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September 13, 2000

Efficacy of Glucosamine and Chondroitin for Treatment of Osteoarthritis

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Senior EditorIndividualAuthorPhil B.FontanarosaMD, Executive Deputy EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2000;284(10):1241. doi:10.1001/jama.284.10.1239

To the Editor: In their systematic quality assessment and meta-analysis of the effectiveness of GS and CS for the treatment of OS, Dr McAlindon et al1 did not mention that shark cartilage serves as a major source of these products.

The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization report that virtually 70% of the world's fisheries (including shark fisheries) are fully exploited to overexploited, depleted, or in a state of collapse.2 In the United States, which is one of the few countries that effectively manages any of its fisheries, the number of some species of coastal sharks has been reduced by 75% to 85% over the past 20 years.3 Sharks are caught for their fins (to be used in soup), their cartilage (to be used in supplements), and their meat, as well as inadvertently through the use of long-line fishing. In 1995, more than 100 million sharks from the 400 known species were killed.3 Furthermore, unregulated fisheries in other countries and in international waters support a thriving, worldwide gray-market trade in shark skeletons.4

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