Aloe vera juice for gut health is all the rage, but is it safe?
“My skin is glowing, my digestion is better, I feel less bloated,” one TikToker said in a video with over 21,000 views. “I drink one a day.”
In another video with over 5 million views, a young woman says, “I’ve been taking this for about a week and a half now… my digestive system, like my gut health? Never been better. Never been better.”
Olivia Ashton, MS, RD, CSSD, also took to TikTok to discuss the growing trend.
“Aloe vera has been confirmed to have anti-inflammatory properties for the skin, but what about in liquid form? Does it have gut health benefits? Some studies say yes, some say no,” she says.
While dozens of women on TikTok claim that drinking anything from an ounce to a full bottle of aloe vera juice can do wonders for their gut health, what does the science actually say?
The benefits of drinking aloe vera
“Aloe vera, known as the ‘plant of immortality’, has been used for centuries claiming to have healing properties for the skin, digestive system, prevention of diabetes, as well as many other conditions. “, confirms Dr. Claire Shortt, principal scientist. to FoodMarble.
“It may have just jumped onto the scene via TikTok but in reality, aloe juice has long been praised for its health benefits, especially on gut health,” says Dr Giuseppe Aragona, GP and advisor. health for Prescribing doctor.
“Aloe vera juice can help people with chronic constipation or constipation-predominant IBS,” says Shortt. This is because people with IBS and chronic constipation have gut microbes that produce excess methane, which slows the mobility of food through the digestive system. “Aloe vera contains compounds that, when ingested, can have a laxative effect.” In other words, it can help shake things up again.
A study 2018 in the Journal of Neurogastroenterol and Motility suggested that people with IBS had significantly improved symptoms after taking aloe vera compared to a placebo, while a test 2013 in the Medical Science Research Journal found that aloe vera can reduce pain, discomfort, and flatulence.
“Some recent studies [such as a 2015 study in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine and a 2016 study in the Natural Medicine Journal] also reported that consuming aloe vera syrup may help people with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD),” she continues. “Aloe vera has been shown to reduce symptoms such as heartburn, belching, and food and acid regurgitation.” So if you suffer from acid reflux, aloe vera juice can help.
And what about the benefits for people without gut health issues?
“Aloe vera juice helps maintain the good bacteria in your gut to keep your gut flora balanced,” says Aragona. “When our gut bacteria are balanced, our digestion is facilitated and improved, which helps with issues such as bloating and glass.”
However, the research is still quite insufficient. Some studies, like the one from 2019 study in Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, show that aloe vera contains antioxidants that may have anti-inflammatory effects on the body. “A lot of them are smaller, shorter studies,” notes Shortt. “Therefore, further studies are needed to assess the safety of its long-term consumption.”
The dangers of drinking aloe vera
“Studies so far have shown that aloe vera juice is safe to consume, but it comes with a few caveats mainly, the dose consumed and if you suffer from any negative side effects or if you have certain conditions,” says Shortt.
Aloe vera juice is not for everyone. If you are not constipated, it can lead to diarrhea. “If you experience this, it’s best to reduce the amount you consume or, if severe, avoid it altogether,” warns Shortt. “Diarrhea can cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalance which, if not corrected quickly, can negatively impact your health.”
You should also avoid aloe vera juice if you are:
- Pregnant or breastfeeding
- Allergic to latex
How To Safely Incorporate Aloe Vera Juice Into Your Diet
Shortt and Argona suggest that drinking too much aloe vera juice can be dangerous. “It’s best to drink a small amount at first to see how well your body tolerates it,” says Shortt. “Drinking more isn’t necessarily going to give you more benefits.”
Here are some tips for drinking it safely:
- Aloe vera juice strengths and formulas vary, so it’s also best to read the label and not exceed the recommended dose. In general, between 15 ml and 50 ml are recommended but studies have shown beneficial effects from the consumption of 10 ml. Remember, more is not always better. Limiting aloe vera juice to smaller portions, but more often, can have health benefits and help reduce the risk of potential side effects.
- If you have a sensitive gut or are prone to loose stools, you should probably drink aloe vera juice every few days, in smaller amounts.
- Aloe vera is safe to drink on an empty stomach or with your daily meals. Some people find it less appealing to drink unsweetened aloe vera juice, you can mix it with fresh fruit, add mint, or dilute it with sparkling water.
Shortt sums it up with a caveat, “Researchers and doctors both agree that more research is needed to fully understand the benefits and negative side effects of long-term aloe vera consumption.” Our advice? Aloe vera can be a useful supplement for people with certain pre-existing bowel conditions such as GERD or IBS. But since it’s a natural laxative, it can only harm your gut health if your gut microbe is already healthy.
Moreover, it is never healthy to regard a product as a holy grail. “The hype is accurate to some extent, but drinking aloe juice alone won’t lead you to a healthy body,” says Aragona. “You can incorporate it into your diet, but also make sure you eat a healthy, balanced diet and exercise regularly.”