Aloe vera side effects

Aloe vera juice, more risks than benefits?

It's not something new, it's been years that we hear the experts of beauty and well-being boost the benefits of a glass of juice "green"! But here is a new kid comes out of the game: it is the juice of aloe vera!

You have not heard of it yet? So get your ear around you, this is the trend of the moment. And yet the plant in question does not come to be discovered either, it's been years that we know its potential uses, ranging from glutinous gel aloe vera against sunburn to its essential oil for the health of skin and hair.

But we're talking here about aloe vera juice, light and slightly acidic beverage derived from aloe, and it seems that everyone agrees on its benefits ... except for sometimes science!

Information about the use of aloe vera goes back almost 5000 years, at the beginning of the Egyptian era. Its first uses were topically and orally. The aloe vera gel, which is found when under the green skin of the plant is often used to treat burns, abrasions, psoriasis and other skin conditions. Aloe vera juice was used as the main component in many over-the-counter laxatives until 2002, before being removed from pharmacies for lack of information regarding their safety.
Aloe vera juice: what does it look like?
The juice is produced from the plant of the same name, a plant that grows in tropical climates around the world. The plant is widely used for its benefits and for decorative purposes (aloe vera is a nice indoor plant to own at home!). Aloes are also known as "puncture-proof plants", a good reason to choose them if you do not really have a green thumb. For the aloe to flourish, do not water them too much. Allow the soil to dry up to 5cm between waterings. Aloe can spend about three weeks without water in winter.

The plant extract is used in many health and skincare products, including lotions, oils, cosmetics and some other medicines. Also called ghritkumari in Hindi (and sothu kathalai in Tamil), the plant in its various forms has become a healthy and widespread ingredient, especially for its frost and juice, which we will discuss here.

Composition of aloe vera juice

Aloe vera contains 75 potentially active components, including vitamins, minerals, enzymes, sugar, amino acids, salicylic acids, lignin and saponins. In short, the vitamins of aloe vera juice include vitamins A, C and E, folic acid, vitamin B12 and choline. The plant also contains minerals such as calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese, selenium, sodium, zinc and potassium. Juice strengthens the body's immune system (whose health condition is often reflected on the skin).

Although no juice (or food, for that matter) can change the appearance of the skin by itself, we recognize that aloe vera juice could be scientifically convincing (but requires more research).

So if you tend to have dry skin or other skin problems like psoriasis, you could help promote healing from the inside by choosing foods that are anti-inflammatory, like aloe juice. It is also rich in antioxidants, which help protect cells against free radicals that damage the skin in its daily environment (I speak of the sun and the many pollutants that your skin fights daily).

So let's start by seeing the benefits of aloe, and then we will look at its shadows.

What are the benefits of aloe vera juice for health?

Aloe vera juice has beneficial effects on digestion and the immune system. It helps treat intestinal problems and boosts immunity. The plant is also good for the heart, it helps to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Other benefits of aloe vera include a balance of body pH, improved skin health and treatment of bad breath. It can even stimulate the uterus and improve menstrual rules. In fact, aloe vera juice was also mentioned in Ayurvedic texts, especially for its beneficial properties for the eyes and its ability to prevent various eye disorders.

benefits of aloe vera juice

1. Help with digestive problems

Juice has laxative properties that can help with digestion. It encourages intestinal bacteria and regulates bowel movements. It could also soothe and heal stomach ulcers.

Aloe vera juice can cleanse the digestive tract, which is vital for the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (which occurs due to the accumulation of toxins in the gastrointestinal tract). Although other forms of aloe vera also help in this regard, the advantage of the juice is that it can be absorbed by the stomach much more easily. The juice even stimulates the production of bile in the gallbladder: this breaks down fat in the body that can otherwise accumulate and cause constipation.

According to an Iranian study, aloe vera juice can reduce abdominal pain and flatulence in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (1). However, further research is needed regarding stool consistency in these patients.

Although the juice may have an anti-inflammatory effect on people with ulcerative colitis, it can also cause diarrhoea. So you have to be careful!

2. Moisturizes the body

Aloe vera juice contains nearly 200 active components and is very moisturizing. It prevents thirst that could cause exhaustion and fatigue. And since it contains a decent amount of potassium, it can theoretically increase energy levels.

According to a Brazilian study, aloe vera also improves skin hydration (2), perhaps for this reason that it crosses so much in cosmetic lotions?

3. Improve the health of the skin

Aloe vera can heal wounds and soothe the skin. Its effectiveness has even been demonstrated in the treatment of eczema, dandruff, skin ulcers and canker sores. It even helps to treat sunburn: it shows indeed a healing activity at the level of the epithelial layer of the skin.

Juice can also moisturize your skin without making it oily. It also prevents the drying of it.

The two hormones of aloe vera, auxin and gibberellins help heal acne and even treat scars.

Aloe vera can also help hide stretch marks caused during pregnancy, or by rapid weight gain or weight loss. And its antibacterial properties also facilitate psoriasis.

You can use it to remove makeup. It is a better alternative to all other make-up removers that contain aggressive chemicals. To do this, you can mix it with 1 teaspoon of almond milk and lemon juice and use it as a facial cleanser. Let stand on your face for a few minutes before rinsing.

According to studies, aloe vera also improves the wrinkles and elasticity of the skin of photo-aged skin. And according to an Iranian study, aloe vera can also speed up the healing process of wounds .

Aloe vera can even promote the growth of new skin cells. And more interestingly, it can absorb 20 to 30% of UV rays.

Aloe may be an excellent treatment for acne too since it contains substances that can reduce pain and inflammation. You can simply dab a thin layer of juice on the affected areas of your face.

Not only that, aloe vera can also act as an antiseptic. And it works very well to slow down the ageing process. Juice stimulates fibroblasts (which produce collagen and other elastin fibres), which makes the skin much more elastic and reduces wrinkles.

4. Help with weight loss

So, not in a direct way, but still is that aloe juice could help in weight loss through its anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is linked to weight gain and metabolic problems, so aloe vera juice may play a role in weight loss.

Aloe vera juice also contains aloin, which is a powerful laxative (we have already seen the laxative effects of aloe). This could also help with weight loss. But honestly, there is not much evidence in this regard.

An animal study found that aloe vera contains potent sterols that can improve body composition. Obese rats fed these sterols had lower body fat levels after 35 days. A similar effect is potentially possible in humans.

And according to a Japanese study, ingestion of aloe vera can prevent dietary obesity. She did this by stimulating energy expenditure and reducing body fat accumulation.

Aloe vera also had beneficial effects on obese people with prediabetes or diabetes.

5. Supports the immune system

Aloe vera juice can be very effective for your immunity. You can take a glass of juice before going to bed: the juice seeps into your system while you sleep. You should see the beneficial effects (such as improving overall well-being, reducing the frequency of illness) in a month, if you are consistent in the process.

Polish study finds that ingestion of aloe vera may stimulate cellular and humoral immunity (related to bodily fluids)

Risks and Side Effects of Aloe Vera Juice

But before you drink litres and litres, know this: although the nutritional composition of aloe vera is impressive, there is no research supporting the claim that aloe juice can improve the appearance of your skin.

While this may not affect your skin directly, anything that improves your overall health is likely to improve your appearance. However, do not take aloe vera juice if you are taking medications for digestive problems, blood disorders, or diabetes, because aloe may have a mild laxative and blood-thinning effects, and may cause a decrease in blood pressure. blood sugar in diabetics whose rates are already low.

If you are intrigued and want to test yourself this "elixir of beauty", I suggest you find a biological version, high quality, filtered juice (also known as aloe water), without no additives: flavours or sugars. The other solution is still to do it home as we have just seen.

Safety concerns related to the consumption of aloe vera juice continued to grow after the publication of the results of a two-year study by the National Toxicology Program. According to this study, when the researchers gave the rats an extract of whole leaves of aloe vera juice, there was "clear evidence of carcinogenic activity in male and female rats, from tumours of the large intestine".

But before going to tell people that aloe vera causes cancer, there are two things to consider:

This study was performed in animals. We do not know what would happen in humans, but these negative results should be enough to make you cautious until more information is available.
The researchers used a non-discoloured whole leaf aloe vera extract. The way aloe vera is treated can impact the different compounds found in the plant and therefore on your body. For example, when manufacturers bleach the aloe vera leaf (a process in which aloe vera passes through a charcoal filter), the components that give aloe vera its laxative properties, anthraquinones, are eliminated. A specific anthraquinone called Aloin is considered the driving force of tumour development in the animal study.
But there is not only bad news for aloe vera juice. In a study conducted in 2004 in the United Kingdom, researchers gave to drink to people with active ulcerative colitis, a type of inflammatory bowel disease, aloe vera gel (remember that in the animal study, they used aloe vera juice and not gel). After four weeks of drinking aloe vera gel in water twice daily, their symptoms began to improve towards the remission of ulcerative colitis (compared to the group receiving regular water). No significant negative side effects were felt.

Anyway, you should not drink aloe vera juice if you:

suffer from potassium deficiency: although aloe vera juice can help weight loss in a certain way, it can act negatively too. It is a laxative and acts as a diuretic, it can be harmful in the long run because it can lead to potassium deficiency (impaired muscle and heart function).
are pregnant and/or breastfeeding: aloe vera can be potentially dangerous when taken orally. A report links aloe vera to miscarriages. Juice can also increase the risk of birth defects. Avoid using it if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
have allergic reactions: Some people may be allergic to aloe. This could be true especially in people allergic to garlic, onions or tulips. Symptoms include skin rashes, hives, swelling or itching of the skin, chest pain, and difficulty breathing.
have kidney problems: this could be serious. Aloe vera juice can cause potentially dangerous kidney damage. Therefore, if you have kidney disease, avoid using aloe vera.
are likely to suffer from drug interactions: Aloe vera may lower blood sugar, which could cause a problem with diabetes medications.
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