Aloe vera is well-known for its skin-pampering benefits, and increasingly people are recognizing the power of the plant’s nutritional benefits. “You may be surprised to learn that aloe vera is a superfood,” shares Edward F. Group III, DC, NP, in Health Benefits of 13 Species of Aloe. “Few supplements today rival the complete nutritional benefits of this plant…Nutrient-dense plants like aloe vera offer effective ways to consume important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that support your overall health and well-being.”

The aloe vera plant contains more than 200 active components, including minerals, vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, and polysaccharides, according to the aloe experts at Lily of the Desert, in Best Practices for Daily Aloe Use“Polysaccharides are molecule chains that help transport nutrients efficiently, making them more bioavailable and improving the body’s overall condition.”

Dr. Group offers a detailed rundown of key nutrients in Benefits of Aloe Vera. And as Dr. Izabella Wentz, PharmD, FASCP, notes in How Aloe Vera Supports Thyroid Health, “There are various ways one can supplement with aloe, including juice, gel, powder, or capsule form.”

A sampling of what aloe offers

Improving nutrient absorption rates helps the stomach function more efficiently. Lily of the Desert’s team explains: “The active components in aloe vera also help remove waste from the body and lower toxin levels that may prevent cells from absorbing the nutrients your body needs.”

Antioxidant vitamins A, C and E in aloe help fight free radical damage within the body, says Christine Ruggeri, CHHC, in Aloe Vera Juice: the Gut-Friendly, Detoxifying Drink. Ruggeri offers an overview of the many positives in Aloe Vera Benefits: Help Heal Skin, Constipation and the Immune System. “Aloe vera provides an amazing number of vitamins and minerals that help reduce inflammation and fight free radical damage,” Ruggeri explains. “Vitamin A, for instance, plays a critical role in maintaining healthy vision, neurological function and healthy skin because it’s an antioxidant that reduces inflammation. Vitamin C is another important component found in aloe vera; it protects the body from cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease and even skin wrinkling. Vitamin E benefits include being a powerful antioxidant that reduces free radical damage, fights inflammation and helps naturally slow the aging of cells.”

Ruggeri adds that juice from the plant helps support digestion, normalizes acid/alkaline and pH balance, lessens yeast formation, encourages digestive bacteria and regularizes bowel processing.

On the immune front, the experts at Lily of the Desert  report: “Aloe vera supports the immune system by encouraging the production of white blood cells, which act as the body’s first line of defense against foreign contaminants. Another gold standard study conducted on Lily of the Desert’s aloe vera juice with Aloesorb found that it helped increase white blood cell counts by 10 fold.”

Dr. Group points to research showing aloe vera supports normal blood sugar. “Researchers reported that five active compounds in aloe vera reduced fasting blood sugar levels in mice up to 64% when consumed for four weeks. The same mice showed a 15% decrease in the A1C blood sugar levels This is significant because high blood sugar increases the presence of free radicals in the blood. It also increases damage to LDL cholesterol, which can lead to arterial plaques and the development of heart diseaseEven better, consuming aloe may support healthy levels of fat in the blood.  research has shown aloe vera encourages normal LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.”

There are cognitive benefits as well, the team at Thrive Market points out. “Some evidence shows that regularly intaking aloe vera juice can help to support memory, improve learning, and improve overall mood. The mental benefits that come from ingesting the plant still need to be investigated further, but so far the research is promising.”

Another upside: Dr. Wentz reports, “Aloe vera can decrease thyroid antibody levels and positively affect our thyroid hormone levels.” Dr. Wentz also highlights research suggesting aloe vera can also support liver and adrenal health, and protect the body from infections, as well as boost immune health, regulate blood sugar levels, and reduce oxidative stress. WF