Aloe vera, also known as Aloe barbadensis, has been a staple for thousands of years in many cultures around the world. Today, it’s used in lotions, ointments, creams, sunburn remedies, and cosmetics, among other things. Traditional uses for aloe vera include soothing burns, moisturizing skin, and healing small wounds. Many people even apply it to reduce the appearance of acne. Aloe vera offers a wide range of nutritional benefits that support more than just skin health. Let’s take a look at some other uses you may not know about.
1. Aloe Vera Supports the Immune System
The immune system requires oxygen-rich blood. Aloe vera supports nutrient absorption, a key factor in maintaining blood-oxygen levels. Oddly enough, one of the ways aloe does this is by keeping the digestive tract clean through bowel regularity.
Aloe also acts as an adaptogen, which keeps cells in balance. It helps protect them from stress and other factors that disrupt their function, in turn making it easier for the immune system to do its job.
Aloe vera is an abundant source of polysaccharides. Research shows these complex sugars improve the efficiency of the immune system. Aloe is also rich in the antioxidants that protect against free radicals.
2. Aloe Vera Supports Normal Digestion
Aloe vera contains two enzymes — amylase and lipase — that are helpful for encouraging normal digestion. Aloe also helps keep your stomach acid levels balanced to support a normal gut environment.[5,6]
Some preliminary research suggests aloe may also help with ulcerative colitis, a condition in which ulcers form in the intestines. In a clinical trial, 30 patients suffering from the condition were given aloe vera. Fourteen of the thirty patients reported some form of improvement; only four patients in the placebo group reported improvement.
Aloe contains acemannan. Acemannan and other polysaccharides are prebiotics that support probiotics in the gut. When you have these ‘good guys’ in your gut, you’re apt to digest your food better, get more nutritional value from it, and just enjoy better health. A University of California, Davis study found people who consumed aloe vera absorbed vitamin C and vitamin B12 better.
3. Helps Relieve Symptoms of IBS?
Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, affects many people. Common symptoms include gas, diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal discomfort. Many people have reported experiencing relief after taking aloe supplements.[10,11]
4. Rich in Vitamins and Minerals
Aloe is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, including:
- Vitamin A (beta-carotene): Important for healthy skin, teeth, bones, and eyes.
- Vitamin C: Vital for energy creation, skin health, and immune function.
- Vitamin E: Protects the skin from UV damage.
- Vitamin B12: Keeps nerve and brain cells healthy. Necessary to replicate DNA.
- Folic acid: Essential for brain function, liver health, and energy creation.
- Choline: Supports metabolism and the neurotransmitters needed for memory, focus, and a positive mood.
Aloe contains calcium, chromium, copper, selenium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium, and zinc, all of which are integral to energy creation, hormone balance, cellular reproduction, and immune system function.
5. Aloe Vera is a Great Source of Nutrients and Enzymes
Aloe vera is often called a superfood because, in addition to vitamins and minerals, it offers more than 200 other bioavailable nutrients. It’s especially rich in the following enzymes, which support energy creation, hormone function, digestion, and toxin removal:
- Alkaline phosphatase
There is a group of nutrients known as secondary metabolites which are only found in aloe. Some of these include aloe emodin, chrysophanol, aloesin, and aloin. Research shows these nutrients can offer a number of other important health benefits.
6. Aloe Supports Cardiovascular Health
Phytosterols are beneficial compounds in plants and aloe vera is a particularly rich source. Phytosterols help balance LDL cholesterol levels and support cardiovascular health. In a five-year study of 5,000 heart disease patients, researchers found those who consumed aloe vera and another plant called ‘Husk of Isabgol’ had better cholesterol and blood sugar numbers.
7. Aloe Vera Boosts Dental Health
A recent study involving 345 participants suggests aloe makes an effective mouthwash that supports healthy teeth and gums. Another study found that aloe vera gel can help fight Candida albicans, a common mouth fungus.
8. Aloe Fights Harmful Organisms
Some plants contain a variety of chemicals and compounds that serve as antiseptic agents and help combat harmful organisms. Aloe vera itself contains six powerful antiseptic agents the human body is able to use: lupeol, salicylic acid, urea nitrogen, cinnamic acid, phenols, and sulfur.
9. Aloe Vera is Ultra Soothing
One of the best uses for aloe vera is to soothe all types of red, swollen, irritated tissue. It contains an enzyme called bradykinase that helps reduce irritation.
10. Aloe Vera May Have Anti-Aging Properties
It appears aloe vera does more than soothe and moisturize. It also offers anti-aging benefits that clear the appearance of wrinkles from the inside out. In one study, 30 women over the age of 45 took an aloe vera gel supplement for 90 days. By the end of the study, the appearance of their facial wrinkles decreased and their skin looked better.
Aloe vera does a lot more than soothe a sunburn. It’s good for skin and is a potent superfood that delivers powerful nutrition. There are several ways to harness the benefits of aloe vera. You can take it as a juice, a gel, or in pill form. When choosing an aloe supplement, check the ingredients. Some products include ingredients other than aloe vera and may not contain the nutrients, ingredients, or concentrations you expect, acemannan in particular.
I recommend Aloe Fuzion™. It’s a highly bioavailable aloe vera supplement made from organic inner leaf aloe vera gel. It contains the most acemannan content of any aloe vera product available and the feedback has been outstanding.
Is aloe vera a favorite of yours? How do you use it? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts with us.
by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM
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