Shark Liver Oil - Alkylglycerols

Shark Liver Oil - Alkylglycerols

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W
ith their toothsome maws and machine-hke kiUing efficiency,
the primitive creatures known as sharks have long inspired fear
and commanded respect. But does this ancient family of bone-
less fish harbor a secret weapon against some of the most dreaded cancers
afflicting humans?
Centuries ago, Scandinavian practitioners of folk medicine adopted the
habit of consuming shark liver oil as a general health tonic. In recent decades,
scientists have observed that tumors are remarkably rare in sharks, and that
these predatory fish are notoriously resistant to infections.' This amazing
imperviousness to disease doubtless inspired the folk remedy.
Admittedly, fighting disease with shark oil sounds far-fetched. The very
notion evokes unsavory images of cure-all tonics and unscrupulous char-
latans from centuries past. But in 1952, Dr. Astrid Brohult stumbled upon
remarkable proof that shark oil actually works. The fascinating story of her
discovery, related by some of her colleagues in the book Shark Liver Oil:
Natures Amazing Healer,^ provides a glimpse at the happy serendipity that
occasionally results when science and intuition mi

Dr. Brohult was a young Swedish
oncologist working with leukemia
patients in a children's hospital.
Leukemia is a potentially deadly
cancer that affects white blood cells,
or leukocytes, which are the
immune system's front-line defen-
sive players, manufactured in the
bone marrow. When leukemia
strikes, leukocyte production runs
amok.

To stop the disease, patients are
exposed to enough radiation to kill
the cells in the bone marrow that
give rise to both red and white blood
cells. This drastic treatment is usu-
ally effective, but occasionally may
be worse than the disease itself.
With fewer red blood cells to carry
oxygen and remove wastes, and few
leukocytes left to fight infection and
marshal other defenses, patients
are rendered weak, deathly ill, and
prone to infection.

In an effort to stimulate her
patients' bone marrow to resume
normal function, Dr. Brohult
administered calve's marrow to the
children in her care. She was oper-
ating on little more than a hunch.
Parents in Scandinavia have long
served bone marrow soup to their
children in winter, in the belief
that it builds strength. Dr. Brohult