Why I stopped taking Aloe Vera Juice
Posted 25 November 2012 - 11:25 AM
I've been taking lifestream biogenic aloe vera juice 80mL a day for 6 months now but I stopped today because I learnt about the potential danger from this person:
Aloe vera is a wonderful short term healer for the gut, but we are warned against its long term use because it is a laxative & will turn the intestinal walls form a healthy pink to black. Please read on. Aloe Vera & I.B.S Because aloe is well-known as a gentle external treatment for minor burns and skin irritations, it's easy to assume that it would be safe for use internally as well. This is not necessarily true. Even though aloe vera is a plant, and thus "natural", it is still classified by the FDA as a Class 1 harsh stimulant laxative. There are substances called anthroquinones and anthrones in aloe, which produce a laxative effect by increasing colonic peristalsis and intestinal water content, by opening chloride channels of the colonic membrane to cause a net reduction of liquid absorption by the colon.In plain English, this means that aloe causes faster and stronger contractions of the colon - something that people with IBS are already overly prone to, and which can cause violent abdominal cramps, painful spasms, and diarrhea. The safety of aloe is another concern. All anthranoid laxatives (not just aloe, but senna and cascara sagrada as well) can cause melanosis coli, cathartic colon, and possibly increase the risk of colonic cancer. (In fact, genotoxicity studies show that aloe-containing laxatives pose cancer risks to humans even when used as directed.) Melanosis coli, normally a benign condition, is characterized by black pigmentation of the colonic wall, and is almost always attributable to anthranoid laxatives such as aloe, cascara, or senna. Melanosis coli usually develops 9 months after initiating the use of anthranoid laxatives, and typically disappears just as quickly after the drug is discontinued. In severe cases, however, it may reduce bowel function and make constipation worse. In advanced cases of melanosis coli, the inside lining of the colon becomes pitch black instead of the normal light pink. Cathartic colon is the anatomic and physiologic change in the colon that occurs with chronic use of stimulant laxatives such as aloe (chronic use is defined as more than 3 times per week for at least 1 year). Signs and symptoms of cathartic colon include chronic constipation, bloating, a feeling of fullness, abdominal pain, and incomplete fecal evacuation.Radiologic studies of a patient with cathartic colon will show: an atonic colon (the colon lacks the normal muscle tone) and a redundant colon (the laxative use has stretched out the colon to twice the normal length, and the bowel has developed redundant coils of bowel tubing that loop back and forth in the abdominal cavity). As if this isn't bad enough, chronic use of aloe can also lead to serious medical consequences such as fluid and electrolyte imbalance, steatorrhea, gastroenteropathy, osteomalacia, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies. When aloe is discontinued, radiographic and functional changes in the colon may only partially return to normal because of permanent drug-induced neuromuscular damage to the colon. What's really scary about aloe is that it's a very common ingredient in all sorts of liquid vitamins, energy boost drinks, and other health supplements, and these product labels won't note that aloe is a laxative. Aloe is even specifically marketed to people with IBS as a "digestive aid", or "soothing to the bowel", with an emphasis on the fact that it's an all-natural plant ingredient, which again just hides the fact that it is without a doubt a harsh stimulant laxative. At this point, products derived from aloe gel and intended for internal use have not been proven effective against any disease or disorder, but the dangers seem clear. I would err on the side of caution and avoid aloe altogether, as it seems to me that its well-established risks far outweigh any potential (and as yet unproven) benefits. ---------------------------------------------There are many products now on the market which contain Aloe, & I believe the last count for actual companies that bottle the juice from the plant, or buy it in bulk is now around 287 world wide!There is no doubt whatsoever that when used topically on burns, scalds,rashes & even sun-burn, Aloe has NO equal. It soothes & helps the area affected to heal rapidly, & because of those qualities I always have a plant by the back door for this purpose, but by the evidence now available such as mentioned above, I must ask you this question: Will you be constantly consuming Aloe in any form now knowing of these risks?? I CERTAINLY WILL NOTJust a warning to anyone taking Aloe Vera Juice for IBS.
I did some research I agree with him that Aloe Vera juice is NOT safe and I certainly don't want to increase my chance of getting Colon Cancer. So I immediately got rid of it.
I feel like I can't trust pharmacists any more. I thought pharmacy supplements were regulated better than this.
Why does pharmacy sell supplements that have not even been proven to be safe? I thought it was just the Health Stores that sells dodgy supplements like lithium orotate over the counter.
Posted 25 November 2012 - 02:02 PM
There is some debate if the compounds in laxatives that darken the wall of the colon cause cancer. More likely seems they may not, but there have been concerns over the years. They also do not seem to be as likely to cause cathartic colon (even if they make the colon dark) as ones that were pulled off the market long ago.
Everyone here complains about how big pharma is just interested in money but there is a large push back from the supplement industry and huge expensive scare campaigns launched any time any additional regulations are suggested for the vitamin and supplement industry. Here we have some independent labs that at least do test to see if they have what the label says it has (and an astonishing number of them, even supposedly good brands, even sold at the pharmacy) do not have in the pill what the label claims is in there.
You can't assume any supplement is safe, effective, or most of the time the ingredients really tell you what is in the pill. That being said, there are a lot of good brands and a lot of well made supplements, you just have to do a lot of leg work to figure it out.
You can get aloe that is just the gel part (not the latex which is the laxative) but you have to be able to trust the manufacturer. Anything made with whole leaf (usually what they call juice) will have some latex in it. Often you can't find out how much until you see how much it loosens the stool.
Ph.D in Biology
Posted 25 November 2012 - 11:31 PM
Posted 26 November 2012 - 07:16 AM
Doesn't matter if it is senna, cascara or aloe the active chemical in all these plants is similar. They may vary a bit, but the active ingredient is very similar/same chemical class.
Ph.D in Biology