It evokes horror in the mind of people on the beach, the triangle shaped tail fin. It is this very aquatic animal’s cartilage tissue that we call shark cartilage. Its contribution to the formational of the skeletal system is vital. A translucent elastic tissue it composes most of the skeleton of embryonic and very young vertebrates. Post a process of calcification it transforms into bones and makes a fully developed skeletal system.
There are three types of cartilage tissue-
Fibro cartilage- It is found between the back bones and is of the strongest types.
Hyaline cartilage- It is a grisly elastic tissue covering the moving end of bones, it also connects the ribs to the breast bone and supports the nose also the windpipe and a part of the voice box.
Yellow cartilage- This is the most elastic of the three and is found in the external ear, Eustachian tube and throat.
Uses of Shark Cartilage
Forms of Use-
Powdered form of shark cartilage- It is available as bulk powdered form and is generally for oral consumption on mixing it with water or fruit juice. It can also be taken through a rectal retention enema. Another form that powdered shark cartilage is available in is gelatin capsules or pressed into caplets which are taken orally.
It was believed in the earlier times that sharks did not have cancer. So it was believed that taking shark cartilage could work against cancer. Tests conducted on humans so far show that shark cartilage does have some efficacy in controlling growth of tumor cells. There was a study conducted in some humans with macular degeneration and it has shown positive results however more concrete experimentation is required to propound theories.
Side effects and potential dangers in using shark cartilage-
People with allergies to chondroitin or glucosamine should avoid taking products containing shark cartilage. People with allergies to sulfur should also be careful before taking shark cartilage products as they could be sulfated.
People consuming a shark cartilage product called Neovastat did show side effects in spite of using it for about four years. The person consuming shark cartilage could suffer mild stomach discomfort dizziness and fatigue. It has also been observed and is considered in theory that slower wound healing and irregular heartbeat can occur in people taking shark cartilage. Shark cartilage can be considered an occupational safety hazard in facilities using it.
Precaution- Consumption of shark cartilage in any form is not advisable to pregnant women and breast feeding mothers.
Interaction of Shark Cartilage with Drugs-
Shark Cartilage containing products are rich in calcium. So if taken along with any drugs containing calcium or calcium supplements it can increase the level of calcium in the body leading to problems like irregular heartbeats, decrease the growth of blood vessels and healing of wounds.
Interaction of Shark Cartilage with other Herbs and Supplements-
Shark Cartilage can lower blood sugar levels and if taken with glucosamine can increase them. A health care provider should closely monitor the intake of shark cartilage.
The dosage mentioned below is according to scientific journals or traditional usage
Adults (18 yrs or older) – Extract of ground cartilage- A dose of 80-100 gms per day or 1.3gms per kilogram of body weight.
Children (younger than 18 years) – they should avoid taking shark cartilage as it can hamper normal growth.
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