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Shark Cartilage

General description

Shark cartilage is made from powdered shark skeleton. Sharks have no true bone: Their skeletons are composed of cartilage. Shark cartilage is white in color with a fishy odor and taste.

Shark cartilage has been touted as an agent to prevent or treat cancer. However, multiple studies have demonstrated that shark cartilage does not alter the course of established cancer or decrease the risk for any type of cancer.

Known ingredients of shark cartilage include:

  • Mucopolysaccharides

  • Calcium

  • Phosphorus

Medically valid uses

There is no evidence that shark cartilage has any beneficial medical effect for any condition.

Unsubstantiated claims

Please note that this section reports on claims that have NOT yet been substantiated through scientific studies.

Studies are currently ongoing to determine the value of shark cartilage as an angiogenesis inhibitor (stops the development of new blood vessels). This, in theory, may help fight certain cancers by cutting off their blood supply. Although shark cartilage contains agents that decrease angiogenesis, any effect on cancer has not yet been confirmed by appropriate scientific studies. Angiogenesis inhibitors are currently being evaluated in the treatment of cancer. However, the agents used are much more potent than those present in shark cartilage and are not derived from shark cartilage. Even these newer more potent agents have not clearly demonstrated effectiveness against cancer.

Other claims: Shark cartilage may boost the immune system and help in the management of many diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, skin conditions such as psoriasis, retinopathies such as diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration, bowel inflammation, Kaposi's sarcoma, and cancer of the breast, cervix, uterus, ovary, prostate, kidney, liver, and central nervous system.

Dosing format

There is no current recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for shark cartilage. Shark cartilage is available in capsules and powder form. With shark cartilage, it is important to ensure a reliable processing method of the product from a reputable manufacturer. The normal suggested daily intake of shark cartilage is about 60 grams. However, a patient following this recommendation would need to take 80 capsules per day.

Side effects, toxicity, and interactions

Like all supplements, shark cartilage can potentially interact with other medicines you may be taking, including antibiotics and diabetes medications. Be sure to talk with your doctor before beginning this or other supplements. 

Additional information

Click here for a list of reputable websites with general information on nutrition.