Nikki Yelton is an Integrative & Functional Medicine Registered Dietitian Nutritionist serving clients worldwide. She offers a personalized functional medicine approach to helping women with GI distress and autoimmune conditions to get to the root cause of the symptoms holding them back so that they can start living the extraordinary life they dream of with more energy, purpose, and joy!
The list of benefits for aloe vera juice is much longer than you may realize, especially when it comes to gut health and autoimmunity. It’s a wonderful gut healthy addition to your diet that can support your body in your gut health goals!
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Did you know that aloe vera can be used for more than just a sunburn? The list of benefits for aloe vera juice is much longer than you may realize.
Aloe vera is well renowned for its soothing properties. As a child, I remember my mother picking apart the aloe plant, opening it up, and slathering it all over me after a long day of too much sun at the beach or pool.
The purpose of this “magic” plant remains the same throughout the whole body as it does the skin— to reduce inflammation.
WHAT IS ALOE VERA?
The aloe vera plant is one of the most useful plants out there. There are actually over 300 species of the aloe vera plant, but the one you will typically find as a houseplant is the Aloe barbadensis miller. This is a thick succulent with flexible leaves that are filled with a clear watery gel.
Each leaf is made up of three layers— the inner gel, the middle layer of latex, and the outer rind. The inner gel is made up of 99% water and glucomannans, amino acids, lipids, sterols and vitamins. The middle latex layer of sap contains anthraquinones and glycosides. And the outer thick rind layer serves as a protective barrier.
The most beneficial part of the plant is the inner gel. You can collect the aloe vera gel by tearing open the leaves. Once mixed with water, it becomes aloe vera juice. Aloe vera gel and juice have both been associated with medicinal properties for humans, both externally and internally, for centuries.
ALOE VERA IN SKINCARE
The Aloe vera plant is most well known for its skin care properties. Most of the time you will find products containing aloe in the suncare section due to its long standing reputation for soothing sunburnt skin. The gel has an immediate cooling effect on skin burned with too much sun exposure.
Aloe vera gel contains many anti-inflammatory properties which reduce the pain, swelling, and redness associated with a sunburn. It contains the enzyme bradykinase and inhibits the cyclooxygenase pathway, both of which are known to reduce inflammation. Aloe vera also stimulates collagen production and contains mucopolysaccharides, which help your skin hold onto moisture. And additionally, vitamins A, C, E found in aloe vera help neutralize free radicals, decreasing sun damage.
These moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties are also why many skincare brands include aloe in not only suncare lines, but in daily wear or anti-aging products as well. The ancient Egyptians actually called aloe vera “the plant of immortality!”
IS IT SAFE TO DRINK ALOE VERA JUICE?
While you’d expect to find aloe products in skincare, you may also be noticing it in the beverage aisle at your local grocery or health food store. This comes at no surprise because the same anti-inflammatory benefits that aloe vera gel has on skin may also benefit your internal health!
There are however, some guidelines to stick to when consuming aloe to reap the most benefits and minimize side effects.
First of all, always check the ingredient list to ensure that one of the first ingredients includes aloe vera or aloe barbadensis. You’ll want to make sure what you’re buying actually contains aloe and isn’t a marketing ploy.
Secondly, I suggest avoiding sugary drinks that contain minimal amounts of aloe vera rather than it being the main ingredient. Sweetened and processed aloe vera beverages lack the nutritional value that pure aloe vera juice provides.
Look for aloe vera juice beverages that are:
And when it comes to serving sizes, start small! I suggest starting with 1 fluid ounce of aloe vera in a serving and sticking to no more than 4 fluid ounces as your body adjusts. Large quantities can trigger unpleasant side effects such as having a laxative effect.
HEALTH BENEFITS FOR ALOE VERA JUICE
Drinking fresh, organic, and pure aloe vera juice has numerous health benefits. It’s chock full of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and more that support your gut microbiome, digestive system, and stomach acid regulation. I highly recommend consuming aloe vera juice in moderation to benefit from its anti-inflammatory properties!
Here are some examples of why drinking aloe vera juice can be beneficial to your overall health:
1. Aloe vera contains a ton of beneficial & anti-inflammatory active compounds
Aloe vera contains about 75 active compounds that benefit your overall health and support important functions in your body. Here are some of the main properties:
Vitamins: It contains vitamins A (beta-carotene), C, E, B12, folic acid, and choline
Minerals: It contains calcium, chromium, copper, selenium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium and zinc.
Enzymes: It contains 8 enzymes— aliiase, alkaline phosphatase, amylase, bradykinase, carboxypeptidase, catalase, cellulase, lipase, and peroxidase. Bradykinase is especially important as it helps to reduce inflammation.
Fatty Acids: It contains 4 fatty acids that have inflammatory action— cholesterol, campesterol, β-sisosterol and lupeol.
Amino acids: It provides 20 of the 22 human required amino acids and 7 of the 8 essential amino acids.
Anthraquinones: It provides 12 anthraquinones (mainly aloin), which are often used as laxatives.
2. Aloe vera balances the ratio of good vs. bad gut bacteria
According to recent studies, aloe vera can boost the growth of beneficial bacteria, inhibit harmful bacteria, and balance the pH of the microbiome. These are all essential properties of a gut healing protocol!
Polysaccharides found in aloe vera, fructans and acemannan, were found to have prebiotic properties. In other words, these polysaccharides feed the good bacteria in your gut! The results of this study showed that the prebiotic properties of aloe vera induced a 14% increase in the bacteria Bifibidobacterium spp. in the gut microbiome.
Aloe vera also contains antiseptic agents, which can help rid the gut microbiome of pathogenic bacteria. It contains lupeol, salicylic acid, urea nitrogen, cinnamonic acid, phenols and sulfur, all of which inhibit harmful fungi, bacteria, and viruses!
Additionally, aloe vera is naturally alkalizing, which can help balance the pH of the gut.
3. Aloe vera can help heal leaky gut
Aloe juice helps coat the stomach lining, preventing and soothing irritation, helping to heal leaky gut. Leaky gut, or intestinal permeability, occurs when there are holes in the tight junctions along your gut lining. This allows for toxins to leak into your bloodstream, causing loads of inflammation.
Recent research has shown that aloe vera helps to decrease the lactulose/ mannitol ratio, which is a marker of intestinal permeability and essential for healing the gut!
Aloe vera also helps heal the gut lining as it’s super high in fiber and triggers the production of short chain fatty acids (SCFAs). Acetate, butyrate, and propionate are the main SCFAs produced when bacteria in the gut breaks down prebiotic foods like fiber. They are extremely anti-inflammatory and healing for the gut!
And lastly, aloe vera aids in the production of collagen. The polysaccharide glucomannan and growth hormone gibberellin found in aloe increase collagen after both topical and oral treatment. This is great because collagen is fantastic for the gut!It repairs the gut lining, regulates stomach acid, and is rich in the amino acid glycine, which helps with daily detoxification.
4. Aloe vera aids in healthy digestion
Aloe vera can be a helpful treatment for those with motility problems like constipation and IBS. A slow digestion rate, irregularity, and abdominal pain are all symptoms of an upset digestive system that aloe vera can help to alleviate.
As noted above, aloe is super high in fiber! This is helpful for those that struggle with constipation because fiber boosts the water content in your intestines, which helps bowels to move along smoothly and regularly.
Aloe also contains compounds with laxative properties such as aloins like barbaloin and anthraquinones. These increase intestinal water content and stimulate mucus secretion in the colon, both of which contribute to a laxative effect!
In a recent review, aloe vera showed a significant difference in symptoms of those with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Plus, no adverse events related with the use of aloe vera were found in the included studies!
5. Aloe vera can soothe heartburn and acid reflux
Aloe vera’s soothing anti-inflammatory properties can also help calm heartburn and acid reflux. Acid reflux occurs when the contents of your stomach that have not been broken down your stomach acid are pushed back up into the esophagus. The acidity of the contents then burns the esophageal lining, which causes that burning sensation, also known as heartburn.
Luckily, just as aloe can cool a sunburn, it can also soothe your esophagus! Aloe vera juice is anti-inflammatory, so it is helpful for calming the irritation of your esophagus after a bout of acid reflux. It is also alkaline, which means it can help neutralize the acid in your stomach. This can alleviate the burning sensation as it occurs AND prevent it from happening as often.
GINGER LEMONADE WITH ALOE VERA RECIPE
Now that you’re aware of how beneficial aloe vera can be to your health, the question remains— what is the best way to incorporate it into your routine?
My favorite way to incorporate aloe vera in my diet is through experimenting with yummy beverages! I love to add pure aloe vera juice to other gut-healthy ingredients to make delicious healing drinks without the added sugars and preservatives that come with processed juices.
This hydrating and anti-inflammatory lemonade I’m sharing is the ultimate example! This ginger lemonade with aloe vera recipe is perfect for summer. You can reap all the benefits of aloe vera with the added bonuses of lemon juice and ginger!
Lemon juice is alkalizing and stimulates digestion while ginger calms the digestive tract, soothes the stomach, and is antimicrobial! Plus, the maple syrup is a much healthier sweetener to opt for.
This delicious ginger-aloe lemonade is refreshing and full of gut healthy benefits.
1 fl oz pure aloe juice
2 tbsps lemon juice
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp ginger (peeled & finely grated)
1 cup water
Add all ingredients to a mason jar and shake vigorously.
Strain into a glass with ice. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Garnish: Serve with lemon slices and fresh ginger.
No maple syrup: Use honey instead.
Cut the sweetness: Add a pinch of sea salt
Keywords: aloe vera juice, aloe lemonade, ginger lemonade, aloe vera drink
If you try this recipe, let me know how you like it! I always encourage you to tag me in your creations on Instagram and Facebook!
ARE THERE ANY RISKS OR SIDE EFFECTS TO DRINKING ALOE VERA JUICE?
While drinking aloe vera is safe, I recommend you always consult your doctor before starting any supplements like aloe vera juice. This is especially true if you are on any prescription medications or have any conditions.
Aloe vera could cause drug interactions for those taking glucose-lowering medications, as it can further lower blood sugar. It should also be avoided by anyone about to have surgery as it can interact with anesthesia.
And lastly, remember how we talked about the laxative effects of aloe vera for those with constipation? These same properties can cause cramping and diarrhea if you drink too much aloe vera in short amounts of time. Less is more!
WRAPPING IT UP
There you have it! Aloe is a wonderful gut healthy addition to your diet that is packed with nutrients and can ease inflammation, balance gut bacteria, heal leaky gut, support your digestive system, and soothe heartburn and acid reflux. The benefits for aloe vera juice can support your body in your gut health goals.
And while consuming aloe vera can provide numerous benefits to your gut and overall health, oftentimes it’s necessary to work with a functional medicine practitioner to truly heal your gut imbalances and dysfunctions. Gut health and autoimmunity is my passion, which is why I’ve created several programs to help you achieve the healthiest gut. Learn more about my signature coaching program, Microbiome Makeover, right here!
"When it comes to balancing our body, healing the gut, reversing autoimmunity, and achieving optimal health—we are a lot like a car that won’t run right. In order to fix the problem once and for all instead of relying on jumper cables, we must get underneath the hood, run the diagnostics, and replace the battery so that it runs good as new."
-Nikki Yelton, RD
a note from nikki:
If you are ready to stop wasting precious time, get off the never-ending hamster wheel, and finally surrender trying to figure things out on your own—this is your moment.
You don’t have to settle for just getting by and hoping tomorrow is a better day. We both know you are a woman who deserves better and are made for so. much. more.
are you ready?
Ready to resolve your GI distress, reverse autoimmunity, and live your extraordinary life?