April 05, 2018
Shark liver oil is well known for its immune support benefits and has been used as a safe, effective compound for centuries. Shark liver oil naturally contains the compounds alkylglycerols and squalene in significant amounts, with vitamin E and other compounds in smaller amounts. Shark liver oil has been long considered an immune boosting nutrient with significant ability to help healthy aging. A number of studies expand the use of shark liver oil into other arenas, including improving vascular health, supporting immunity during pregnancy, reducing muscle wasting, and more.
Vascular Health and Blood Vessel FlexibilityOne of the historical uses for shark liver oil in Japan is for vascular health. This is different than the traditional use in Scandinavian countries that focuses on immune health. A 2015 study was published that demonstrated the effects of shark liver oil on blood vessel stiffness and blood flow within the peripheral microvascular circulation. The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study assessed healthy middle-aged men and elderly men who had increased arterial wall stiffness. The participants received either a placebo or shark liver oil dose of six 400 mg capsules per day for a period of eight weeks. The scientists measured cardio-ankle vascular index (CAVI) and laser Doppler perfusion imaging technique (LDPI). These measurements and techniques measure how well blood was flowing into tissues in the extremities. It was found that after eight weeks of shark liver oil intake, microcirculation within the small blood vessels in the periphery as well as large blood vessel elasticity improved. No side effects were noted.
Free Radical Scavengers and Flexible Cell MembranesOne of the reasons why shark liver oil may be so helpful at keeping blood vessels flexible is the amount of polyunsaturated fats in its make-up. This healthy fat helps keep cell membranes flexible and elastic. Studies have demonstrated that the ingredients in shark liver oil act as powerful free radical scavengers protecting the vascular tissue from oxidative damage. In animal studies, the compounds found within shark liver oil have indeed demonstrated cardio-protective benefits. These compounds block free radical stress and breakdown of cell membranes related to vascular tissue, heart, and heart disease. Pregnancy, Sinus Infections and Urinary Tract InfectionsIn a very different study, researchers studied the effects and safety of shark liver oil in pregnant women. The study focused on pregnant women and sinus infections. They also focused on expecting mothers who had urinary tract problems, like bladder infection and inflammation within the urinary tract. The pregnant women were given shark liver oil, two capsules three times per day for two weeks. The results in the first sinus infection group showed that 75 percent of the women had improvements in their general condition, without need for antibiotics and with less pain. The second group showed 76 percent improvement in bladder and urinary tract symptoms. Considering the growing problems with antibiotic resistance and increasing problems with healthy pain management in this country, shark liver oil use may offer alternative solutions.
Diminished Side Effects from Radiation TreatmentIn the same publication just described, the scientists studied women with cervical cancer. The women were given shark liver oil for two months at six capsules per day and then one month at three capsules per day. The main improvement noted was better tolerance to radiation therapy. The authors felt that because the study was limited to three months time that no information could be determined on the improvement in survival rate. They concluded, “In women with cervical cancer, the treatment is quite aggressive and the opportunity to diminish the side effects by administration of a natural and harmless preparation (shark liver oil) should not be omitted.”