Menopause is the ceasing of menstruation due to lack of hormones from the ovary to stimulate the uterus. There are currently 50 million women with menopause, referred to as the golden age. Most important side effect from menopause is heart condition, Alzheimer’s disease, and osteoporosis. Menopausal women often seek hormone replacement therapy (HRT) which is evidently reducing risk of Alzheimer.
However, women who continue HRT for over 5 years likely to face other side effects such as cancers especially breast cancer, colon cancer, and brain infarction. There has thus been a research effort to find natural supplement to replace HRT. Soy is the current subject of interest as it contains high level of estrogen hormone. Research found that American women with menopause who consume soy or soy products became diagnosed with cancers particularly breast cancer. However, this is untrue among their Chinese or Japanese female counterparts who are raised with soy products.
Young coconut water is another natural supplement that has high level of estrogen. Per traditional knowledge, Thais believe that drinking young coconut water while menstruating will cause menstruation to stop or become sporadic as well as delay the next cycle. A research sponsored by the Thailand Research Fund (TRF), which experimented on female white rats with ovaries removed, found that young coconut water does not only contain high level of estrogen hormone which reduces rate of Alzheimer but also has the ability to speed healing a wound.
Researchers thus requested for more funding from PSU (2011-2012 annual budget) to further the histopathology level of the above study, with an aim to test the hypothesis that phytoestrogen is the significant agent that offers these life-saving benefits. The study experimented on white male rats with testicles removed to compare to men of the golden age. The result shows that these benefits of young coconut water extend to the male group as well.
Besides fast wound healing, other additional benefits of phytoestrogen include slowing loss of bone mass and osteoporosis. Researchers measured parameter of layers of condyle cartilage and percentage of bone volume of temperomandibular joint in white rats after having testicles removed for 4 weeks and found that both measurements decreased significantly when compared to the rats with testicles removed for 2 weeks and has been fed with young coconut water. The hypothesis is that a certain property in young coconut water contains estrogen facilitates more optimal calcium absorption. The continuing research effort also aims to identify impact of young coconut water on slowing down osteoporosis in golden age women.
In the meantime, the benefit of the aforementioned research has contributed to development of medicine to help heal diabetic wounds, reduce scar from surgery on facial area, stimulates hair growth and volume, or as supplement that would prevent osteoporosis in golden age males.
The researchers have been acknowledged for their success; they have been invited to present before giant international cooperation like PepsiCo and Osotspa Co., Ltd., who are among leading beverage producers in Thailand. The research has also inspired partnership with Faculty of Agro-Industry, PSU, to conduct basic testing to develop young coconut water into food supplement, medicinal cosmetics, cosmetics, medicine that would slow down Alzheimer or healing wounds, as well as health drinks.
The effect of young coconut water on white female rats without ovaries and white male rats without testicles as models for golden age women and men respectively are concluded as follow:
- slow down onset of Alzheimer’s disease in the golden age females
- heal wounds and prevent scars in both male and female groups
- enhance skin whitening, soft and wrinkle-free
- increase hair growth and volume
- prevent osteoporosis
- increase calcium absorption in digestive cells
Use of Benefits
1. Young coconut water is natural and popular for its sweet taste and rich nutrients – including B3 (Niacin), B7 (Biotin), B2 (Riboflavin), Folic acid, B1 (Thiamin), B6 (pyridoxine), Sodium, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Copper, and Phosphorus. For this reason, young coconut water is also known as natural mineral water. FAO in fact recommends using young coconut water for a sport drink due to its high level of mineral. The research also supports superiority of young coconut water over other estrogen-concentrated herbs such as white kwao (Pueraria mirifica) or Temulawak. These other herbs can be poisonous if not extracted correctly and give out strong scent so cannot be applied or mixed with other drinks like coffee without compromising its taste.
2. Slow down onset of Alzheimer’s disease in the golden age females
3. Heal wounds especially for those with diabetes
4. Patients undergoing cosmetic facial surgery could drink young coconut water to prevent scarring
5. Young coconut water could be consumed to enhance skin whitening, softness and wrinkle-free
6. Increase hair growth and volume
7. Enhance calcium absorption in digestive tract cells so can prevent osteoporosis
8. Coconut is an economic plant of the southern region so the research increases the value of coconuts and help farmers especially during the flood or plague seasons when prices drop
9. Increase coconut export
- Not to drink during menstruation
- Patients with kidney or heart condition should drink little amount at a time
- Women with history of cysts, especially cysts in the breasts, uterus or ovary should take caution when consuming and regularly get check-up
- When consuming as part of HRT, must alternate with other drinks such as soy milk, never continue one type of health drink for a long period of time
- Never to consume with medicine as it might reduce the effect of the medicine, must drink half an hour before or after taking the medicine
- Drink the water directly from the coconut or from trustworthy sources, many manufacturer might sweeten products with sugar
Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Science, Prince of Songkla University
Source : http://rdo.psu.ac.th/