What Is Aloe Vera?
The Aloe plant is 99 percent water, leaving only 1 percent absorbable solid. It includes over 200 bioactive constituents (vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, fatty acids, polysaccharides and polymannans). Most of these active substances are beneficial, but a few are not. Separating the inner gel from the outer leaf is necessary because anthraquinones found in the sap of the leaf can leak into the inner gel. This substance has a laxative and toxic effect on the body. Once this part of the plant is removed, the coveted inner gel of the Aloe is ready to be processed.
The Hallmarks of a Premium-Quality Aloe Vera
Within the Aloe vera leaf, a prized polysaccharide can be found. This major polysaccharide is unique for two reasons. The first is the biological activity of the acetylated mannan, also known as an Aloe polymannan. Polymannan is a special complex carbohydrate that is also known as polymannose. The most outstanding effect polymannose has in the body is its ability to modulate immune response and general immune function.
The second reason polymannose is set apart from all other sugars is its availability in nature. Every living creature depends on the presence of polymannose in the body to function at the cellular level. It is one of the few nutrients the body is not capable of producing on its own. The polymannose molecule must be ingested on a regular basis to maintain optimal health. With the combination of modern farming practices, food processing and radiation, and the steady decline of environmental conditions, the sad truth is we are no longer receiving polymannose in today's "Standard American Diet" (SAD). Above any other botanical on the planet, the Barbadensis Miller species of Aloe contains the highest concentration of this essential master carbohydrate.
Low levels of polymannose indicate an aloe product has been harshly handled and processed or is not produced from the Aloe Barbadensis Miller species, both of which result in a low-grade aloe product. An educated consumer will question any product that has been subjected to such excessive, harsh and unethical processing practices. Here are a few of the fundamental concepts of Aloe vera manufacturing to help get you on the road to making an informed decision on your next or first Aloe vera product purchase.
The Manufacturing Challenges of Aloe Juice
If you were interested in drinking Aloe vera juice for health purposes, it’s important to note that there are many obstacles in the road to producing a premium-grade Aloe vera product. The reason for this is centered on the delicate nature of the star of this botanical mannose. As soon as harvesting commences, the nature of the plant is to break down its own healing substances (polymannose) due to the enzyme cellulase found in the tissues of the plant. This response enables the plant to repair its wound and to provide a new skin (similar to what polymannose does in the human body). This process also provides immunity to the leaf (again, similar to the role polymannose plays within the body's biology) and will ensure the plant’s survival. Without this protective system, the leaf and plant would become susceptible to viruses, bacteria, parasites and fungus. Therefore, it is imperative to keep the leaves cool, as well as complete processing as quickly as possible to minimize this self-induced degradation.
Furthermore, a bacterium also poses a threat to the polymannose molecules if processing is not expedient. Bacteria not only feast on the polysaccharide but also produce enzymes which further compromise these important complex sugars. For an Aloe vera juice, this means pasteurization is necessary to prevent the product from fermenting and to guarantee the safety and freshness of an aloe liquid. Unfortunately, this means the finished product is nearly devoid of the essence of the Aloe vera's inner gel, mannose! Methods such as High Temperature (over 200 degrees) and Short Time (HTST) have become industry standards in the production of Aloe vera juices. Such manufacturing practices ensure a product of high consumer safety with low levels of active bio-constituents. Translation: expensive, over-processed sugar water.
Reconstituted or Concentrate: What Are You Paying For?
Aloe concentrate products use the same procedure as that of an orange juice concentrate. First, the aloe is juiced and then filtered to reduce pulp or solids (essentially mannose) in the liquid. Then a process known as Vacuum Concentration is used whereby pressure and temperature create a vacuum, thus extracting water and giving the liquid a higher solid-to-water ratio. Next, enzymes are added for fluidity to ensure a less viscous product. These introduced enzymes further deteriorate any remaining active bio-constituents.
Manufacturers sell concentrates in two forms. Single strength means the aloe has not been reconstituted (no water added). One part aloe solid to one part water is considered single strength. Frozen orange juice concentrate with no water added is a crude example of single strength. This finished liquid aloe is less processed and more costly than reconstituted concentrates. The second type of concentrate is a reconstituted concentrate which comes in multiple strengths. If you add water to a frozen concentrated orange juice, the beverage is reconstituted from a concentrate. How much water added will determine the strength.
Further Additives Used
In addition, chemicals and preservatives are added to stabilize the Aloe vera liquid. If the Aloe liquid is not stabilized, enzymes and lactobacillus bacteria quickly decompose and ferment the Aloe product. Chemical stabilizers prevent certain metabolic byproducts from forming, such as lactic acid, fumaric acid, succinic acid and pyruvate, which quickly become concentrated in an unfinished product.
There is also a chemical decomposition that takes place if stabilizers are not added, during which the Aloe polymannans release acetate groups, thus producing acetic acid. This combined with formic acid (also formed in unstabilized Aloe liquid) are known liver toxins. According to an article which appeared in the January/February 1998 issue of Agro Food Industry H-Tech, Teichmuller wrote:
"Preservatives (benzoic acid and ascorbic acid) must be added to liquid Aloe vera products to guarantee their stability. These additives are to be declared in the list of raw materials. Should the declaration be omitted or cheap polysaccharides such as maltodextrin are added to the Aloe vera, this constitutes fraud. Evidence of the presence of these substances can be detected by NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) spectroscopy.”
Aloe gels and juices can legally state that their product is stabilized; however, this is misleading because stabilization pertains to the beverage as a finished product and not the polymannose itself. Only through an NMR Spectroscopy can the quality, quantity and stability of the desired sugar, polymannose, be detected in an Aloe vera product.
Another peril in the Aloe industry is the practice of diluting Aloe beverages. A few fraudulent producers and marketers have taken advantage of consumers by adding water to already diluted Aloe juice. Other manufacturers use a distillation process using Aloe leaves and steam, which extracts only a few fragile substances that survive with very little benefit. Claims can be made that the Aloe beverage has no chemicals or preservatives, has no bitterness, and tastes like water. Industry expert and former Chief Pathologist at Dallas Fort Worth Medical Center, Dr. H. Reginald McDaniel, stated:
"Make absolutely sure that what you are drinking is in fact Aloe vera juice and not water."
Cold Pressed: A Meaningless Term
In juicing, manufacturers use a term known as cold processing. This term is misinterpreted to mean there is no heat used to produce any given product, and it is simply labeled as such for marketing purposes. Doctor Udo Erasmus, Ph.D., M.A., is an industry expert in the processing methods of plant molecules and holds degrees in nutrition and psychology. In his whistle-blowing book, “Fats That Heal, Fats That Kill,” Dr. Erasmus clarifies what the term cold process really means:
"The term is meaningless. Its use by manufacturers is unethical, to cater to uninformed consumers who still believe that cold pressed means high quality" (page 141)
Federal law requires pasteurization of all consumable liquids unless stated boldly on the label. Heat is used in most processing anyway. Furthermore, insoluble and soluble fibers, vitamins, minerals, polysaccharides, and amino acids are drastically reduced or not even present in the beverage due to the processing practices required to produce an Aloe juice. Chemicals and preservatives cumulate when introduced into the body. So the question remains, is a processed Aloe liquid the safest and most effective form of Aloe vera consumption?
Additional Label Frauds
The term Mucopolysaccharides (MPS) has been misused by certain individuals in the promotion of their Aloe vera products. All reputable scientists agree that plants do not have MPS. It is suspected that the origin of this term arose through confusion between the terms Mutinous Polysaccharides, which are characteristic of Aloe's mannose, and Mucopolysaccharides (polysaccharides containing nitrogen, found in animals and bacteria). To add to the confusion even more, a test called the Methanol Perceptible Solids (MPS) Test incompletely measures polysaccharides. In particular, the MPS Test gives a false reading of polysaccharides in the case of Whole Leaf Aloe, which has been treated with cellulose as a part of legitimate processing. The MPS Test makes this material appear to have a normal or even superior level of polysaccharides. Wittingly, certain companies have used the MPS Test to label and promote their product as having high levels of polysaccharides whereas, in fact, this product may have lower than expected levels of the aloe polymannans. Furthermore, the MPS Test fails to identify Aloe powders, which may contain significant amounts of the modified cornstarch product maltodextrin and has failed to distinguish the polymannose of legitimate freeze-dried Aloe vera from maltodextrin.
So, What Should You Look for When Identifying Quality Aloe Vera Products?
There are five key trademarks to look out for when investigating a quality Aloe vera product:
- Molecular Weight
The manufacturer of your prospective Aloe vera product should use a process that employs the lowest possible temperature to dry the Aloe's inner gel without subjecting the gel to harsh conditions, such as freeze-drying (such conditions would kill a living plant). Plainly stated, look for a low-heat (lower than body temperature) dehydrated real Aloe vera powder, which uses a relatively gentle processing method, thus ensuring the greatest concentrations of the prized polymannose molecule.
Since time is of the essence, also look for an Aloe product that is produced within 24 hours of harvesting. Enzymes of the inner gel completely break down polymannose molecules within this period. The time of day and the season in which the aloe leaves are harvested are also crucial factors, for they determine the stability of the inner gel as well as the concentration of polymannose present. The species of Aloe vera used is also important in choosing a premium-grade product. If the manufacturer uses any species other than Aloe Barbadensis Miller, it is a clear telltale sign that the product has very little polymannose available, which determines molecular weight.
The molecular weight of an Aloe vera product expresses the amount of polymannose molecules present in that particular product. The most accurate test available for taking such high-tech and precise measurements is the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy. This test not only gives the most accurate representation of mannose available, but it can also measure the amount of each of the four chains of the polymannose molecule. An educated consumer should look for an aloe product that has not only the highest concentration of polymannose molecules but also one that offers all four chains, since each chain is responsible for a unique and vital effect within the body. A reputable Aloe vera product manufacturer will have this information available for you upon request. Beware of those who are not even sure what an NMR Spectroscopy is.
Finally, look for a product of the highest possible purity. There are plenty of reputable Aloe growers and manufacturers that produce high-quality Aloe products with zero additives. Producing premium Aloe products is cost- and labor-intensive. You should be investing in a product that gives the results you are looking for due to the care and consistency put into the manufacturing of that product. Juicing, filtering, pasteurization and chemical stabilizers simply do not deliver the highest-grade Aloe product that is available.
What Is So Great About Aloe Immune High Quality Aloe Vera Powder?
The aloe vera in Aloe Immune is grown in fields that are of certified organic, rich volcanic ash soil located between two mountain ranges at the base of a volcano. Rich volcanic ash soil provides rare trace minerals. The fields are irrigated with natural spring-fed water. The Aloe vera plants are fertilized with Aloe's outer leaves, which would otherwise be discarded after the harvest. This puts minerals and other nutrients back into the soil, ultimately benefiting the land as well as the Aloe vera plants grown there. Nothing goes to waste.
Although Aloe vera is grown and harvested all over the world, the highest-quality finished Aloe products start with a strong stock of Aloe plants known as pups. Aloe leaves mature in approximately three to four years. Only the leaves of mature plants are harvested for the manufacturing of Aloe Immune. When the leaves are harvested, variables must be considered for the highest-quality yields with the greatest concentrations of active bio-constituents present in the leaf. Where the plants are grown, the time of day, the year of picking and the timeliness of processing are all taken into account to ensure the quality and consistency of the Aloe Immune product.
Proper handling techniques are exercised, from the field to the raw material and finally to the shipping container. In addition, experienced farmers who have been harvesting Aloe vera for generations have developed a passion for producing quality Aloe vera whose reputation precedes them. Their skill for nurturing, cultivating, harvesting and processing the Aloe plant is reflected in the Aloe Immune product.
Aloe Immune's dehydrated powder is naturally stabilized by a proprietary process, without the use of chemicals. This ensures that the Aloe Immune powder is rich in the large complex carbohydrates (glyco-polymannans or aloe polymannans) which science has indicated are responsible for the activation of the macrophages and are also known to enhance our immune system. Aloe vera benefits and side effects also include the healing of skin irritations and wounds, blood sugar regulation, and digestive support.
Our product is as close as possible to the original source, just as nature intended. Here at 4R Health Products, we’re confident you will be pleased with the results that our line of Aloe Immune products has to offer, and we are honored to serve and educate you now and in the future. Nevertheless, as the saying goes, the proof is in the pudding, so no matter what product you chose to take you on the road to wellness, we hope this information will serve you well and get you to your destination of good health as quickly as possible.
The product statements have not been evaluated by FDA and the products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or medical condition. Contents of this website are for informational purposes should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease.