Friday, June 22, 2012

The Medicinal Myths of Sharks

It is one of the greatest medical myths of our time. The myth that sharks do not get cancer. For many years people believed that sharks for some strange reason were immune to getting cancer. Scientists would find years later that shark do indeed get cancer just as humans do, but the cases of sharks having cancer are few and far between. Still though, these sharks effectively debunked the belief that sharks were unable to get this disease. Scientists believed that something involving the shark's cartilage was responsible for preventing cancer, thus a tidal wave of misinformation began to build. It wouldn't take long before people began to sell shark cartilage in pill form as both a cure and a preventative of cancer. It wouldn't take long for people to realize that taking these pills did nothing to prevent or outright cure cancer. Still though, scientists and people around the world remained baffled at just how few sharks had been popping up with the disease. The shark's cartridge remained the target of much study. 

Finally scientists came to a conclusion. When taken orally (in pill form), shark cartilage does nothing to prevent the spreading of cancer nor does it prevent the disease from forming in the first place. The only thing scientists were able to uncover was that when injected directly into a cancerous tumor, shark cartilage would cause the tumor to shrink. It would not kill the tumor, but it would shrink it. Aside from that finding, shark cartilage appears to have no direct effect on cancer.

Despite the myth being debunked, many people still believe that sharks do not get cancer and that these animals hold the key to curing the disease and continue to ingest shark cartilage pills to prevent cancer.

You can find these pills at many pharmacies. However, nobody seems to truly know exactly what their purpose is. I asked a few people who work at a few different GNC stores and got several different stories. One teller assured me that the pills were to prevent cancer. Another told me that the pills are designed to improve the human circulatory system. Yet another told me that it was to help prevent Arthritis and Carpel Tunnel. None of these people were able to tell me what the true function of shark cartilage pills are. In fact, nobody truly knows. If you go to your local GNC store and look at a bottle of these pills, you will notice something is missing. The uses... In China it is believed that taking these pills lead to a better respitory system, better vision, and a better sex life. Of course there are no scientific backings to any of these claims, but there is scientific backing to this. Much like other predatory fish, sharks are dangerous for humans to eat due to the high levels of Mercury that exists in their bodies. In fact, the F.D.A. warns that women and children avoid eating shark at all costs while it is also strongly recommended that men not eat shark as well. This includes consuming shark cartilage pills. 

Many sharks continue to be killed just to be ground up into these pills that literally do nothing for the human body other than add deadly mercury into the body. These pills are another unsustainable shark product that is doing nothing to help mankind and everything to destroy sharks. Helping with this problem is so easy. Write to your local GNC or other nutrition center that sells these pills, and ask them to please remove the product from their shelves. You can alert others that the pills really do nothing for them. You can send letters and emails to the corporate headquarters of these stores as well. The biggest weapon though is word of mouth. The more people know about these myths, the less demand there will be for these products. If the demand drops enough, it's very possible these companies will pull these products from their shelves!  

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