence regarding the recognized health benefits of calcium.

The defendants promote the product primarily through a nationally televised 30-minute infomercial featuring Trudeau and Barefoot, and through statements made in brochures accompanying the product. The informercial has aired on cable channels such as Women's Entertainment, Comedy Central, the Discovery Channel, and Bravo.

"The Commission has voiced strong concerns about deceptive claims for dietary supplements," said Howard Beales, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "These cases demonstrate that the FTC will take aggressive enforcement action, particularly when, as alleged in this case, the products are marketed as cures for serious diseases like cancer and heart disease. Marketers who step over the line will find themselves between a rock and a hard place."

In a separate action, the FTC has charged one of the defendants, Kevin Trudeau, with violating a 1998 federal district court order that prohibits him from making unsubstantiated claims about the benefits, performance, or efficacy of any products. The FTC alleges that Trudeau violated that order by making false and unsubstantiated claims about Coral Calcium Supreme, and by making unsubstantiated claims that another product, Biotape, provides significant or permanent relief from severe pain, including debilitating back pain, and pain from arthritis, sciatica, and migraines. In both of these actions, the FTC has asked the court for a temporary restraining order that would prohibit the defendants from making the challenged claims and would freeze their assets.

In related law enforcement efforts, the FTC and the FDA are sending strong warning letters to Web site operators who are marketing coral calcium products claiming that coral calcium is an effective treatment or cure for cancer and/or other diseases. In dozens of warnings sent this week, the FTC states it is aware of no competent and reliable scientific evidence supporting such claims and that such unsupported claims are unlawful under the FTC Act. Accordingly, the FTC is instructing the Web site operators to remove any false or deceptive claims from their sites immediately. In a similar action, the FDA warned Web site operators that disease claims and unsubstantiated structure/function claims cause their products to be in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

"FDA and FTC are working together to maximize our efforts to combat heath fraud," said FDA Commissioner Mark B. McCellan. "We are trying to be particularly vigilant concerning fraudulent internet promotion, because this is emerging as an increasingly insidious way of trying to exploit the public."

FTC v. Kevin Trudeau, Robert Barefoot, Shop America (USA), LLC, and Deonna Enterprises

The FTC's first action alleges that Kevin Trudeau, Robert Barefoot, Shop America (USA), LLC, and Deonna Enterprises, Inc., violated the FTC Act by claiming, falsely and without substantiation, that Coral Calcium Supreme can treat or cure cancer and other diseases such as multiple sclerosis and heart disease. According to the FTC, Coral Calcium Supreme is a dietary supplement purportedly comprised of marine coral from Okinawa, Japan. A one-month supply of the product (90 capsules) costs $19.95.

The FTC's complaint alleges that the defendants claim, falsely and without substantiation, that Coral Calcium Supreme will treat and/or cure all forms of cancer and other diseases such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, heart disease, and chronic high blood pressure. The complaint also alleges that the defendants falsely claim that scientific research published in reputable medical journals proves that calcium supplements can reverse and/or cure all forms of cancer. Finally, the complaint challenges the defendants' claims that a daily serving of Coral Calcium Supreme provides the same amount of bioavailable calcium as two gallons of milk, and that the body absorbs significantly more of the calcium in coral calcium - up to 100 times more, and at a significantly faster rate - than the calcium contained in commonly available calcium supplements. The FTC is seeking preliminary and permanent injunctive relief, including restitution to consumers who purchased Coral Calcium Supreme. In addition, the FTC has asked the court for a temporary restraining order that would prohibit the defendants from making the challenged claims, and would freeze their assets.

FTC v. Kevin Trudeau

The FTC's second action, against Trudeau alone, alleges that Trudeau violated a 1998 FTC order prohibiting him from making unsubstantiated claims about the benefits, performance, or efficacy of any product. The FTC alleges that Trudeau violated the order by making false and unsubstantiated claims about Coral Calcium Supreme, and also by making unsubstantiated claims about Biotape. According to the FTC, Biotape is a purported pain-relief product which Trudeau promotes through a separate infomercial, which has aired on national cable channels such PAX Television, the Hallmark Channel, and E! Entertainment Television. Consumers are instructed to place a strip of Biotape directly on the parts of their bodies where they feel pain. One sheet of Biotape, containing 10 strips, costs approximately $10. In this action, the FTC is seeking a finding of contempt, monetary relief, and other injunctive relief, as well as a temporary restraining order that would prohibit Trudeau from making the challenged claims, and would freeze his assets.

Warning Letters

In addition to the FTC's federal court actions, the Commission is sending warning letters to dozens of Web site operators who are making similar claims for coral calcium products. In the warning letters, the FTC reminds the Web site operators that any claim that coral calcium is an effective treatment or cure for any disease must be supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence to comply with the law. The FTC states it is aware of no such evidence supporting these claims, and that without the required support, the claims are illegal under the FTC Act. Accordingly, the FTC is instructing the Web site operators to remove any false or deceptive claims from their sites immediately.

In a similar action, the FDA issued warning letters to numerous Web site operators who are promoting coral calcium on the Internet. The letters cited the organizations for representing the products as useful in the prevention or treatment of serious diseases. In addition, a majority of the letters also cited the firms for making unsubstantiated claims regarding the effect of their products on the structure or function of the body. The FDA letters warn the recipients that FDA may initiate further enforcement action if the violations are not corrected.

The FTC and FDA had conducted Internet "surfs" and found numerous Web sites touting coral calcium products as an effective treatment or cure for cancer and other diseases such as lupus, multiple sclerosis, and heart disease. The staffs of the two agencies will follow up by revisiting the target sites to determine whether the Web site operators gave deleted or revised the unproven claims.

The FTC vote to authorize filing of the cases was 5-0. The cases were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, on June 9, 2003.


Marketers of Coral Calcium Product Are Prohibited from Making Disease Treatment and Cure Claims in Advertising

Under a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, Robert Barefoot, Deonna Enterprises, Inc., and Karbo Enterprises, Inc. are prohibited from making claims that the dietary supplement “Coral Calcium Supreme” or any other coral calcium product can treat or cure cancer, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, high blood pressure, and other serious diseases. The defendants also cannot make unsupported claims that the body absorbs coral calcium better than other calcium supplements in the market.

The settlement resolves charges in a June 9, 2003 complaint filed by the Commission in the federal district court alleging that the settling defendants, together with defendants Kevin Trudeau, Shop America (USA), LLC, Shop America Marketing Group, LLC, and TruStar Global Media, Ltd., made false and unsubstantiated claims in a widely disseminated infomercial that Coral Calcium Supreme would treat or cure cancer, MS, heart disease and other serious diseases. The FTC also challenged claims that a daily serving of Coral Calcium Supreme provides the same amount of bioavailable calcium as two gallons of milk, and that the body absorbs significantly more of the calcium in coral calcium – up to 100 times more, and at a significantly faster rate – than the calcium contained in commonly available calcium supplements. (The case against Kevin Trudeau and his companies still is pending.)

The FTC alleges that the challenged claims go far beyond the existing scientific evidence concerning the recognized health benefits of calcium.

Under the settlement, the defendants cannot make the challenged efficacy claims including that scientific research proves that calcium supplements are able to reverse or cure cancer in the human body. The settlement also prohibits the defendants from making the types of comparative bioavailability claims challenged in the complaint. In addition, the settlement prohibits the defendants from misrepresenting that any dietary supplement can prevent, treat, or cure any disease and from making unsubstantiated claims about the health benefits, performance,or efficacy for all dietary supplements, foods, drugs, cosmetics, devices, or services. The settlement further prohibits the defendants from misrepresenting the existence, contents, validity, results, conclusions, or interpretations of any test or study for any foods, drugs, dietary supplements, cosmetics, or services.

The settlement requires the defendants to recall any product packaging that makes the challenged claims. It also requires them to send a notice to resellers and distributors advising them of the FTC’s action, and directing them to stop using promotional materials containing the deceptive claims, and informing them that if they do not comply, the defendants will stop doing business with them.

The settlement allows the FTC to recover all royalties owed to defendant Barefoot in connection with the Coral Calcium Supreme infomercial marketing. Based on the defendants’ financial condition, the settlement does not require additional redress. The settlement does, however, contain an avalanche clause of $3 million, if the court finds that the defendants misrepresented their financial condition.

Finally, the settlement contains various recordkeeping requirements to assist the FTC in monitoring the defendants’ compliance.

The Commission vote to authorize staff to file the proposed stipulated final order for permanent injunction was 5-0. The stipulated final order was entered by the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, on January 15, 2004.

Copies of the stipulated final order for permanent injunction are available from the FTC’s Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint, or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1 877-382-4357), or use the complaint form at http://www.ftc.gov. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

 

 
 
 

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