Sunday, May 11, 2014

Aloe Vera & Alzheimer's

A small study took a look at aloe vera and Alzheimer's, with surprising results.

A study from the University of Miami and published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease shows that a dietary supplement consisting of an extract of aloe vera and other key nutrients seems to improve cognitive and immune functioning in those with dementia.

The lead researcher is John E. Lewis, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.Although the study was small and involved only 34 patients, it is significant because it focused on non-drug nutritional changes.

The supplement, which has virtually no side effects, was found to improve cognitive functioning in 46 percent of the patients, some of whom made dramatic progress.

In addition, it looked at people with moderate-to-severe forms of the disease, a population that is often considered beyond help and is usually excluded from such studies, Dr. Lewis said.

After nine months of taking the commercially available aloe supplement, 46 percent of the patients scored significantly higher on a standard cognition test. What’s more, key biologic markers and immune functioning also improved.

The study participants were given four teaspoons of aloe polymannose multinutrient complex (APMC) daily for a year. 

Dr. Lewis has no financial ties with the company, he said.

In the future, Dr. Lewis and his colleagues hope to get funding to do larger studies on nutritional therapies for Alzheimer's. “With this supplement there is nothing to lose,” he said. “We haven’t found any toxicity associated with it.”

To view the study abstract, click here. 

Lewis, J. E., McDaniel, H. R., Agronin, M., Loewenstein, D., Riveros, J., Mestre, R., Martinez, M., Colina, N., Abreu, D., Konefal, J., Woolger, J. M., & Ali, K. H.  (2013). The effect of an aloe polymannose multinutrient complex on cognitive and immune functioning in Alzheimer’s disease.  The Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 33, 393-406, DOI 10.3233/JAD-2012-121381.

NewsMax Health


  1. General rule of thumb: Any time you see a claim that a nutritional supplement is perfectly safe, with no side effects ... run for the hills. You're dealing either with a person who is ignorant, or with a snake oil salesman.

    Among other things, oral aloe vera preparations are known to be powerful laxatives -- and, in fact, used to be sold in over-the-counter constipation drugs. They often cause diarrhea which, in turn, causes electrolyte imbalances in the blood of people who ingest aloe for more than a few days. In 2002, the FDA required that all OTC aloe laxative products be removed from the market because manufacturers have not provided the necessary safety data.

    Oral aloe vera preparations are known to interact with many major classes of drugs, including antidiabetics, antiplatelet agents, digoxin, laxatives, steroids, and diuretics (potentially causing hypokalemia in conjunction with the last).

    According to the National Institutes of Health, a 2-year National Toxicology Program (NTP) study on oral consumption of whole leaf extract of aloe vera found clear evidence of carcinogenic activity in male and female rats, based on tumors of the large intestine. According to the NTP, from what is known right now there is nothing that would lead them to believe that these findings are not relevant to humans.

    People with diabetes who use glucose-lowering medication should be cautious if also taking aloe by mouth because preliminary studies suggest aloe may lower blood glucose levels.

    There have been case reports of acute hepatitis from aloe vera taken orally.

    According to WebMD, people allergic to garlic, onions, and tulips are more likely to be allergic to aloe. High doses of oral aloe are dangerous. Long-term use may increase the risk of colorectal cancer. Oral aloe should not be taken by anyone with intestinal problems, heart disease, hemorrhoids, kidney problems, diabetes, or electrolyte imbalances.

    The claims that Lewis has been making for the efficacy of this product are simply outrageous. And while I don't know about him, his "colleagues" most assuredly do have "financial ties with the company" -- in fact, they have been associated with multiple shady companies selling highly questionable "mannose" products, such as Mannatech, prosecuted for illegal sales practices in Texas.

  2. Can you recommend an aloe vera supplement other than the brand in your article? Are the high quality products containing polymannose and acemannon that different from one another? Or what quantity of those ingredients are needed (per dosage)? Thanks so much for your help!


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