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Impact of Caffeine Intake Strategies on Heart Rate Variability during Post-Exercise Recovery: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

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Objectives: The objective of this systematic review and meta-analysis is to evaluate the influence of caffeine (CAF) intake strategies, taking into account their form, timing, and dosage, on heart rate variability (HRV) indices in the post-exercise recovery period.

Methods: The meta-analysis adhered to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) guidelines and is registered in the PROSPERO database (CRD42023425885). A comprehensive literature search was carried out across MEDLINE, Web of Science, LILACS, and SCOPUS, concluding in May 2023. We concentrated on randomized clinical trials comparing CAF supplementation effects to placebo on HRV indices post-exercise in active adults aged 18 and above. The primary endpoint was the assessment of HRV indices, measured both prior to and following exercise.

Results: Of the 10 studies included, 7 were used for the meta-analysis, and all contributed to the systematic review. The research explored a variety of CAF strategies, spanning different forms (capsule, drink, gum), times (10, 45, 60 min) and doses (2.1 to 6.0 mg/kg). The outcomes revealed no substantial variations between the placebo and CAF conditions in terms of both the square root of the average of successive squared differences between adjacent RR intervals (RMSSD) (standardized mean difference (SMD) -0.03, 95% CI -0.265 to 0.197, p=0.77) and high frequency (HF) index (SMD -0.061, 95% CI -0.272 to 0.150, p=0.57). Furthermore, metaregression analysis, employing a fixed-effects model and accounting for the administered CAF doses, revealed no significant correlation between caffeine doses and HRV indices (p>0.05).

Conclusion: In conclusion, there is moderate-certainty evidence suggesting that different CAF intake strategies, encompassing aspects such as form, time, and dose, do not have a significant impact on HRV indices recovery post-exercise (i.e., vagal modulation).

Keywords: Dietary supplements; autonomic nervous system; caffeine; exercise; heart rate; metabolism

Document Type: Miscellaneous

Publication date: May 1, 2024

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  • Current Cardiology Reviews publishes frontier reviews on all the latest advances on the practical and clinical approach to the diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease. All relevant areas are covered by the journal including arrhythmia, congestive heart failure, cardiomyopathy, congenital heart disease, drugs, methodology, pacing, and preventive cardiology. The journal's aim is to publish the highest quality review articles dedicated to clinical research in the field. The journal is essential reading for all researchers and clinicians in cardiology.
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