It is a well known fact that coconut water is very healthy as it holds numerous health benefits for the overall healthy. Nonetheless, as everything else, coconut water needs to be consumed in moderation as excessive intake could lead to serious problems.
A recent study called Death by Coconut, led by Dr. Just Hakimian and his team, examined a case of a 42 year old man who experienced abnormal heart rhythm and episodes of fainting when he drank coconut water. This occurred while the man was at a tennis game where he consumed a bottle of coconut water and was taken to the hospital after fainting due to low heart rate and hypotension.
Coconut water contains a lot of potassium and this is why the doctors found high levels of potassium in the blood of the patient. Although the body needs this mineral for proper functioning, surplus amounts can cause certain health ailments like arrhythmias and ventricular fibrillation, both of which can be fatal if untreated timely.
The recommended daily potassium intake is 4700 mg for adults, according to the Institute of Medicine. Nonetheless, scientists aren’t certain of the maximum potassium amount that the human body can metabolize. As a result of decreased excretion and surplus potassium intake, the potassium levels in the blood can increase.
Several other factors that can contribute to increased levels of potassium are:
Breakdown of muscle tissue
Breakdown of red blood cells
Beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, penicillin
Burns and trauma
The above-mentioned subject of the study experienced increase potassium levels as a result of muscle tissue breakdown which occurred as a consequence of muscle exertion, vigorous exercise, and working out in hot weather.
Hence, he consumed 55000 mg of potassium through coconut water and had to be hospitalized. This condition can also result in kidney damage. Luckily, his condition stabilized after he was given a pacemaker and his heart function and potassium levels were normalized. What’s more, his muscles and kidneys started functioning normally.
Other studies have also tackled the problems arising from high potassium levels in coconut water. What’s more, health experts recommend that people who have kidney disease and heart problems avoid coconut water, especially after exercising when the body’s electrolyte levels drop down. When coconut water is low in electrolytes it cannot properly hydrate the body in such conditions.
All in all, coconut water is healthy, but needs to be consumed moderately. Therefore, limit your daily intake to couple of servings.