Can coconut water be used for blood transfusion?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, Can coconut water be used for blood transfusion? We will discuss the reason that presumes the use of coconut water for blood transfusion and some facts that point against it.

Can coconut water be used for blood transfusion?

Coconut water cannot be used for blood transfusion as it is a hypotonic fluid. Moreover, it is also acidic and has a high level of potassium, hence, can not take the place of plasma fluid for use in blood transfusion.

Coconut water resembles more red blood cells rather than blood plasma and cannot be used intravenously. Coconut water is recommended only as an oral hydration source. Doctors and health professionals are against injecting coconut water into the bloodstream.

People who get diarrhea or have their colons removed; are often prescribed coconut water to replenish the minerals in the patient’s body. The colon’s job is to absorb water; hence, coconut water becomes a supplementary drink for people without a colon.

People who suffer either from Crohn’s disease or gastroenteritis; lose water from their bodies as they get diarrhea quite often. Therefore, people with conditions that make them dehydrated quite often; can benefit from coconut water as it is a natural and diluted beverage. 

What is coconut water?

Coconut water is an endosperm. The endosperm is the fluid that envelops the embryo and nourishes it until the endosperm becomes active. 

Coconut water is found in only young and green coconuts where there is a need to sustain the fruit. As the coconut matures, the coconut water hardens and changes to coconut meat. 

Coconut water is an exceptional drink used to replenish the body’s ionic content. 

The electrolytes in coconut water help to maintain proper fluid balance. As an oral hydration source, it provides the body with calcium, potassium, and magnesium.

Coconut water also comes with fiber, vitamin C, and manganese. Coconut water is a good source of hydration for people with diarrhea and those who play sport. Coconut water is a better source of hydration than water and sports drinks. It is also a supplementary drink for those living in hot and dry climates.

Can coconut water be used as blood plasma?

You cannot use coconut water for blood transfusion due to the following reasons:

Being a hypotonic fluid, coconut water could cause cerebral edema, blood hemolysis, kidney failure, and heart arrhythmia when administered intravenously into the body.

It has a low sodium content which is not sufficient enough to stay in the bloodstream for long.

Moreover, coconut water has a high amount of potassium and calcium that can be harmful if injected directly into the bloodstream. Coconut water has only a quarter of the amount of sodium; that is in the blood plasma, while potassium levels are 10 to 15 percent higher.

Why makes coconut water not a viable option for blood transfusion?

There are reasons and evidence that advocate the use of coconut water for blood transfusion. However, some of them are misleading and, there are substantial physiological reasons that do not endorse the use of coconut water as blood plasma. 

The widespread idea that coconut water is strikingly similar to blood plasma has made coconut water earn the title of fluid of life. Coconut water is not only sterile and pyrogen-free. Pyrogen-free means that it will not cause the person to run a fever. Coconut water is sterile and has a pH close to that of the blood plasma.

However, the claims that coconut water is identical to blood plasma are untrue. The blood plasma or salty water makes up 55 percent of the blood. The other part of blood is made of blood cells; red blood cells and white blood cells.

The plasma is a yellowish, transparent liquid that has a high percentage of sodium. It also has a small amount of potassium and other trace elements. 

Where did the notion of using coconut water as blood plasma come from?

Coconut water has been used as blood plasma throughout history. A classic example is during the times of World War II, where the British and Japanese used fresh coconut water as the intravenous fluid for their troops. Anecdotal evidence supports the use of coconut water as blood plasma for decades. 

However, it has been used as an alternate only in times of dire crisis where resuscitation solution was unavailable. It was used only as a short-term solution during wars and epidemics and helped to combat the severity of a person’s condition until IV saline solution became accessible. 

In this brief guide, we answered the question, Can coconut water be used for blood transfusion? We discussed the reason that presumes the use of coconut water for blood transfusion and some facts that point against it.

Citations

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2011/08/15/139638930/saved-by-the-coconut-water-parsing-coconut-waters-medical-claims
https://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2014/12/09/4143229.htm
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/8-coconut-water-benefits#TOC_TITLE_HDR_8

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.