Shark Cartilage Health Benefits and Uses

Cartilage, derived from shark, cow (bovine), and other animals is a connective tissue composed of mucopolysaccharides (including chondroitin sulfate), proteins, calcium, sulfur, and collagen. Collagen is a common protein found in many connective tissues, including bone, skin, and cartilage.

Shark cartilage is marketed by a number of different manufacturers. Branded products include Cartilade (Solgar, BioTherapies, Source Naturals), Mega Shark Cartilage (Twinlab), Sharkilage (Futurebiotics), and BeneFin Shark Cartilage (Lane Labs).

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.

Any possible medical and health benefits derived from shark cartilage come mainly from the low-molecular-weight molecules it contains. These possible benefits are currently being researched. It is, however, known that these molecules possess anti-angiogenic activity and inhibit metalloproteinase, activities that could explain any medicinal effects that shark cartilage may have. Some substances from shark cartilage are also demonstrating antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities in laboratory studies. These antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits may be responsible for any medical indications associated with shark cartilage supplementation.