- Indications with possible efficacy:
- Other indications with no proof of efficacy:
Arthritis and osteoarthritis (popular use)
Cutaneous Kaposi Sarcoma
- Risk of Drug Interactions: Low
- Adverse Effects: Not Frequent
Shark cartilage is obtained from three species of shark found in the Pacific Ocean. The cartilage is cut, cleaned, crushed and then dried. The dried crushed cartilage is then reduced to a fine powder, sterilized and encapsulated. Some have attributed anticancer properties to this product. It was thought that shark cartilage could inhibit the growth of new vessels required to nourish a growing tumor. However, recent studies have shown that it is not effective in the treatment of advanced cancer. Up to now, the results from investigations in humans have been quite disappointing.
Shark cartilage is made up of about 40% proteins, 5-20% glycoaminoglycans as well as calcium salts.
Direction of use
Doses vary greatly: from 500 to 4500 mg per day. It is usually administered with food, in 2 to 6 divided doses.
- Side effects
Shark cartilage is usually not associated with any severe toxicity. However, it may leave a bad taste in the mouth or present an offensive odor. It can cause nausea, vomiting, stomachache and constipation.
If shark cartilage does have the properties claimed, it should not be used following myocardial infarction or surgery.
There are no known drug interactions.
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Since there is no safety data available concerning its use during pregnancy and breast-feeding, pregnant and lactating women should avoid shark cartilage.
In 2004, Canada adopted new regulations that control the manufacturing, packaging, labeling and importing of natural health products. The new regulations also include an adverse reaction reporting system. Products that conform to the regulation's criteria are identified with a natural product number (NPN) and can be legally sold in Canada. This number indicates that the product meets specific criteria for safety and purity, not that it is effective for any indication.
Medicinal plant contents vary naturally from plant to plant - just as fruits from the same package may vary in taste and texture. There is no standard to measure the active content of each plant. Thus, efficacy of natural products should be expected to vary from brand to brand as well as from bottle to bottle of the same brand.
For more information about the Natural Health Products Regulations, or to check if a product has been assessed, visit the Health Canada website at www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/prodnatur/index-eng.php.
- Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, Therapeutic Research Faculty, 2010
- Peirce, Andrea. Practical Guide to Natural Medicines, APha, 1999
- Facts & Comparisons, The Lawrence review of natural products, 1998
- Passeportsanté.net. Requin (cartilage). www.passeportsante.net
- Natural Therapeutics Pocket Guide, 2000-2001
- The Review of Natural Products, 6th Edition, 2010
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The patient information leaflets are provided by Vigilance Santé Inc. This content is for information purposes only and does not in any manner whatsoever replace the opinion or advice of your health care professional. Always consult a health care professional before making a decision about your medication or treatment.