Shark cartilage: Everything you need to know

Do you know what shark cartilage is? Discover all its benefits and properties, both medicinal and nutritious, and why you should be careful with its consumption. In fact, recent studies have warned about the presence of a neurotoxin in its composition.

shark cartilage

It is true that the shark is, at least, one of the most feared fish in the world. In fact, it has been listed as one of the most dangerous fish, especially because of its large size and ferocity.

It belongs to the Carcharhinidae family, of the Carcharhinus genus (Squaliformes), to which the shark or blue shark also belongs. Although in many Asian countries its consumption is common, in our kitchen it is not really so much.

However, if we take into account the different benefits of the shark that contributes from a nutritional point of view, we would probably dare to try it, and even to add it to our diet. As we indicated in a previous note, it is a semi-fatty fish, rich in proteins of good quality (that is, it contains all the essential amino acids), which also provides vitamins and minerals.

In regard to the most used parts of the shark, in addition to its own fin, we find shark cartilage.

What is shark cartilage?

The shark cartilage is a product that comes, as its name indicates the shark. It consists of a fabric with elastic qualities, which has the function of cushioning the movement of the joints and the squalid impacts.

It is, therefore, basically connective, solid, hard and white tissue, which also has elastic qualities.

It is extracted from the shark fin, and as you probably know, it is usually possible to buy it as a food supplement.

Properties of shark cartilage

For some years, shark cartilage has become popular as a beneficial food to strengthen the immune system (by stimulating the production of antibodies), in addition to providing analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.

properties of shark cartilage

It is, however, extremely rich in collagen, chondroitin sulfate and mucopolysaccharides (complex carbohydrates), so that in the mucous membranes and skin are associated with collagen, becoming a powerful remedy against bacteria.

From a nutritional point of view, it provides a large number of proteins of high biological value, which means that it contains all the essential amino acids. In addition, it is recommended in muscle growth and development diets, helping the joints to strengthen.

For some years it is believed that it can help as a tumor inhibitor. However, the health authorities have already warned about this falsehood.

Useful option for athletes as a nutritional supplement

The majority of runners, whether professional or not, tend to suffer some kind of overload caused by both training and the exercise itself. In this sense; did you know that shark cartilage is a good option for athletes?

This is due to something that we have already commented on a previous occasion: thanks to its anti-inflammatory qualities, shark cartilage helps to reduce inflammation of the joints after a prolonged period of exercise.

In addition, it acts as an analgesic, so it helps to reduce the pain that may be felt after exercise.

On the other hand, it helps to protect the joints, ligaments, and tendons thanks to its contribution in good quality proteins, phosphorus and calcium, contributing in turn to the elasticity of the cartilage and the collagen synthesis.

Benefits of shark cartilage

In short, it tends to be considered that shark cartilage is apparently useful for its following benefits or properties:

  • Especially rich in collagen.
  • Especially rich in good quality proteins and complex carbohydrates.
  • Anti-inflammatory action, beneficial for rheumatic diseases.
  • It helps to strengthen the immune system.
  • Help against macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.
  • It helps in the tissue regeneration, and in its healing.

You can find it in herbalists and specialty stores in the form of capsules.

However, as we will see below, it is highly advisable to take into account some precautions and learn more about its effects before consuming it.

Where can you buy shark cartilage?

Nowadays it is very easy to buy shark cartilage. Mainly, as we mentioned before, because it becomes a supplement that in recent years has become tremendously popular, especially among people who want to improve the health of their joints, being especially rich in collagen and chondroitin sulfate.

Therefore, nowadays it is sold as a nutritional supplement, which means that it should not replace any food, but should be consumed as a supplement to add to our diet.

And where can we buy it? In herbalists and specialized dietetic shops, we will find shark cartilage easily, especially in the form of capsules or tablets, based on the cartilaginous tissue of shark.

In the majority of the occasions, we can find containers with a quantity ranging between 30 and 90 capsules. And its price varies between $6 to $25, an amount that will depend directly on the brand you choose.

Precautions to take into account when consuming shark cartilage

Although we are dealing with a product that has been commonly used in the treatment of arthritis, damage to the eye retina and for the healing of wounds, and although it is considered safe for most people when it is taken properly, its consumption is not advised in some cases.

For example, its use is not advised in people whose calcium levels are already too high (since it increases calcium levels).

In addition, the consumption of which it can cause nausea, vomiting, dizziness, constipation and low blood pressure. Even a bad taste in the mouth.

Side effects of shark cartilage

A study conducted between a total of seven squalid species located off the Florida coast (in the United States), and picked up by the New York Times, scientists discovered “high amounts of a component called Beta-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA), which has been related to the development of neurodegenerative diseases”, after taking cartilage samples from these.

According to the researchers, it is, in fact, a discovery of vital importance, especially if we consider that in recent decades this product tends to be sold as a supplement with qualities for bones and joints.

In fact, this neurotoxin has been found in the brains of people with degenerative diseases, among which are amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Alzheimer’s.

Therefore, the recommendation is clear: it is not advisable to take any shark cartilage supplement, at least until the different health authorities carry out scientific studies that can clarify a little and not only to its supposed benefits, but also the most dangerous effects to its consumption.