Caffeine

The role caffeine plays in blood pressure is still debatable. Consuming 200 to 300 milligrams of caffeine can temporarily cause a spike in your blood pressure, but it's unclear whether the effect is temporary or long lasting.

Caffeine may temporarily increase your blood pressure by blocking a hormone that keeps your blood vessels widened, allowing blood to easily flow through them. In addition, caffeine may cause you to produce more cortisol and adrenaline, which makes your blood flow faster, thus increasing your blood pressure. There isn't enough evidence to prove that caffeine raises your blood pressure long term.

Examples of caffeine-containing medications and products include:

  • Caffeine pills (Vivarin, others)
  • Coffee, energy drinks and other beverages

Some studies suggest that coffee may contain a substance that lowers blood pressure, thus counteracting any effects from caffeine. In addition, the caffeine content of coffee can vary widely, so it's difficult to say how many cups of coffee you can drink a day.

To see if caffeine raises your blood pressure, check your blood pressure about 30 minutes after drinking a cup of coffee or another caffeinated beverage you regularly drink. If your blood pressure increases by five to 10 points, you may be sensitive to the blood pressure raising effects of caffeine.

Feb. 11, 2016 See more In-depth