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Supplements and Cancer Risks

By on May 19, 2015

Muscle Supplements Linked to Testicular Cancer

For the thousands of young men looking to sculpt their body, tone their muscle, taking a variety of supplements is par for the course. But there is a cost as new research suggests taking supplements like creatine or androstenedione may boost the risk of testicular cancer. That’s right, cancer!The correlation was confirmed by a team of scientists at Yale University who interviewed more than 900 men about their workout regiment and history of supplement use. More than 350 of the men, all from Massachusetts and Connecticut, had been diagnosed with testicular germ cell cancer. In addition to divulging diet and exercise details, study participants also answered questions about smoking and drinking habits, family history of testicular cancer and groin injury history.The data showed that men who used supplements at least once a week for four consecutive weeks were 65% more likely to have been diagnosed with testicular cancer.

For men who used more than one kind of muscle-building supplement, the risk of developing testicular cancer was 177% greater. Consuming supplements for three years or longer resulted in a 156% risk increase.

The study only suggests correlation, not causation.

“The observed relationship was strong,” explained study leader Tongzhang Zheng, who carried out the researcher at Yale before moving to Brown University’s School of Public Health as an epidemiology professor. “If you used at earlier age, you had a higher risk. If you used them longer, you had a higher risk. If you used multiple types, you had a higher risk.”


Testicular cancer rates have been rising over the last several decades, and researchers haven’t been able to pinpoint why. This latest study — published this week in the British Journal of Cancer — offers clues.