Shark Liver Oil: Miracle Medicine or Myth?
For centuries, Scandinavian folk medicine has used Shark Liver Oil (SLO) to treat various ailments, including cancer, heart disease, wounds, and infertility. But does it work, or could it cause more harm than good?
According to WebMD, shark liver oil is an ingredient used in medicine to boost the body’s immune system, fight colds and flu, prevent radiation sickness, and treat leukemia and other cancers. Although the Mayo clinic deems shark oil supplements generally safe, the fishline is still out on their validity to fight major diseases.
The American Cancer Society has reported shark oil can stimulate immune cells to infiltrate germs inhibiting a regulator of cell growth called protein kinase C. A small lab study showed squalene in the oil protects bone marrow cells from chemotherapy toxicity. Interestingly squalene is also found in olive oil.
Shark liver oil can adversely affect the human’s intestines and stomach and could raise cholesterol levels. When inhaled, the oil’s toxicity can even cause pneumonia. Without federal regulation of supplements, experimenting with SLO could prove dangerous.
Where does the oil come from? Besides the obvious answer sharks, the oil is stored in their large livers used for buoyancy because they do not have swim bladders. Deepwater sharks like the basking and gulper sharks appear to hold more oil, but targeting these sharks is endangering their existence.
Unfortunately, there are no regulations on producing SLO supplements. Vitamin companies can go rogue, chasing after medical cures while depleting the shark population that may hold the key to medical miracles. Hopefully, big pharma companies will get on board and conduct extensive research before we lose our opportunity to reel in the fish line of answers.