Aloe vera, all naturals & FDA info

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6/15/2011 8:56am
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There's been much recent discussion and mention of using aloe vera, herbals, and other natural products. My daughter, Jessica, has her PharmD and is a licensed, practicing pharmacist. The other night I asked her about the use of aloe vera in treating cancer and we had the most interesting discussion and I learned A LOT! (Love to see my tuition dollars at work!) I asked her to write down what we discussed and email it to me so I could pass it along to you. Whether you take any natural products or not, you may find this very interesting and educational.

I'm not trying to dissuade anyone from doing what you're doing, but I am trying to pass along relevent info that may be useful in making decisions that you can live with and help you live. It took her two emails to get everything in that she wanted to say, so I put them together and here it is:

"Aloe vera and other herbals or natural products are not FDA approved.  This means that the company that manufactures the product does not have to do clinical trials or provide any evidence to support the claims that are made on the label.  The manufacturer also does not have to prove that the list of ingredients on the label is actually what is in the product.  Therefore, there is really no way to know what is in the product you are buying or how much of an ingredient is really in the product.  In other words, 100% aloe vera juice really does not have to be 100% aloe vera juice and there is no way to know if it is or is not.  A product can also claim to cure anything, and there will be tons of websites online that will claim that it can cure anything, but in reality there is usually very little data, if any at all, to support the claims.  With prescription and over-the-counter medications, it is up to the company to submit clinical trials to prove to the FDA that the product is safe and effective, is what it says it is, does what the company claims it does, etc.  With natural products, the burden is on the FDA to prove that the product is harmful and pull it off the market.  Also, don't assume because it is "natural" it is safe and has no side effects or drug interactions.  Cyanide is natural.  Everything has properties that will act in the body in some way and possibly cause side effects or possibly even be harmful.  There are hundreds of drugs with different properties and actions in the body, so it is entirely possible that a natural product could interact with something.  However, some natural products like fish oil and niacin have been researched and are widely accepted, used and prescribed regularly by physicians, and are included in medical treatment guidelines.  The safest thing to do is ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any herbal or natural product.
  Next, I have done some research into legitimate data regarding benefits of aloe vera in cancer and risks, side effects, drug interactions, etc.  I found that in 2002, the FDA pulled OTC laxatives that contained aloe due to lack of safety data.  I also found that high doses of aloe vera can be harmful and case reports of hepatitis have been reported.  Case reports are rare instances of something happening, so they are not enough to say high oral doses of aloe cause hepatitis, but they are hints that there may be a problem and that studies need to be done to further investigate.  The NCCAM, which is the go-to website for legitimate up-to-date herbal information, stated that a two-year study of orally consumed aloe in rats actually showed carcinogenic activity.  This cannot be applied to humans, but it shows there could be a problem with aloe ingestion.  MayoClinic stated that aloe may reduce the risk of lung cancer, but ingestion for over a year could increase the risk of colorectal cancer.  There is little data, which is conflicting, but there are risks of ingesting large oral doses of aloe vera.  Further studies need to be done and I did not find any data to support aloe for melanoma treatment, so the risks aren't worth the possible benefits.  Now there are tons of unreputable websites that speak highly of aloe's healing power, those may be what they are seeing.  Here are the websites I found;

  http://nccam.nih.gov/health/aloevera/

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/lifestyle-guide-11/supplement-guide-aloe-vera

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/aloe-vera/NS_patient-aloe/DSECTION=safety

Feel free to pass the websites along and you may want to suggest Melanoma Prayer Center users look up natural product information at one of these places and ask their doctors or pharmacists before using anything.

Jessica sent this as a brief follow-up email; “I mentioned about aloe being a laxative.  Because of this it can cause electrolyte imbalances.  I meant to mention this but if you look at the websites you will see it.”

Life's short. Eat dessert first. http://letsgivethanks.blogspot.com/2011/03/let-sun-shine.html http://www.facebook.com/MelanomaPrayerCenter http://www.facebook.com/melanomagriefchapel (This blog post contains links to my story).

Carol,

We used to believe anything that was in black and white.  Now that the internet is widely used and so inexpensive to advertise and sell, it's hard to believe most of what you read! 

My mel specialist stresses to me that every time I pick up a supplement I have no idea of how much of the key ingredient I want is in the bottle. He's also told me to beware of informercials that run at 3 and 4 in the morning.  (He knows I'm not a sleeper). Said I could buy all the jewlery and pots and pans I wanted but not to do anything with the coffee enemas!  My husband wanted him to retract the permission for the jewlery.

Thanks for the post,

Linda

Linda,

I've noticed the opposite in a lot of people when it comes to believing what's on the Internet, and that is, it seems people believe what's there. If it's on the Internet or in an email, it's automatically true. How often do people blindly forward emails simply because the email said to without bothering to check it out?

I've done webpages since the 1990's (used to do some for Chowan College now U before doing mine for my churches). All a person needs is a program or online free site and if you can write it you can publish it online. And it can be the most horrible, wrong info around and someone is going to believe it because "It's on the Internet" and younger people seem to be especially vulnerable.

Off topic I know.

Grace and peace,

Carol

Thanks for the info Carol...My daughter tends to want all those items on the internet and in infomercials...I never realized this about aloe vera.  And Linda, I love watching those kitchen gadget shows on late night TV, lol!

Jan, wife to Dirk

laughter is the best medicine

There has been no recent thread or discussion here about Aloe Vera, other than your interjections.

Please enlighten me if I missed something.

Charlie S

Meh. Get on with it.

Do not feed rabid monkeys.

To fear is one thing. To let fear grab you by the tail and swing you around is another

Thanks Nic. Charlie, there haven't been "threads" as such, aloe & other naturals get mentioned in posts. It was the post Nic refers to that prompted the conversation with my daughter, but I always get curious when these things get mentioned, just never talked about it until this young wife posted and specifically asked about aloe.

Grace and peace,

Carol

Contrair mon frere..
  • 1.. "Life Science Magazine"; The antiproliferative activity of aloe-emodin is through p53-dependent and p21-dependent apoptotic pathway in human hepatoma cell lines; PL Kuo, et al.; 2002
  • 2.. "Melanoma Research"; Effect of inhibition of aloe-emodin on N-acetyltransferase activity and gene expression in human malignant melanoma cells (A375.S2); SY Lin, et al.; 2005
  • 3..  Antitumor properties of aloe-emodin and induction of transglutaminase 2 activity in B16-F10 melanoma cells.; 2011
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20624404
  •  
  • Confirming that aloe is not just a quack substance but a significant ally in the battle against cancers including melanoma.
  • - Peter
  • and more..

    Mechanism of Action
    It is presently believed that some of the beneficial effects of aloe result from inhibition of bradykinin by a contained carboxypeptidase. Aloe is also thought to hinder the formation of thromboxane, the activity of which is detrimental to healing of burn wounds (17). Laxative effect of aloe juice and aloe latex is caused by anthraquinone glycosides aloin A and B (16). Some studies have indicated that aloe vera may have anticancer effects. Emodin, an extract of aloe vera, can inhibit cell proliferation and induce apoptosis in human liver cancer cell lines through p53- and p21-dependent pathway (4). Acemannan, a carbohydrate fraction derived from aloe vera leaf, can stimulate cytokine production in mouse macrophage cell line (5). It also exhibited immunomodulating activity by inducing maturation of dendritic cells (6). Another in vitro study has indicated aloeride, a polysaccharide obtained from aloe vera juice, as a potent immunostimulator by increasing NF-kappa B activities (7). A compound, di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP), isolated from aloe vera can inhibit leukemic cells in vitro (8).

     

    From another official source my peoples.. long live alo.. even the Egyptians knew about aloe .. they didn't need the FDA or medical school to tell them to use their senses and anecdotal histories seriously.

    http://www.mskcc.org/mskcc/html/69116.cfm (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center)

    one of the biggest research centers in the world of Cancer. And they deal almost exclusively in FDA licensed substances.

    After reading the whole Sloan-Kettering article, I am not inclined to use aloe other than topically for burns. I did not like all of the warnings posted, especially for those that are currently being treated for cancer. I used to dring the heck out of Aloe King, but probably won't anymore!

    Cristy, Stage IV

    Getter done!

    Aloevera juice has plenty of confirmed anti-bacterial and anti-fungal attributes. It's used in treatments given to help stop ringworm or tinea inducing fungus infection. The particular complete ratios of active substances for instance C-glycosides besides other lectins enables aloe-vera. It is actually a preferred anti inflammatory, de-oxidizing and overall health restoring agent. Concentrated lotions and creams are generally designed to fix injuries, stings and lacerations, benefit from the healing effect of aloe vera, burning from the sun, eczema and skin problems. The sap or maybe gel of this herb is usually taken to stop acid reflux disease, vaginal yeast infections, Crohns disease, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, bronchial asthma, hay fever and also shield the body from toxins.

    The key benefits of aloe vera are popular today so we can can't help but recommend its ingestion, but make sure to speak to your health practitioner first. In some instances some individuals can react differently to natural aloe-vera.