What is it?
Shark cartilage is the tissue that provides support for fins in sharks (Squalus acanthias). It mainly comes from sharks caught in the Pacific Ocean.
Shark cartilage became a popular medicine in the 1970s. But its popularity led to a decline in shark numbers. It was previously suggested that sharks don’t get cancer, so consuming their cartilage might help prevent cancer in humans. But it is now clear that sharks do get cancer, and research hasn’t shown benefits for cancer in humans.
People use shark cartilage for cancer, scaly itchy skin (psoriasis), osteoarthritis, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence supporting these uses.
Don’t confuse shark cartilage with bovine cartilage, or with chondroitin, which can be sourced from shark cartilage.
Probably Ineffective for …
- Cancer. Taking shark cartilage by mouth does not benefit people with advanced, previously treated cancers, including breast, colon, lung, prostate, and brain cancer.
There is interest in using shark cartilage for a number of other purposes, but there isn’t enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.
When applied to the skin: Shark cartilage is possibly safe when used for up to 8 weeks.
Special Precautions & Warnings:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn’t enough reliable information to know if shark cartilage is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
“Autoimmune diseases” such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or other conditions: Shark cartilage might cause the immune system to become more active. This could increase the symptoms of autoimmune diseases. If you have one of these conditions, it’s best to avoid using shark cartilage.
High calcium levels (hypercalcemia): Shark cartilage contains calcium and might increase calcium levels. Do not use shark cartilage if you already have high calcium levels.
Medications that decrease the immune system (Immunosuppressants)
Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Shark cartilage can increase the activity of the immune system. Some medications, such as those used after a transplant, decrease the activity of the immune system. Taking shark cartilage along with these medications might decrease the effects of these medications.
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