Shark Cartilage

18/Description

About

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 it works

Shark cartilage might help prevent tumor growth.

Effectiveness

Not Proven
Age-related vision loss (age-related macular-degeneration)

Early research suggests that taking a specific shark cartilage extract (AE-941, Neovastat) for 24 weeks might improve or stabilize vision in people with age-related vision loss.

Cancerous tumor called Kaposi sarcoma

There are reports that shark cartilage might decrease tumors called Kaposi sarcoma.

Osteoarthritis

When applied to the skin, 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 is no research showing that shark cartilage is absorbed through the skin.

Psoriasis

Developing research suggests that a specific shark cartilage extract (AE-941, Neovastat) might improve appearance and decrease itching of plaque psoriasis when taken by mouth or applied to the skin.

Kidney cancer

Taking a specific shark cartilage extract (AE-941, Neovastat) 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.

Arthritis
Eye complications
Wound healing
Other conditions

Concerns

Possibly safe

Shark cartilage is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken appropriately by mouth for up to 40 months or when applied to the skin for up to 8 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.

18/Warnings

Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking shark cartilage if you arepregnantor breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.Are there any interactions with medications?

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.

Interactions

Always consult with your doctor.
Moderate
Medications that decrease the immune system (Immunosuppressants)

Shark cartilage might increase the immune system. By increasing the immune system, shark cartilage might decrease the effectiveness of medications that decrease the immune system.Some medications that decrease the immune system include azathioprine (Imuran), basiliximab (Simulect), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), daclizumab (Zenapax), muromonab-CD3 (OKT3, Orthoclone OKT3), mycophenolate (CellCept), tacrolimus (FK506, Prograf), sirolimus (Rapamune), prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone), corticosteroids (glucocorticoids), and others.

The information provided on this page is for reference purposes and is not meant to be used as a medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with a medical professional.