By John C. Pittman, M.D. 

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Galactomannans are a class of long chain sugars derived from plants, which have been  shown in laboratory and clinical studies to have a wide variety of immune stimulating  and protective effects within the body. In studying the different sources of this polymer,  it has been discovered that the Aloe barbadensis plant contains the greatest  concentration of acetylated mannan which is also the most active form of mannans.  This “acemannan” has been shown to have many effects in the body, mostly impacting  on the gastrointestinal and immune systems, which are intricately related. Before  elaborating on acemannan’s beneficial effects, it is appropriate to discuss the type of  pathology often present in individuals experiencing immune system depression.

The most striking commonality found in individuals suffering with immuno-depressive  conditions (Epstein-Barr virus, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, systemic candidiasis, HIV  infection and others) is their high incidence of digestive dysfunction and maldigestion.  This has several effects that contribute to stress on the immune system and therefore its  weakening. Maldigestion means that the consumed food is not properly broken down into  the elemental building blocks needed for the body to rebuild itself and to generate energy  for metabolism. This results in a type of starvation at the cellular level, with all tissue  suffering malnourishment and therefore decreased effectiveness of all internal chemical  processes. These processes include breakdown and transport of toxins out of the cell,  movement of nutrients into the cell, and energy production for cell functioning. This  effects all cells in the body, including those of the immune system such as white blood  cells, (macrophages, monocytes, and lymphocytes) and red blood cells which carry  oxygen. Not only do we lack enough fuel but we’re low on oxygen too.  

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However, it is not this cellular starvation alone that causes the immune depression.  Maldigestion also results in partially digested food remnants which can be involved in  several pathological reactions. First, these remnants become irritants and cause  inflammation of the mucosal wall of the intestines. Many powerful enzymes and  damaging chemicals are released, injuring the intestinal wall causing increased intestinal  mucosal permeability. The foreign proteins of the digested food can then leak across the  mucosa into the lymphatic channels of the intestinal wall and from there gain access to  the circulation. Here, these absorbed proteins are recognized as foreign and attacked by cells of the immune system. Antibodies bind to the protein, then call in macrophages and  monocytes. T-cells arrive later, releasing enzymes and using oxygen to drive the  metabolic breakdown of the foreign protein. The total result is that the immune system  is constantly turned off and draining down like a battery. As these allergic reactions  to food breakdown products continue, the cells of the immune system wear out faster, run  out of fuel and aren’t reproduced in sufficient numbers.

In addition to this chronic hyperimmune state, undigested food remnants provide fuel for  the overgrowth of fermentative fungal organisms such as Candida albicans as well as  several types of parasites. Overgrowth of Candida in the intestine has significant effects  throughout the body due to the absorption of toxic by-products of its metabolism. This  can result in worsening of food allergies, hypoglycemia, digestive disturbances, excessive  mucus, bloating, flatulence, skin rashes, and extreme fatigue. This chronic infection  further drains the immune system and complicates the picture.

Further damage is inflicted on all cell membranes from the effects of the generalized  inflammation occurring as a result of maldigestion. These metabolic reactions utilize  large amounts of oxygen and produce oxidative free radicals as waste by-products. These  negatively charged oxygen molecules are desperately trying to balance their electrical  charge and immediately begin to chop holes in cell membranes as they grab positive  charges. The result here is further damage to the intestinal mucosa and ever worsening of  the increased permeability.

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All these processes work together in a vicious sequence of events leading to progressive  weakening of the immune system. It is clear that many mechanisms are at play in  orchestrating these processes. Without definitive therapy directed at each component of  immune system pathology, this is a downward spiral to death. Fortunately, a thorough  multidimensional treatment protocol addressing each component has been shown to  reverse these processes. Also, Aloe appears to play a key role on many different levels in  boosting immune function.

As the biologic activities of Aloe derived acemannan have been elucidated, it has been  shown to have a remarkable ability to normalize all of these damaging processes  and therefore contribute significantly to the enhancement of immune system  function. At the intestinal level, acemannan acts as a potent anti-inflammatory agent,  neutralizing many of the enzymes responsible for damaging the mucosal wall; in effect,  quenching the fire. This results in decreased leakiness of the intestinal wall and less  absorption of allergic stimulating foreign protein. Acemannan has direct virucidal,  bactericidal, and fungicidal properties which can help control Candida overgrowth so that  normal gastrointestinal bacterial flora can be restored. Acemannan also stimulates intestinal motility, helping to move allergenic proteins from the small intestine into the  colon. All these processes help to normalize gastrointestinal wall structure and function  and therefore stop the vicious cycle of immune system damage.

Acemannan also has direct effects on the cells of the immune system, activating and  stimulating macrophages, monocytes, antibodies and T-cells. It has been shown in  laboratory studies to act as a bridge between foreign proteins (such as virus particles) and  macrophages, facilitating phagocytosis (ingestion of the protein by the macrophage). This  receptor site activation is a key component in boosting cell-mediated immunity which is  deficient in HIV infection. It increases the number and intensity of action of  macrophages, killer T-cells, and monocytes, as well as increasing the number of antibody  forming B-cells in the spleen. Acemannan also protects the bone marrow from damage by  toxic chemicals and drugs such as AZT.

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These various effects while seemingly widespread and unrelated, are in fact due to one  simple process at the cell membrane level. Acemannan, a mucopolysaccharide, is a  long chain sugar which interjects itself into ALL cell membranes. This results in an  increase in the fluidity and permeability of the membrane allowing toxins to flow out of  the cell more easily and nutrients to enter the cell. This results in improved cellular  metabolism throughout the body and an overall boost in energy production. The vicious  cycle of maldigestion and cellular starvation is finally broken as the acemannan  normalizes absorption of nutrients and increases tolerance for allergenic foods. The  immune system is now stronger, under control, and better prepared for any new threat.

As humans living in the late twentieth century, our bodies’ metabolic and detoxification  systems are under ever-increasing stress from foreign chemicals, nutrient depleted food,  and immune damaging infectious agents. In order to control and prevent the inevitable  progression of immune system destruction that these stresses cause, therapy must be  multifactorial involving all levels of health, diet, and lifestyle. These different areas  consist of destruction of pathogenic organisms, metabolic detoxification, intestinal  cleansing, increasing cellular metabolism, antioxidant agents to combat free radicals, and  direct stimulation of immune system cells. Acemannan, the active ingredient in cold processed, whole-leaf Aloe has been demonstrated in laboratory testing and clinical  use to be effective on all levels of this therapeutic program.  

It is because of these versatile and comprehensive characteristics that Concentrated  Whole Leaf Aloe Vera juice is strongly recommended in the treatment of immune  deficiency disorders. It plays a prominent role along with other therapies, nutritional  supplements, and medications in the multidimensional treatment of these illnesses. The  healing powers of Aloe have been known for centuries, but now we have the scientific foundation that allows appreciation of this amazing plant and its important role in  restoring and maintaining our health.


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Aloe Vera for Boosts Immunity

A well-maintained immune system can keep various health related ailments at bay. Aloe vera juice is a powerhouse of micro-nutrients that help fight against free radical damage in the body, further giving a boost to immunity. (1)


Aloe Vera Providing vitamin C

About 8 oz of fortified aloe vera juice contains 9.1 grams of vitamin C. This vitamin is vital for a person’s overall health, as it is a natural antioxidant and helps fight inflammation.

Vitamin C has a variety of specific benefits, from reducing a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease to improving immune system function. Getting enough vitamin C also enhances the body’s ability to absorb iron from plant-based foods.

While the vitamin is naturally present in foods such as oranges, green peppers, broccoli, grapefruit, and tomato juice, fortified aloe vera juice is another excellent source. (2)


Specialized molecules in Aloe Vera whole leaf extract interact with some special “receptor” substances that are embedded into the outer membrane of our immune system cells. The result is that the immune system cells are galvanized into action. In particular, the class of cells known as “phagocytes” increase the activities by which they attack, and then engulf bacteria, waste products and debris. This increase in scavenging activities cleanses and protects the body, with knock-on benefits for a whole cascade of different medical conditions. The literature indicates that a common mechanism in this respect probably exists in both humans and animals and that both can benefit enormously from use of Aloe Vera. (3)

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