Fisherman of the Surga Bay on the Izu Peninsula of ancient Japan called it "Samedawa" or "cure all". The sharks they fished from the bottom of the bay measuring over 1000 meters deep, had a delectable meat. They specially valued its liver oil which they ingested regularly because they felt better whenever they took it.
In 1758, Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus discovered and claimed the great health and medicinal value of oil extracts from deep sea sharks such as the spiny dogfish. In the Micronesian Islands, a "miracle working" shark oil has been an age old remedy for various sickness and diseases as well as a familiar source of strength, stamina and virility. The historic health benefits of shark liver oil has always been a mainstay in Scandinavian folk medicine.
In Norway and Sweden, shark liver oil was used traditionally by fishermen for healing wounds and irritations of the respiratory tract and alimentary canal. In China, the extract of deep sea shark has been recorded in the ancient pharmaceutical book "Honzukomuko".
In Spain, ancient mariners regularly took "aceite de bacalao" or oil of the great fish. They claimed a greater resistance to colds and various other diseases because of it. Even in Ernest Hemingway's book, "The Old Man and the Sea" it says of the old man... "He also drank shark liver oil each day from the drum in the shack where many of the fishermen kept their gear....It was very good against all colds and grippes and it was good for the eyes."
In 1906, Dr. Mitsumaru Tsujimoto made an in depth research on shark liver oil, specifically that of the deep sea shark species; the "Squalidae Group", and discovered that an extremely great quantity of unsaturated hydrocarbons was contained in the liver oil of these deep sea sharks. He later called the oil "Squalene". Dr. Tsujimoto's brilliant discovery was not fully established until 1931 when Prof. Calour, a Nobel prize awardee at Zurich University, Switzerland certified that squalene shark liver oil is a lipoprotein, an unsaturated hydrocarbon with a chemical structure C30H50. This means simply that it mainly contains 30 carbon atoms and 50 hydrogen atoms. Dr. Calour in his study of the chemical behavior of this unsaturated hydrocarbon revealed that the compound is naturally lacking 12 hydrogen atoms in its original form for it to be stable (the stable compound is C30H62) and will "capture hydrogen atoms" from any source available to make it stable and saturated. The most abundant source of hydrogen is water ­p; H20. (Our food contains much H20, body fluids and blood are mainly H20, body cells contain much water, the human body is actually 70% water). Theoretically, C30H50 (squalene) reacts with water (H20) this way: C30H50 + 6H20 ­p; C30H62 + 302. By capturing the hydrogen molecules, 3 oxygen molecules from the water are released. This shows that squalene, through a natural reaction with water, is capable of providing oxygen essential for healthy metabolism. This basic scientific theory shown in the above formula should provide us an insight how squalene might work when present in our bodies.
Amazing discoveries continue to be made on shark liver oil. More careful scientific studies are being made to thoroughly examine its full composition and health benefits. In 1922, scientists isolated the therapeutically active component in shark liver oil called alkoxyglycerols.
Since the 1950's, this component has been studied clinically for its healing benefits in over 50 countries. Alkoxyglycerols (AKG's) in mothers milk, is the key substance which provides infants with natural protection and immunity against infection as it helps in the continued development of their immune system. There are 10 times more AKG's in mother's milk than in cow's milk. Science has proven that breast fed babies are more resistant to infection and diseases even all through life because of the more abundant ingestion of AKG's in their early physical development. This immune supportive nutrient, Alkoxyglycerols (AKG's) is the primary active component in shark liver oil. In fact, there are 1000 times more AKG's in shark liver oil than mother's milk. and human adults commensurately need 1000 times more AKG's than infants in the need for continuing boosting and enhancing ones immune system.
In the 1990's Johns Hopkins University discovered another ingredient in shark liver oil, Squalamine, found to be effective against many yeast, fungus and bacterial infections, and especially offers promise to immune compromise persons such as AIDS and cancer patients. Shark liver oil may well contain the secret of improved health and longevity for mankind.