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Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2009 Aug;34(4):754-62. doi: 10.1139/H09-068.

Relationship of blood pressure, behavioral mood state, and physical activity following caffeine ingestion in younger and older women.

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Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866-1632, USA.


The purpose of this study was to examine the age-related differences in blood pressure, heart rate, and behavioral mood state after caffeine ingestion in younger and older women. Using a placebo-controlled, double-blind design, 10 younger (Y; 18-22 years) and 10 older (O; 50-67 years) healthy women who were moderate consumers of caffeine (self-reported mean intake: Y, 139 +/- 152; O, 204 +/- 101 were investigated. All volunteers were characterized for fasting plasma glucose, insulin, free-fatty acids and caffeine levels, body composition, cardiovascular fitness, physical activity, and energy intake. Before and after placebo and caffeine ingestion (5 fat-free mass; approximately 208-270 mg) test days, the following variables were measured in all subjects: plasma caffeine levels, heart rate, blood pressure, and behavioral mood state. Results showed that, following caffeine ingestion: (i) both systolic and diastolic blood pressure (SBP and DBP, respectively) increased significantly (p < 0.05) in the older women (SBP, 128.4 +/- 14.2 vs. 132.1 +/- 13.0 mm Hg (3%); DBP, 80.2 +/- 6.9 vs. 83.4 +/- 7.5 mm Hg (4%), whereas only DBP increased in the younger women (67.1 +/- 4.7 vs. 69.9 +/- 5.4 mm Hg (4.2%); p < 0.05); (ii) heart rate decreased significantly (Y, 59.2 +/- 8.7 to 53.9 +/- 10.6 beats.min-1 (p < 0.05); O, 61.9 +/- 9.2 to 59.2 +/- 8.4 beats.min-1 (p < 0.05)) in both groups; and (iii) self-reported feelings of tension and vigor increased and feelings of fatigue decreased (p < 0.05) in younger women, whereas depression decreased (p < or = 0.05) in older women. Self-reported level of physical activity was inversely related to change in DBP following caffeine ingestion in younger women. In conclusion, blood pressure response is augmented and subjective feelings of behavioral mood state are attenuated to a greater degree in older than in younger women following acute caffeine ingestion. Less physically active younger women are more vulnerable to the pressor response to caffeine than more active younger women. It should be noted that these findings are limited to moderate consumers of caffeine who abstained for 48 h prior to testing, and who ingested caffeine in pill form (approximately 240 mg).

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