Boys get greater rush, more energy from caffeine than girls

February 19th, 2011 - 1:15 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Feb 19 (ANI): A new study has found that boys get a greater rush and more energy from caffeine than girls.

Results of a double-blind, placebo-controlled, dose-response study of the response of youth also showed that boys felt that caffeine had a positive effect on their athletic performance. Girls didn’t report on this issue.

It is the first study to demonstrate gender differences in physiological response to acute caffeine in adolescents.

“Our findings from this study and from our previous study suggest that boys and girls respond differently to caffeine,” said Jennifer L. Temple, a neurobiologist and assistant professor of exercise and nutrition sciences at the University at Buffalo, who conducted the study.

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 contraceptives, 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.

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 blood pressure, 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,” said 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 study has been published in the issue of Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology. (ANI)

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