Are Aloe Vera Juice Benefits for Real?

Find out whether aloe vera juice is a miracle drink or just aftersun lotion in a glass.

If you keep tabs on trendy "health drinks," then you've probably heard of aloe vera juice. But even if you've heard people singing the praises of the drink, you might still be curious if any of the supposed benefits of aloe vera juice — weight loss, digestion assistance, or immune support, for example — are real or just a myth.

What is aloe vera juice good for exactly? Here, experts weigh in on whether the supposed benefits of aloe vera juice are legit.

Benefits of Aloe Vera Juice
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What Is Aloe Vera Juice?

Throughout history, aloe vera has been used both topically and orally. Aloe vera gel, found when you break open the green leafy skin of the aloe plant, is often used topically to treat burns, abrasions, psoriasis, and other skin conditions thanks to its soothing properties. Aloe vera juice, primarily produced from the green outer leaf, was used as a component in many over-the-counter laxatives until 2002 when the FDA pulled them from drugstore shelves due to insufficient information regarding their safety.

You may have come across lots of info about the health benefits of aloe vera juice, but what about aloe water? There's really not much difference, says Janet Brill, Ph.D., R.D.N., L.D.N., a nutrition expert and consultant. Both start with a base of aloe vera gel (the topical stuff you're familiar with as a top ingredient in sunburn care products), which is derived from the central part of the aloe plant, she explains. What the gel is blended with next is what determines what kind of product you see on store shelves. "Aloe juice is basically the gel blended with a citrus juice, like orange juice. Aloe water is simply water blended with the gel," explains Brill.

Aloe Vera Juice Nutrition Facts

Aloe vera contains carbohydrates as well as various micronutrients such as vitamins A, C, and E, calcium, magnesium, and potassium, according to an article published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology.

Below, the nutrition info for 128 grams (5 ounces) of an aloe vera juice drink, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture:

  • 15 calories
  • 0 grams protein
  • 3.75 grams carbohydrate
  • 0 grams fat
  • 0 grams fiber
  • 3.75 grams sugar

Health Benefits of Aloe Vera Juice

The benefits of drinking aloe vera juice or aloe water are still up in the air, so consider the below potential perks, not promises.

May Boost Hydration

As the name would lead you to believe, aloe water is made of mostly, well, water. So you'll definitely get a kick of hydration along with a decent amount of potassium and vitamin C. But that doesn't mean you should guzzle to your heart's content. "A lot of manufacturers that sell aloe juice or aloe water add in sugar [to sweeten the taste], bumping up the calorie count to 130 per cup or more," says Brill.

May Better Your Eyesight

Aloe vera contains beta-carotene, which is a carotenoid that is usually found in orange foods (including cantaloupe and carrots). As Shape previously reported, the body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A, which can not only provide skin and immunity benefits but also improve your eye and vision health.

May Improve Skin

If you're looking to improve your skin, aloe vera juice could offer some serious beauty-boosting benefits. Researchers have yet to prove whether aloe vera juice has any real impact, but consider the nutritional stats: In addition to the potassium and vitamin C you'll find, there's also a plethora of antioxidants, which help protect the skin against damaging free radicals in the environment (such as smog and pollutants) and folic acid, which fortifies the body's immune system. Still, it's safe to say you probably shouldn't expect facial-level results from a bottle of aloe vera juice.

May Ease Ulcerative Colitis Symptoms

In a 2004 study from the U.K., researchers gave people with active ulcerative colitis, a type of inflammatory bowel disease, aloe vera gel to drink. After four weeks of drinking aloe vera gel in water (aka aloe water) twice per day, their symptoms began improving toward remission of ulcerative colitis, compared to those given plain water. No significant negative side effects were experienced due to drinking the aloe vera gel.

Potential Risks of Aloe Vera Juice

You should note that aloe water and aloe vera juice may act as a natural laxative, says Brill. So it's important to watch for aloe vera juice side effects with digestion or bloating problems and be sure to rehydrate if you experience any diuretic symptoms after drinking aloe vera juice.

What's more, because there's so little scientific data to support the potential benefits of aloe vera juice or how much aloe vera juice is considered safe for humans to drink daily, it's best to consult with a professional such as your doctor or a nutritionist before adding aloe vera juice to your fridge.

How to Buy and Use Aloe Vera Juice

Aloe vera juice is available at many drugstores, grocery stores, and websites. Alternatively, you can purchase an aloe vera leaf from a grocery store to make your own homemade aloe vera juice.

But if drinking a glass of aloe vera juice or aloe water alone doesn't sound super appealing to you, consider trying one of the ideas below:

In a cocktail. Freeze aloe water into ice cube trays to boost the nutrition and flavor of your juice or cocktail. Try these aloe vera margaritas from Wicked Spatula.

In a refreshing non-alcoholic drink. If you'd rather get hydrated than buzzed, make a refreshing slush with aloe vera juice as the key ingredient.

In a smoothie. Try aloe vera juice as the liquid base for smoothies — just swap for almond milk or oat milk.

In a frozen treat. You can use aloe vera juice to make refreshing and colorful popsicles. Try using bright kiwi and strawberry for these frozen treats.

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