Is it safe to drink aloe vera gel and can it help with the symptoms of scleroderma?

Professor Chris Denton answered this question in our latest 'Doc Spot' feature in our magazine. He said:

"This is a very topical question since there has been a lot of publicity about the potential benefits of drinking juice and supplements containing aloe vera. This builds upon the use of preparations that can be applied to the skin. Unfortunately, there is no medical evidence to support the use of this treatment. I would be cautious about consuming anything unproven by mouth because these preparations are not tested and regulated like conventional medications and drugs but could cause allergies, side effects or interact with other drugs that have bene prescribed. Although I am generally in favour of adding supplements, vitamins and other complementary possible therapies to standard treatment for scleroderma I think more research or evidence is needed about benefit and safety before I would recommend a scleroderma patients drink aloe vera gel or juice. Having said that some of the vitamins such as vitamin E and C that are in these preparations may be helpful but it is probably more sensible to take them as conventional supplements where the dose and amount is more controlled."

Before taking any unprescribed supplements please speak with your GP or consultant.

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