Coconut Water's Benefits for Potassium Level and Dehydration
A natural electrolyte replacement, better than Gatorade is what I read time and time again. Not that I exercise so hard I need my electrolytes replaced, but I do suffer from dehydration, especially when whichever part of my brain that controls my body temperature decides to send false messages that I am hotter than I actually am. I sweat profusely, just sitting in a chair and find myself always looking for something to replenish my fluids and give me a jolt of energy in the process. With summertime comes an increase in this strange behavior.
I had it all worked out, coconut water was going to be a one-shot-fits-all solution to my dehydration, low potassium, and electrolyte replacement problem. When I didn’t need potassium for one problem, I could use it to solve my other problem. In my mind I had found the perfect solution, right up until the second I tasted the stuff.
Electrolytes are quite interesting. I visited a website (it claims it is monitored by physicians.) called Healthcommunities.comand found the following information about electrolytes that I believe relates to MS. Please give special note to the italicized portion:
“Electrolytes are salts that conduct electricity and are found in the body fluid, tissue, and blood. Examples are chloride, calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium. Sodium (Na+) is concentrated in the extracellular fluid (ECF) and potassium (K+) is concentrated in the intracellular fluid (ICF). Proper balance is essential for muscle coordination, heart function, fluid absorption and excretion, nerve function, and concentration.
The kidneys regulate fluid absorption and excretion and maintain a narrow range of electrolyte fluctuation. Normally, sodium and potassium are filtered and excreted in the urine and feces according to the body's needs. Too much or too little sodium or potassium, caused by poor diet, dehydration, medication, and disease, results in an imbalance. Too much sodium is called hypernatremia; too little is called hyponatremia. Too much potassium is called hyperkalemia; too little is called hypokalemia.”
Whether caused by dehydration, medication, or disease, electrolyte fluctuation can occur. When I’m in a flare, and on steroids; dehydration, disease and medication could be causing problems all at the same time. What a easy fix coconut water will be, if I can just get past the taste, or should I say lack of taste.
High in Potassium
In regards to Multiple Sclerosis and the treatment to reduce the length of a flare-up which consist of 1,000 mgs of Solu-Medrol steroids on at least a 3-5 day period, although effective, such high doses of steroids usually entails a “steroid crash” once our own hormonal systems slowly kick back in gear.
I learned from a popular social site for people with MS that potassium must be replaced during the crash to lighten its severity. Guess what is high in potassium? That’s right, coconut water. I became so excited that I already planned what I would do the next time I used Solu-Medrol, as if that day were right around the corner. I would eat bananas and drink coconut water. I told myself there was no way I would be potassium deficient after using those two main sources.
Well, unless coconut water starts tasting a lot better, I’m back to just bananas the next time I need a dose of steroids.
Will Purchasing Fruit Flavored Coconut Water Defeat the Purpose
I do remember reading of alcohol mixtures containing coconut and coconut water mixed with fruit flavoring. Maybe that would be better than eliminating coconut water all together. I ordered a 12-pack from Amazon.com, maybe the brand wasn’t up to par and if I order Zico when it becomes available, I will be pleasantly surprised by the difference.
However if I’m on steroids, I figure I will just drink the natural, plain, non-tasting coconut water, as it will be more important to get the potassium than to enjoy the flavor.
As A Sports Drink
For someone who actually works up a sweat from killer exercise programs, pure coconut water is still one of the healthiest ways to replace your electrolytes. That in itself is enough of a reason to recommend it, as for the taste . . . . don’t expect much and I don’t think you’ll be as disappointed as I was.
For those of you who told me you didn't really like coconut water that much, I now totally understand where you are coming from.
Update: Now that I have endured some really hot and humid days where just working around the house totally drained me, I can attest to the benefits of even my lousy tasting coconut water. It was quite refreshing and great for re hydration purposes. I totally get it now! I am still anxious to try Zico and ice-cold tastes the best.
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