Shark Cartilage


Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate. The effectiveness ratings for SHARK CARTILAGE are as follows:

Likely ineffective for…

  • Cancer. Most research shows that taking it by mouth does not benefit people with advanced, previously treated cancers of the breast, colon, lung, prostate, or brain. It also doesn’t seem to benefit people with advanced, previously treated non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Shark cartilage has not been studied in people with less advanced cancer.

Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for…

  • Cancerous tumor called Kaposi sarcoma. There are reports that applying shark cartilage to the skin might decrease tumors called Kaposi sarcoma. These tumors are more common in people with HIV.
  • Osteoarthritis. When applied to the skin, products containing shark cartilage in combination with other ingredients reportedly reduce arthritis symptoms. However, any symptom relief is most likely due to the camphor ingredient and not the other ingredients. Additionally, there is no research showing that it is absorbed through the skin.
  • Psoriasis. Early research in people with plaque psoriasis shows that a specific extract (AE-941) improves the appearance of plaques and decreases itching when taken by mouth or applied to the skin.
  • A type of kidney cancer called renal cell carcinoma. Taking a specific shark cartilage extract (AE-941) by mouth might increase survival in patients with renal cell carcinoma.
  • Wound healing.
  • Other conditions.

More evidence is needed to rate shark cartilage for these uses.

Side Effects Of Shark Cartilage

Shark cartilage is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth for up to 40 months or when applied to the skin for up to 8 weeks.

It can cause a bad taste in the mouth, nausea, vomiting, stomach upset, constipation, low blood pressure, dizziness, high blood sugar, high calcium levels, weakness, and fatigue. It might also cause liver dysfunction. Some products have an unpleasant odor and taste.

Warnings & Precautions

  • Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking shark cartilage if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
  • “Autoimmune diseases” such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or other conditions: Shark cartilage might cause the immune system to become more active. This could increase the symptoms of autoimmune diseases. If you have one of these conditions, it’s best to avoid using.
  • High calcium levels (hypercalcemia): Shark cartilage might increase calcium levels, so it should not be used by people whose calcium levels are already too high.

Dosage Of Shark Cartilage

The appropriate dose depends on several factors such as the user’s age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for shark cartilage. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.


Consult your doctor or pharmacist.


All information has been provided courtesy of MedLinePlus from the National Library of Medicine and from the FDA.