PKD ADPKD Coconut Aminos soy sauce

What are Coconut Aminos? Are they good for PKD?

Jul 18, 2022

Let’s take a look at Coconut Aminos. We will explore what they are, how they are made, how they compare to other sauce options, and if they are a good condiment choice for ADPKD.


What Are Coconut Aminos?


Coconut aminos, similar to soy sauce, are a dark and thin saucy condiment.  They are used in sauces, dips, and dishes to add flavor. You can find them on grocery shelves right next to soy sauce. Despite their name, coconut aminos aren’t made from coconut fruit and don’t taste coconutty.  They are made from the fermentation of coconut tree flower sap.  

After being harvested from the coconut flowers, the sap is stored and aged.  There is natural sugar in the sap, so fermentation occurs.   After fermentation, sea salt is added and blended in.  The ingredients in coconut aminos are fermented coconut sap and sea salt, that’s it!

Traditional soy sauce contains both soy and wheat, two of the most common food allergens, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Unlike soy sauce, coconut aminos are gluten and soy free.  They are a great option for people with allergies to wheat or soy.  Traditional soy sauce also contains both

Coconut aminos are frequently labeled as liquid aminos.  Products listed as “liquid aminos” are sometimes made from soy, it is worth checking the ingredients if you avoid soy.


Do Coconut Aminos Have Health Benefits?


Coconut flower sap and coconut meat do contain vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. (1)  Coconut aminos however don’t provide a significant source of any of them.  You would have to consume a considerable amount of them to obtain any benefit.  They are also not a significant source of amino acids – a myth frequently perpetuated online.   That is why they aren’t sold as a dietary supplement but rather as a condiment.


What About the Sodium?


While coconut aminos are a little bit higher in naturally occurring sugar than soy sauce, which gives them a slightly sweeter taste, they contain up to 72% less sodium than soy sauce.

Coconut aminos are a great option for anyone looking to lower their sodium intake. One of the earliest, and most frequent, manifestations of Autosomal Polycystic Kidney Disease is hypertension (HTN). Up to 90% of people with ADPKD have HTN, which can frequently be salt-sensitive hypertension (SSHTN). (2)  Meaning, that an increase in dietary sodium/salt intake can lead to an increase in blood pressure.  Well-controlled blood pressure is associated with slower progressing ADPKD and better heart health.  A low sodium diet can absolutely help with better blood pressure management.

Coconut aminos are lower in sodium than soy sauce, however, they are not low sodium!  Read labels and be intentional with servings and moderation.


Soy Sauce vs. Coconut Aminos



Three of my Favorites


As always, before buying a product, flip it around and check out the nutrition facts label.  Some coconut amino brands can be and are loaded with sodium.  You still need to be selective with what you choose.  A little goes a long way regarding flavor!

Three that I like for lower sodium are:

*TBSP = tablespoon

  1. Coconut Secrets Coconut Aminos – 1 TBSP has 270 mg of sodium
  2. Trader Joe’s Organic Coconut Aminos – 1 TBSP has 230 mg of sodium
  3. Big Tree Farm Coconut Aminos – 1 TBSP has 500 mg of sodium


How To Use Coconut Aminos?


Use coconut aminos to replace soy sauce, subbing equal amounts.  They are a great alternative for marinades, to add flavor to dips & dressings, and stir-fries.  Check out one of my favorite snacks >>> Sweet Ginger Roasted Pumpkin Seeds.


Bottom Line


Small changes in what & how you eat add up to long-term benefits for PKD health and slower progression of cyst growth.  Finding ways to make dietary changes, like reducing sodium intake, and doing it consistently turns them into proactive nutrition for PKD. 


Make sure to check out The PKD Nutrition Academy and get on the waitlist!

One of the foundational lessons is on sodium, what it is, how it is related to PKD health, plus diet and sodium recommendations.  The module also includes what you need (think guides, handouts, and recipes) to support a low sodium PKD lifestyle.


Happy & Healthy Eating,

Diana, The PKDietitian