Various Websites Claim that Coconut Water is Identical to Human Blood Plasma and Can be Used as a Substitute in Emergencies
Would you be surprised to find out the coconut water was identical to human blood plasma? Of course, you would. What if I told you it could be used as a replacement for blood plasma during absolute emergencies? You would probably be more than a bit dubious. If you are a skeptic, as am I, you would immediately go into research mode.
What should stand out in the claims above is the phrase “in case of absolute emergency.” If coconut water is indeed identical to human blood plasma, then why wait for an emergency?
Coconut water, not to be confused with coconut milk, is the liquid inside a fresh young coconut (optimal is around 7 months). Also called coconut juice, it is fairly clear and quite sweet. Judging by the popularity of coconut water as a retail beverage, such as Vita Coco Coconut Water, it is also quite tasty and refreshing. I’ve had it on several occasions, and I’m still deciding how I feel about it.
Various healing claims are made about coconut water. One of the main claims is that it is a great replacement for commercial sports drinks. It does contain, of course, carbohydrates, as well as electrolytes and other nutrients. It has also been, for centuries, an important source of potable water on many small coconut producing islands.
For all the virtues of coconut water, however, to claim that it is the same as human blood plasma seems more than a little outrageous.
Coconut Water as Blood Plasma
In fact, according to Dr. Kark Kruszelnicki, coconut water has been used as a replacement for blood plasma. He describes the following:
- In 1942 in Havana, Cuba, a Dr. Pradera injected filtered coconut water into the veins of 12 children, with no adverse reactions reported.
- During World War II, it is claimed that the British in Sri Lanka and the Japanese in Sumatra used coconut water as a substitute for standard intravenous fluids (fluids, not plasma) regularly. There were never any formal reports of this, however, it is strictly anecdotal.
- In 1954 three doctors published combined research concerning the administration of intravenous coconut water to 157 patients in Thailand, USA, and Honduras. Out of these, eleven had adverse reactions like fever, itchiness, headache, and tingling in the hands. As well, an unknown number of patients had aching sensations along the veins where the coconut water was injected. These were thought to be caused by the high potassium levels.
So, yes, coconut water has been used as to replace intravenous fluids. There are different types of fluids given to patients but some of these are made to mimic the sodium and potassium levels of plasma. Your blood plasma has high sodium and low potassium.
Is Coconut Water the Same as Blood Plasma?
NO it is not! You already knew that, right? Coconut water is high in potassium and low in sodium. It is closer to the liquid inside your cells rather than the plasma outside them! This, in fact, is part of your body’s crucial fluid balance. According to Dr. Karl, coconut water has only 1/40 the amount of sodium as blood plasma. That is O.025 times the amount! But, the potassium levels are much higher, 10 to 15 times. It also has other minerals like magnesium and calcium and it is more acidic. In other words, the claim that coconut water is identical to human plasma is a myth.
So, what’s the bottom line? Coconut water has been used, on occasion, as an intravenous fluid. While it is not identical to blood plasma, it actually can be used as an emergency replacement for fluids. It is not an ideal replacement. While coconut water, as long as the shell was not cracked, is sterile, and it can be injected into the veins and be used to save a patient when fluids are not available, if the patient had, for example, kidney problems, it could be dangerous. You can rest assured that no hospital anywhere is going to stop ordering IV fluids and start picking coconuts.
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