The Risks of Shark Cartilage Supplements

The Risks of Shark Cartilage Supplements
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Why are millions of dollars spent on shark cartilage supplements?

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

An assessment of “websites on complementary and alternative medicine for cancer” found that “[m]any endorse unproven therapies and some that are outright dangerous,” potentially exploit[ing] highly vulnerable patients and enrich[ing] irresponsible snake oil peddlers”—or for that matter, shark-cartilage peddlers, accounting for millions of dollars of sales every year. Why shark cartilage, of all things?

“…[I]nterest in shark cartilage as an anticancer agent arose because many people believed that sharks did not get cancer.” Why would they think such a thing? Because some shark-cartilage supplement hawker wrote a book called Sharks Don’t Get Cancer. But that’s simply not true. “Sharks do get cancer.” “…[B]oth benign and cancerous…lesions have been reported in 21 species of sharks from [more than] 9 families.” For example, this oral tumor spilling out of the mouth of this great white.

Now, some “shark cartilage distributors insist [instead] that sharks [just] rarely get cancer,” [but] actual cancer rates in sharks have [never] been determined.” “[T]here [has simply] been no systematic tumor surveys of sharks” for them to make such a claim. But look, “even if sharks [were] less susceptible to cancer,” how can one logically jump from that to cancer patients benefiting from eating powdered cartilage from a shark?

“We know, for example, that there are [certain] proteins that allow [some bacteria to survive] in boiling hot [springs].” Uh, does that mean if we eat those bacteria we can survive boiling water, too? It doesn’t make any sense. “The illogic behind the pursuit of shark cartilage therapies has implications beyond the reduction of shark populations and the misdirection of patients to ineffective cancer therapies.” The stuff may be harmful, and I’m not just talking about the rare case of “shark cartilage-induced liver [inflammation].” Shark products can contain the neurotoxin BMAA, which I’ve talked about before. It’s been detected at elevated levels in the brains of Alzheimer’s disease and ALS patients, and may “play…a role in [the development of] neurodegenerative diseases.”

So, the “consumption of shark-fin soup may pose a significant health risk.” But what about shark-cartilage supplements? They tested 16 commercial shark-cartilage supplements, right off the shelves, and found BMAA “in fifteen out of sixteen.” But look, even if shark-cartilage supplements carry “pro-inflammatory properties, which could pose a potential health risk for consumers,” we’re talking about cancer. There are chemotherapy agents that are life-threateningly dangerous, but sometimes the benefits can outweigh the risks, when confronted with cancer. So, the question then becomes: are there any benefits to shark cartilage?

I mean, it’s not a completely wacky idea. “[C]artilage [in general] is highly resistant to invasion by tumor cells.” So, maybe there’s some “cartilage-derived anti-invasion factor.” “Less interesting alternative explanations…are” that it’s just hard for the cancer to penetrate the cartilage, or perhaps because of the poor blood supply in cartilage, cancer doesn’t consider it particularly fertile ground. But maybe that lack of blood vessels in cartilage can be exploited. The reason that no blood vessels end up in cartilage is because cartilage cells produce angiogenesis inhibitors, blood vessel-creation inhibitors. So, maybe we can starve tumor growth by infusing these cartilage factors. What scientists do is implant tumors into the eyeballs of rabbits, so they can visualize how many blood vessels the tumor is able to draw to itself.

And, indeed: “Shark cartilage contains inhibitors of tumor angiogenesis.” “Such findings made the sales [of shark cartilage sky]rocket, [driving]…two shark species…to the brink of extinction.” But, cow cartilage does the same thing. Here, they used bovine cartilage. And so does human cartilage, for that matter. So, why sell shark cartilage? Well, it does sound so much more exotic, and sharks have like 10 times more cartilage per animal. One 20-foot shark could net like 50 pounds of cartilage.

Just because cartilage has blood vessel-inhibiting chemicals in it, though, doesn’t mean if cancer patients eat it, it will help them. It’s kind of like magical thinking: shark cartilage stops blood-vessel growth. “Thus, by consuming shark cartilage, humans will [somehow] be…protected.” I mean, the “shark cartilage protein molecules [would seem to be] too large to be absorbed by the gut.” It’s not like you’re injecting shark cartilage into your bloodstream through an IV.

But there was this rat study that did find that just feeding shark cartilage to the animals, you could cut down on blood vessel growth within their bodies. Okay, but does that translate out to stopping the growth and spread of cancer? Apparently not, as “none of the shark cartilage doses tested had any retarding effect on [cancer growth]” or spread in tumor-bearing mice. But just because it doesn’t work in rodents doesn’t mean it doesn’t work in humans. To find that out, you need to put it to the test, evaluating shark cartilage in human cancer patients, which we’ll cover, next.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Sandra Cohen-Rose via Flickr. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video.

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

An assessment of “websites on complementary and alternative medicine for cancer” found that “[m]any endorse unproven therapies and some that are outright dangerous,” potentially exploit[ing] highly vulnerable patients and enrich[ing] irresponsible snake oil peddlers”—or for that matter, shark-cartilage peddlers, accounting for millions of dollars of sales every year. Why shark cartilage, of all things?

“…[I]nterest in shark cartilage as an anticancer agent arose because many people believed that sharks did not get cancer.” Why would they think such a thing? Because some shark-cartilage supplement hawker wrote a book called Sharks Don’t Get Cancer. But that’s simply not true. “Sharks do get cancer.” “…[B]oth benign and cancerous…lesions have been reported in 21 species of sharks from [more than] 9 families.” For example, this oral tumor spilling out of the mouth of this great white.

Now, some “shark cartilage distributors insist [instead] that sharks [just] rarely get cancer,” [but] actual cancer rates in sharks have [never] been determined.” “[T]here [has simply] been no systematic tumor surveys of sharks” for them to make such a claim. But look, “even if sharks [were] less susceptible to cancer,” how can one logically jump from that to cancer patients benefiting from eating powdered cartilage from a shark?

“We know, for example, that there are [certain] proteins that allow [some bacteria to survive] in boiling hot [springs].” Uh, does that mean if we eat those bacteria we can survive boiling water, too? It doesn’t make any sense. “The illogic behind the pursuit of shark cartilage therapies has implications beyond the reduction of shark populations and the misdirection of patients to ineffective cancer therapies.” The stuff may be harmful, and I’m not just talking about the rare case of “shark cartilage-induced liver [inflammation].” Shark products can contain the neurotoxin BMAA, which I’ve talked about before. It’s been detected at elevated levels in the brains of Alzheimer’s disease and ALS patients, and may “play…a role in [the development of] neurodegenerative diseases.”

So, the “consumption of shark-fin soup may pose a significant health risk.” But what about shark-cartilage supplements? They tested 16 commercial shark-cartilage supplements, right off the shelves, and found BMAA “in fifteen out of sixteen.” But look, even if shark-cartilage supplements carry “pro-inflammatory properties, which could pose a potential health risk for consumers,” we’re talking about cancer. There are chemotherapy agents that are life-threateningly dangerous, but sometimes the benefits can outweigh the risks, when confronted with cancer. So, the question then becomes: are there any benefits to shark cartilage?

I mean, it’s not a completely wacky idea. “[C]artilage [in general] is highly resistant to invasion by tumor cells.” So, maybe there’s some “cartilage-derived anti-invasion factor.” “Less interesting alternative explanations…are” that it’s just hard for the cancer to penetrate the cartilage, or perhaps because of the poor blood supply in cartilage, cancer doesn’t consider it particularly fertile ground. But maybe that lack of blood vessels in cartilage can be exploited. The reason that no blood vessels end up in cartilage is because cartilage cells produce angiogenesis inhibitors, blood vessel-creation inhibitors. So, maybe we can starve tumor growth by infusing these cartilage factors. What scientists do is implant tumors into the eyeballs of rabbits, so they can visualize how many blood vessels the tumor is able to draw to itself.

And, indeed: “Shark cartilage contains inhibitors of tumor angiogenesis.” “Such findings made the sales [of shark cartilage sky]rocket, [driving]…two shark species…to the brink of extinction.” But, cow cartilage does the same thing. Here, they used bovine cartilage. And so does human cartilage, for that matter. So, why sell shark cartilage? Well, it does sound so much more exotic, and sharks have like 10 times more cartilage per animal. One 20-foot shark could net like 50 pounds of cartilage.

Just because cartilage has blood vessel-inhibiting chemicals in it, though, doesn’t mean if cancer patients eat it, it will help them. It’s kind of like magical thinking: shark cartilage stops blood-vessel growth. “Thus, by consuming shark cartilage, humans will [somehow] be…protected.” I mean, the “shark cartilage protein molecules [would seem to be] too large to be absorbed by the gut.” It’s not like you’re injecting shark cartilage into your bloodstream through an IV.

But there was this rat study that did find that just feeding shark cartilage to the animals, you could cut down on blood vessel growth within their bodies. Okay, but does that translate out to stopping the growth and spread of cancer? Apparently not, as “none of the shark cartilage doses tested had any retarding effect on [cancer growth]” or spread in tumor-bearing mice. But just because it doesn’t work in rodents doesn’t mean it doesn’t work in humans. To find that out, you need to put it to the test, evaluating shark cartilage in human cancer patients, which we’ll cover, next.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: Sandra Cohen-Rose via Flickr. Image has been modified.

Motion graphics by Avocado Video.

Doctor's Note

Yeah, but are there any benefits to outweigh the risks? Stay tuned for the thrilling conclusion in my next video, Shark Cartilage Supplements Put to the Test to Cure Cancer.

Intravenous Vitamin C is another popular alternative attempt at cancer treatment. See what the science says here: Vitamin C Supplements for Terminal Cancer Patients.

If the BMAA concept was unfamiliar to you, check out ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease): Fishing for Answers and Diet & Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

56 responses to “The Risks of Shark Cartilage Supplements

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  1. Good video. Mostly I have heard of shark cartilage in relation to joints. But as there are vegan sources of glcosamine and MSM I had assumed only a few would still take them, contamination concerns and risk of extinction of specie overruling and stated benefit. If there was any benefit.
    A vegan I will not take that thing unless I was starving to death and that was the only food.

    Cancer seems suspect. We will see in the next video I guess but my bet is on no benefit.
    Oceans are contaminated. And sharks are at the top of the food chain like humans on land. So where would one find the most amounts of contaminants..in sharks of course.
    If benefit is even shown for cancer would not the contaminants overrule a isolated effect found in a lab with a pure sample? IN the real there are no pure samples, or hardly any 15 of 16 being contaminated on sample.

    Needless to say how can a compassionate person consume a item for prevention when the specie is in so much distress and has a real chance of extinction?
    Knowing that it would have such a adverse affect upon my psyche I would likely suffer some damage of a physical sort just in the knowing.
    I suspect I am not singular in that.
    Are cancers remote from our psyche…study seems to suggest not. Those prone to cancer at earlier ages suggest those who are not happy are more prone.
    I could not be happy knowing I was consuming a thing of great environmental harm. Could most be happy knowing that?
    I would personally just not venture that question…why take it?

    Good video.

    .

    1. This study shows strong evidence on the negative progression of cancer in patients who already have it in a depressive mode with factors of human interest as cause. In this specific ovarian was the focus…
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3037818/

      The evidence for initiation of cancer based upon existence of depression or not, is admittedly weak.

      To support my contention personally at least taking things from sharks to live longer or move better would certainly make me more depressed.
      If I had cancer, it would by study progress in a worse fashion. The question for me would be…how many have cancer or cancer in a slowly progressing state such as most prostate cancer and do not know it?
      Why risk it? Would the benefit if proven overrule the depression caused by environmental destruction in a knowing fashion?

      For me they would not. Perhaps I am singular in that but maybe not.

    1. Jessica,

      Those were my thoughts!

      Poor bunnies!!

      And sharks!!

      Kudos to whoever got photos of sharks with Cancer.

      Makes me know I don’t want to be eating the fish from polluted oceans and I don’t want to take the supplements from them either!

  2. Ron,
    Thank you for pointing out the distinction between factors that initiate cancer and that spur the growth and spread of cancer cells.

    As a health journalist specializing in diet and cancer, I’ve been following for years the tribe of distinguished scientists who understand cancer as a metabolic disease. Cancer cells metabolize, or burn, fuel in a faulty manner–in a way that supports their eternal growth. More on that here.

    Many of those in the metabolic movement are now promoting ketogenic diets, among other strategies, for slowing cancer growth.

    So here’s my million dollar question for all of you readers: Let’s say you adopt an Intermittent Fasting strategy–a long overnight fast, for example. (I like to have “lupper,” then call it quits.) Can you then get into ketosis on a plant-based diet? With all the research on the anti-cancer qualities of phytonutrients and fiber, I’m sure hoping you can.

      1. I have no qualification but your question seems to be being lost in the shuffle.
        Once I respond typically someone will then respond to correct my statement But in any event I suggest my reply will incite additional replies.

        So to question……leafy greens spinach kale, then broccoli anything in that family, beans most kinds, particularly for iron. Sweet potatoes skin and all are pretty good additions to diet for many vitamins. Berries by my read blackberries are most nutritional if I was to pick one. Goji berries are actually surprisingly high in iron, one serving 15%. Vit C strawberries citrus or if looking for unusual items indian gooseberries or amla.
        Dr Greger has a video on which are the most healthful veggies. Might care to search for that on his site search.

      2. As the saying goes, “Google is your friend.” In your search area, just put in “foods with highest concentrations….etc.”

      3. Hi, waynewojnarowski. Sure! Thanks for asking!
        Hemp seeds, most dried herbs, pumpkin seeds, cocoa, flaxseeds, Brazil nuts, ground mustard seed, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, cashews, almonds, pine nuts, amaranth, and buckwheat are high in magnesium.
        Most dried herbs and spices are also high in iron, as are soybeans, sesame seeds, morel mushrooms, ancho peppers, kidney beans, and enriched grain products.
        Tofu prepared with calcium sulfate is rich in calcium, as are sesame seeds, daikon radishes, grape leaves, almonds, many dried herbs and spices, flaxseeds, kale, collards, amaranth leaves, kidney beans, rhubarb, goji berries, turnip greens, dandelion greens, French beans, garlic, and dried figs. Folate-rich foods include mung beans, adzuki/azuki beans, cranberry beans, chickpeas, pinto beans, great northern beans, lentils, and most other legumes, arrowroot, daikon radish, enriched grain products, peanuts, sunflower seeds, wakame seaweed, turnip greens, asparagus, quinoa, shiitake mushrooms, parsley, okra, spinach, endive, mustard greens, and romaine lettuce.
        Zinc-rich foods include sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, shiitake mushrooms, peanuts, pine nuts, wild rice, cashews, and sunflower seeds.
        By the way, Google is not necessarily your friend when it comes to reliable health and nutrition information. There is a lot of nonsense out there! You can look up the nutrient content of foods here.
        I hope that helps!

        1. CK regarding this…”Google is not necessarily your friend when it comes to reliable health and nutrition information

          I think you may be confusing googleing a thing with googleing a thing on You tube.Most all peoples start a study of a thing currently with a google search to find out what is out there. Of course one must qualify result for every quary. One gets probably 100,000 responses on your typical google search.

          You tube if you do a search there the software they use to qualify a search is tied into corporate interest. So you get erroneous results.
          Google has that in a minor degree any search engine really has that but it presents in minor fashion. With all the results on even the first page one finds relevant information.

          Of course you must qualify information. Going to a dictionary I must qualify information by deciding which of the multiple definitions of a word applies to the context I am wondering about.

          It is a useful tool and virtually everyone who starts to do a bit of research starts there and then goes on.
          Quary Dr Greger on google….and you get this site. Also about a hundred others but usually it is the first.

          1. Ron.

            I thinkk that what Christine is saying is that, even if you find a webpage on the precise topic you wish to research, many – probably most – “health” sites on the internet (inckuding YouTube) present factually incorrect information, speculation dressed up as fact or misleading interpretations of the facts. A key problem is that they often omit key information which inconveniently refutes the claims they make.

            1. Well TG..“”Google is not necessarily your friend when it comes to reliable health and nutrition information”

              I just googled nutrition facts and guess what came up…this site….so what a surprise…………. google was my friend in finding reliable health and nutrition information.

              Sure you have to qualify any search, this is not 1996, every 6 year old I know is wise to that. To state it now is like telling people they need to open the pages of a book to read the content of a book…..a known. 24 years or so most all of us now get it.

              I know what she is saying..I am saying it is totally unnecessary and distracting.
              Nice person a volunteer and all, but that does not have to be stated over and over again when anyone mentions googleing a thing.

              1. Funny thing..just listened to Dr Gregers latest question and answer video….what does he mention at around about 1039 in….googleing a specific he is talking about to find a thing about it.
                Caught my eye that did.:)

    1. Harriet, there is a vegan keto site.

      Vegan Keto would be more powerful than Animal product Keto, because you would be getting rid of the Growth Hormone, Methionine, Choline and Carnitine from animal products AND sugar.

      I remember hearing more than one Cancer doctor say that Keto didn’t work well in their patients. One doctor quit being a Cancer doctor, because of how many people who died. Bill Henderson talked about people choosing Keto and dying, too. I watched a scientist talking about how hard it is to starve Cancer and it made me think that phytonutrients and fiber and getting rid of risk factors was the way to go, but I could see that Vegan Keto might be starving it in more than one way.

      1. If you look at the people who get healed from Cancer through diet on-line, I couldn’t find even one person who did it with Keto.

        I found lots of people who did it with WFPB emphasizing superfoods and Gerson.

        1. That research was a while back, and they are doing research on it now.

          It just was not even a close contest.

          It was doctors saying Keto didn’t work well.

          Bill Henderson saying Keto didn’t work well.

          And all of the testimonies were radically change their diet to closer to WFPB and take in as many superfoods as possible.

          They also used herbs and things like that.

          There is a woman who researched spontaneous remissions of Cancer patients to find out how they happened:

          https://www.amazon.com/Radical-Remission-Surviving-Cancer-Against/dp/0062268759

    2. To follow up with what Deb has stated, yes it appears vegan keto diets are a bit popular.
      Here is one site….https://www.ketogenicsupplementreviews.com/ketosis-diet/vegan/

      They do suggest modifications restrictions from normally eaten vegan foods like yams and such that have large carb content. This is one site there are many. This appears to be selling supplements.
      Best of both worlds perhaps….I am not qualified to state. I personally lean towards high protein due to activity level and think the vegan tilt against high protein is now being thrown out by those who are vegan and in the fitness industry or athletic pros.
      But really your average vegan by my count still goes with the old formulas for determinations of protein requirements.
      No offense to DrGreger but he appears the result of that thinking on protein. He will probably live to `120 but who wants to look and perform for 120 years like that…I certainly do not.

      As to cancer and keto…I don’t think there is a substantial body of evidence to support it. However with cancer it may be a question of why not try, if nothing seems to work. There is some evidence to support fasting and immune system response. And keto perhaps it would fit in with that.
      But as to actual proven study published in medical journals of note on human, a substantial number of patients with control, not animals with good controls …I have not seen it. I have not seen it all so I will admit it may be out there.
      I have fasted for extended periods of time, maxing out at five days in various meditational pursuits and have personally noticed vast changes at times. My performance seems to be enhanced when after a couple of days I return to a normal diet…so perhaps they were healthy changes. But that was only personal and experience of one. And compared to most vegan I eat high protein.The high protein adversary crowd to my opinion base their bias on studies which invariably include milk or meat protein as source in study, which is not vegan high protein. Though I would restrict soy protein if I was worried about cancer. There are multiple sources of vegan protein in diet and in supplement form, pea is the most common. Pea soup can be almost the same as a protein shake.

      There is a body of good evidence to support Keto as a aid to another malady however. Cancer I just don’t know of any.
      Interminant fasting caloric restriction seems to enhance longevity by some study to my dim recollection. I have not explored it as the peoples I see doing that are single minded on living long to my view….I enjoy foods and doing things of the physical to much for that for me. Long living…not so important.

    3. Harriet

      I am not really sure that you would want to adopt a ketogenic diet if you had cancer (and you certainly shouldn’t want to if you are reasonably healthy).. For example, David Gorski’s dissection of the “metabolic” cancer claims is useful and enlightening.
      https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/ketogenic-diets-for-cancer-hype-versus-science/

      But yes of course you can eat a plant based ketogenic diet if you really want to. Just Google “vegan ketogenic diet” for examples, recipes, food plans etc..

      We should also remember Jenkins well-known eco-Atkins diet trial. This wasn’r specifically a keto diet but was presented as a plant-based low carb diet. However, it delivered 130g of carbs per day – it would have to be “tweaked” to get down to < 50g per day but in principle it demonstrated benefits on short term biomarkers from low carb diets. Of course, the Twinkie Diet also demonstrated benefits on short term biomarkers and I can therefore be excused for noting that changes in short term biomarkers are not necessarily proof of long term benefits.
      https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/415074

      However, low carb diets in general are associated with higher mortality and even medically supervised ketogenic diets have been associated with high rates of serious side effects eg this study of children with intractable epilepsy treated with keto dets (KD)

      "RESULTS: The most common early-onset complication was dehydration, especially in patients who started the KD with initial fasting. Gastrointestinal disturbances, such as nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation, also were frequently noted, sometimes associated with gastritis and fat intolerance. Other early-onset complications, in order of frequency, were hypertriglyceridemia, transient hyperuricemia, hypercholesterolemia, various infectious diseases, symptomatic hypoglycemia, hypoproteinemia, hypomagnesemia, repetitive hyponatremia, low concentrations of high-density lipoprotein, lipoid pneumonia due to aspiration, hepatitis, acute pancreatitis, and persistent metabolic acidosis. Late-onset complications also included osteopenia, renal stones, cardiomyopathy, secondary hypocarnitinemia, and iron-deficiency anemia. Most early- and late-onset complications were transient and successfully managed by careful follow-up and conservative strategies. However, 22 (17.1%) patients ceased the KD because of various kinds of serious complications, and 4 (3.1%) patients died during the KD, two of sepsis, one of cardiomyopathy, and one of lipoid pneumonia."
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1198735/

    4. Yes you can get into ketosis on a plant-based diet. Plants have fewer calories than meat or fat. Many of the doctors who are into these topics mention that with a plant-based diet, you can achieve this. Valter Longo of the Fasting mimicking diet suggests using a plant based diet with specific fish only twice a week. Even hard core ketogenics are now talking about cycling in and out and even having a carb day. They often don’t consider most vegetables carbs, even though they are. Generally, the plant based doctors like this don’t emphasize the ketones themselves as much as the benefit of calorie restriction, partly to aid better digestion, and partly to get more fiber and nutrients.
      JOhn S

  3. Shaking my head. Like there’s all these societies that routinely eat shark cartilage for dinner. I mean, really, folks: it’s NOT FOOD!

    1. Every time I see bone broth in a supermarket I think….you have got to be kidding me. Just sounds unhealthy.
      Family members come from a culture that cuts the neck of a sheep in slaughter collects the blood and immediately heats it up and eats it…..I did that myself back in the day before becoming vegan, seemed to prove adulthood or some other thing….but you just had to know….seems unhealthy.

      1. Yes, but it is context isn’t it?

        If you are a member of a society/community that faces the problem of getting enough calories to keep body and soul together, then all these things are probably “healthy”. When I was growing up pigs trotters, ox hearts, tripe and sheep brains were on the menu once a week. The idea is revolting now but if these things delivered calories, zinc etc then perhaps they were beneficail overall. Even shark cartilege provides some calories I suppose

  4. Now that I eat better, I don’t have any need for any thing provided by the supplement industry save B12 and I hope I’m actually getting that in the package of powder than I bought–a mega lifetime supply.

    Their reputation for providing unreliable products is well-known to us (of course). I’d never trust them to provide any part of a fish or any plant or substance-reliably given their history and lack of legal requirements. I don’t need a part two. I simply do not believe that Dr. G is going to put any part of a fish into his daily dozen. Do you?

    1. Did a look see on fish wild and farmed a bit ago. They all have contaminants. The EPA states that in their literature. The question only is are the amounts they contain dangerous to us or not. At very low levels they may not be. But really..if we have a choice, who wants any? Farmed is the worst but even wild caught fish has them.

      Fish oil per example it is now tested as about a decade ago few were found to not contain dangerous amounts. But it is the same really not in recognized dangerous amounts but they all contain some contaminants.
      Plants do as well but at typically lower levels unless one is getting them from suspect sources.
      Buying veggies per example from a place that still allows lead in gasoline is probably a bad idea, as perhaps due to excessive herbicide use are GMO products. GMO’s are safe…what they allow may not be, roundup now a known cancer causing agent.

  5. My father had a cancer and, at some point, he ate shark cartilage because he was told (from his doctor) that it could help him to defeat cancer.
    Guess what…

    ….he died anyway.

    I wish I would have known this before. He would had save his money and spend it elsewhere instead of wasting it on some snake-oil product.
    How some crooks messes with other people’s health fro profit is beyond my comprehension.

    We are lucky to have Dr. Greger and its team nowadays.

    Yann

  6. My former next door neighbor had a cancer scare about 20 years ago. He bought a large bottle of shark cartilage pills. He never finished the bottle complaining that it caused him to put on unwanted weight!

  7. Chondroitin is also used in supplements for arthritis, often along with MSM and Glucosamine. From your video, I take it that this mix may also be dangerous.

    1. Chondroitin to my understanding can be derived from a variety of animal sources to include cow and pig as well as shark.
      I would suggest checking on the manufacturers site to determine source origin.
      Glucosomine and MSM can be derived from non animal source.

  8. This supposed expose of the issue is far from the facts that I remember. Let me see if I can recall them: I doctor/researcher working for Big Pharma discovered that cartilage suppressed the growth of blood vessels in tumours. The process is called anti angiogenesis. He was ordered to stop the research but continued it at home and eventually published his findings. The Times Magazine headlined his research and front paged their mag with the statement “Cancer cure shortly -or some such. DR Lane got on the bandwagon and wrote the book about sharks not getting cancer, stealing his work. I was of the opinion that this science was solid. Which begs the question: Does the need to push the vegan agenda influence the info released on this site? If the current information is anything to go on…. I believe it might be. I wonder how these so-called facts would have been treated if the same research showed beetroot suppressed a tumour’s ability to grow its own blood supply? Research when applied parochially can be as confusing and misleading as statistics that do likewise.

    1. Well Kahl if you can produce evidence that these delightful conspiracy claims are actually true, then we will all be in your debt.

      However, this story just sounds like marketing hype and the usual unsubstantiated “alternative health” claims made by people selling stuff and those who believe them. Your “facts” read more like the hun dreds of other bizarre “suppressed cancer cure” claims that infest the internet and YouTube.

      These videos provide credible scientific sources for the statements they contain. You need to do the same if you want your preferred story to be taken seriously.

      1. Quite the contrary, It was feasible enough for the Time editors. I read the article, I read the book, and I was working for the leading vitamin company in Australia at the time as a consultant. You should check the validity as I can assure you the claims are true. And if true… then this site has a credibility problem. I was disgusted with Doctor Lane’s book. The original researcher got gazumped.
        I’m sorry I can’t remember his name. It was in the Time article. If I remember correctly the title was Cancer cure within 25 years.

        Virus-free.
        http://www.avg.com

        1. Kahl

          You still haven’t provided any references/citations to support your statements.

          The video provides the references for the statements it makes – sources that are reputable, credible scientific citations. Your statements vaguely refer to some book and an article you read in Time magazine years ago. You may assure us that these claims are true but it just sounds like the usual conspiracy theory health claims for whatever snake oil it is that people are pushing this year. Frankly, I think it’s odd that you claim Dr Greger’s reference to the actual scientific evidence on this topic indicates vegan bias while presumably your own beliefs (based on vaguely remebered popular magazine articles and books) are objective hard-nosed science. Can’t you see why I find It difficult to accept your story over the one in this video?

          Sure these sorts of claims make exciting reading and sell lots of books and popular magazines. When they are not substantiated by credible scientific studies though, they are almost always BS. Hence my scepticism here.

        2. kahl read:
          Dr. Greger shared actual science, including those anti-angiogenesis properties that you mentioned, and also that study that however found that “none of the shark cartilage doses tested had any retarding effect on [cancer growth]” or spread in tumor-bearing mice. In the next video, you may see the only study that has ever put it to the test on humans, where shark cartilage also failed.

          *Spoiler alert*
          “CONCLUSION: This trial was unable to demonstrate any suggestion of efficacy for this shark cartilage product in patients with advanced cancer.”

          I think what TG was trying to tell you is that saying “I can assure you the claims are true” is not exactly providing scientific evidence. So if you have any reliable evidence that contradicts what’s being said in this video, by all means, we would all love to see it.

          As to your wondering “how these so-called facts would have been treated if the same research showed beetroot suppressed a tumour’s ability to grow its own blood supply?”: Well, that’s precisely the point. Research shows shark cartilage does NOT work against cancer tumours.

          Take a look at this video for example:

          Are you going to say that Dr. Greger has an anti-pomegranate agenda because he shared the science that showed pomegranate doesn’t appear to work against prostate cancer? Just wondering.

          1. To add to the excellent comments by TG and Ishay….a article in Time lends some credence to a thing. But really they are not without bias and it sometimes may be hard to find where it lies. Time is after all a corporate interest. So we may start there but have to qualify to decide and discriminate for bias or inaccurate reporting.

    1. I am just another biogger here with no qualification but..
      The study says this…
      Researchers examined blood samples from nearly 250,000 people in Copenhagen and found that those with middle levels of the vitamin, around 50 nanomoles per liter (nmol/l) of blood, had the lowest risk of dying over a three-year period. Compared with this group, people with very low levels of vitamin D, about 10 nmol/l, had the highest mortality rate— they were 2.31 times as likely to die over course of the study.
      But people with higher-than-normal levels of vitamin D, about 140 nmol/l, were 1.42 times more likely to die over the study, compared with the lowest-risk group.

      The blood sample results were from people who had visited docs for a myriad of complaints.

      So it is a study of people with health complaints not necessarily reflective of the general population. In any even those with low level fared worse.
      One who is assessing the study for potential compromise to result may pose that the people seeing docs with problems that did lead to terminal outcomes may have been supplementing prior to the visit in anticipation of the problems. And/or as the study suggests vit D levels in that place are connected usually to dairy and other consumption, which is where those are receiving it in diet. It could be a read on excessive use of dairy as well.

      But in any event it is a good thing by my take to have vit D levels checked by blood test when visiting a doc if supplementing.
      Vit D is added to milk here in the states. It seemingly is there as well. If one is consuming dairy they may not have need for supplementation.
      One can overdo even a good thing. Adding vit D supplement when one is already consuming dairy with Vit D added to it, by my read could spell overconsumption.

      Someone else may give a more authoritative opinion.

      1. Keep in mind with a recommendation of dose of Vit D there are many confounding elements. First recommended doseage is dependent upon caloric intake. Most recommendations go on a 2000 calorie base but one may be eating more or less than that.
        And we self produce vit D from the sun. If one spends a lot of time as perhaps a construction worker shirtless out in the sun all day needs are lower than a office worker. Time of year is a variable on that as well as geography, we need more in higher latitudes and more in cloudy places even if exposed to sun. More in winter than summer.
        And one consuming dairy milk may already have supplementation in that. And vit D may be found a bit in other source. Some supplements such as calcium add that to them customarily.

        So a concrete recommended amount may be difficult to arrive at.

  9. This is an observational study so it is just an assocaition. It doesn’t necessarily indicate causation. We should also consider the possibility of reverse causation ie certain conditions and drugs may cause vitamin d levels to rise to high levels. Some common prescription medications for eg high blood pressure and heart disease can cause elevated vitamin D levels. So can oestrogen therapy and antacid use.

    The healthline website also claims that
    “You are more likely to develop hypervitaminosis D if you take vitamin D supplements and have other existing health problems, such as:

    kidney disease
    liver disease
    tuberculosis
    hyperparathyroidism
    sarcoidosis
    histoplasmosis”
    https://www.healthline.com/health/hypervitaminosis-d#causes

  10. It was very impressive for me to read your book ‘How Not to Die’. I am having healthy vegetables and fruits diets as it said. I am sick now. The name of the diease is ‘thrombo cytopenia’. Bone marrow is normal but thrombocyte is being decreased due to an auto-immune reaction. The said book did not mention the disease above. Could you recommend any helpful diet and food for the diease. Thanks for your valuable book and the effort. With my deepest thank.

  11. You should really be guided by your personal physician here.

    However, if you are eating a 100% plant diet, you should also ensure that you take a B12 supplement or eat B12-fortified foods, and ensure that your diet cintains adequate folate. According to WebMD, a B12 deficiency (or folate deficiency) may lead to Thrombocytopenia.
    https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/thrombocytopenia-symptoms-causes-treatments#1

    Foods high in vitamin K may help (green leafy vegetables like kale, and also foods like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts)

  12. Can you please do an analysis (video, blog) on salt and sports? Several internet sources say that those who exercise should consume more sodium because of the salts that are lost during perspiration. The reason I’m asking this is because I love to train (usually, I have 7 workouts per week, plus I walk on average 7 hours a week) and, since we’re told that salt is bad, I often skip it (we cook everything ourselves and rarely go out, so there’s nothing that has added salt, we don’t even eat bread usually). The problem is that, periodically, my libido simply disappears for a couple of days. When this happens, my blood pressure is usually low (sometimes dipping to 90/60), I am more cold than usual and, in rare cases, I get somewhat dizzy. As soon as I add salt to my diet, all these issues disappear. There has to be more about salt than the fact that too much is not healthy. It could be, for instance, like iron or iodine: too much is bad, too little is bad as well. But we must “put it to the test” and see what science has to say about it. I am really interested in the subject. By the way, I apologise this is not pertinent with the subject of the video.

    1. Just another blogger here expressing opinion.
      But back in the day I was involved with other fit young peoples in a extensive physical training thing for four months or so. It started in spring but ended in summer.
      I was at that time pretty strictly against the use of salt. But cramping would occur and another person who knew seemingly not a thing about nutrition knew that hydration was the solution but one had to take salt as well, or the remedy would not work.

      I remember admitting to him…yes you are right.
      Certain environments are not typical for peoples to engage in and science does usually reflect typical environments.
      So blanket assumptions don’t always work. Salt is essential part of diet and extensive sweat does tend to need some salt for replacement. Carbohydrates help as well to increase the availability of nutrients and hydration to muscle cells.

      Thinking of Ghandi’s salt march, in historical times salt was a very necessary item much sought after at times. That was not a arbitrary thing, it is needed.

      1. To qualify…the training I mention was typically 8 hours per day out in the open under the hot sun. Occasionally a night as well but that was rare. Academic instruction was a part but most of that was accomplished in spring.

        I remember myself once conducting a training exercise later on, in 106 degree temperature. I took a jog of about three miles during lunch to make a statement to whiners and crybabies ;)
        But it was do or die. If you did not do, you were cut, out of a job.
        No salt and you would simply devolve and be unable to continue. You simply had to find a way to function.
        Of course most get plenty of salt in diet. But most is not all.
        Who studies that environment in this context..nutrition?, few.
        Vegan I am as well. I have differing nutritional needs than meat eaters on a standard American diet. Not that veganism is dietary insufficiency…but that you have to watch out for different things.
        Your regime sounds pretty stoic to me. I would not discount that possibility.

        Congratulations on maintaining that discipline.

    2. Hi Sebastian – I’m Janelle, a Registered Dietitian and a Health Support Volunteer for NutritionFacts.org. Thanks for your question and I’ll be sure to pass your request along to Dr. Greger!

    3. Hi I’m a RN health support volunteer with NF. Thanks for your great questions.
      We absolutely needs some salt intake. There is no question about that. You just have the opposite problem than people eating to sodium loaded standard western diet. Most people are eating much too much salt so most of the emphasis is on reducing salt intake.
      https://nutritionfacts.org/video/sodium-skeptics-try-to-shake-up-the-salt-debate/

      The National Heart Lung and Blood Association recommend a minimum of 500 mg sodium but no more than 2300mg per day. If you have symptomatic low blood pressure and feel better with a little added salt, I would add a small amount. It probably does not take much. Just stay between the recommended 500mg and 2400mg. Low blood pressure can be very problematic and cause fainting. So you do want to get your blood pressure up to where you don’t have symptoms. We don’t need to chase a number. If you feel fine at 90/60, your perfusion is adequate. But if you are having symptoms at 90/60, then we want to bring it up to where you feel well. Recommendations for increasing blood pressure are to increase your water intake, add a small amount of salt to your diet, and wear compression stockings.

      I’m a marathon runner and long distance triathlete myself so I also have some personal experience here. The research is controversial on athletes and salt intake. I think part of it is, everyone is different so the recommendations will vary. My husband is also an athlete and despite our healthy lifestyle, has high blood pressure likely due to strong family history. So we certainly don’t add salt to his diet. You however, seem to run a lower blood pressure.
      This is per RunnersWorld:
      https://www.runnersworld.com/nutrition/how-much-salt-do-runners-really-need

      How do you feel during your workouts? Low sodium signs and symptoms may include muscle cramps, nausea and vomiting, headaches, confusion, fatigue and in extreme cases, seizures and coma. If you are feeing fine during your workouts, you are most likely maintaining a normal blood sodium level and adequate blood pressure. In general from what I’ve read, working out for up to around 60-90 minutes, plain water is usually sufficient for hydration. Working out for more than 90 minutes, typically an electrolyte source like a sports drink is recommended. I make my own because gatorade is so full of processed chemicals. But if you look at the sodium levels of gatorade, it isn’t massive. It usually only takes a relatively small amount to keep your sodium levels normal. A lot of times the issue is not so much low sodium intake, but drinking so much water that you essentially get diluted. If you run a low baseline blood pressure, you may need a little salt to get through long workouts. Again, base on how you feel. Everyone is different.

      Hope that helps.
      NurseKelly

  13. I am not trying be rude, but I feel a video such as this may only address an issue that has no influence on 99% of the community that watches these videos. Sure, it is interesting, but I highly doubt anyone eating WFPB has considered taking shark cartilage… I mean I honestly had never even heard of it. The only reason I knew bone broth was a fad was because I saw a ton of it in the grocery stores.

    Sad to say, but there will always be idiots for “snake oil salesmen” to take advantage of. Humans may be the most cognizant beings on the planet, but that sure doesn’t mean they are all intelligent by any means.

    1. Blaice…it was common in health food stores but really by my read as a joint supplement. Chondroitin a common supplement used for joints is often comprised of shark cartilidge though it may also be made from bovine or pig source.
      I had heard of the cancer connection but I think it was only from one source and thus not so widely known.
      Chondroitin is pretty popular as far as that goes being right up there with glucosamine and MSM.

      Some on a WFPB diet could take it for joint specific issues but of course it is not vegan. And there is the harm to the specie.
      Cancer you may as well be spitting in the wind by my opinion, but I guess Dr Greger will put that to the test. I don’t think conclusive study supports it.

  14. I would be interested in knowing which meats are highest in acrodonic acid and IGF-1. I would also like to know, for example if fresh tuna has more than canned tuna, or does older tuna cans have more or less of these tow harmful chemicals. I would also like to know in crockpotting say meat for a long period of time, slow cooking on low heat has more or less of these two chemicals. What about high heat pressure cooking and canning home food storage, say meat mixed with veggies, since it was pressure cooked has more or less of these chemicals. What about jerky? What about dehydrated meat, In many fast food places their chicken is like 20% real chicken and the rest soy and other foods used to stretch it out. How does it do with these two chemicals, what about Hot dogs. I guess I am asking how much does the meat change with heat in measuring these two chemicals (acrodonic acid and IGF-1. What about dehydrated milk, are these two chemical still present.

    It is this type of thinking that I am interested in. Every once and again, I come across food in these various forms and I would really like to know. I eat very little meat because I am a follower of your movement, but every once in a while I wonder about these things. Do you know of any studies that follow these things?

    Thank you,

    Dan Johnson

      1. To a dim recollection soy in very large amounts will also raise IGF-1 levels. I think it is singular in the plant kingdom for that. But apparently as evidenced in that video normal amounts presumedly the vegans ate soy,(what vegan does not)…it did not reflect in any manner In these tests.

    1. Hi, Dan Johnson. Wow! A lot of big questions there! The answers are not simple, either, because a lot of factors are involved in determining them. First of all, assuming that you are referring to arachidonic acid and IGF-1, there is not only the quantity included in foods to consider, but also their capacity to stimulate production of them in our own bodies. We don’t just get these things from food. We also produce them, and our diet can influence how much we produce. I don’t think there is a reliable source providing all of this information in an easily accessible form. It would take longer than my volunteer shift here at NF to find it all. Meanwhile, you might find this article interesting. I hope that helps!

  15. Isn’t it nice that we live in a world where innocent animals are tortured so that we can study the possibilities of exploiting OTHER innocent animals….

    “And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.”

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