You’ve probably read that coconut water is very healthy as it provides numerous benefits which promote your overall health. But, still you should consume it moderately because excessive intake is bad and it can lead to some serious complications.
A recent study, called Death by Coconut, led by Dr. Justin Hakimian and his team, examined the case of a 42-year old man who experienced abnormal heart rhythm and frequent episodes of fainting after drinking coconut water. The man consumed a bottle of coconut water while he was at a tennis game. He was taken to hospital after losing consciousness. Doctors found that he had a low heart rate and hypotension.
Coconut water is rich in potassium, so that’s why doctors found increased potassium levels in the patient’s blood. Our body needs this mineral for proper function, but excessive amounts of it can also trigger some health issues including arrhythmias and ventricular fibrillation. Both of them can be fatal if they’re left untreated.
According to the Institute of Medicine, the recommended daily potassium requirements equal 4,700mg for adults, but scientists are still uncertain as to what’s the maximum potassium amount the human body can metabolize. Potassium levels in the blood can rise because of the reduced excretion and excess potassium intake.
Other contributing factors that can lead to increased potassium levels include:
- breakdown of red blood cells (hemolysis)
- breakdown of muscle tissue (rhabdomyolysis)
- Addison’s disease (adrenal failure)
- uncontrolled diabetes
- burns and trauma
- medications such as beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, and some antibiotics such as penicillin
- kidney disease
The subject of the study we already mentioned experienced increased potassium levels because of muscle tissue breakdown that was a result of muscle exertion, vigorous exercise and working out in hot weather.
The man consumed 5,500mg of potassium through coconut water and according to doctors that lead to his hospitalization. This condition can also result in kidney damage.
The patient was lucky because his condition improved after he was given a pacemaker. His heart function normalized along with his potassium levels. His kidneys and muscles also started functioning normally.
Other studies have also examined the high potassium level in coconut water and the dangers of it.
According to numerous health experts, people with kidney disease and heart problems should avoid drinking coconut water, especially after strenuous exercise, when the body’s electrolyte levels drop significantly. Coconut water is low in electrolytes and cannot properly hydrate your body in these conditions.
Coconut water is healthy and people should consume it but moderately. Limit your daily intake to a couple of servings if you want to take advantage of its benefits and avoid the health risk.