All those Mountain Dews, Red Bulls and ‘insert drink name here’ are taking a toll on the nation’s youth. With the prevalent consumption of caffeinated drinks, there has been surprisingly little research on the effects it has on young people. Researchers from the University of Buffalo are looking to fill that research gap with the release of a new study.

Generically, scientists and medical professionals know that caffeine increases blood pressure and decreases heart rate across the age spectrum. In the study, published in Pediatrics, researchers wanted to see what kind of role puberty played in the caffeine response. Particularly after puberty.

The results are that the caffeine response differs from boys to girls. Boys, aged 12-17 reported feeling a greater ‘rush’ and more energy than girls of the same age. See mom, it was biology that was making me a handful. Boys also reported greater athletic improvement with caffeine. Well, that one skipped me.

Researchers also found that as the caffeine levels increased – looking at you red bull – diastolic blood pressure increased and heart rates decreased in boys but not girls.

The study followed a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. It followed 54 boys and 47 girls ages 15-17, and 52 prepubertal children ages 8-9. While the research shows the difference in response, the data was inconclusive as to why. The team is wanting to research further into if it is a physiological factor, or a psychosocial factor.

Psychosocial factors include access to caffeinated drinks, caffeine use by peers and patterns in consumption. Others areas worth exploring are the diversity of sources caffeine is coming to kids. Those Starbucks babies and Monster Energy drinks kids are downing serious levels of caffeine. When they have an all-night bender of Xbox and Red Bull, it’s safe to say the effects are profound.


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