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Scientists Discover Anti-Diabetic Compounds in Aloe Vera

In late 2005, researchers at the Biochemical Research Laboratory in Tokyo, Japan ran a clinical trial of 70 people diagnosed as borderline diabetic.

The study results indicated that regular intake of Aloe vera helped reduce levels of fasting blood sugar and glycated hemoglobin. The scientists concluded that Aloe may play a role in preventing and improving diabetes.

In July 2006, the same Japanese researchers published a study in the Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin. In the study, they were able to successfully identify five phytosterol compounds (also known as plant sterols) that give Aloe vera its anti-diabetic activity.

Phytosterols are the plant fats now being added to foods such as butter and salad dressings to help lower cholesterol.

Diabetes is a complicated disease that involves lifestyle and diet modification, but several research studies indicate adding Aloe vera to your diet can definitely help.

For example, a double blind study of 78 people by a team of scientists in Thailand demonstrated Aloe vera's potential.

Participants in the test group added a tablespoon of Aloe vera juice to their diet. After six weeks, the average blood sugar level of the 39 participants in the test group declined 43% from 250mg/dl to 142 mg/dl. The control group (those not receiving Aloe vera) showed an average increase in blood sugar of 2.4% during the same period.

Also, the Aloe vera treatment group saw blood triglyceride levels decline by 44% over the six week period from an average of 220 mg/dl to 123 mg/dl. The control group showed an average increase in blood triglyceride levels of 8.4%.

The scientists authoring the study believe the results suggest that Aloe vera has potential in treating diabetes because it can lower not only blood sugar, but also triglyceride levels which are often high in diabetic patients.

This study confirms the results of previous work done by Dr. O. P. Agarwal, who conducted a clinical trial on 5,000 patients with heart disease over a five year period.

After adding Aloe vera to the patients diet he found a marked reduction in triglyceride and blood sugar levels in diabetic patients.

(Side Note: ALL 5,000 patients were still alive at the end of the 5 years!!)

Another trial at Mahidol University in Thailand was conducted to see if Aloe vera could help diabetic patients who did not respond to glibenclamide, an antidiabetic medication used to lower blood sugar.

The patients taking the medication glibenclamide alone did not see an improvement in fasting blood glucose or triglycerides.

When the treatment group took Aloe vera for six weeks, on average, they experienced a 48% decrease in blood sugar levels and a 52% decrease in triglycerides.

Diabetes is one of the country's fastest growing and most dangerous diseases. Approximately 16 million people in the U.S. (6% of the population) suffer from this disease and another 30 million are estimated to have diabetes but are undiagnosed.

About one million individuals are diagnosed with diabetes each year, a 40% increase over the past decade.

Furthermore, the rate of diagnosis in people in their 30's has increased by 70%. This indicates diabetes is attacking Americans an earlier age.

Among other health problems, a patient with diabetes can have up to four times the risk of developing heart disease and stroke.

Further study needs to be done to better understand the anti-diabetic activity of Aloe vera. However, Aloe vera along with other lifestyle and diet changes may be able to help control this dangerous disease.

Aloe vera has been linked to a number of health benefits, including but not limited to pain relief from hemorrhoid surgery, improved oral health, helping with kidney stones, reducing the risk of cancer and helping with dry skin.

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