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Q&A About Aloe Vera- 08-06

Q: What drugs interact with Aloe vera?
Dr. Perry: According to information compiled from medical journals by Healthnotes, Inc., there are only two drugs that interact with Aloe vera. In both cases, Aloe vera may enhance the activity of the drug.

The first is glyburide, a drug prescribed to lower blood sugar levels in type-2 diabetics. Aloe has been shown to have a supportive interaction with glyburide meaning it may help your medication work better.

One study in Thailand reported that combining aloe juice with glyburide significantly improved blood sugar and lipid levels in people with diabetes, compared with the placebo. Previously, glyburide by itself had not effectively controlled diabetes in the people in this study.

The second possible interaction of Aloe vera is with topical corticosteroids. These drugs, such as cortisone, are used topically to treat inflammation and itching skin. In the laboratory research done so far, applying aloe gel topically along with a topical corticosteroid enhanced the hormone's anti-inflammatory activity in the skin.

Separately, the only other interaction caution I'm aware of was reported by doctors in Hong Kong. They believe that taking Aloe vera with the blood thinner sevoflurane, may enhance the anti-platelet effect of the drug. Their suggestion is to suspend using Aloe vera and sevoflurane together before a surgical procedure to reduce the risk of excess bleeding.

Aloe vera is widely known as a safe dietary supplement. As always, it makes sense to keep your healthcare provider informed of everything you are taking so together you can monitor and understand changes in your health indicators.

Q: Can you take too much Aloe vera?
Dr. Perry: Practically speaking the answer is no.
Here is the scientific evidence that supports my conclusion. First, to determine the safety of dietary foods and drugs, the FDA mandates tests called LD50s. The way these FDA tests are structured, animals are given extremely large doses of the substance being tested and the dose continues to be increased until a toxic level is determined.

LD50's were performed on Aloe vera in the 1960's and no matter how absurdly high the scientists made the Aloe vera dosage, they were not able to generate a toxic response or even a severe reaction.

More recently, work was done to determine what levels of Aloe vera might result in some adverse side effects- not toxicity, just unwanted reactions. The researchers found that the dose had to be greater than 2 grams of Aloe vera for every 1 kilogram of body weight before adverse side effects were recorded.

To put this in perspective, a 100 pound person would have to take 455 of our TrueAloe® capsules a day to reach this level. Similarly, a 200 pound person would have to take 910 TrueAloe® capsules a day.

We recommend taking between 4 and 8 TrueAloe® capsules a day. Based on the scientific evidence, this is well within safety guidelines.
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