ADVERTISEMENT

Caffeine intake by children and adolescents has been rising for decades, due in large part to the popularity of caffeinated sodas and energy drinks. Despite this, there is little research on the effects of caffeine on young people.

Among those looking to change that is Jennifer Temple, associate professor in the Department of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences at the University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions.

Temple’s new study finds that after puberty, boys and girls experience different heart rate and blood pressure changes after consuming caffeine. Girls also experience some differences in caffeine effect during their menstrual cycles.

The study, “Cardiovascular Responses to Caffeine by Gender and Pubertal Stage,” was published online earlier this week in the July edition of the journal Pediatrics.

Past studies, including those by the UB research team, have shown that caffeine increases blood pressure and decreases heart rate in children, teens and adults, including preadolescent boys and girls. The latest study looked to learn whether gender differences in cardiovascular responses to caffeine emerge after puberty and if those responses change across menstrual phases, according to UB officials.

“We found an interaction between gender and caffeine dose, with boys having a greater response to caffeine than girls, as well as interactions between pubertal phase, gender and caffeine dose, with gender differences present in post-pubertal, but not in pre-pubertal, participants,” Temple said in a news release.

Phases of the menstrual cycle, marked by changing levels of hormones, are the follicular phase, which begins on the first day of menstruation and ends with ovulation, and the luteal phase, which follows ovulation and is marked by significantly higher levels of progesterone.