This systematic review aimed to study caffeine’s effect on the cardiometabolic markers of the metabolic syndrome and to evaluate caffeine’s application as a potential therapeutic agent in rat models. The systematic review was structured and synthesized according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) and the Population, Intervention, comparator, outcome (PICO) framework. A literature search was conducted in PubMed, Scopus, and ScienceDirect to identify studies that used caffeine as an intervention in the rat model of the metabolic syndrome or any of its components compared with no treatment or controls. Studies that did not mention the disease manifestations from the experimental model used, without rat subjects, and which induced renovascular hypertension were excluded. The risk of bias in the included studies was assessed using the Systematic Review Center for Laboratory Animal Experimentation risk-of-bias tool. The main outcomes assessed were caffeine’s effect on obesity, dyslipidemia, hepatic steatosis, hepatic dysfunction, insulin resistance, and hypertension. Out of 228 studies retrieved from the search, 18 met our inclusion criteria and were included in the systematic review. Caffeine was found to favorably reduce obesity and insulin resistance in the rat model of the metabolic syndrome. The effects of caffeine on dyslipidemia, hepatic steatosis, hepatic dysfunction, and hypertension remain inconclusive. The main limitations of this study are the heterogeneity of the included studies in terms of the disease model used, experimental duration, methods to assess outcomes, including studies that were only published in English, measurement units used, and graphical data without and numerical mention in the results section. As a result, quantitative synthesis was unfeasible, and a qualitative descriptive synthesis was conducted; this might have led to the under characterization of caffeine’s effect on metabolic syndrome and its potential as an adjuvant therapy in metabolic syndrome. Caffeine has favorable effects on the metabolic syndrome, chiefly reducing obesity and insulin resistance. Future research is encouraged to delve into caffeine’s effect on dyslipidemia, hepatic steatosis, hepatic dysfunction, and hypertension, which is necessary if caffeine is to be used as a potential clinical adjuvant therapy to treat the metabolic syndrome.
© 2023. The Author(s).