Shark liver oil has been used for centuries in the Scandinavian countries, particularly by fishermen, who used it as a remedy for slow healing wounds and against irritation of the respiratory organs.
In the 19th century the use of shark liver oil almost died out, surviving only in a few fishing communities. It was to take more than a century before the use of the shark liver oil was revived, following the publications of scientific documentation regarding its beneficial effects.
In 1952, a young Swedish doctor, Astrid Brohult, M.D., discovered that the marrow from fresh calf bones given to children with leukemia stimulated their white cell production.
It was later shown that the stimulating factor was a group of substances known as Alkylglycerols, that had first been identified by two Japanese researchers in 1922 – in liver oil from sharks. The distribution of Alkylglycerols in nature has since been found to be widespread.
They occur in the lipids of various animal organs, for example in bone marrow fat, in the fat of the spleen and the liver, in erythrocytes and in milk (ten times more in human mother’s milk than in cow’s milk).
The highest source of Alkylglycerols was found to be in the liver of the Greenland shark, Somniosus microcephalus. The healing effects of Alkylglycerols on the tissues of the body have been confirmed over the last 40 years by extensive clinical and laboratory research, mainly conducted by Swedish physicians and scientists.
Besides the above-mentioned biological effects of the Alkylglycerols, it has been shown that patients with cancer of the uterine cervix, who were treated with Alkylglycerols before and during irradiation treatment, had 9% higher survival rate after five years, as compared to the control group.