The effect of caffeine on postprandial hypotension in the elderly

J Am Geriatr Soc. 1991 Feb;39(2):160-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.1991.tb01619.x.


In a double-blind, randomized trial the effects of caffeinated and decaffeinated drinks on postprandial hemodynamic and neurohumoral changes were studied in seven fit, elderly subjects after a standard 2.4MJ meal. There was a significant difference in supine postprandial systolic blood pressure between the placebo and caffeine phases (P less than 0.01); at 60 minutes, supine systolic blood pressure had fallen 14 mmHg [95% confidence interval (CI)-7 to-21 mmHg, p less than 0.01) after placebo, but was unchanged after caffeine (+9 mmHg, CI 0 to 18 mmHg, NS]. Similar differences between placebo and caffeine were seen in erect systolic and diastolic blood pressure (P less than 0.01), although orthostatic tolerance was maintained throughout each study period. Postprandial plasma noradrenaline levels were higher (P less than 0.02) and the increase greater (P less than 0.02) after caffeine than after placebo. Caffeine administered at the end of a standard test meal prevents the postprandial fall in blood pressure in fit, elderly subjects. The clinical relevance of this finding has yet to be determined, but it may offer a simple remedy for patients with symptomatic postprandial hypotension.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Blood Glucose
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Caffeine / adverse effects*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Eating*
  • Epinephrine / blood
  • Female
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Hypotension / chemically induced*
  • Insulin / blood
  • Male
  • Norepinephrine / blood
  • Osmolar Concentration
  • Random Allocation


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Caffeine
  • Norepinephrine
  • Epinephrine