If healthy living is something you’ve been focusing on over the last few years, you’ve probably heard all about aloe vera gel and it’s many suggested uses, but you might not have heard about the specific benefits of aloe vera juice.
For many people, the benefits of drinking aloe vera juice seem almost limitless, but it’s important to take a closer look before we throw aloe in the blender and start guzzling down gallons of the stuff on a daily basis.
Are there any clear health benefits from drinking aloe vera? Could there be any side effects? Are there different types of aloe vera juice you can drink?
I suppose before getting into all that it’s important to know, what exactly is aloe vera juice?
What is Aloe Vera Juice?
Aloe vera juice comes from the aloe vera plant, and usually consists of about 99% water combined with various minerals, vitamins, lipids, polysaccharides, organic acids and phenolic compounds. So clearly aloe vera juice is very nutrient-rich!
Generally, aloe vera juice is produced by crushing, grinding or pressing the whole aloe vera leaf to produce juice, which then goes through various steps of stabilization and filtration to achieve the finished product. Aloe production methods can vary while making juice from the leaf of the aloe plant, though, and there are two main kinds of juice we will cover in more detail later.
Due to its gentle flavor and high vitamin content, aloe vera juice is often thrown into a blender and mixed into milkshakes and smoothies as an added dietary supplement. But when it comes down to it, what is aloe vera juice good for?
What are the Health Benefits of Aloe Vera Juice?
There is all sorts of anecdotal evidence out there about the benefits of aloe vera juice, with many considering it an effective treatment for ailments such as constipation, inflammation and heartburn. Others believe drinking aloe vera juice regularly is beneficial for general nutrition and improving hydration.
Here’s a closer look at what the experts say about the benefits of drinking aloe.
Aloe Vera for Lowering Blood Sugar
In many parts of the world aloe vera juice is used as a natural remedy for treating type 2 diabetes, and some scientific studies have shown that aloe vera juice can be used to reduce blood sugar levels.
In one study where 72 diabetic women were given a tablespoon of aloe vera juice twice a day for at least two weeks, it was found that blood glucose and serum triglyceride levels were significantly decreased with aloe vera treatment compared to the placebo. In a second study where the effects of aloe vera juice in combination with antidiabetic medicine was measured, similar reductions in blood glucose were recorded as a result of the aloe vera treatment.
So it seems that there can be some aloe juice benefits when it comes to lowering blood sugar and treating diabetes, but you should always consult your doctor before consuming aloe vera juice for this purpose.
Aloe Vera for Oral Health
One purpose aloe vera juice can certainly be used for is maintaining a healthy mouth, teeth and gums.
According to Henry Hackney DMD, a Chicago-based dentist who is also the director of content at Authority Dental and a member of the American Dental Association, there are many proven benefits of using aloe vera for oral health. Dr. Hackney explained that the antibacterial properties of aloe vera help to prevent gum diseases, bad breath and various inflammations.
He also confirmed that aloe vera has a great role in the treatment of lichen planus, recurrent aphthae, alveolar inflammation, periodontium and inflammation after root canal treatment, and that it aids in the treatment of gingivitis.
He advised that these problems can be treated with both liquid aloe vera and toothpaste that contains the content of the pure aloe pulp.
Dr. Mike Golpa, dental surgeon and CEO of the G4 by Golpa dental implant centers, added that “if we have our intake of aloe vera in juice, it’s a good idea to swash it around the mouth to make the most of it.”
There is no denying that certain parts of the aloe vera plant possess laxative properties. Studies have demonstrated that aloe vera latex, which is a yellow liquid form of aloe vera extract found just under the plant’s skin, is known to reduce the effects of constipation in certain patients due to the presence of anthraquinones, organic compounds that facilitate positive health outcomes such as gastrointestinal relief.
This science is confirmed by Dr. Jesse P. Houghton MD, Senior Medical Director of Gastroenterology at Southern Ohio Medical Center, who explained that the aloe plant “acts as a natural laxative” by “providing hydration with its high water content.”
Not all types of aloe vera juice contain these anthraquinones, however, due to the potential side effects involved (more on that soon).
Other Potential Digestive Benefits of Aloe Vera Juice
It’s been widely suggested that drinking aloe vera juice can provide all sorts of digestive benefits such as treatment of ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease and ulcerative colitis, and there is varying evidence to support these claims.
One study from way back in 1963 suggested that certain types of aloe vera juice can be effective for the treatment of peptic ulcers. Another study from 2006 found no evidence to suggest that aloe vera juice has any beneficial effect for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease. While there have been some positive results when it comes to using aloe vera juice to treat ulcerative colitis, the authors of that study noted the need for further trials to confirm its effectiveness.
So it seems more research is needed if we want to be sure that aloe vera juice does indeed possess these suggested digestive benefits.
Aloe Vera Juice For Heartburn Relief
There is plenty of anecdotal evidence out there about the benefits of aloe vera juice for treating heartburn, and Dr. Houghton confirmed this to be the case.
He explained that his “patients often report that aloe juice helps their heartburn symptoms, probably by neutralizing the effects of stomach acid, as well as coating the lining of the esophagus.”
Studies have also shown that drinking aloe vera may provide a safe and effective treatment for reducing the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease, a condition associated with frequent heartburn, food regurgitation and acid regurgitation.
Although various sources claim aloe vera juice to be an excellent solution for maintaining a healthy liver, Dr. Houghton warned that this benefit is up for debate.
He said that although there are reported benefits with aloe and its ability to help the liver metabolize chemicals, there are also documented reports of acute hepatitis (inflammation of the liver) from aloe preparations, which resolved when the patient stopped taking the aloe. He recommended against the use of aloe vera juice specifically for liver detoxification.
Improving Your Hydration With Aloe Vera Juice
As we mentioned, aloe vera juice generally consists of about 99% water combined with various vitamins and minerals, so it makes sense that it would be an effective drink for improving our hydration.
Dr. Houghton even suggested that aloe vera juice can be a low-calorie alternative to sugary drinks and fruit juices, and that “an 8-oz glass of aloe vera juice contains less than 50 calories, if no sugar is added.”
Sounds like a pretty decent way to hydrate, if you ask me!
There are no proven benefits of drinking aloe vera juice when it comes to improving skin quality, but the topical application of aloe vera gel has proven to be effective in the treatment of acne, psoriasis, dermatitis, wound healing and various other skin conditions.
Aloe vera gel can also help to improve general skin quality due to its antioxidant, anti-microbial and hydrating effects. This gel is also popularly used to treat and heal sunburn.
If you’re looking for some high-quality skin products that harness the hydrating powers of aloe vera gel, you might want to check out the Public Goods shampoo bar, castile soap, and witch hazel products, which all contain organic aloe vera gel.
You can also check out the sensitive skin soothing story behind the Public Goods shampoo bar, if you’ve got an extra minute!
Side Effects of Drinking Aloe Vera Juice
It’s clear that there are many possible medicinal uses and health benefits of drinking juice from the aloe vera plant. But before you add aloe vera to your favorite smoothie, let’s go over the potential side effects before you pour it into the blender.
Dr. Houghton warned that there are reports of low potassium levels, liver toxicity, and diarrhea resulting in dehydration in humans, and that there is also evidence from experiments in lab rats that the colorized aloe extract can increase the rate of tumor growth in the large intestine.
There are two main types of aloe vera juice: colorized and decolorized. Colorized aloe vera juice, or inner leaf gel juice, is produced from only the gel of the leaf, and contains latex. It is this latex which contains anthraquinones, and is responsible for most of the side effects and adverse reactions that might occur from drinking aloe vera juice.
Decolorized aloe vera juice is made from the whole leaf juice, and involves treatment of the extracted juice with activated charcoal to remove the latex. With the latex removed, decolorized/purified aloe vera juice is generally considered to be safe to drink, and is of much higher quality than colorized/unpurified aloe vera juice.
To reap the full benefits of aloe vera juice, Dr. Houghton advised that the purified, filtered and decolorized aloe juice is the safest and best option.
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