High-caffeine-consuming boys get greater rush from caffeine than girls

Feb 18, 2011

Among the many differences between girls and boys, add the effects from caffeine -- physiological, behavioral and subjective -- to the list.

Results of a double-blind, placebo-controlled, dose-response study of the response of youth to found that, in general, get a greater rush and more energy from caffeine than girls.

Boys also reported they felt that caffeine had a positive effect on their . Girls didn't report on this issue.

The study, conducted by Jennifer L. Temple, PhD, a neurobiologist and assistant professor of exercise and nutrition sciences at the University at Buffalo, appears in the current (December 2010) issue of Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology.

It is the first study to demonstrate in physiological response to acute caffeine in adolescents. Temple's initial paper on this research was published in the December 2009 issue of Behavioural Pharmacology.

"Our findings from this study and from our previous study suggest that boys and girls respond differently to caffeine," Temple says. "We are hoping that our findings from our studies on caffeine will help us to determine why males and females differ in susceptibility to drug abuse and respond differently to treatment."

The study involved 26 boys and 26 girls between the ages of 12 and 17. To take part in the research, the teenagers were required to have previous experience with caffeine but no adverse reactions, and not using hormone-based , not smoking, not on any medication that could have adverse interactions with caffeine (e.g., methylphenidate) and were willing to visit the laboratory four times for 90 minutes each.

Participants were instructed not to drink caffeine 24 hours before each visit and to eat nothing or drink nothing but water for two hours before each visit.

On the first visit, participants completed a 24-hour dietary and recall, including how many caffeinated drinks they consumed, while parents completed a demographic questionnaire. Teens provided a three-millimeter saliva sample analyzed to make sure they had abstained from caffeine as required and weren't taking steroid hormones.

After researchers took baseline and blood pressure, participants drank a beverage containing 50 mg, 100 mg or 200 mg of caffeine, or one with no caffeine that served as a placebo. The order was randomized across the four visits for each participant.

Blood pressure and heart rate measurements were taken every 10 minutes during the first hour. The teens completed the behavioral checklist again and munched on snack food. After the fourth session, participants had their height and weight measured, and were debriefed about the study.

In addition to the general findings, the study revealed several differences in response to caffeine between girls and boys. Diastolic blood pressure increased and heart rate decreased as percentage of caffeine increased in males, but not in females. In addition, boys who were regular "high consumers" of caffeine showed greater increases in blood pressure than low-consuming boys.

"Caffeine is known to increase , but the fact that it caused an exaggerated response in high-consuming males was a surprise, since at the time of measurement the amount of caffeine consumed by boys and girls was the same," says Temple.

"We would have predicted that high consumers would have developed some tolerance to the effects of caffeine and would have reduced responses."

When researchers examined eating behavior as a function of chronic and acute caffeine use, they found that high consumers of caffeine consumed more calories, protein and fat in their typical diet, and ate more high-sugar snack foods in the laboratory, compared with low-caffeine consumers.

The third and perhaps the most important question in this investigation focuses on the effect of caffeine consumption during adolescence on later use of legal or illegal drugs. That paper currently is in preparation.

Explore further: Oil-swishing craze: Snake oil or all-purpose remedy?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Caffeine effects on children studied

Apr 26, 2006

Arkansas scientists say they've found caffeine elevates blood pressure and lowers heart rate in children during exercise, but doesn't affect metabolism.

Coffee consumption unrelated to alertness

Jun 02, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- The stimulatory effects of caffeine may be nothing more than an illusion according to new research, which shows there is no real benefit to be gained from the habitual morning cup of coffee.

Your brain on -- and off -- caffeine

May 01, 2009

Ever miss your daily cup of coffee and subsequently get a pounding headache? According to reports from consumers of coffee and other caffeinated products, caffeine withdrawal is often characterized by a headache, ...

Recommended for you

Suddenly health insurance is not for sale

Apr 18, 2014

(HealthDay)— Darlene Tucker, an independent insurance broker in Scotts Hill, Tenn., says health insurers in her area aren't selling policies year-round anymore.

Study: Half of jailed NYC youths have brain injury (Update)

Apr 18, 2014

About half of all 16- to 18-year-olds coming into New York City's jails say they had a traumatic brain injury before being incarcerated, most caused by assaults, according to a new study that's the latest in a growing body ...

Autonomy and relationships among 'good life' goals

Apr 18, 2014

Young adults with Down syndrome have a strong desire to be self-sufficient by living independently and having a job, according to a study into the meaning of wellbeing among young people affected by the disorder.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Study says we're over the hill at 24

(Medical Xpress)—It's a hard pill to swallow, but if you're over 24 years of age you've already reached your peak in terms of your cognitive motor performance, according to a new Simon Fraser University study.

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.