Water-related pseudoscience, scams and quackery

Coral quackery: pseudoscientific snake oil

Junk Science in the Marketplace

"Coral calcium" and "coral water" are widely promoted as remedies for a multiplicity of ailments both real and imagined. As with most dubious nostrums, they are widely hawked to the notoriously-credulous and science-challenged alternative-health market who are always ready to swallow just about anything on faith— and given the strong influence of mind on body (the placebo effect), it sometimes appears to work- for a while, at least!

These nostrums are supposed to work all kinds of wonders from tuning up your immune system to raising your "energy levels" and slowing the aging process. Many of the claims are identical with those made by hucksters of similarly worthless products such as ionized water and "clustered" waters.

Before handing over your credit cards to the coral quacks, do yourself the favor of reading about calcium deficiency and requirements from a legitimate source such as this Northwestern University Medical Schools site:

Nutrition Fact Sheet: Calcium

A very common type of misleading claim about calcium from "coral" sources falsely implies that this form of calcium is more "bio-available":

[The calcium is] "already in ionic, biological form derived from pure Sango coral. Therefore, it is a 100% ionic bioavailable calcium and does not have to undergo the digestive, ionizing process to which the other calcium and some coral calcium supplements must be subjected." [reference]

The fact is that virtually all dietary calcium is already in ionic form (Ca2+). This is also true of solid calcium carbonate pills, which are an equally effective (and far less expensive) way of getting extra calcium.

Here are a few examples from one of the major hucksters of this stuff, with the hype I consider false, misleading or meaningless indicated in color.

the bunk

the science

...the water has been processed with a mild form of electrolysis that ionizes the water, making the water have antioxidant properties. There is no such thing as "ionized" water or scientific evidence that pure water of any kind can have antioxidant properties. Also, there is no clinical evidence that externally supplied antioxidants provide any health benefits in addition to the endogenous antioxidants that our bodies have evolved over millions of years.
If you could look at water using magnetic resonance imaging, you would see that H20 molecules tend to adhere in clusters of 10-13 molecules. Our patented process incorporates a mild form of electrolysis that releases some of the molecular bonds creating a greater number of clusters that are half the size. Smaller molecule clustering can result in improved hydration. You would also see countless other cluster arrangements, none of which persists for longer than a fraction of a microsecond. Any implication that the structure of pure bulk water can be permantly altered is a lie. is See my pages on water cluster quackery and debunking unbelievable Clustered Water™ claims.
Coral Water™ is Up to Six Times more Hydrating that Conventional Water.... [it] is fundamentally different from conventional water. This is because the size and shape of the water molecule cluster has reduced in size and change in shape to hexagonal, which allows the water cluster to pass through our tissue more easily. "Six time more hydrating"? They don't say [of course] how this figure was determined, and I strongly doubt that is can be supported by scientific evidence. The statements about "size and shape" of the water "clusters" are pure flapdoodle (see below.)
In your body, when water passes through the cell wall, the cell's receptors allow only one H2O molecule to pass at a time, which means molecular bonds with adjacent molecules must be broken for all but the last two, possibly three molecules in the cluster. It is this "sticky" quality of molecular adhesion that limits the diffusion and absorption rate of water. If the clusters are smaller (less surface tension) there are fewer bonds to be broken and absorption takes place faster, resulting in better hydration. This is errant nonsense; the "bonds" between water molecules are so weak that they are continually being broken and reformed on a nanosecond time scale. Moreover, the attractions that the water channels in the cell walls exert on each H2O molecule are greater than those between molecules, so H2O molecules pop through the channels without the need for any outside help.
Minerals that are Ionized are more Bio-available
This means that the body can absorb them much more efficiently and make use of them where they are needed throughout the body. Minerals are some of the most important nutrients the body needs, yet mineral deficiency is common. Coral Water™ is an efficient and effective way for the body to get its minerals.
A normal healthy diet supplies all the minerals most people need. Most foods supply these minerals in ionized form already. Ordinary tap water is just as "efficient and effective" in this respect as any other form of water.
The benefits of drinking restructured water become very apparent when it is introduced to people suffering from chronic dehydration. A number of people have told us that, for some reason, they were unable to absorb a sufficient amount of water, no matter how much they drank—until they tried Coral Water™. Typical unsubstantiated claims.
Imagine having the ability to drink water that is an antioxidant with a NEGATIVE ORP (or charge), which retards the aging process. Put simply, a high or rising ORP causes oxidation and therefore aging. ORP [oxidation-reduction potential] of water depends largely on its dissolved oxygen content. There is absolutely no evidence that ORP-control, antioxidant supplements or any other magic can extend human life.
The United States Patent No. 6,267,933 was granted to Howard Thomason of Canyon Lake Texas on July 31, 2001 for the invention of an improved electrostatic device for energizing fluids, in particular water based fluids, with magnetic energy and/or electrons (negatively charged particles) for the benefit of human, animal and plant life, and other industrial fluidic mediums. Patents are based on novelty; they do not necessarily work. This one is typical of thousands of junk patents promoting all kinds of goofy pseudoscientific schemes. See, for example, my analysis of several patents for Clustered Water™.
..helps balance the body's pH, which tends to be acidic because of our diet comprised of cooked foods, pasteurized or otherwise processed foods. Soft drinks are the most acid substance a person can put in their body. This acidic condition creates an ideal environment in our body for disease to thrive. For example, accumulated acid waste in the joints encourages inflammation and arthritis. Nonsense. The body's pH at the cellular level is controlled by a set of exquisitely balanced buffer systems. It is not adversely affected by acidic foods or water, and it cannot be changed by drinking "alkaline" water.

Another outfit touts their product with the following statements, none of which is to be believed:

the bunk

the science

Coral Calcium Supreme boosts the immune system, gives an incredible feeling of well being, and increases longevity. There is no scientific evidence that a mineral supplement of any kind can "boost the immune system". There is no evidence that any dietary supplement can increase longevity.
Acidosis is the primary indicator of calcium deficiency disease. Coral Calcium restores the balance of the body to alkaline Ph to strengthen immune system. Coral calcium flushes acidic wastes from your body while it strengthens and revitalizes cells and tissue. All these statement are false. Acidosis is an indicator of kidney failure. Calcium deficiency is commonly associated with loss of bone mass.

These and similar claims have attracted the attention of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission:

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

Authorative information about coral reefs

For more information and references, please see the AquaScams home page