07 January, 2012
Does Aloe Vera Juice Interfere With Levothyroxine?
Aloe vera gel is used to treat minor surface burns on the skin. Some aloe vera products, such as aloe vera juice, are marketed for a variety of alternative and complementary medical purposes. Internal use of aloe vera is not considered to be safe overall and might especially interfere with those using levothyroxine, a synthetic thyroid hormone.
Levothyroxine and Thyroid Gland
Levothyroxine is a synthetic thyroid hormone given when your body does not produce sufficient levels, a medical condition called hypothyroidism. The proper balance of thyroid hormones is necessary for your body to have a healthy metabolism. Damage to the thyroid, from trauma or radiation, metabolic disorders and drug misuse may cause hypothyroidism. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include unexplained weight gain, swelling, weakness, depression, muscle pain, unhealthy skin, hair, fingernails, bone and connective tissue, decreased sense of taste and smell and gastrointestinal problems such as constipation.
Aloe Vera Juice
The aloe vera plant can be separated into aloe vera juice and a solid, rubbery substance called latex. Neither aloe vera juice nor aloe latex are considered safe for internal use. Aloe juice contains anthraquinone, a cathartic laxative, according to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Aloe juice may be marketed over-the-counter as a laxative as a general health tonic. Aloe vera juice may be processed to remove anthraquinone, aloin, an ingredient considered unsafe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Levothyroxine is best absorbed on an empty stomach. It is important to get consistent amount of levothyroxine for treatment to be effective. Follow your physician's instructions precisely. Take levothyroxine on an empty stomach, with at least 8 ounces of water and at least 30 minutes before meals. Levothyroxine tablets may dissolve quickly, so take care when swallowing that they do not get stuck in your throat.
Aside from decreased absorption of levothyroxine and other medications, aloe vera juice may not be safe to take. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued its final ruling that aloe juice, aloe extracts and other aloe taken internally are not generally regarded as safe. Use of aloe supplements internally has been linked to thyroid dysfunction, acute hepatitis — inflammation of the liver — and perioperative bleeding. Internal use of whole leaf aloe vera extract has been linked to an increased risk of cancer in rats, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
- Pubmed Health: Levothyroxine
- Drugs.com: Levothyroxine
- Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center: Aloe Vera
- FDA.gov: Status of Certain Additional Over-the-Counter Drug Category II and III Active Ingredients
- Pubmed Health: Hypothyroidism
- National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Aloe Vera
- Paul Tearle/Stockbyte/Getty Images