If you are ingesting aloe vera as part of a supplemental regimen to detoxify your body, to balance stomach acidity or to promote overall well-being, the Centers for Science in the Public Interest urges you to think twice.

In August, the CSPI gave aloe vera an “avoid” rating in its “Chemical Cuisine” guide to food additives (www.cspinet.org/reports/chemcuisine.htm), citing studies by the U.S. government showing that aloe vera extracts caused intestinal cancers in male and female lab rats. “Save it for sunburns,” said CSPI executive director Michael F. Jacobson. “Used topically, aloe vera is safe. But the fanciful health claims manufacturers are slapping on various drinks and pills are unfounded, so people simply shouldn’t expose themselves to the risks.”

Meanwhile, the International Aloe Science Council has refuted the CSPI warning with a statement of its own (www.iasc.org/pdfs/IASC_Update_August%2023_ResponsetoCSPI.pdf). The statement cites research supporting the safety of “decolorized” (purified) aloe vera products made to IASC standards.

“Decolorized whole leaf aloe vera juice is devoid of the toxic chemicals that have caused so much concern, yet CSPI seems willing to make uninformed and sensational comments that will only serve to confuse and frighten consumers despite the facts,” said IASC executive director Devon Powell in a prepared statement.

Sandy Todd Webster

Sandy Todd Webster is the editor in chief of IDEA’s award-winning publications. She is Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified and is a Rouxbe Certified Plant-Based Professional cook.

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