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By Greg Arnold, DC, CSCS, March 7, 2006
Abstracted from “Effect of Aloe vera preparations on the human bioavailability of vitamins C and E” in the November 15, 2005 issue of Phytomedicine
As an estimated 6 in 10 Americans consume vitamin supplements ,(1) conventional medicine is finally acknowledging the importance of taking a multivitamins to maintain optimal health especially in the elderly population.(2) Vitamins are especially important to this group because of age-related decreases in absorption, reduced food intake, and increased prescription drug use.(3)
Two of the most important antioxidants to our health are vitamin C and vitamin E . As an antioxidant shown to reduce the risk of cancer , diabetes , cataracts , and Alzheimer's disease ,(4) the RDA for vitamin C has been increased recently to 75 mg per day for men and 90 mg for women.(5) Research suggests that the amount should be increased to 200 mg per day.(6)
Despite being needed in much smaller amounts than vitamin C (ranging in amounts from 28 IU per day in teenager to 1,500 IU per day in elderly patients(7)), vitamin E plays just as important a role in our overall health by helping reduce cognitive decline,(8) improve the immune system,(9) decreasing our risk of Alzheimer disease,(10) prostate cancer(11) and heart-related deaths in women.(12)
But research has started to find many ways in which absorption of vitamins C and E can be inhibited in our body, from infection with H. Pylori,(13) a bacterium that infects half of the world's population(14) to low-fat meals(15) and consumption of Orlistat (a fat absorption inhibitor used for weight loss), and Olestra, a fat substitute.(16)
Now a new study(17) has found a way to counteract the problem of low vitamin C and E absorption in the form of taking aloe . In the study, 11 men aged 21-42 took either 500 mg of ascorbic acid, 420 mg of vitamin E acetate (control), or both with 2 oz of two different Aloe preparations (a whole leaf extract or gel). Their blood samples were taken 1,2,4,8 and 24 hours after consumption to measure vitamin C and E levels. Researchers found that while both aloe supplements caused a “significant increase” in both vitamin C and E compared to control after 8 hours, only the aloe gel sustained the “significant increase” after 24 hours. In addition to concluding that “both aloes improved the absorption of both vitamins C and E”, researchers concluded that “aloe is the only known supplement to increase the absorption of both of these vitamins and should be considered as a complement to them.”
Greg Arnold is a Chiropractic Physician practicing in Danville, CA. You can contact Dr. Arnold directly by emailing him at mailto:ChiroDocPSUalum@msn.com or visiting his website www.CompleteChiropracticHealthcare.com
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