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Life Extension Magazine

LE Magazine July 1999

Q & A


Shark Cartilage as a remedy?
Plus diet, supplements and more

Sharks Q I do not agree with your position that shark cartilage is a worthless cancer therapy. Dr. David Williams has obtained excellent results using shark cartilage to treat cancer. Were the cancer patients you surveyed using premium brands of shark cartilage like Benefin and Cartilade?

A The brands of shark cartilage that showed no value in treating cancer in our survey were primarily Benefin and Cartilade. We were selling millions of dollars a year of Benefin and Cartilade when we made the decision to inform our members that shark cartilage was not showing efficacy in treating cancer patients.

There were several pieces of evidence that led us to stop recommending shark cartilage to treat cancer. The first problem was the number of cancer patients we were working with who were not being helped, i.e. they were dying. The second was a survey we conducted on everyone who bought shark cartilage from us. The results showed that shark cartilage was not working.

Before we published the results of our survey in 1995, we contacted some of the alternative and integrated cancer physicians we network with, and they were almost unanimous in stating that they were not seeing the results they had hoped for when using shark cartilage, i.e. their patients' conditions worsened or they died.

After my editorial was published, I spoke with the son of Dr. Bill Lane (Dr. Lane is a proponent of shark cartilage therapy) and he indicated that one study will soon be published that shows that shark cartilage works as well as the best approved chemotherapy drug (gemcitabine) for pancreatic cancer. The trouble is, pancreatic cancer has a mortality rate of over 98%, and while gemcitabine has been shown to improve survival, it is by no means a cure. Dr. Lane's son did point out that shark cartilage is non-toxic, so it spares the cancer patient the horrendous side effects of FDA-approved chemotherapy drugs. If this new study really shows shark cartilage is as effective as gemcitabine, we will publish this in our magazine.*

I am aware that Dr. David Williams has extensively published positive information about shark cartilage, and on this issue, I have to disagree with him.

Our organization takes extraordinary steps to save our members' lives, and it would be immoral and illegal to continue promoting a product to desperately ill people that we did not find was effectively treating their disease.

I understand that my editorial caused you to think that we were using an inferior brand of shark cartilage, but almost all of the cancer patients were using Benefin or Cartilade. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to respond.

- William Faloon, Vice President

* For a free copy of The Foundation's updated Pancreatic Cancer Treatment Protocol, Foundation members can call
1-800-544-4440 or view it on our Website.


Q Most supplement labels say to take the glucosamine sulfate with food. However, the Natural Pain Relief from LEF says to take at least 30 minutes before eating, as do other brands I have seen. What's the deal here?

A I think "the deal" relates to whether you eat much fiber with the meal which might adsorb some of the EFA's in the product. Don't forget that the LEF product contains potent amounts of EPA, DHA and GLA besides two forms of glucosamine and chondroitin, in addition to other ingredients. My advice is to take it with low fiber meals. The bile and digestive enzymes secreted to digest the meal will also help digest the Natural Pain Relief. The label of LEF's chondrox product, which contains only glucosamine and chondroitin, recommends taking it with a meal.


Q Over the past few years, I have built up to taking 20 pills a day - vitamins, then ginkgo, chlorophyll, essential fatty acids, "brain chemicals", etc. Within the last few weeks, I ran across 2 people with advance degrees in nutrition who said, "eat well and don't pop pills". Their idea is, 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it.' What do you think?

A The problem with this reasoning is that everyone's body is, indeed, 'broken', in the sense that we are all prone to contract disease and our bodies' capacities decline as we age. Thus, to prevent or inhibit disease and the ravages of aging, we do need to do everything possible to combat those inexorable tendencies. Yes, this first of all means eating the best possible diet that you can. But once you have done that - as well as getting sufficient exercise - taking supplements of various nutrients will additionally help.


Q Advocates of supplements say that nutrient losses in food preservation and preparation and in environmental pollution mean that supplementation is essential. So, which view is right?

A If you do not desire optimal health but simply wish to have 'normal' health, which continues to decline with age, then supplementation is not a requirement for you.

There may be some basis to the argument that our current foods and environment are more in need of supplementation than were foods grown 100 years ago. However, the main reason for careful supplementation, in my view, is that it can augment your 'normal' status by making you healthier and possibly longer lived than you would normally be.


Q My 9-year-old gets muscle cramps quite a bit. Bananas do fix the problem, but he does not much care for them. What else has a lot of potassium? And can I get it via a supplement in a health food store?

A You cannot get enough potassium in pills unless you are interested in downing a handful at a time. Although the daily requirement is 3 - 4 grams, it is illegal to sell potassium in larger size pills than 99 mg.

However, all fruits and veggies contain lots of potassium, as well as other good things, so have him eat more of them, whatever he likes. I find that dried fruit - raisins apricots, prunes, figs, etc. - is particularly easy because it tastes like candy to children.