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Caffeine Affects Boys and Girls Differently after Puberty, Study Finds

Update Date: Jun 16, 2014 12:08 PM EDT

According to a new study, caffeine affects people differently based on their gender. The researchers from the University of Buffalo in New York found that caffeine had a stronger effect on post-pubescent boys than girls.

"In this study, we were looking exclusively into the physical results of caffeine ingestion," Jennifer L. Temple, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions, said according to the University press release.

For this study, the research team headed by Temple, recruited 96 children between the ages of eight and 17. The children visited the laboratory six different times. Each time, the researchers measured the children's heart rates and blood pressure levels before and after they were given either a caffeinated or placebo beverage to drink. The children were also given a questionnaire to fill out regarding their caffeine use.

"While the data suggests that boys and girls respond differently to caffeine, both genders experienced cardiovascular effects of caffeine," Temple said. "And while it does not suggest that caffeine is particularly harmful to children and adolescents, there is little evidence that caffeine consumption is beneficial to health in this population.

The team discovered that before puberty, the heart rate and blood pressure of boys and girls increased similarly after caffeine consumption. After hitting puberty, however, the researchers found that caffeine had a greater effect on boys than girls. The researchers found that after drinking a caffeinated beverage, boys generally had higher blood pressure than girls in the age group of 12 to 17. The researchers did find that girls reacted to caffeine differently when they were on their menstrual cycle.

"The data on the girls' menstrual cycles does suggest that the cardiovascular response to caffeine changes along with hormonal fluctuations during menstruation," Temple said reported in FOX News.

The researchers were not sure why caffeine affected boys and girls differently after puberty. They state that more research examining this relationship should be conducted. The study, "Cardiovascular Responses to Caffeine by Gender and Pubertal Stage," was published in Pediatrics.

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