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Cartilage

Supplements

Peer Reviewed
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The Basics

Cartilage supplements come from cows (Bovine Cartilage) or sharks (Shark Cartilage). Human cartilage can be found in the joints, nose, ears, and knees.

At one time, cartilage was used to treat malignant tumors (i.e. cancer of the lung, skin, breast). The protein in shark cartilage prevented growth of new blood vessels necessary for tumor growth. Human studies in this area have not yet been published. Development of anti-cancer drugs is underway to incorporate the effectiveness of cartilage.

Cartilage is also used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and pain and inflammation. It is also used to treat psoriasis, and macular degeneration. Both of these diseases involve overgrowth of blood vessels.

Sources

Cartilage can be purchased in capsule or powdered form. These supplements are expensive. A month's supply of shark cartilage can cost as much as $700, bovine cartilage $160. Read labeling carefully to insure the product is 100% pure shark cartilage. The product should be white in color. If not, it is not pure and should not be ingested.

As a dietary supplement 3,000 to 4,750-mg can be taken daily. If used for treatment of cancer, the dose may be tripled and taken prior to meals. Cartilage can also be administered by enema.

Guidelines and Cautions

Do not give cartilage to children, pregnant women, or anyone who has recently undergone surgery or survived a heart attack. Although there are no known cartilage/medication interactions, consult with a medical professional prior to taking this product.

Include magnesium and potassium for mineral balance if taking large amounts of shark cartilage.

Read labeling carefully to insure the product is 100% pure shark cartilage. The product should be white in color. If not, it is not pure and should not be ingested.

Updated on: 02/06/10
George D. Picetti, III, MD
In reviewing the above supplements several observations were noted. First of all there are no scientific papers that review the efficacy of these supplements in refereed journals. Therefore we are not able to comment on how effective they are on a scientific level. These supplements are not held to the same standards as other medications, and thus the dose and concentration may differ among different brands or companies. Although many people claim to have good results from taking these and other supplements, it is always best to discuss this with your doctor before taking these supplements. If you are taking any supplement and are scheduled for surgery, it is imperative that you tell your surgeon and anesthesiologist. Some of these supplements can cause significant changes in your body’s chemical functions, such as slowing blood clot formation, which can be a serious problem during surgery.
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