Posted on Wed, 18 May 16
Despite their effectiveness acid-blocking drugs are linked to serious side-effects. Luckily, a long held traditional remedy is safer and has been shown to work just as well.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) affects 10-20% of the population and is characterized by symptoms such as heartburn, acid reflux, oesophagitis (a sore, inflamed oesophagus), bad breath bloating and belching, amongst other symptoms.
Although acid-blocking drugs may relieve symptoms, they have been associated with important side-effects such as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, rebound hypersecretion of acid, nutrient deficiencies, and bone fractures (1).
Aloe vera has a long traditional history of use for digestive health with previous studies suggesting it can help relieve bloating, pain, constipation, diarrhea and other symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
To see if Aloe vera is comparable to acid-blocking medication it a study allocated a group of people with GERD took 10 ml a day of an Aloe vera syrup (providing 50 mg of polysaccharides), an omeprazole capsule (20 mg daily) or ranitidine tablets (150 mg twice daily) for 4 weeks (2).
Compared to drugs, Aloe vera was equally effective at reducing the major symptoms of GERD, including heartburn, food regurgitation, flatulence, belching, dysphagia, nausea, vomiting and acid regurgitation. It was also better tolerated with 4 people dropping out of the study due to drug side-effects, but no drop outs in those taking Aloe vera.
“The results of the present study indicated that consumption of Aloe vera was safe and well tolerated, and unlike the comparator treatments, its use was not associated with treatment withdrawal,” concluded the authors.
“Furthermore, Aloe vera preparations are relatively inexpensive and widely available, and have been shown to possess therapeutic activities against several other disorders that commonly accompany GERD, such as peptic ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, type 2 diabetes, and dyslipidemia.”
“Aloe vera should therefore be suggested as an effective supplement in patients suffering from GERD,” they said.
- Sheen E, Triadafilopoulos G. Adverse effects of long-term proton pump inhibitor therapy. Dig Dis Sci. 2011 Apr;56(4):931-50.
- Panahi Y, et al. Efficacy and safety of Aloe vera syrup for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease: a pilot randomized positive-controlled trial. J Tradit Chin Med. 2015 Dec;35(6):632-6.