Coconut sugar derived from coconut inflorescence sap lowers systolic blood pressure and arterial stiffness in middle-aged and older adults: a pilot study

Nicholas A Carlini, Spencer Romanowski, Emily N Rabalais, Brandon M Kistler, Marilyn S Campbell, I M Krishnakumar, Matthew P Harber, Bradley S Fleenor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Nutraceutical-based interventions hold promise to reduce blood pressure (BP) and arterial stiffness, which are two cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors. However, the effects of coconut sap powder (CSP), an Asian sweetener and novel nutraceutical, on BP and arterial stiffness in middle-aged and older adults (MA/O, ≥45 yr) has yet to be established. We hypothesized CSP will decrease BP and arterial stiffness in MA/O adults. In a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study design, 19 (age 55.3 ± 2.1 yr) MA/O adults completed measures of brachial and carotid BP, and arterial stiffness [carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (cfPWV), common carotid artery (CCA) β-stiffness, compliance, distensibility, and Young's and Peterson's Elastic moduli] before and after 8 wk of CSP (1.5 g/day) or placebo (1.5 g/day). A two-way repeated-measures analysis of variance was used to compare group mean differences. Compared with placebo, CSP lowered brachial systolic BP (SBP) (CSP pre: 117.4 ± 2.9 vs. post: 109.0 ± 2.4 mmHg, P < 0.05), but not carotid SBP ( P = 0.12). CSP also lowered Young's (CSP pre: 5,514.4 ± 1,115.4 vs. post: 3,690.6 ± 430.9 kPa) and Peterson's elastic moduli (CSP pre: 22.2 ± 4.4 vs. post: 19.2 ± 4.5 kPa) ( P < 0.05, both). A trend for CSP to lower CCA β-stiffness ( P = 0.06) and increase CCA compliance ( P = 0.07) was also observed. Arterial stiffness assessed by cfPWV did not change ( P > 0.05). No inflammatory or antioxidant biomarkers were affected by CSP. In summary, 8 wk of CSP lowers brachial SBP and CCA mechanical stiffness indicating a potential cardioprotective effect in MA/O adults. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Blood pressure (BP) and arterial stiffness are important predictors of cardiovascular health with aging. Nutraceuticals are an easy-to-implement lifestyle strategy demonstrating promise to effectively lower BP and arterial stiffness with aging and ultimately cardiovascular disease risk. We demonstrate that coconut sap powder (CSP), a traditional Asian sweetener, lowers brachial systolic BP and carotid artery mechanical stiffness in middle-aged and older (MA/O) adults. These findings provide initial evidence for the CSP-related cardioprotective effects in MA/O adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)508-514
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology Respiratory Environmental and Exercise Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2023


  • Middle Aged
  • Humans
  • Aged
  • Blood Pressure/physiology
  • Vascular Stiffness/physiology
  • Cocos
  • Pilot Projects
  • Cardiovascular Diseases
  • Sugars
  • Pulse Wave Analysis
  • Inflorescence
  • Powders
  • Carotid Arteries/physiology
  • Sweetening Agents


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