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Gazzetta Medica Italiana Archivio per le Scienze Mediche 2013 April;172(4):253-9


language: English

The effects of caffeine on pulmonary function at rest

Garner J., Osborn W., Henry S.

Division of Natural Sciences, Department of Exercise Science, Pacific University, Forest Grove, OR, USA


Aim: Caffeine has been shown to stimulate respiration in apneic infants and asthmatic patients; however, little research has assessed resting respiration and caffeine consumption in healthy individuals. Purpose of the study was to assess the effects of caffeine on pulmonary function, specifically maximum voluntary ventilation (MVV), forced vital capacity (FVC), and forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1.0) during resting conditions.
Methods: Seventeen participants, 13 females (19-22 yr) and 4 males (20-26 yr) completed a double-blind, repeated measures study consisting of placebo and experimental (CAF ingestion, 6 mg x kg-1 body mass) conditions. The study examined MVV, FVC, and FEV1.0, using a metabolic cart. All participants were nonsmokers and free of pulmonary dysfunctions (e.g., asthma, illness). Testing schedule consisted of one familiarization session followed by two pulmonary function testing sessions. Participants were asked to abstain from caffeine for a minimum of 48 hours prior to testing. Testing sessions included baseline testing of MVV, FVC, and FEV1.0 followed by a randomized administration of treatment capsule. Post testing was performed 60 minutes after capsule administration.
Results: Repeated measures two-way ANOVA comparing pretest and posttest data for CONT and CAF conditions (α=0.05) found no pretest/posttest main effect, placebo/caffeine main effect or interaction for any of the pulmonary function variables - FVC, FEV1.0 and MVV.
Conclusion: Caffeine had no effect on the resting pulmonary function of healthy individuals. Although some studies suggest caffeine has the action of bronchodilation, this effect may only be measureable and meaningful in pulmonary-compromised individuals, such as asthmatics. This study does not address caffeine’s effect on pulmonary functioning during exercise conditions.

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