shark cartilage (generic name)
an herbal product - treats Macular degeneration, Psoriasis, Arthritis, Pain, and Cancer
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TraditionWARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Adults (over 18 years old)
Doses of 0.2 to 2.0 grams per kilogram of body weight per day, taken by mouth in two to three divided doses, have been studied.
80 to 100 grams of ground shark cartilage extract has been taken by mouth daily, divided into two to four doses. Doses of the shark cartilage derivative AE-941 (Neovastat®), available in clinical trials, have ranged from 30 to 240 milliliters per day taken by mouth or 20 milligrams per kilogram taken twice daily. Rectal doses of 15 grams per day or 0.5 to 1.0 grams per kilogram of body weight per day in two to three divided doses (prepared as an enema) have also been studied.
Creams applied to the skin with 5% to 30% shark cartilage are available and have been recommended by some practitioners for the treatment of psoriasis alone or with shark cartilage by mouth, for four to six weeks. Studies have used 5% to 10% preparations applied daily.
Children (under 18 years old)
Shark cartilage is not recommended in children due to a lack of scientific study and a theoretical risk of blocking blood vessel growth. There is one report of a nine year-old child with a brain tumor treated with shark cartilage who died four months later.
SafetyDISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.
Allergic reactions to shark cartilage or to any of its ingredients are possible, although there is limited human information in this area. Caution should be used in patients with a sulfur allergy since products may be sulfated.
Side Effects and Warnings
A limited amount of published research suggests that shark cartilage is well tolerated in most people at recommended doses. The most common adverse effects reported are mild-to-moderate stomach upset and nausea. In several studies, patients stopped taking shark cartilage due to gastrointestinal distress, cramping, or bloating. Liver damage and taste alteration has been reported.
Uncommon side effects reported in studies or historically include confusion, decreased muscle strength, decreased sensation, weakness, dizziness, fatigue, increased or decreased blood sugar levels, and low blood pressure. Shark cartilage products may contain high levels of calcium, which may be harmful to patients with kidney disease, abnormal heart rhythms, a tendency to form kidney stones, and those with cancers that raise calcium levels. In theory, due to the blocking of new blood vessel growth, shark cartilage may be harmful in people with heart disease or narrowed blood vessels of the legs (peripheral vascular disease). In theory, wound healing and recovery from surgery or trauma may be reduced.
One case report implicates inhaled shark cartilage dust in an asthma exacerbation and resulting death of a 38 year-old male.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Shark cartilage is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women. Shark cartilage may block the growth of new blood vessels and drugs with similar properties, such as thalidomide, can cause birth defects. There is limited study of shark cartilage in these areas.