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Nutr Res Pract. 2009 Spring;3(1):9-14. doi: 10.4162/nrp.2009.3.1.9. Epub 2009 Mar 31.

Intestinal absorption of aloin, aloe-emodin, and aloesin; A comparative study using two in vitro absorption models.

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Department of Food and Nutrition, Sookmyung Women's University, 52 Hyochangwon-gil, Yonsan-gu, Seoul 140-742, Korea.


Aloe products are one of the top selling health-functional foods in Korea, however the adequate level of intake to achieve desirable effects are not well understood. The objective of this study was to determine the intestinal uptake and metabolism of physiologically active aloe components using in vitro intestinal absorption model. The Caco-2 cell monolayer and the everted gut sac were incubated with 5-50 microM of aloin, aloe-emodin, and aloesin. The basolateral appearance of test compounds and their glucuronosyl or sulfated forms were quantified using HPLC. The % absorption of aloin, aloe-emodin, and aloesin was ranged from 5.51% to 6.60%, 6.60% to 11.32%, and 7.61% to 13.64%, respectively. Up to 18.15%, 18.18%, and 38.86% of aloin, aloe-emodin, and aloesin, respectively, was absorbed as glucuronidated or sulfated form. These results suggest that a significant amount is transformed during absorption. The absorption rate of test compounds except aloesin was similar in two models; more aloesin was absorbed in the everted gut sac than in the Caco-2 monolayer. These results provide information to establish adequate intake level of aloe supplements to maintain effective plasma level.


Aloin; aloe-emodin; aloesin; intestinal absorption

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