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Coconut Water

What is it?

Coconut water is the clear liquid found inside immature coconuts. As the coconut matures, the water is replaced by coconut meat. Coconut water is sometimes referred to as green coconut water because the immature coconuts are green in color.

Coconut water is different than coconut milk. Coconut milk is produced from an emulsion of the grated meat of a mature coconut.

Coconut water is commonly used as a beverage and as a solution for treating dehydration related to diarrhea or exercise. It is also tried for high blood pressure and to improve exercise performance.

How effective is it?

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.

The effectiveness ratings for COCONUT WATER are as follows:

Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for...

  • Diarrhea-related dehydration. Some research shows that consuming coconut water can help prevent dehydration in children with mild diarrhea. But there is no reliable evidence that it is any more effective than other beverages for this use.
  • Dehydration caused by exercise. Some athletes use coconut water to replace fluids after exercise. Coconut water helps people rehydrate after exercise, but it does not appear to be more effective than sports drinks or plain water. Some athletes also use coconut water before exercise to prevent dehydration. Coconut water might work better than drinking plain water, but results are still preliminary.
  • Exercise performance. Some athletes use coconut water to replace fluids during or after exercise in order to improve their performance during follow-up exercise. Coconut water might help, but it does not appear to be more effective than sports drinks or plain water. Some athletes also use coconut water before exercise to improve endurance. Coconut water might work better than drinking plain water, but results are still preliminary.
  • High blood pressure. Some research suggests that drinking coconut water might lower blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of coconut water for these uses.

How does it work?

Coconut water is rich in carbohydrates and electrolytes such as potassium, sodium, and magnesium. Because of this electrolyte composition, there is a lot of interest in using coconut water to treat and prevent dehydration. But some experts suggest that the electrolyte composition in coconut water is not adequate to be used as a rehydration solution.

Are there safety concerns?

Coconut water is LIKELY SAFE for most adults when consumed as a drink. It might cause fullness or stomach upset in some people. But this is uncommon. In large amounts, coconut water might cause potassium levels in the blood to become too high. This might lead to kidney problems and irregular heartbeat.

Coconut water is POSSIBLY SAFE for children.

Special precautions & warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of coconut water during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Cystic fibrosis: Cystic fibrosis can lower salt levels in the body. Some people with cystic fibrosis need to take fluids or pills to increase salt levels, especially sodium. Coconut water is not a good fluid to take to increase salt levels in people with cystic fibrosis. Coconut water might contain too little sodium and too much potassium. Don't drink coconut water as way to increase salt levels if you have cystic fibrosis.

High levels of potassium in the blood: Coconut water contains high levels of potassium. Don't drink coconut water if you have high levels of potassium in the blood.

Low blood pressure: Coconut water might lower blood pressure. Discuss your use of coconut water with your healthcare provider if you have blood pressure problems.

Kidney problems: Coconut water contains high levels of potassium. Normally, potassium is excreted in the urine if blood levels get too high. However, this doesn't happen if kidneys are not working normally. Discuss your use of coconut water with your healthcare provider if you have kidney problems.

Surgery: Coconut water might interfere with blood pressure control during and after surgery. Stop using coconut water at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Are there interactions with medications?

Moderate
Be cautious with this combination.
Medications for high blood pressure (Antihypertensive drugs)
Coconut water might decrease blood pressure. Taking coconut water along with medications for high blood pressure might cause your blood pressure to go too low.

Some medications for high blood pressure include captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan), diltiazem (Cardizem), amlodipine (Norvasc), hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDiuril), furosemide (Lasix), and many others.

Are there interactions with herbs and supplements?

Herbs and supplements that might lower blood pressure
Coconut water might lower blood pressure. Using it along with other herbs and supplements that lower blood pressure might lower blood pressure too much. Some of these products include danshen, epimedium, ginger, Panax ginseng, turmeric, valerian, and others.

Are there interactions with foods?

There are no known interactions with foods.

What dose is used?

The appropriate dose of coconut water depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for coconut water. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

Other names

Agua de Coco, Asian Coconut Water, Coconut Drink, Coconut Fruit Water, Coconut H2O, Coconut Juice, Coconut Palm Water, Coconut Rehydration Solution, Cocos nucifera, Eau de Coco, Eau de Coco Verte, Eau de Jeune Coco, Eau de Jeunes Noix de Coco, Eau de Noix de Coco, Eau de Noix de Coco d'Asie, Eau du Fruit du Cocotier, Fresh Young Coconut Water, Green Coconut Water, Kabuaro Water, Young Coconut Water.

Methodology

To learn more about how this article was written, please see the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database methodology.

References

  1. Hakimian J, Goldbarg SH, Park CH, Kerwin TC. Death by coconut. Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol. 2014 Feb;7:180-1.
  2. Laitano O, Trangmar SJ, Marins DDM, et al. Improved exercise capacity in the heat followed by coconut water consumption. Motriz: Revista de Educação Física 2014;20:107-111.
  3. Sayer R, Sinha I, Lowdon J, Panickar J. Preventing hyponatraemic dehydration in cystic fibrosis: a cautionary note to take coconut water with a pinch of salt. Arch Dis Child 2014;99:90. View abstract.
  4. Rees R, Barnett J, Marks D, George M. Coconut water-induced hyperkalaemia. Br J Hosp Med (Lond) 2012;73:534. View abstract.
  5. Peart DJ, Hensby A, Shaw MP. Coconut water does not improve markers of hydration during sub-maximal exercise and performance in a subsequent time trial compared with water alone. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 2017;27:279-284. View abstract.
  6. Kalman DS, Feldman S, Krieger DR, Bloomer RJ. Comparison of coconut water and a carbohydrate-electrolyte sport drink on measures of hydration and physical performance in exercise-trained men. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 2012;9:1. View abstract.
  7. Alleyne T, Roache S, Thomas C, Shirley A. The control of hypertension by use of coconut water and mauby: two tropical food drinks. West Indian Med J 2005;54:3-8. View abstract.
  8. Ismail I, Singh R, Sirisinghe RG. Rehydration with sodium-enriched coconut water after exercise-induced dehydration. Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health 2007;38:769-85. View abstract.
  9. Saat M, Singh R, Sirisinghe RG, Nawawi M. Rehydration after exercise with fresh young coconut water, carbohydrate-electrolyte beverage and plain water. J Physiol Anthropol Appl Human Sci. 2002;21:93-104. View abstract.
  10. Campbell-Falck D, Thomas T, Falck TM, et al. The intravenous use of coconut water. Am J Emerg Med 2000;18:108-11. View abstract.
  11. Camargo AA, Fagundes Neto U. Intestinal transport of coconut water sodium and glucose in rats "in vivo". J Pediatr (Rio J) 1994;70:100-4. View abstract.
  12. Fagundes Neto U, Franco L, Tabacow K, Machado NL. Negative findings for use of coconut water as an oral rehydration solution in childhood diarrhea. J Am Coll Nutr 1993;12:190-3. View abstract.
  13. Adams W, Bratt DE. Young coconut water for home rehydration in children with mild gastroenteritis. Trop Geogr Med 1992;44:149-53. View abstract.
Last reviewed - 06/12/2018