I’m Dr. Michael Haley from Haley Nutrition and I got a great question by email that is commonly asked in one shape or another – not necessarily related to ulcerative colitis but in this case, Christie writes: “I am wondering if maybe you know why people don’t recommend aloe for bleeding ulcerative colitis. I’ve read from multiple people and resources not to drink aloe with ulcerative colitis but they never say why.”
And, you know, whether you’re asking this about ulcerative colitis or acid reflux, or crohn’s disease, irritable bowel disease, inflammatory bowel disease, you know, celiac disease, I believe the answer is the same in that there are different parts of the aloe vera plant. And from the research done which was on outer leaf extract, they called it “aloe vera”, which for some reason people would refer to the outer leaf as aloe vera – that’s curious. I don’t really understand it other than the fact people were manufacturing back 20 to 25 years ago, they were manufacturing aloe vera as a laxative and it was only the outer leaf.
I think that’s where the confusion got started where people refer to outer leaf as aloe vera. Now there’s also inner leaf aloe vera that we also call aloe vera. Or, whole leaf aloe vera which has the inner and the outer leaves together. These are very very different products.
When the NIH and the FDA gave outer leaf extract to rats, the cells in their intestines that make mucus grew in size to make more mucus – probably to protect the rats. But eventually that increase in size – that “adaptive change” they eventually called cancer. So given enough irritant, someone can develop a cancer.
I believe that’s why they say don’t consume aloe vera whether it’s for ulcerative colitis or lowering blood sugar levels or strengthening your immune system. I think people still have that confusion; In fact, every time I’ve ever fact checked a medical doctor that told their patient not to consume aloe vera, when I’ve had discussions with them, they were not aware of the difference between the two and have only heard of the research that they’ve been taught that shows aloe vera causes cancer, Okay?
It’s not the same. I have not found anything where inner leaf gel has caused cancer or liver failure or kidney disease or anything like that. We’ve heard small references of aloe vera – never clarifying inner leaf or outer leaf… and I am certain that refers to the outer leaf because of what I have seen clinically in people that have had irritated bowels.
Now with that said, when you go shopping, there’s different kinds of aloe vera. You will find some brands that make different lines including whole leaf and inner leaf gel. Others just have whole leaf other brands have just inner leaf gel; so don’t think “oh, I’ve been told take this brand – I’m safe. But really look to see what’s in there – if it’s inner leaf which is going to be the cool calming aspect of the plant – the healing aspect, or the outer leaf which is going to, or maybe the whole leaf, which is going to have some of that the bowel loosening effect. Why? People still want whole leaf because it loosens their bowels when they have constipation which i think is the wrong way to treat constipation.
You want to heal things. Get your gut flora right. Restore as much as you can to a normal gut so you don’t need something to irritate and get things moving through. But anyway… I digress.
Inner leaf only should not cause any problems and you can take it and see what kind of benefit you have. Consume some and see what happens. Some brands that have inner leaf only started with whole leaf and they filtered it down to inner leaf only. The problem is when you take out the outer leaf, you’re taking out a lot of the inner leaf too – so it’s diluted. It might not be as effective.
Other brands do a real good job at filleting and bleeding out that sap that is the irritation. And then, before they fillet, they wash the leaves again and then they skin it and then just the fillets go through the grinder that go into the containers that go into the freezer in our case. Other brands will still filter it, pasteurize, and add preservatives. You do your research and choose to get – what’s best for you. But if you’re dealing with an inflammatory bowel condition of any kind, I would strongly recommend you avoid any whole leaf products and maybe try inner leaf only.
I Hope that answers your questions. If you have more, shoot for the comments below the video or contact us at haleynutrition.com. There’s a “contact us” form. We’ll get we’ll get back to you and we’ll answer your questions. Or call us; I’ll even take your phone call!
All right. Do be well.