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Published Online: 20 February 2008

Some Biological Actions of Alkylglycerols from Shark Liver Oil

Publication: The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
Volume 4, Issue Number 1


Shark liver oil has been used for over 40 years as both a therapeutic and preventive agent. The active ingredients in shark liver oil have been found to be a group of ether-linked glycerols known as alkylglycerols. Initial clinical use was for treating leukemias, and later to prevent radiation sickness from cancer x-ray therapy. Studies over the last 30 years have shown that alkylglycerols are multifunctional. The level of natural alkylglycerols rises within tumor cells, apparently in an effort to control cell growth. Recent studies indicate that the activation of protein kinase C, an essential step in cell proliferation, can be inhibited by alkylglycerols. This action suggests a competitive inhibition of 1.2-diacylglycerol by alkylglycerols. Further studies on the immunostimulatory action of alkylglycerols suggest a primary action on the macrophage. The process of macrophage activation has been demonstrated with both synthetic and natural alkylglycerols. While the exact mechanism has not been found, both an autocrine and paracrine system have been suggested. Shark liver is a major natural source of alkylglycerols, which have no known side effects in dosages of 100 mg three times a day. The information presented in this article suggests that alkylglycerols may be used both as an adjunct therapy in the treatment of neoplastic disorders and as an immune booster in infectious diseases.

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Published In

cover image The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
Volume 4Issue Number 1Spring 1998
Pages: 87 - 99
PubMed: 9553838


Published online: 20 February 2008
Published in print: Spring 1998


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    Peter T. Pugliese
    Peter T. Pugliese, M.D. and Associates. Reading, Pennsylvania.
    Karin Jordan
    Scandinavian Natural Products, Perkasie, Pennsylvania.
    Hokan Cederberg
    Scandinavian Natural Products, Perkasie, Pennsylvania.
    Johan Brohult
    Karolinska Institute (Soderjukhuset), Stockholm, Sweden.


    Address reprint requests to: Peter T. Pugliese, M.D., Peter T. Pugliese, M.D. and Associates, Inc., 4408-B Pottsville Pike, Reading, PA 19606

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