When discussing aloe vera benefits and side effects, it’s super important to distinguish between decolorized, purified aloe vera and unpurified aloe vera.
Unpurified, whole leaf aloe vera contains a compound called aloin, which a two-year National Toxicology Program study linked to tumor growth in male and female rats.
Another study done with mice, however, found no adverse effects associated with drinking decolorized, purified aloe vera juice. They also found that concentrations of anthraquinones, the group of organic compounds aloin belongs to, were below <0.1 parts per million. They concluded that decolorized aloe vera juice is not carcinogenic and is safe to drink.
When shopping for aloe vera drinks, look for these key phrases on the label:
Because aloe vera has some natural bitterness to it, some manufacturers add sweeteners, so if you’re drinking aloe vera for health purposes, it’s a good idea to scan the label to check for any unwanted additives.
Now that you’ve gotten clear on what kinds of aloe vera drinks benefit your health—decolorized, purified aloe vera drinks and those made with aloe vera gel—let’s talk about aloe vera benefits!
Here are five reasons to try aloe vera juice or aloe vera water.
The ideal pH for our bodies is slightly alkaline, right around 7.3 to 7.45. Experts say that to maintain that balance and the optimal levels of wellness that accompany it, we should strive to eat 80% alkaline-forming foods and 20% acidic-forming foods.
Unfortunately, the modern Western diet is filled with acid-forming foods. Aloe vera, which has a natural pH level of 4.5 to 5.5, can help counteract the effect of all those foods.
Research published in the Annals of Dermatology and elsewhere shows that hydrating aloe vera juice can clarify your skin and improve its elasticity.
Supplementing with aloe vera gel has been shown to significantly improve wrinkles and elasticity. It can also increase collagen production and decrease the expression of the MMP-1 gene, which degrades your collagen.
Aloe vera may also help to counteract damage caused by UV radiation as well as to decrease psoriasis and dermatitis flares.
A study published in Phytomedicine found that drinking 2 tablespoons of aloe vera juice twice each day for two weeks could substantially lower blood sugar levels.
They also found that participants’ triglyceride levels dropped, which is a great related benefit for people with diabetes since they’re at an increased risk of developing heart disease.
Aloe vera provides several enzymes shown to assist with the breakdown of sugars and fats, which in turn helps your entire digestive system function more smoothly.
Aloe vera drinks can be especially beneficial for people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other inflammatory diseases that affect the digestive tract.
A 2013 trial that enrolled IBS patients found that aloe vera could relieve the pain and discomfort associated with the condition. Based on self-rated scales filled out by participants, the authors also found clear indications that aloe vera juice can decrease flatulence.
Findings from a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial showed that aloe vera can also improve symptoms of ulcerative colitis.
A 2015 study published in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine found that drinking aloe vera can relieve symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) as effectively as two conventional treatments, omeprazole and ranitidine.
The authors compared how well each treatment addresses the eight main symptoms of GERD: heartburn, food regurgitation, flatulence, belching, dysphagia, nausea, vomiting, and acid regurgitation. The final results indicated that aloe vera can be a “safe and effective” way to reduce symptoms of GERD.