What is aloe vera juice?
The Aloe is a succulent plant belonging to the Liliaceal family, which is most widely known for the clear gel that is found in the leaves – commonly known as aloe vera gel. This gel is primarily used in skin conditioning agents that sooth irritated, wounded or sun burnt skin.
There are also many internal perpetrations made from this plant family, including Aloe juice made from various varieties including Aloe Andogensis and Aloe Barbadensis. Aloe barbadensisis the aloe plant commonly known as aloe vera and is the variety used for aloe vera juice.
There are many varying claims made about aloe vera including everything from it helping reduce diabetes mellitus, hypertension, osteoarthritis and even depression! Most of these claims are unsubstantiated, so let’s go through some of the benefits and concerns about aloe vera that are substantiated by the scientific data available.
Aloe vera juice benefits
Aloe vera is actually quite nutrient rich and contains a range of B vitamins, vitamin E, amino acids and minerals including calcium, zinc, chromium and iron.
- Mannose-6-phostphate which is a sugar found in aloe which has been shown to be effective in reducing inflammation.
- Sterols found in aloe including lupeol and campesterol are also known to be anti-inflammatory.
Digestive aid and gut health
- Aloe contains enzymes and anti-inflammatory agents that can assist in soothing gut irritation and aid beneficial bacteria.
- Aloe is known to be antibacterial, antimicrobial and antiviral activity which can help boost the immune system and again help assist friendly bacteria in keeping your gut healthy.
- Aloe vera latex (aloin) is recognised by the World Health Organisation as an effective laxative when taken orally.
- Aloe vera juice has been shown to be beneficial for reducing LDL and VLDL cholesterol in various animal studies. There was also positive results seen in one small human study that was conducted in 1993, however there is a lack of recent human studies to follow up these results with.
- There have been several studies conducted on humans (5285 patients) assessing the benefits of aloe vera juice and diabetes. It should be noted that some of these studies produce favourable results, however many of the compliance, formulation and laboratory measurements were not adequately controlled and therefore it is difficult to interpret any clinical relevance from the results. There are also many studies showing no significant effect.
Be aware – aloe vera juice side effects
- It is not recommended that aloe vera juice be consumed long term as it can result in electrolyte imbalances, particularly potassium.
- Consumption can cause diarrhoea, which can cause electrolyte imbalance, headache, dry mouth and other associated issues. If you are suffering from such symptoms, stop consumption immediately and see your primary health care professional.
- If you are drinking aloe vera juice, look that it does not contain aloe latex (aloin). Aloin is an anthraquinone glycoside and is a known gastrointestinal tract irritant and many have carcinogenic effects. This can actually further inflammation and have a negative effect on the body including worsening conditions associated with inflammation.
- Caution should be exercised if you are taking blood sugar lowering medication, heart medications or diuretics. Taking aloe vera juice is not advised and do not take it without consulting your primary health care practitioner first.
- Do not take aloe vera juice long term and make sure it does not contain aloin.
- Caution should also be exercised and aloe vera juice should not be taken if you are pregnant, have haemorrhoids, or liver and gall blabber issues.
Where to get aloe vera juice
Fresh: It is possibly to make your own aloe vera juice, although we would strongly advise against this so you do not run the risk of making a juice that has aloe vera latex (aloin) which is contained in the outer margins of the leaf pulp.
Supplement form: Aloe vera juice can be found in most good health food stores and aloe vera capsules are also available. Look for a reputable brand and check the ingredients list to make sure there are not added sugars or that it contains aloe latex (aloin).
How to use aloe vera juice
Consume as per advised on the bottle, but as per our review outlined above – long term consumption would not be advised. Do not start taking any new supplement or juice without contacting your primary health care professional first.
This article was contributed by my friend and super clever lady Claire Yates, who is a nutritional medicine practitioner and the author of Optimal Health The Paleo Way.
- Final Report on the Safety Assessment of Aloe Andongensis Extract, Aloe Andongensis Leaf Juice, Aloe Arborescens Leaf Extract, Aloe Arborescens Leaf Juice, Aloe Arborescens Leaf Protoplasts, Aloe Barbadensis Flower Extract, Aloe Baradensis Leaf Juice, Aloe Barbedensis Leaf Polysaccharides, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Water, Aloe Ferox Leaf Extract, Aloe Ferox Leaf Juice, and Laoe Ferox Leaf Juice Extract, 2007, International Journal of Toxicology, 26(Suppl. 2):1-50
- Boudreau, M, Mellick, P, Olson, G, Felton, R, Thorn, B, Beland, F, Clear Evidence of Carcinogenic Activity by a Whole-Leaf Extract of Aloe barbadensis Miller (Aloe vera) in F344/N Rats, 2013, Toxicological Sciences, 131(1), 26-39
- Ngo, M, Nguyen, N, Shah, S, Oral aloe vera for treatment of diabetes mellitus and dyslipidaemia, 2010, Am J Health-Syst Pharm – Vol 67 Nov 1
- Environmental Nutrition 7, October 2012 – www.environmentalnutrition.com