Aloe Vera May Boost Healthy Gut Bacteria
Research increasingly suggests that healthy gut bacteria have an influence on a range of health benefits and body functions. A recent in vitro study suggests that polysaccharides from aloe vera may help beneficial gut bacteria such as Bifidobacterium spp. and Lactobacillus spp. grow.
For this study, researchers extracted fructans and acemannan from aloe vera and removed pigments from the samples. Fructans are fructose polymers that many plants use as energy storage. Acemannan is a polysaccharide found inside the aloe vera leaf. The extracted polysaccharides were used to ferment commercial bacterial strains, including Lactobacillus fermentum L55-2-33, L. casei L54-2-33, L. plantarum L46-1-12, L plantarum N223-3, Bifidobacterium catenulatum N173-2, B. longum N180-3, B. bifidum N364-3, and B. animalis ssp. lactis BB-12.
The researchers noted a 2.6 to 3.1-fold increase in Lactobacillus spp. and a 2.0 to 3.3-fold increase in Bifidobacterium when they were exposed to the fructans. They also found that the acemannan stimulated bacterial growth, but not as much as the fructans.
The researchers also performed in vitro fermentation of the polysaccharides with human fecal bacteria and used quantitative polymerase chain reaction to determine the effects. They found that the aloe vera fructans were associated with a 14% increase in Bifidobacterium ssp., but not with any other changes. Again, the fructans had a greater effect than the acemannan.
Researchers from Chile University conducted the study. It was published on November 22, 2017, in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Aloe vera has been linked to a number of health benefits, including joint pain relief, decreased inflammation, helping to heal burns and insect bites, improved oral health, helping with kidney stones, and easing dry skin.