Metabolic and Ventilatory Effects of Caffeine During Light Intensity Exercise in Trained and Sedentary Low Habitual Caffeine Users

  • H.-J. Engels
  • J. C. Wirth
  • E. M. Haymes


This study examined selected physiological effects of caffeine during constant load, light intensity exercise in aerobically trained (TM) and sedentary (SM) low habitual caffeine users (<150 mg·day-1). Twelve healthy nonsmoking males (6 TM, 6 SM), following a 12-hr caffeine and food abstinence, participated in two separate 45-min trials consisting of constant load treadmill exercise at 30% of VO2max after caffeine (5 mg·kg-1) or placebo administered 60 min prior to experimental data acquisition. It was observed that pre-trial caffeine intake lowered respiratory exchange ratio (RER) and increased oxygen uptake (1·min- 1) and metabolic rate (kJ·min-1) during light intensity exercise (p<0.05). Minute ventilation (1 ·min- 1) and tidal volume (ml·min-1) was elevated in caffeine when compared to placebo trials (p<0.05). On the other hand, caffeine had no effect on frequency of breathing breath·min- 1) and carbon dioxide output via the lungs (1·min- 1). There was no statistically significant difference in physiological response to caffeine between the SM and TM subject groups for any of the variables studied. It is concluded that caffeine enhances fat oxidation, augments exercise metabolic rate, and alters ventilatory dynamics during light intensity exercise. The present findings indicate that these effects are similar in aerobically trained and sedentary low habitual caffeine consumers.


Respiratory Exchange Ratio Caffeine Intake Carbon Dioxide Output Ventilatory Effect Constant Load Exercise 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Åstrand PO, Rohdal K (1986) Textbook of Work Physiology. McGraw-Hill, New York, NYGoogle Scholar
  2. Bangsbo J, Jacobsen K, Nordberg N, Christensen NJ, Graham T (1992) Acute and habitual caffeine ingestion and metabolic responses to steady state exercise. J Appl Physiol 72:1297–1303CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Blanchard J, Sawers SJA (1983) The absolute bioavailability in caffeine in man. Eur J Clin Pharmacol 24:93–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brown DD, Knowlton RG, Sullivan JJ, Sanjabi PB (1991) Effect of caffeine ingestion on alveolar ventilation during moderate exercise. Aviat Space Environ Med 62:860–864Google Scholar
  5. Bucci L (1993) Nutrients as ergogenic aids for sports and exercise. CRC Press, Boca Raton,Google Scholar
  6. Casal DC, Leon AS (1985) Failure of caffeine to affect substrate utilization during prolonged running. Med Sci Sports Exerc 17:174–179CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chad K, Quigley B (1989) The effects of substrate utilization, manipulated by caffeine, on post-exercise oxygen consumption in untrained female subjects. Eur J Appl Physiol 59:48–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Costill DL, Dalsky GP, Fink WJ (1978) Effects of caffeine ingestion on metabolism and exercise performance. Med Sci Sports 10:155–158Google Scholar
  9. Curatolo PW, Robertson D (1983) The health consequences of caffeine. Ann Intern Med 98:641–653Google Scholar
  10. Donelly K, McNaughton L (1992) The effects of two levels ofcaffeine ingestion on excess post-exercise oxygen consumption in untrained women. Eur J Appl Physiol 65:459–463CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. D’Urzo AD, Jhirad R, Jenne H, Avendano MA, Rubenstein I, D’Costa M, Goldstein RS (1990) Effect of caffeine on ventilatoryresponses to hypercapnia, hypoxia, and exercise in humans. JAppl Physiol 68:322–328Google Scholar
  12. Ekelund LG (1967) Circulatory and respiratory adaptations during prolonged exercise. Acta Physiol Scand 70: Suppl 292Google Scholar
  13. Engels HJ, Haymes EM (1992) Effects of caffeine ingestion on metabolic responses to prolonged walking in sedentary males.Int J Sport Nutr 2:386–396Google Scholar
  14. Fisher SM, McMurray RG, Berry M, Mar MH, Forsythe WA (1986)Influence of caffeine on exercise performance in habitual caffeine users. Int J Sports Med 7:276–280CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Graham TE, Spriet LL (1991) Performance and metabolic responses to a high caffeine dose during prolonged exercise. J Appl Physio l7l: 2292–2298Google Scholar
  16. Grant DM, Tang BK, Kalow W (1983) Variability in caffeinemetabolism. Clin Pharmacol Ther 33:591–602CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Knapik JJ, Jones BH, Toner MM, Daniels WL, Evans WJ (1983) Influences of caffeine on serum substrate changes during running in trained and untrained individuals. Biochem Exerc 13:514–519Google Scholar
  18. LeBlanc J, Jobin M, Cote J, Samson P, Labrie, A(1985) Enhanced metabolic response to caffeine in exercise-trained human subjects. J Appl Physiol 59:832–837Google Scholar
  19. Leonard TK, Watson RR, Mohs ME (1987). The effects of caffeine on various body systems. J Am Diet Assoc 87:1048–1053Google Scholar
  20. Poehlman ET, Despres JP, Bessette H, Fontaine E, Tremblay A, Bouchard C (1985) Influence of caffeine on the resting metabolic rate of exercise-trained and inactive subjects. Med Sci Sports Exerc 17:689–694CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Pollock ML, Wilmore JH (1990) Exercise in health and disease (2nd edn.). WB Saunders, Philadelphia, PAGoogle Scholar
  22. Powers SK, Dodd S, Woodyard J, Mangum M (1986) Caffeine alters ventilatory and gas exchange kinetics during exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc 18:101–106Google Scholar
  23. Rall TW (1985) The methylxanthines. In: Goodman Gilman A, Goodman LS, Rall TW, Murad F (eds) The pharmacological basis of therapeutics (7th edn.). Mac Millan Publishing Company, New York, NYGoogle Scholar
  24. Spriet LL, MacLean DA, Dyck DJ, Hultman E, Cederblad G, Graham TE (1992) Caffeine ingestion and muscle metabolism during prolonged exercise in humans. Am J Physio 1262:E891-E898Google Scholar
  25. Tarnopolsky MA, Atkinson SA, MacDougall JD, Sale DG, Sutton JR (1989) Physiological responses to caffeine during endurance running in habitual caffeine users. Med Sci Sport Exerc 21:418–424CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Toner MM, Kirkendall DT, Delio DJ, Chase JM, Cleary PA, Fox EL (1982) Metabolic and cardiovascular responses to exercise with caffeine. Ergonomics 25:1185–1196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Van Soeren MH, Sathasivam P, Spriet LL, Graham TE (1993) Caffeine metabolism and epinephrine responses during exercise in users and nonusers. J Appl Physiol 75:805–812Google Scholar
  28. Zuntz, N (1901) Über die Bedeutung der verschiedenen Nährstoffe als Erzeuger der Muskelkraft. Pflügers Arch 83:557–571CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • H.-J. Engels
    • 1
  • J. C. Wirth
    • 1
  • E. M. Haymes
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of HPR-Exercise ScienceWayne State UniversityDetroitUSA
  2. 2.Department of Nutrition, Food and Movement SciencesFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA

Personalised recommendations