SHARK CARTILAGE Overview Information
Shark cartilage (tough elastic tissue that provides support, much as bone does) used for medicine comes primarily from sharks caught in the Pacific Ocean. Several types of extracts are made from shark cartilage including squalamine lactate, AE-941, and U-995.
Shark cartilage is most famously used for cancer, including a type of cancer called Kaposi’s sarcoma, that is more common in people with HIV infection. Shark cartilage is also used for arthritis, psoriasis, wound healing, damage to the retina of the eye due to diabetes, and inflammation of the intestine (enteritis).
Some people apply shark cartilage directly to the skin for arthritis and psoriasis.
How does it work?
Shark cartilage might help prevent tumor growth.
Likely Ineffective for:
- Kidney cancer. Taking shark cartilage extract AE-941 by mouth seems to increase survival in patients with advanced kidney cancer (renal cell carcinoma). This product has FDA “Orphan Drug status” for renal cell carcinoma. The Orphan Drug law gives drug makers special incentives to study drugs for rare conditions.
- Psoriasis. Developing research suggests that AE-941 taken by mouth might improve appearance and decrease itching of plaque psoriasis.
- Osteoarthritis. When applied to the skin (used topically), products containing shark cartilage in combination with chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine sulfate, and camphor, reportedly reduce arthritis symptoms. However, any symptom relief is most likely due to the effect of camphor and not the other ingredients. Additionally, there's no research showing that shark cartilage is absorbed through the skin.
- Eye complications.
- Wound healing.
- Other conditions.
SHARK CARTILAGE Side Effects & Safety
Shark cartilage is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken appropriately by mouth for up to 40 months or applied to the skin for up to eight weeks.
It can cause a bad taste in the mouth, nausea, vomiting, stomach upset, constipation, low blood pressure, dizziness, high blood sugar, high calcium levels, and fatigue. Some products have an unpleasant odor and taste.
Special Precautions & Warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of shark cartilage during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
High calcium levels (hypercalcemia): Shark cartilage might increase calcium levels, so it should not be used by people whose calcium levels are already too high.
SHARK CARTILAGE Dosing
The appropriate dose of shark cartilage depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for shark cartilage. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.