Shark Cartilage May Contain Toxin
Shark cartilage, which has been hyped as a cancer preventive and joint-health supplement, may contain a neurotoxin that has been linked with Alzheimer’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Scientists at the University of Miami analyzed cartilage samples collected from seven species of sharks off the coast of Florida. The specimens all contained high levels of a compound called beta-methylamino-L-alanine, or BMAA, which has been linked to the development of neurodegenerative diseases. Sharks accumulate the compound because of their status at the top of the oceanic food chain, consuming fish and other sea creatures that feed on BMAA-containing algae. The small tissue samples were obtained from sharks that were caught, tagged and released for tracking research, and no sharks were harmed for the study.
The findings are important because of the growing popularity of supplements that contain cartilage from shark fins.