Boycott Vitacost for Selling Shark Cartilage

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 Sharks require about 4-5 years to reach the age of maturity for reproduction, as many of us know, Shark populations are on a sharp decline...please read ahead for why we need to boycott this company until they stop selling this product!!

Shark cartilage is promoted as a remedy for arthritis, inflammation and joint support from the “sharks head and fins” There are no reputable scientific studies demonstrating that shark cartilage supplements have any effect on immune function.

Shark cartilage, the logic that started the fad: The use of shark cartilage (in the form of chondroitin sulfate) as a therapy for osteoarthritis started because cartilage has been found to suppress new blood vessel development. There is no difference between shark cartilage and that from say a cow aside from the fact that sharks are full of cartilage and have more than a cow.

The effectiveness of shark cartilage has been called into question. In a study conducted in the New England Journal of Medicine on the effect of gulcosamine and chondroitin sulfate on patients with osteoarthritis in the knee found that "glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate alone or in combination did not reduce pain effectively in the overall group of patients" (Clegg et al. 2006).

In a study of the influence of information found on the world wide web on arthritis patients found that despite its prevalence online, shark cartilage "has (NOT) been proven to be beneficial for the treatment of arthritis. Most of these therapies may be innocuous in their biological actions, but there are some concerns about the overall safety, in relation both to the expected contents of the product and to undeclared substances" (Suarez-Almazor et al 2001).

The European Food Safety Authority Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to shark cartilage states "a cause and effect relationship has not been establishes between the consumption of shark cartilage and the maintenance of normal joints" (EFSA 2009, The composition, potency, and purity are not checked by any outside authority.

Supplements do not need to be proven as safe or effective to be sold in the United States.
The National Institute of Health found virtually no information on the potential toxicity of chondroitin sulfate, no information on the manufacturing process, and no standard of guidelines (

There have been cases of contamination of shark cartilage products. Researchers selected sources of chondroitin sulfate and determined that shark cartilage contained "too many other contaminants were excluded from consideration" (Barnhill et al. 2006).The FDA has recalled shark cartilage pills because of Salmonella contamination ( and and - Salmonella detected in shark cartilage capsules from the United States (August 200).

There is a reference to the Korean FDA declaring high levels of Mercury and Cadmium in shark cartilage pills but cannot find the primary reference for that statement, however, 70 uncooked fins (i.e. cartilage) from a Hong Kong market, ¼ contained mercury concentrations well above the World Health Organization’s guidelines, enough to be identified as a significant threat to children and babies (Timms et al. 2009).

If you feel that chondroitin sulfate is something that will definitely help your condition, there are other sources from which it is derived. A 2007 study found that shark cartilage produces the LOWEST amount of chondroitin sulfate compared to the other sources (Garnjanagoonchorn et al. 2007). You can search for bovine-only sources online.

Garnjanagoonchorn et al. (2007) also claim that the shark cartilage was a by-product of the shark fin soup restaurant so there is a clear link between that unsustainable and ecologically destructive practice and shark cartilage pills!


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