April 11, 2022
Leave it to TikTok to discover (or, in this case, rediscover) all the best health trends. With over 13 million views on the hashtag, the spotlight currently belongs to aloe vera juice, a beverage many TikTokers claim can help clear breakouts, improve digestive health, and boost overall well-being, reports Bustle.
Aloe vera juice has been around for ages and is well-known for its nutrients and anti-inflammatory properties, says Dr. Laura DeCesaris, a clinical nutritionist and functional-medicine certified practitioner. But, she says, there’s an extra demand right now for multi-tasking functional beverages.
“Essentially, if you’re already going to be drinking fluids, it’s popular to look for options that have extra health benefits to help increase energy and vitality,” DeCesaris tells Bustle.
The juice comes from the cool, pulpy gel found inside the aloe vera leaf, which is then combined with water to create a drink, says DeCesaris. Yes, it’s the same stuff you put on sunburns too.
Aloe vera juice is widely available in bottles and jugs at grocery stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, as well as online and in health food stores. “You can drink it on its own or add it to a glass of water with a squeeze of citrus for a refreshing beverage,” she tells Bustle. Or, if you think it’s too bitter, you can blend it into a smoothie, mix it with sparkling water, or stir it into fruit juice.
While more research is needed to validate all of the potential benefits, DeCesaris says a few studies have shown that aloe vera juice may reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which includes digestive issues like constipation, bloating, and diarrhea. There’s also some evidence to suggest that it may help ease symptoms of heartburn, and that it may enhance the effectiveness of pharmaceutical interventions for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)—all great information to note if you’re prone to indigestion.
This may be because aloe vera juice is anti-inflammatory in nature, DeCesaris explains, and because it has “mucilaginous benefits” or a gel-like consistency that coats the lining of your stomach to reduce acid secretion. Then there are the antioxidants, like vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene, which she says can help to reduce inflammation even more and fight free radicals in the body.
While you might want to drink aloe vera juice for those digestion benefits, there are countless videos touting the drink’s many potential skin benefits, too. But does it really help if you drink it?
While TikTok says yes, naturopathic physician Dr. Alyssa DeSena isn’t so sure. “Most of the evidence supporting aloe vera’s use in acne is when aloe is used topically,” she tells Bustle. “There is not much on how aloe vera juice affects people who suffer with acne and psoriasis if they drink the juice.”
That said, DeSena points out that many folks who have breakouts and psoriasis often have gut health issues too, which is why drinking something that heals inflammation on the inside may lead to visible benefits on the outside. It’s just one of those online trends that research still needs to catch up with to fully understand its benefits as a natural remedy.
One word of warning: Aloe vera juice is a natural laxative, which is great news if you’re feeling constipated, but not so great if you already have regular bowel movements.
To make sure you don’t overdo it or upset your system, DeCesaris recommends drinking “inner leaf” aloe vera juice rather than “whole leaf.” It’s a bit milder in flavor and it’s less likely to cause loose stools, she says.
Start by drinking two ounces a day to see how you tolerate it, before slowly increasing to four ounces a day. “Everyone responds to foods, herbs, and drinks differently,” DeCesaris adds. “If you’re currently taking any medications, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor first before adding aloe to your routine.”
Research contact: @bustle