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

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Abstract

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.

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