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Shark Cartilage

Home :: Shark Cartilage

Shark Cartilage - Uses And Side Effects

Shark Cartilage, in the true sense of the term, is just that--cartilage tissue from a shark. Shark cartilage is a dietary supplement that some people claim fights cancer. It comes from the spiny dogfish shark, Squafus acanthi as, and the hammerhead shark, Sphyma few/ni. Shark cartilage gained popularity as a nutritional supplement in recent years based on reports that sharks do not get cancer and that the cartilage from sharks in supplement form is useful in connection with cancer. Unfortunately, sharks can get cancer and there is no evidence that can confirm that shark cartilage prevents cancer in humans.

Shark cartilage has been heavily promoted as an anti-cancer agent. Some in vitro and animal studies show some anti-angiogenic properties. Inhibition of wound angiogenesis has recently been demonstrated in one study of human subjects given liquid shark cartilage extract, but there are no other human data related to shark cartilage's putative anti-angiogenic effects and certainly none that show this effect in cancer patients.

Common doses of Shark Cartilage

Shark cartilage comes as:

  • ampules (10 milliliters, containing 80 milligrams per milliliter)
  • capsules (750 milligrams)
  • tablets (750 milligrams)
  • concentrate (500 milligrams per 15 milliliters).
For cancer treatment, typical doses of commercially available shark cartilage supplements range from 500 to 4,500 milligrams daily, depending on the type of preparation and amount of "pure" shark cartilage it contains. However, many such supplements contain only binding agents or fillers.

Some experts recommend the following doses:
  • As tablets and capsules, 2 to 6 doses taken orally daily.
  • As ampules, 1 ampule taken orally daily.
  • As a concentrate, 1 to 2 tablespoonfuls taken orally daily.

Uses of Shark Cartilage

Shark cartilage has putative antitumor, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-atherogenic actions, although these putative actions are so far poorly supported by credible clinical research. Specifically, shark cartilage may help to :-

  • Cancer

Side effects of Shark Cartilage

Call your health care practitioner if you experience unusual symptoms when using shark cartilage. It may cause hepatitis.


Combining shark cartilage with certain drugs may alter their action or produce unwanted side effects. Tell your health care practitioner about any prescription or nonprescription drugs you're taking.

Important points to remember

  • Don't use shark cartilage if you have liver disease.
  • Pregnant women and nursing mothers should avoid shark cartilage supplementation.
  • Be aware that your health care practitioner may recommend periodic liver function tests while you're taking shark cartilage.
  • Know that commercially available forms of shark cartilage contain varying amounts of the active ingredient.

What the research shows

Usually, the digestive tract can't absorb the large molecules in shark cartilage. So it's doubtful that taking shark cartilage orally can release usable compounds into the blood. Also, no wellcontrolled clinical studies have been published. In 1994, the National Cancer Institute began a trial of shark cartilage-but stopped it when they found that each batch of shark cartilage (provided by advocates) was contaminated. At this time, no evidence shows that shark cartilage offers benefits to people with cancer.

Other names for Shark Cartilage

Products containing shark cartilage are sold under such names as Carticin, Cartilade, GNC Liquid Shark Cartilage, Informed Nutrition Shark Cartilage, and Natural Brand Shark Cartilage.

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