The plant contains many vitamins, excluding vitamin D but including the important antioxidant vitamins A, C and F. Vitamins B (thiamine), niacin, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), choline and folic acid are also present
. Some authorities suggest that there is also a trace of vitamin B12
When taken orally, several of these biochemical catalysts, such as amylase and lipase
, can aid digestion by breaking down fats and sugars. One important enzyme, a carboxy-peptidase
, inactivates bradykinins and produces an anti-inflammatory effect. During the inflamma-tory process, bradykinin produces pain associated with vasodilation and, therefore, its hydrolysis reduces these two components and produces an analgesic effect (Obata et al 1993, Shelton 1991).
Sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper, zinc, chromium and iron
are all found in the aloe plant. Magnesium lactate inhibits histidine decarboxylase and prevents the formation of histamine from the amino acid, histadine
(Shelton 1991 OJO ESTO PARA LAS ALERGIAS ALIMETNARIAS!!! QUE ES MUY BUENO.
). Histamine is released in many allergic reactions and causes intense itching and pain. The prevention of its formation may explain the antipuritic effect of aloe vera.
Sugars are derived from the mucilage layer of the plant under the rind, surrounding the inner parenchyma or gel. They form 25 per cent of the solid fraction and comprise both mono- and polysaccharides. By far the most important are the long chain polysaccharides, comprising glucose and mannose, known as the gluco-mannans (Beta - (1, 4) - linked acetylated mannan)
. When taken orally, some of these bind to receptor sites that line the gut and form a barrier, possibly helping to prevent ‘leaky gut syndrome’. Others are ingested whole by a method of cellular absorption known as pinocytosis. Unlike other sugars which are broken down prior to absorption, the polysaccharides are absorbed complete and appear in the blood stream unchanged. Here, they act as immuno-modulators — capable of enhancing and retarding the immune response (Green 1996, Kahlon etal 1991, Sheets etall9gi).
These phenolic compounds are found in the sap. The bitter aloes consist of free anthraquinones and their derivatives:
* Barbaloin-lO- (1151 — anhydroglucosyl) — aloe-emodin-9-anthrone)
* Anthrone-C-glycosides and chromones.
In large amounts these compounds exert a powerful purgative effect, but when smaller they appear to aid absorption from the gut, are potent antimicrobial agents (Lorenzetti et all 964, Sims eta/i 971 a), and possess powerful analgesic effects. Topically, they can absorb ultra violet light, inhibit tyronase activity, reduce the formation of melanin and any tendency to hyper-pigmentation (McKeown 1987, Strickland eta/i 993). Lignin This woody substance, inert in itself, endows topical aloe preparations with their singular penetrative ability to carry other active ingredients deep into the skin to nourish the dermis (Coats 1979).
These soapy substances form 3 per cent of the gel and are general cleansers, having antiseptic properties (Hirat and Suga 1983).
Sterols These include Campesterol, f3 Sitosterol and Lupeol
This is an aspirin-like compound possessing anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Topically, it has a kerolytic effect which helps to debride a wound of necrotic tissue.
These are the building blocks of proteins. Aloe vera gel provides 20 of the 22 necessary amino acids required by the human body and seven of the eight essential amino acids which the body cannot synthesise
. These must be ingested in food.