Medical - Saturday, June 2, 2012 16:46

Medical Benefits from Shark Cartilage


picture of shark with fins

Shark cartilage is made up of mainly collagen, amino acids, minerals and glycosaminoglycan. Shark cartilage contains over 40% pure collagen protein, plus essential and non-essential amino acids. These components are necessary for elasticity of the tissues, healing of cracked skin, torn ligaments and tendons and growth and rejuvenation of skin and connective tissues.

Shark cartilage is one of the most popular supplements in the United States. Laboratory research and animal studies of shark cartilage have demonstrated some anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties. However, there is currently not enough reliable human evidence to recommend for or against shark cartilage for any condition. There are several ongoing cancer studies. Many trials are supported by manufacturers of shark cartilage products, raising questions about impartiality.

Shark cartilage is an abundant source of mucopolysaccharrides and carbohydrates that stimulate the immune system promoting optimum health. Shark cartilage also contains vital amino acids, protein, calcium and phosphorous. Shark cartilage’s pain and anti-inflammatory properties have made it popular in the treatment of cancer, tumors, psoriasis and arthritis. (Shark cartilage should not be used after a heart attack, during pregnancy or if open lesions exist.). Although shark cartilage is a food supplement that can be purchased without a prescription.

Shark cartilage gained popularity as a nutritional supplement in recent years based on reports that sharks do not get cancer and that the cartilage from sharks in supplement form is useful in connection with cancer. Unfortunately, sharks can get cancer and there is no evidence that can confirm that shark cartilage prevents cancer in humans.

How does Shark cartilage work?

Shark cartilage appears to work through the activity of at least four complex proteins contained in the cartilage. The proteins appear to inhibit the development of new blood capillaries needed to feed a fast growing tumor. Without a feeding network, a tumor can’t grow and existing tumors may wither (necrosis) when their fragile blood vessels break down and are not replaced.

 

Benefit of Shark Cartilage

 

Recently, shark cartilage has generated intense interest in both public and medical circles because of the theoretical justification for its clinical use in diseases, including cancer, psoriasis, age-related macular degeneration and arthritis, which involve neovascularization (angiogenesis). This interest is further fueled by clinical trials and recent patents which have demonstrated its anti-tumor activity and its ability to relieve pain and inflammation associated with tumor activity and diseases involving angiogenesis.

Because shark cartilage is rich in mucopolysaccharrides, diseases which are associated with changes in the large molecule may also benefit from shark cartilage therapy. Diseases which may respond favorably to shark cartilage therapy include: acne, eczema, anal itching, atherosclerosis, colitis, gastritis, asthma, poison oak, poison ivy, emphysema, and hemorrhoids.

Shark cartilage And Arthritis Pain and Stiffness

Chondroitin sulfate, a component of shark cartilage, has been shown to benefit patients with osteoarthritis. However, the concentrations of chondroitin in shark cartilage products may be too small to be helpful. The ability of shark cartilage to block new blood vessel growth or reduce inflammation is proposed to be helpful in rheumatoid arthritis. Shark cartilage has been found to reduce pain of joint inflammation. The same condition that occurs to sustain tumors is also found in diabetic retinopathy, certain types of glaucoma, and rheumatoid arthritis (angiogenesis).

 

The abnormal creation of tiny capillaries has been observed as rheumatoid arthritis unfolds. This network of blood vessels can eventually destroy the cartilage that cushions joints and significantly contribute to the pain and joint destruction typical of arthritis. Because shark cartilage works by inhibiting the growth of these blood vessels, it is believed that it may be a valuable supplement for arthritis sufferers.

 

Shark cartilage And Macular degeneration

 

It is proposed that shark cartilage may be helpful in patients with macular degeneration. A small amount of research suggests possible benefits, but more study is needed before a recommendation can be made.

Shark cartilage And Psoriasis

Shark cartilage products have been tested by mouth or on the skin in people with psoriasis. However, no clear benefits have been shown. The theory that the skin thickening and shedding typical of psoriasis may depend on the abnormal formation of capillaries directs the disease to shark cartilage therapy. It has proved to be an effective treatment for the disease by controlling psoriasis and fading psoriasis patches.

Shark cartilage Reduce Pain

Based on laboratory studies, shark cartilage may reduce inflammation. However, it is unclear if shark cartilage is a safe or helpful treatment for pain in humans.

Shark cartilage Sustain Tumor Growth

Shark cartilage has the ability to destroy tumors by inhibiting the creation of new blood vessels which nurture and sustain tumor growth. Therefore, cutting off tumor blood flow, causing the tumor to shrink rather than flourish. The shark cartilage powder is able to do this without damaging healthy tissue. Tumor cells are constantly breaking down and being replaced by new vessels. In the presence of shark cartilage, they are not replaced by new vessels and the section fed dies (necrosis).

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