Shark Cartilage

What is Shark Cartilage?

Shark cartilage is a food supplement of animal origin, obtained from the dried and pulverized skeleton of fish belonging to the Superorder Selachimorpha, mainly fished in the Indian Ocean.

Shark cartilage is marketed in various formats, including "Carticin", "Cartilade" or "BeneFin".

It is normally taken orally and is used as part of food supplementation to reduce arthritic pain and psoriasis, to accelerate wound healing, to reduce ocular complications and against enteritis; shark cartilage is also known for its use alternative or adjuvant in the reduction of the growth of Kaposi's sarcoma.
For the treatment of psoriasis and the reduction of arthritic pain, some make a localized topical use.

Environmental repercussions

The taking of sharks, already hunted for the fin trade, is leading various species - slowly but surely - to a condition of serious demographic risk. This is not an eco-sustainable fishing and, besides not being fundamental, it is completely unjustified.

Scientific Evidence

Research on the efficacy of shark cartilage in the treatment of macular degeneration (age-related vision loss) suggests that taking the specific Neovastat extract - AE-941, for a period of 4 weeks, "could" improve or stabilize the vision.
In combination with chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine sulfate And camphorWhen applied to the skin, shark cartilage can reduce symptoms related to rheumatoid arthritis. However, it is conceivable that this effect is mainly due to the action of camphor and not to the other ingredients. Furthermore, there is no research showing the absorption of shark cartilage through the skin.
In-depth research suggests that the specific extract called Neovastat - AE-941, taken orally or topically, "could" improve the appearance and decrease the itching of plaque psoriasis.
However, the scientific data currently available are insufficient and further investigations are needed to accurately evaluate any specific efficacy.

Ineffectiveness on Cancer

The first hypotheses on the effectiveness of shark cartilage in the treatment of cancer are attributable to the publication of the book "Sharks Don" t Get Cancer ", in 1992.
Despite some conjectures on the efficacy of shark cartilage in decreasing Kaposi's sarcoma (very rare), most of the research carried out shows that taking it orally does not lead to any benefit in people with cancer. in particular, the following were considered: lymphomas, tumors of the breast, colon, lung, prostate, brain of the advanced type and already previously treated.
However, more specific studies are lacking on the efficacy of shark cartilage in the treatment of people with less advanced cancers; obviously, the applicability of this kind of experimentation is almost nil (there are not many people who, after the diagnosis of cancer, would rely primarily on an alternative experimentation).
In the case of advanced renal cell carcinoma, there is the possibility that, by administering the Neovastat extract - AE-941 orally, an increase in survival is obtained; also for this reason, the extract enjoys the "Orphan Drug Status" (Food and Drug Administration - FDA), which provides some special incentives aimed at studying drugs for the treatment of rare diseases.

Shark Cartilage and Toxicity

Shark cartilage contains some potentially toxic molecules, linked to the onset of Alzheimer's disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. These are environmental contaminants that are abundant in large fish, the main one being mercury.


The appropriate dose of shark cartilage varies based on several factors, such as age, health, disease, or other conditions.
There is currently no accurate information available to determine a recommended dose. Although it is a natural product, it is not necessarily safe, especially at very high dosages.
It is advisable to follow the information on the label of the various products and consult your pharmacist or doctor before use.

Safety and Side Effects

When taken by mouth for up to 40 months, or on the skin for up to 8 weeks, shark cartilage is considered 'probably safe'.
It has a very bad taste and aroma; in some cases, its use has been associated with nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, constipation, arterial hypotension, dizziness, hyperglycaemia, high blood calcium levels and fatigue.
There is no sufficiently reliable information on the safety of taking shark cartilage if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, therefore it is advisable to avoid its use.
Shark cartilage may raise calcium levels excessively, so it should not be used by people whose calcium levels are already too high.

Legal Disputes

In the summer of 2004, producer "Lane Labs" was ordered to stop advertising "BeneFin" as a treatment or cure for cancer.
The main reason was the lack of sufficient scientific research on anticancer efficacy and potential side effects.
For this reason, the FDA has ordered Lane Labs to pay financial compensation to all purchasers of the product (since 1999).

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