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Healthy Diet Plans >>  Dietary Supplements >>  Shark Cartilage

Shark Cartilage

Products with shark cartilage became very popular in 1980s in United States after a poor quality report that stated it as a miracle cure for cancer prevention. Today, it is one of the most popular supplements available with more than 40 brand names.
The primary composition of commercially available shark cartilage is chondroitin sulfate that after ingestion is broken down in the body in to glucosamine and other end products.
Being a source of calcium, manufactures also promote it as calcium supplementation. At common doses shark cartilage supplements may cost heavy ranging from $ 700-1000 per month.

Health and shark cartilage

  1. Shark cartilage may be beneficial for patients with osteoarthritis; chondroitin sulfate (a component of shark cartilage) may also block new blood vessel growth and reduce inflammation making it useful in arthritis treatment, especially rheumatoid arthritis.
  2. Shark cartilage or its products may block the growth of new blood vessels (anti-angiogenesis) which is believed to control growth of some tumors. Shark cartilage can be beneficial in cancer patients, but more studies in this area are required and patients should not overlook the other proven therapies for cancer treatment.
  3. Shark cartilage or its products may be beneficial for patients with macular degeneration.
  4. Shark cartilage can reduce inflammation and may be helpful in the treatment of pain.
  5. These health benefits are based on unclear scientific evidences, for its safety and effectiveness more scientific researches need to be conducted.

Side effects and shark cartilage

  1. Shark cartilage and its products can cause mild to moderate stomach upset, gastrointestinal distress, nausea, cramping, bloating, taste alteration and liver damage.
  2. Some uncommon side effects also include weakness, dizziness, confusion, decreased muscle strength and low blood pressure.
  3. High calcium levels in shark cartilage can cause kidney diseases, kidney stones and abnormal heart rhythms.
  4. Shark cartilage and its products may reduce blood sugar levels. Thus patients with diabetes, hypoglycemia or on medications or herbal supplements for the same should use shark cartilage with caution. Dose adjustment and monitoring blood sugar levels may be necessary.
  5. Shark cartilage and its products may block the growth of new blood vessels and can cause birth defects, thus its use is not recommended during pregnancy and lactation.
  6. Shark cartilage is also not recommended for children as it may have risk of blocking blood vessel growth and its safety and effectiveness in children is not yet established.
Shark cartilage and its products should be used in recommended doses under the guidance of a health care professional to avoid health related complications.

Submitted on January 16, 2014