What is Shark Cartilage?
Shark cartilage refers to a tough elastic tissue, similar to bones, whose extracts are used for medical purposes.
The extract, which is obtained from the dried and powdered cartilage of the shark, is commonly used in treating different types of cancer particularly Kaposi’s sarcoma, which mostly affects people infected with HIV.
However, there is no evidence to demonstrate the efficiency of Shark cartilage in cancer and disease prevention. In fact, health experts are raising concerns about potentially toxic compounds found in shark cartilage associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Where does it Come from?
Shark cartilage comes from the tough elastic tissue derived from sharks caught in the Pacific Ocean. The cartilage is dried and ground into powder before extraction is carried out.
Different types of extracts are made from Shark cartilage including U-995, AE941, and squalamine lactate. The main compounds in shark cartilage include proteoglycans, glycoproteins, and carbohydrates.
The idea behind the use of shark cartilage in the fight against cancer is because cancer doesn’t seem to appear in sharks. Its use became popular since 1993 after a TV news magazine showed how cancer patients in Cuba went into remission after they were treated using shark cartilage.
What are its Possible Health Benefits?
Although there is no scientific evidence, the possible health benefits of shark cartilage include:
- Cancer prevention and treatment: It is believed that the natural, nontoxic substance is effective in fighting and preventing cancer. Currently, the Food and Drug Administration is undertaking clinical studies on shark cartilage.
- Treats osteoarthritis: When combined with camphor, chondroitin sulfate, and glucosamine sulfate, shark cartilage eases arthritis symptoms. However, it is unclear if shark cartilage gets absorbed through the skin.
- Treat age-related vision loss: Previous studies indicate that the use of shark cartilage for 24 weeks improves vision in patients with age-related vision loss.
- Treats skin problems: Undergoing researches suggest that topical application or oral consumption of shark cartilage can ease skin symptoms including itching and psoriasis.
- Other health benefits include wound healing, eye problems, kidney cancers and other conditions.
What are the Potential Side Effects of Shark Cartilage?
Shark cartilage is considered to be safe when applied topically or taken orally to most users. However, high doses can cause bad breath or taste, constipation, nausea, vomiting, stomach problems, fatigue, dizziness, low blood pressure, spike in blood sugar, and an increase in calcium levels.
The taste and smell of some shark cartilage can be displeasing to some people. Contact your doctor if you are already under any other supplement or prescribed medication before using shark cartilage to prevent complications.
Recommended Doses and Timing for Shark Cartilage
Dosage and timing for shark cartilage depend on a number of factors including health condition being addressed, age, gender, and medications among others.
Currently, no scientific information is available to determine how shark cartilage should be taken. It is worth noting that dosing and timing of natural products are important and one should comply with manufacturer’s or doctor’s recommendations.
Always check the label of any shark cartilage product to find out how it should be used.
Uses of Shark Cartilage in Supplements
Shark cartilage use in supplements is increasingly becoming popular after several studies demonstrated that it can be effective in fighting cancer and improving other health problems.
There are different shark cartilage products based on which body part of a shark they have been extracted. They sell under different brand names, including BeneFin, Cartilade, or Carticin.
The popular use of shark cartilage has been blamed for a significant decline in shark populations, especially in the Pacific Ocean.
Shark Cartilage Interactions
There are no known interactions with the use of shark cartilage at the moment. However, due to incomplete researches, you should refrain from using shark cartilage if you have high levels of calcium.
In addition, keep you and your baby safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding by abstaining from the use of any supplement that has not been recommended by a qualified medical professional.
Also, stop using shark cartilage if you experience adverse side effects or interactions and seek medical help as soon as possible. Remember also to present the bottle or the unused product to the attending health care provider for assessment.
Shark cartilage can be effective in treating certain types of cancer. The extracts are derived from sharks’ connective tissues. The brands names are different depending on which body part of a shark they were extracted.
With continuous researches showing shark cartilage health benefits, it should be an important ingredient to look for in supplement of your choice.
If you feel the urge to embark on a shark cartilage or any other dietary supplement, get the consent from your doctor especially if you are already on another medication for an underlying condition.