Caffeine and the elderly

Drugs Aging. 1998 Jul;13(1):43-50. doi: 10.2165/00002512-199813010-00005.


The most common source of dietary caffeine among the elderly is coffee, with consumption averaging about 200 mg/day. Because of the greater proportion of adipose tissue to lean body mass in older humans, and because caffeine is distributed essentially only through lean body mass, a dose of caffeine expressed as mg/kg total bodyweight may result in a higher plasma and tissue concentration in elderly compared with younger individuals. The metabolism of, and physiological responses to, caffeine is similar in elderly and younger individuals. However, there is a limited amount of evidence that responses to caffeine in some physiological systems may be greater in the elderly at doses in the 200 to 300 mg range. Although caffeine consumption increases urinary calcium levels similarly in both younger and older individuals, the preponderance of data suggest that caffeine has a greater impact on calcium metabolism and bone in older people. Evidence also suggests that increasing age is associated with increasing sensitivity to the pressor effects of caffeine. Caffeine appears to affect metabolic and neurological responses similarly in both young and elderly individuals, when differences in baseline performance are taken into account.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / metabolism
  • Bone and Bones / drug effects
  • Caffeine / metabolism
  • Caffeine / pharmacology*
  • Cardiovascular System / drug effects
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / metabolism
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / pharmacology*
  • Diet
  • Endocrine System / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Kidney / drug effects
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychomotor Performance / drug effects


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Caffeine