Shark cartilage is made from powdered shark skeleton. Sharks have no true bone. Their skeletons are made of cartilage. Shark cartilage is white. It may have an unpleasant odor and taste.
It has been said to help prevent or treat cancer. But studies have had mixed results and have not been conclusive.
Ingredients in shark cartilage include:
Medically valid uses
There is no evidence that shark cartilage helps any health condition.
There may be benefits that have not yet been proven through research.
Studies are looking if shark cartilage stops new blood vessels from forming. Substances that do this are called angiogenesis inhibitors. This may help fight certain cancers by cutting off their blood supply. Studies are also being done to learn if angiogenesis inhibitors treat certain cancers. But most of these inhibitors are stronger than those in shark cartilage. They don’t come from shark cartilage. Even the newer, stronger substances have not clearly shown to work against cancer.
Shark cartilage may boost the immune system. It may help manage many diseases. These can include:
Skin issues, such as psoriasis
Retinopathies, such as diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration
Breast, cervix, uterus, ovary, prostate, kidney, liver, and central nervous system cancer
There is no current recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for shark cartilage.
Shark cartilage comes in oral capsule and powder forms. It’s important to buy it from a high-quality manufacturer.
Side effects, toxicity, and interactions
Like all supplements, shark cartilage can interact with other medicines. These include antibiotics, immunosuppressants, and diabetes medicines. Talk to your healthcare provider before taking this supplement.
Pregnant and breastfeeding people should not take shark cartilage.
Shark cartilage might increase calcium levels. People who already have high calcium levels should avoid using shark cartilage.
Shark cartilage might make the immune system more active. This could cause the symptoms of autoimmune diseases to increase. It's best to avoid taking shark cartilage if you have an autoimmune condition.