In 2020, the global dietary supplements market had an estimated value of $140.3 billion. What’s more, experts project its compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to be at least 8.6% from 2021 through 2028.
Aloe vera supplements, in turn, are products that classify as botanical supplements. Several cultures, after all, have used this plant for therapeutic and medicinal purposes. Some folks worldwide even call it a “wonder plant” and “the plant of immortality.”
What exactly is aloe vera, though? Do supplements that contain the plant’s extracts provide any benefit at all? Are they even safe and effective?
We’ll get to the bottom of all those questions, so read on to discover the facts about aloe vera and its supplements.
What Is Aloe Vera?
Aloe vera is one of the over 500 species of the Aloe plant genus, which are flowering, succulent plants. Researchers say about 120 Aloe species have medicinal use, with Aloe vera being one of them.
The erect leaves of Aloe vera are succulent, which means they’re thick, fleshy, and full of fluid. That gel-like fluid itself is behind many of Aloe vera’s purported health benefits. However, the skin of the leaves and the plant’s flowers also appear to have therapeutic uses.
What Are the Main Types of Aloe Vera Supplements?
Many aloe vera gel supplements are in pill or tablet form, while others are in powders. You can also find them in liquid form, usually as a ready-to-drink juice. Others are available in liquid concentrates or even as gels and creams.
Do note that not all aloe supplements in the market contain Aloe vera extracts. For instance, according to this product guide, some supplements use Aloe arborescens instead. They have similar properties, although the leaves of arborescens have lower gel content.
What Then Are Aloe Vera Supplement Benefits?
Among Aloe vera’s earliest uses are for treating burns and wounds. Moreover, its purported uses as a purgative and skin treatment go as far back as biblical times.
Thus, many Aloe vera supplements claim that they support skin and digestive health. Below is a closer look at these touted benefits and what scientists have to say about them.
May Help Improve Skin
According to scientists, the gel of Aloe vera leaves consists of 99% to 99.5% water. Solid components then make up the remaining 0.5% to 1%.
Researchers say those solids have about 75 ingredients with potential active effects. These include vitamins, minerals, 19 essential amino acids, and phenolic compounds, among others.
So, it’s no wonder that many aloe supplement makers say their products support skin health. For starters, Aloe vera gel is hydrating, which may then help moisturize and soften the skin.
Researchers also found that aloe vera juice may help ease conditions like dermatitis. It also appears to aid in wound healing by boosting blood circulation. Moreover, creams with 0.5% aloe vera seem to reduce the plaques left on the skin by psoriasis.
May Help Enhance Digestive Functions
Aloe vera contains enzymes known to help metabolize fats and sugars in the body. It’s in this way that it may help your digestive system process food faster and better. For the same reason, it may help you get the most nutrition out of your healthy meals and beverages.
What’s more, aloe vera may help reduce stomach and intestinal irritation. For example, in one study, people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) drank aloe vera juice. According to the patients, they felt less pain and discomfort.
May Help Ease Constipation
Aloe latex is the thick, yellow liquid sandwiched between the Aloe leaf’s inner rind and gel. It’s this component of the Aloe vera plant that has powerful laxative effects. It’s so potent that the FDA banned laxative products containing Aloe latex in 2002.
The good news is that some Aloe juice supplements retain only a fraction of the latex. As a result, they may have a milder laxative effect, which can be helpful for constipation. Just make sure to ask your doctor for advice before taking Aloe for this condition.
May Help Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Most people with high blood sugar levels, also known as hyperglycemia, have diabetes. Diabetes, in turn, is a chronic condition in which the body can’t make or process insulin. Unfortunately, though, insulin is necessary for converting glucose into energy.
So, if you don’t have enough insulin or your body doesn’t use it properly, your energy levels can drop. Moreover, having too much glucose can give rise to problems like obesity. It also raises your risk for diseases of the eyes, heart, kidneys, feet, and nerves.
The good news is that aloe vera gel may help promote lower blood sugar levels. In addition, it may aid in body fat and weight reduction.
However, it’s vital to keep in mind that Aloe vera on its own may not result in significant fat or weight loss. It may only help if you’re active, such as through sports or exercise, and if you have healthy eating habits. In short, don’t rely on Aloe vera supplements alone to trim your weight.
May Help Promote Healthier Cholesterol Levels
The body uses cholesterol, a waxy substance, to make vitamins, hormones, and cells. However, too much of this in your system can lead to fatty build-ups in the blood vessels and heart valves. Over time, these clogs can then raise your risks for heart disease and stroke.
According to researchers, Aloe vera extracts may help reduce cholesterol levels. This effect may have to do with the plant’s amino acid, vitamin, and polyphenol content.
Consider Taking Aloe Vera Supplements With Your Doc’s Approval
There you have it, your ultimate guide on Aloe vera supplements and what science has to say about them. Just keep in mind that while some studies back up Aloe vera benefits, they’re not conclusive. This is why it’s essential to ask your doctor for advice first before you start taking these products.
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