Cartilage is a tough connective tissue found in many parts of the body. Your ears and nose are made from cartilage, and so is the gliding surface in your joints.
One constituent of cartilage, chondroitin , is widely used in Europe to treat osteoarthritis. Cartilage itself has also been proposed as a treatment for osteoarthritis.
The most commonly used forms of cartilage come from cows (bovine cartilage) and sharks. Provocative evidence had suggested that shark cartilage might have some value in the treatment of cancer. However, properly designed studies have so far failed to find benefit.
Unless your uncle works at a slaughterhouse or you're brave enough to prepare your own cartilage from whole sharks, the preferred source of cartilage is your healthfood store or pharmacy, where you can purchase this supplement in pill or powdered form.
Various doses of cartilage have been used in different studies, ranging from 2.5 mg to 60 g daily.
Cartilage in general has been proposed as a treatment for the common "wear and tear" type of arthritis known as osteoarthritis . The idea behind this is straightforward: Because osteoarthritis is a disease of the joints, and because cartilage is one of the elements that make up your joints, adding cartilage to the diet might help. This idea sounds a bit too simplistic to be believable, but it is the same principle behind the use of glucosamine and chondroitin (specific substances found in the joints) for osteoarthritis. Since well designed studies have found those treatments effective, perhaps cartilage itself will ultimately be proven to work. However, such studies of cartilage have not yet been performed.
What Is the Scientific Evidence for Cartilage?
- Reviewer: EBSCO CAM Review Board
- Review Date: 12/2015 -
- Update Date: 12/15/2015 -