Could Aloe Vera Cause Cancer?

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Aloe vera refers to the aloe barbadensis Miller plant. There are 420 different aloe species. Aloe vera is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a food additive for flavoring. Aloe vera does increase average lifespan of rats and drosophila fruit flies when added to the food and drinking water. Furthermore aloe-vera' class='brand-secondary'>aloe vera gel reduces wrinkles in humans. Concerns about the safety of aloe vera products have been raised by the National Cancer Institute. Aloe vera products that limit aloin to less than 5 ppm are safe for use. Products that contain a high aloin content are not safe. Aloin is reported to be potentially carcinogenic.

Aloe vera contains vitamin A, B (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), C, beta carotene, vitamin E and F along with choline and folic acid. Aloe vera extract aids the digestion of sugars and fats, because it contains amylases and lipases. The plant does also contain; sodium, aluminium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chromium, iron, copper and zinc. Saponins form 3% of the gel and have antiseptic properties. Aloe vera contains seven of the eight essential amino-acids.
Aloe contains phytochemicals such as the organic acids salicylic, chrysophanic, succinic, and uric, it contains polysaccharides such as acemannen, enzymes such as glutathione peroxidase, and various resins.

Aloe vera can grow indoors and it is easy to maintain. To prepare aloe vera the outer layers of the leaf are removed leaving the aloe gel or fillet. The gel can be pasteurized at 75-80°C for less than 3 minutes for stabilization. Higher tempetures can decompose the consituents of the gel.

Yuji Ikeno et al. reported that the lifelong ingestion of aloe vera gel does increase the average life span of Fischer rats. The animals used in this study...

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...ats are the anthraquinones in the parenchyma cells of whole leaf aloe vera. Aloe contains the anthraquinones barbaloin, isobarbaloin and anthrone C-glycosides. The rats received aloe water that contained 60 ppm aloin. The NTP did not found evidence of carcinogenic activity in mice. However the NTP has never conducted a study of the ingestion of decolorized whole leaf extract in rats.

Aloe vera is likely to be safe for use on the skin and is unlikely to cause skin cancer. Researchers at the university of Belgrade reported that aloe vera contains constituents that stop the proliferation of cells accompanied with skin cancer. One constituent that is protective against skin cancer is emodin.

Conclusion: aloe vera gel or fillet is safe to use as a dietary supplement and is potentially life prolonging. Non-decolorized whole leaf extract is potentially carcinogenic.
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