Updated: 2021, Oct 23

Shark Cartilage: Benefits, Possible Side Effects, and More

Shark cartilage is currently one of the trendiest and most contentious topics in medical circles. Despite the fact that accepted medical principles recognize its mode of action, the mechanism, or combination of factors responsible for activating that action, remains unknown.

What Is Shark Cartilage

Like the bone, Shark cartilage is an elastic tissue that is tough and provides support and whose extracts are used in medicine.

Shark Cartilage: Benefits, Possible Side Effects, and More
Shark head and shark skeleton/cartilage, Shark cartilage is most famously used for cancer, are sold at a local dry seafood store. Image/Shutterstock By Phoebe Teng

The extract, which is gotten from the shark’s dried and powdered cartilage, is well-known for treating various cancers, including Kaposi’s sarcoma, which primarily affects HIV-positive persons.

Shark cartilage supplements also treat osteoarthritis, plaque psoriasis, age-related vision loss, wound healing, diabetes-related retinal impairment, and intestine inflammation (enteritis).

For arthritis and psoriasis, most people prefer to apply shark cartilage to the skin directly, whereas, for cancer, other people apply shark cartilage to the rectum.

However, there is no evidence that shark cartilage is effective in cancer and disease prevention. Health professionals have raised concerns concerning possibly harmful substances identified in shark cartilage that have been linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

Where Does It Come From?

Shark cartilage is gotten from the elastic and tough tissue taken from sharks caught in the Pacific. Before the extraction, the cartilage is dried and grounded into a powder.

Shark cartilage is used to make various extracts, including squalamine lactate, U-995, and AE941. Proteoglycans, glycoproteins, and carbohydrates are the primary components of shark cartilage.

What Does Shark Cartilage Do?

Shark cartilage may obstruct the formation of new blood vessels, which are required for cancer to spread. It may also stop blood vessels from growing in psoriasis lesions. This could aid in the healing of these wounds.

Shark Cartilage Benefits

Even though there is no scientific evidence, shark cartilage may provide health benefits such as:

Cancer prevention and treatment:
The natural, harmless component is thought to help treat and prevent cancer. The Food and Drug Administration is currently conducting clinical trials on shark cartilage.

Treats osteoarthritis:
Shark cartilage relieves arthritis symptoms when coupled with camphor, chondroitin sulfate, and glucosamine sulfate. However, whether shark cartilage is absorbed via the skin is unknown.

Improve eyesight in individuals with age-related vision loss:
Previous studies have shown that using shark cartilage for twenty-four weeks improves the vision of people with age-related vision loss.

Treats skin problems:
Current studies suggest that applying shark cartilage to the skin or eating it can help with psoriasis and irritation.

Psoriasis is relieved.
Shark cartilage supplements aid in treating this condition, which is characterized by abnormal blood vessel growth on the skin. Shark cartilage controls blood vessel formation, decreasing excessive expansion.

Wound healing, vision issues, kidney malignancies, and other ailments are among the various health benefits of shark cartilage.

Side Effects of Shark Cartilage

Most people regard shark cartilage to be safe when used topically or consumed orally. High doses, on the other hand, can produce

  • Bad breath or taste,
  • Constipation,
  • Nausea,
  • Weakness,
  • Vomiting,
  • Stomach problems,
  • Fatigue,
  • Dizziness,
  • Low blood pressure,
  • A spike in blood sugar, and
  • Increased calcium levels

Some people find shark cartilage to have an unpleasant taste and odor. To avoid issues, consult your doctor before using shark cartilage if you are currently using any other supplements or medications.

Special Precautions and Warnings

  • There is insufficient trustworthy evidence about the safety of taking shark cartilage while pregnant or breastfeeding. To be on the safe side, avoid using it.
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and other “autoimmune diseases”: The immune system may become more active as a result of shark cartilage. This may aggravate the symptoms of autoimmune illnesses. It’s advised to avoid shark cartilage if you have one of these disorders.
  • High calcium levels: Because shark cartilage can raise calcium levels, it should not be used by persons who already have high calcium levels.

Recommended Doses And Timing For Shark Cartilage

Shark cartilage dosage and timing are determined by various factors, including the health condition being treated, age, gender, and drugs, among others.

There is currently no scientific evidence to indicate how shark cartilage pills should be consumed. It’s worth emphasizing that the timing and dosage of any natural products are essential, and one should follow the manufacturer’s or doctor’s recommendations.

Always read the label on any shark cartilage product to learn how to use it properly.

Uses of Shark Cartilage in Supplements

Shark cartilage is becoming more popular as a supplement after multiple studies showed that it could successfully fight cancer and treat other health issues.

Different shark cartilage products are available depending on which body section of the shark was extracted. BeneFin, Cartilade, and Carticin are some of the brand names that they go by.

Using this product without proper medical attention for your illness may result in severe (perhaps deadly) health issues. The use of this product for children is not advised.

Shark Cartilage Interactions

At the moment, there are no known interactions associated with the use of shark cartilage. Due to insufficient study, you should avoid taking shark cartilage if you have excessive calcium levels.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, avoid taking any supplement that a trained medical expert has not prescribed.

Also, if you encounter any negative side effects or interactions, stop using shark cartilage and get medical care as soon as possible. Remember to show the bottle or unused product to the attending medical professional for evaluation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Shark Cartilage Benefit for Cancer?

A: The use of shark cartilage in the battle against cancer is based on the fact that cancer does not appear in sharks. Its use has been well-known since 1993 when a television news program depicted cancer patients in Cuba going into remission after being treated with shark cartilage.

Q: What is Shark Cartilage GNC?

A: Shark Cartilage GNC is a herbal supplement that promotes overall mobility and flexibility while relieving joint soreness.

Q: What is Shark Cartilage Good For?

A: The most well-known application of shark cartilage is in the treatment of cancer. It also treats joint pain, vision loss caused by aging, heal wounds, diabetes-related retinal damage, and intestine inflammation.

Q: How Does Shark Cartilage Benefit Knee Pain?

A: Shark cartilage supplement has been shown to benefit the pain and stiffness in the knees by reducing the pain.

Conclusion

Known as shark cartilage cancer to a lot of people, shark cartilage has been shown to be helpful in the treatment of some cancers. The extracts come from the connective tissues of sharks. The names of the brands vary depending on which part of a shark’s body was taken.

If you’re considering using shark cartilage or any other dietary supplement, talk to your doctor first, especially if you’re already taking medicine for another ailment.

References

[1] Cartilage (Bovine and Shark) (PDQ®)–Patient Version https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/cam/patient/cartilage-pdq
[2] Dupont E, Savard PE, Jourdain C, Juneau C, Thibodeau A, Ross N, Marenus K, Maes DH, Pelletier G, Sauder DN. Antiangiogenic properties of a novel shark cartilage extract: potential role in the treatment of psoriasis. J Cutan Med Surg. 1998 Jan;2(3):146-52. doi: 10.1177/120347549800200307. PMID: 9479080. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9479080/
[3] Cho J, Kim Y. Sharks: a potential source of antiangiogenic factors and tumor treatments. Mar Biotechnol (NY). 2002 Dec;4(6):521-5. doi: 10.1007/s10126-002-0064-3. PMID: 14961226. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14961226/
[4] Martínez-Jabaloyas JM, Queipo-Zaragozá A, Pastor-Hernández F, Gil-Salom M, Chuan-Nuez P. Testosterone levels in men with erectile dysfunction. BJU Int. 2006 Jun;97(6):1278-83. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-410X.2006.06154.x. PMID: 16686726. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16686726
[5] Sheu JR, Fu CC, Tsai ML, Chung WJ. Effect of U-995, a potent shark cartilage-derived angiogenesis inhibitor, on anti-angiogenesis and anti-tumor activities. Anticancer Res. 1998 Nov-Dec;18(6A):4435-41. PMID: 9891506. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9891506/
[6] Psoriasis | Harvard Medical School https://www.health.harvard.edu/skin-and-hair/psoriasis-overview
[7] Shark Cartilage | Medline Plus Gov https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/909.html#Safety
[8] Shark Cartilage | Medline Plus Gov https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/909.html#Dosage
[9] Shark Cartilage: More than Support for your Joints https://www.hsnstore.eu/blog/supplements/joint-health/shark-cartilage/
[10] Shark Cartilage: More than Support for your Joints https://www.hsnstore.eu/blog/supplements/joint-health/shark-cartilage/#What-is-Shark-Cartilage-used-for
[11] Shark Cartilage: More than Support for your Joints https://www.hsnstore.eu/blog/supplements/joint-health/shark-cartilage/#Benefits-of-Shark-Cartilage
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David Feder, RDN

David Feder, RDN, has been a food, nutrition and health journalist for 26 years. He taught food science and nutrition while practicing

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