You may remember growing up with an aloe vera plant in your home, a common houseplant that has traditionally been used as a topical aid to help alleviate burns on the skin and the resulting pain. An accidental fall or burn resulted in your parents breaking off a piece of the aloe leaf from the plant and squeezing the soothing gel onto your skin to help alleviate some of the pain. More recently aloe vera has been touted as a way to support skin health in the form of beauty masks, skin moisturizers and even hand sanitizer. But did you know that oral ingestion of aloe vera has also been shown to help support regularity and digestive health?
What are the benefits of aloe vera for digestive health?
Regularity. Aloe vera juice products can help support regularity. The juice form the inner fillet of the aloe vera leaf in conjunction with prebiotics can help promote gut health. Prebiotics are a special fiber that act as food for probiotics in the gut. Probiotics are the bacteria that live in your gastrointestinal tract that help break down the nutrients in your food. When aloe juice is taken in conjunction with fiber they work synergistically to help support digestive health.
Antioxidant Activity. A research study demonstrated that aloe vera can enhance the bioavailability of certain vitamins. In the referenced study, when aloe vera juice was co-ingested with vitamin C or vitamin E the aloe vera increased the bioavailability for both compounds. Aloe vera also contains polyphenols which are special antioxidants that are only found in plants. In general, polyphenols help support overall wellness.
Oral health. Interestingly, aloe vera has been shown to support oral health. In a mouth rinse study of 300 participants given mouthwash or an aloe vera juice rinse for four days, aloe vera juice was shown to be just as effective at reducing dental plaque buildup as regular mouthwash. Digestive health starts in your mouth, which can be one of the early indicators of overall health and show signs of nutritional deficiencies or general infection before they appear in other parts of the body.
Digestive Health. Aloe vera contains enzymes such as amylase, which breaks downs starches (complex carbohydrates), and lipase, which helps to break down lipids (fats) from the food you consume. It also contains vitamins such as vitamins B1, B2, B6, C, E and folic acid to help support overall health and wellness. Consuming adequate vitamins, nutrients and minerals helps your body to perform at its optimal level.
In conclusion, Aloe vera has many health benefits including support for skin, immune and digestive health. How will aloe vera fit into your healthy lifestyle routine?
Gupta, R. K., Gupta, D., Bhaskar, D. J., Yadav, A., Obaid, K., & Mishra, S. (2014). Preliminary antiplaque efficacy of aloe vera mouthwash on 4 day plaque re-growth model: randomized control trial. Ethiopian journal of health sciences, 24(2), 139–144. https://doi.org/10.4314/ejhs.v24i2.6
Vinson, J., Al Kharrat, H., & Andreoli, L. (2005). Effect of Aloe vera preparations on the human bioavailability of vitamins C and E. Phytomedicine, 12(10), 760-765. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2003.12.013
Statovci, D., Aguilera, M., MacSharry, J., & Melgar, S. (2017). The Impact of Western Diet and Nutrients on the Microbiota and Immune Response at Mucosal Interfaces. Frontiers in immunology, 8, 838. https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2017.00838