Does Drinking Coconut Water Reduce The Efficacy Of Medications?

Published by Dr Gigi on

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Coconut water is the clear liquid found inside coconuts, especially the immature ones. The more immature the coconut, the more water it contains. It is known under many names as tender coconut water, agua de coco, coconut juice or palm water.

It is however considered one of the healthiest foods, as every part of it is thought to be beneficial. Research has shown several health benefits of the different parts of the coconut endosperm.   These benefits include antioxidant, hydration, antidepressant, boosting immunity, promoting growth factors, rich source of potassium, antidiabetic, antidote for drug overdose and inadvertent poisoning, resolves kidney stones and prevent urinary tract infections.1 

Truth or Myth

There is a traditional belief that consuming coconut, including the water, white brown part or the milk, reduces the potency of medications. Some people believe it contains bioactive substances that neutralize certain chemical constituents in medicines and as a result, should not be taken while one is on medications.

There is insufficient research evidence that coconut meat or coconut water should not be consumed while one is on medications. Coconut water may potentiate the effect of antihypertensive medications indirectly. This is because coconut water alone reduces blood pressure and when combined with antihypertensive, will lower the blood pressure even further. Studies suggest that CW actually hastens the absorption of drugs and increase their concentration in the blood, consequently potentiating their effects.1,2

Some of the medicines that may be affected by CW include:
  1. Antihypertensives: CW naturally lowers blood pressure and may cause it to go too low. Therefore, individuals taking medications such as Captopril, Enalapril, Losartan, Amlodipine and  Diltiazem should not take CW. If you must, your doctor may have to reduce the dosage you take daily.
  2. Diuretics: Medications such as Hydrochlorothiazide and Furosemide are diuretics that are often prescribed for hypertension. Taking them with CW may cause your blood pressure to become too low. One of the side effects of certain diuretics is hyperkalemia (high potassium in the blood) and CW is rich in potassium, this make consuming coconut water while taking diuretics dangerous.
  3. Herbs and food supplements: Supplements such as epimedium (horny goat weed), ginger ginseng, turmeric, danshen, valerian have the potential to lower blood pressure and should be consumed with care when taking with CW.  

In Summary

There is no research evidence to suggest that coconut water, coconut milk or coconut meat lowers the efficacy or potency of medications. 

Studies suggest it increases the rate of absorption of drugs and may act as a potent antidote to poisons and drug overdose.3

Dr Gigi

Dr Gigi is a medical doctor, an avid researcher and founder of HeLP. She is a healthy life enthusiast. She is passionate about finding better and healthier alternatives and helping to improve people's quality of life. She started Healthy Life Pantry (HeLP) with aims to provide simplified research based and proven health information, delivered by seasoned health care professionals.

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