Does Caffeine Affect Women Differently Than Men?

men-women-caffeine effects

Caffeine may indeed effect the bodies of women differently than it does men.

It is no mystery that a woman’s body has different chemistry to that of a man’s body. This is primarily the result of the differing hormone levels present in each sex.

These hormone differences may just influence how the caffeine molecule works while metabolizing in a woman or a man’s body.

Below are some research studies that have looked for differences in caffeine’s effects when comparing the results recorded by both men and women.

Caffeine May Help Women Better During Stressful Situations

stress  and caffeine

It appears that women in stressful situations are benefited by caffeine while men under the same amounts of stress are actually hindered by the caffeine.

Researchers at Bristol University, UK put male and female subjects in stressful situations where they had to solve complex problems and present their findings to their peers. Some were given decaf coffee while others were given regular coffee.

The females that consumed the caffeine performed much better than the females without caffeine, while the males that consumed caffeine actually performed worse than the males drinking decaf.

Caffeine and Women and Men’s Blood Pressure

caffeine blood pressure men  and women

A study published in the American Journal of Cardiology found that caffeine elevated the blood pressure of both men and women similarly. But, the reason this occurred was different.

  • In men caffeine caused increased vascular resistance.
  • In women caffeine caused increased cardiac output.

Women Show Higher Post Meal Cortisol Levels After Caffeine

caffeine and cortisol
A study published in Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior looked at how caffeine influences cortisol levels during, stress, exercise, and meals.

  • During stressful situations caffeinated men released more cortisol than caffeinated women.
  • During exercise caffeine elevated both men and women’s cortisol levels.
  • After a meal, caffeine elevated a woman’s cortisol level greater than it elevated a man’s.

Researchers concluded that cortisol is elevated in men as the result of caffeine’s effect on the central nervous system, while in women this occurs from caffeine interacting with peripheral metabolic mechanisms.

Caffeine and Pain Tolerance

caffeine and pain relief
Caffeine has long been touted for its pain relieving properties, but this may be different for men and women.

A study published in Psychophysiology looked at caffeine’s pain relieving effects in both men and women. They concluded that caffeine did increase pain threshold, but this effect was greater in men than it was in women.

Perhaps Excedrin may work better on men than it does on woman?

What About Teen Boys and Girls?

A recent study from the University of Buffalo looked at how caffeine affects teen boys and girls and found some differences.

They found that overall boys have a greater response to caffeine, but a girl’s response changes depending on which stage of her menstrual cycle she is in.

This was indicated by heart rate and blood pressure changes. Src.

In any event, men and women may not be created equally when it comes to the effects of caffeine, but the differences are pretty subtle according to the research we have to date.

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  • Lulz

    There’s at least 7 other active organic ingredients in coffee, such as 2-ethylphenol, quinic acid, dimethyl disulfide, whose biological effects are not fully understood. The study strictly focuses on the effects of coffee, not the caffeine itself.

  • ted

    No it doesn’t because they used both regular coffee and decaf coffee in the study, the only variable was the caffeine..

  • Anonymous

    I’d wonder what the physiological explanation for this is (the article glosses over it). But the whole result found is a bit suspicious since it would imply men have been drinking coffee all these years under stress for no reason other than to perform worse?

  • elias

    hahahahaha that is so not true

  • elias

    maybe its true who knows

  • Mikatron3000

    You’d need a broader group of males/females to get accurate results, and it could be that some of the males & females react to stress differently. It is odd that males performed worse than females when given coffee, maybe it was the testosterone, no one knows

  • Lonnie

    I have a fib. Is spark safe for me

  • Ted

    I would say no, unless you use a small serving. Have you consulted your heart doctor?

  • K

    Your argument is valid only if decaf and regular coffee contain the same amount of ingredients above (ethylphenol, quinic acid, dimethyl disulfide)

  • irishrose2014

    I have a feeling I may be immune to the effects of Caffeine. I drink coffee all day more of a comfort and I can still sleep no problems. I never have heart palpitations. I think if someone can be caffeine sensitive the opposite must exist.

  • Ted

    You are correct. Some are “immune” as you say, but Just think of all the antioxidants you are getting 🙂

  • StePauMa

    I don’t care what it says. Tea and coffee is what I live for,

  • MPriya

    I take Hydroxycut Hardcore Elite 2 Capsules a day (1 in the morning and 1 in the evening around 4 pm – 1 capsule has around 100+ mg of Caffeine). I sleep as usual without any problems. And I am happy with it. They help me workout well 🙂 I am happy I am immune to it.

Last Modified: June 17, 2014