Cardiovascular and metabolic responses to tap water ingestion in young humans: does the water temperature matter?

Acta Physiol (Oxf). 2014 Jun;211(2):358-70. doi: 10.1111/apha.12290. Epub 2014 Apr 15.


Aim: Drinking water induces short-term cardiovascular and metabolic changes. These effects are considered to be triggered by gastric distension and osmotic factors, but little is known about the influence of water temperature.

Methods: We determined, in a randomized crossover study, the acute cardiovascular and metabolic responses to 500 mL of tap water at 3 °C (cold), 22 °C (room) and 37 °C (body) in 12 young humans to ascertain an effect of water temperature. We measured continuous beat-to-beat haemodynamics, skin blood flux with laser-Doppler flowmetry and resting energy expenditure by indirect calorimetry starting with a 30-min baseline followed by a 4-min drink period and a subsequent 90-min post-drink observation.

Results: Ingestion of cold- and room-tempered water led to decreased heart rate (P < 0.01) and double product (P < 0.01), and increased stroke volume (P < 0.05); these effects were not observed with body-tempered water. Drinking cold- and room-, but not body-tempered water, led to increased high frequency power of heart rate variability (P < 0.05) and baroreflex sensitivity (P < 0.05). Cold- and room-tempered water increased energy expenditure over 90 min by 2.9% (P < 0.05) and 2.3% (ns), respectively, accompanied by a diminished skin blood flux (P < 0.01), thereby suggesting that both small increases in heat production together with decreased heat loss contribute to warming up the ingested water to intra-abdominal temperature levels.

Conclusions: Overall, ingestion of cold- and room-, but not body-tempered water reduced the workload to the heart through a reduction in heart rate and double product which could be mediated by an augmented cardiac vagal tone.

Keywords: baroreflex; haemodynamics; vagal; variability.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Baroreflex / physiology
  • Cardiovascular System
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Drinking / physiology*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Hemodynamics / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Temperature*
  • Water*
  • Young Adult


  • Water