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Shark Cartilage: An Unsubstantiated Treatment

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Copyright ©2004 by the American College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 1998;129(10):843. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-129-10-199811150-00030
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In the 1970s, Langer sought angiogenesis inhibitors in animal cartilage, which lacks blood vessels. He found such a factor in shark cartilage-although only in parts per million. The purported benefits of shark cartilage in cancer were widely publicized, and many persons with cancer consume a cartilage extract that actually contains thousands of proteins. The extract can be taken by mouth (even though the inhibitor is known to be destroyed by gastric enzymes) or as an enema. Folkman interviewed more than 100 patients who have taken shark cartilage in the past 3 years and noted no substantive benefits. Shark cartilage has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and no peer-reviewed study proving its efficacy has been published.


cartilage ; sharks

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