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Aloe Vera for Weight Loss: Benefits, Risks and Dosage

Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis) is a succulent plant which has been used medicinally by various cultures for over 1000 years.  In recent decades, aloe vera has become very popular as a health supplement and natural cure for certain ailments.  Some of the supposed benefits of aloe vera include:

  • Reducing arthritis
  • Treating bowel disorders including constipation
  • Treating burns and dermatological problems, including herpes
  • Alleviating digestive ailments including ulcers
  • Reducing blood sugar levels
  • Fighting obesity

Most of these purported benefits of aloe vera are based on historical use and not medical research.  However, the popularity of aloe vera has triggered increased research into the plant and studies support some benefits of the plant, including for weight loss.

How Aloe Vera Helps Weight Loss

There are 75 compounds in aloe vera, including many vitamins, enzymes, minerals, and amino acids.  Many of these natural compounds can support weight loss either directly by, for example, supporting metabolism, or indirectly by supporting health.  The primary way in which aloe vera seems to support weight loss is by reducing blood sugar levels.  When you consume carbohydrates in foods, they are broken down into glucose (sugar) and transported to cells to be used as energy.  If the energy is not used, it is stored as fat.

High levels of blood sugar have been linked to obesity.  When you eat a carbohydrate which is quickly broken down into sugar, such as starchy foods without fiber, it causes a spike in blood sugar levels.  Since the body is unable to use the energy, it stores it as fat.  The problem is not so much fat storage though but that the body will quickly remove the sugar from the blood.  This causes low levels of blood sugar which will trigger hunger cravings and may lead to overeating and weight gain.

Aloe vera helps support weight loss because it contains chemicals called phytosterols which have proven to reduce blood sugar levels. By keeping blood sugar levels  from spiking, aloe vera causes sugar to be delivered to cells gradually rather than quickly being stored as fat.  Most notably for weight loss, the steady levels of blood sugar will keep you feeling full after eating for much longer.

There are numerous studies which back up aloe vera for lowering blood sugar levels.  In one study, women were given a teaspoon of aloe vera juice twice daily for 42 days.  Their blood sugar levels dropped from 250 to 141 whereas no change was indicated in the placebo group.  However, these results were not able to be repeated in a subsequent study.

Other Ways that Aloe Vera May Help Weight Loss

Aside from steadying blood sugar levels to block appetite and fat storage, there are other ways in which aloe vera may be helpful for weight loss.  Aloe vera contains many nutrients, including B vitamins, which can support metabolism.  There are various antioxidants in aloe vera as well.  While antioxidants do not directly cause weight loss, they may help the body function better so you have more energy for exercise and metabolism.  Antioxidants also fight off toxins which get released into the bloodstream with fat breakdown.

Aloe vera is commonly used as a colon cleanser.  When taken, it acts as a laxitive and can help expel waste byproducts which have built up in the bowels.  Though there is little clinical evidence supporting colon cleansers for weight loss, it is thought that the digestive system will work better when free of buildup, thus preventing weight gain. Aside from cleansing the bowels, there are numerous studies which support aloe vera’s benefits for digestive ailments.

How to take Aloe Vera Supplements for Weight Loss

Aloe vera usually comes as juice, gel, or extract.  For dermatological treatments, aloe vera comes as a topical gel.  When taking aloe vera for weight loss, the recommended dosage amount is usually 100-200 mg of juice, 50 mg of extract, or 1 tbsp of gel.  Note that these dosages are only guidelines.  Oral aloe vera can cause some adverse side effects if used over a long duration of time and may also interact with medications.  Before taking aloe vera for weight loss, it is always best to consult with your doctor to ask about safety and the most effective dosage for your needs.

References:

Vogler, BK and E Ernst. “Aloe vera: a systematic review of its clinical effectiveness.” British Journal of General Practice, Oct 1999: 823-828.

“Clinical Abstracts: Diabetes.”Aloe.lu. Health Coach. N.d. Web.

“Aloe.” Drugs.com. Drugs.com. n.d. Web. 

DISCLAIMER

The content provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Our content is not medical advice and you should seek a licensed physician or health professional regarding all health issues. WEIGHTLOSS.US takes no responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, or application of medication which results from reading this site.