Blood Pressure Response to Caffeine Shows Incomplete Tolerance After Short-Term Regular Consumption
Caffeine acutely raises blood pressure (BP). The clinical significance of this effect depends on whether BP responses persist in persons who consume caffeine on a daily basis. Accordingly, the ability of caffeine to raise BP after 5 days of regular daily intake was tested in a randomized controlled trial. Individual differences in tolerance formation were then examined. Men (n=49) and women (n=48) completed a double-blind, crossover trial conducted over 4 weeks. During each week, subjects abstained for 5 days from dietary caffeine and instead used capsules totaling 0 mg, 300 mg, and 600 mg of caffeine per day in 3 divided doses. On day 6, in the laboratory, they used capsules with either 0 mg or 250 mg of caffeine at 9:00 am and 1:00 pm. Systolic/diastolic BP increases as a result of 250 mg of caffeine remained significant (P<0.006/0.001) at all levels of previous daily consumption. Individual difference comparisons found that although half the subjects had complete loss of systolic and diastolic BP responses to the challenge doses, the other half showed no loss in BP response, even after using 600 mg of caffeine per day for the previous 5 days (F >7.90, P <0.001). The sexes did not differ in degree of tolerance formation. Daily caffeine consumption failed to eliminate the BP response to repeated challenge doses of caffeine in half of the healthy adults who were tested. Caffeine may therefore cause persistent BP effects in persons who are regular consumers, even when daily intake is at moderately high levels.
- Received September 22, 2003.
- Revision received November 3, 2003.
- Accepted December 16, 2003.