New studies have found that there is a link between muscle-building supplements containing creatine and testicular cancer. Powders and pills that contain creatine or androstenedione increase the chances of developing cancer up to 65%. Men who started supplementing on these before the age of 25 and took more than one type for over 3 years, were most likely to be diagnosed with cancer. According to this, the risk of cancer is increased by:
- supplementing from an early age
- long-term usage
- multiple types usage
Creatine is an amino acid that is mostly found in your muscles and brain. While it comes as a supplement as well, most people get it from red meat and seafood. Many people supplement on creatine because it can improve athletic performance and lead to muscle gains. This happens because your body converts creatine to phosphocreatine which is stored in your muscles and used for energy.
Creatine supplements can also help treat brain disorders, congestive heart failure, and other health conditions. Topical creatine is also used in skin anti-aging treatments. Supplementing on creatine will provide you with the following benefits:
- improved energy levels for athletes
- enhanced muscle mass
- improved symptoms of creatine-metabolizing syndromes
- skin anti-aging properties
Creatine is considered generally safe to use. However, creatine may cause kidney damage, so people with kidney disorders might want to talk to their doctors before supplementing. Furthermore, new research suggests it plays a role in testicular cancer development. The research conducted at Brown University did find a potential connection between creatine and testicular cancer, but it didn't prove a causal relationship. For a real conclusion on this matter, a more in-depth research is needed.
The study published in the British Journal of Cancer was conducted on 513 men who did not have testicular cancer and 356 men who were diagnosed with testicular cancer in between 2006 and 2010. The men were aged in between 18 and 55 years old and they were all living in Connecticut or Massachusetts.
They were interviewed in regards to factors known to contribute to testicular cancer development, such as smoking, alcohol consumption, groin injuries, family history, and more.
They were also questioned on whether they used muscle-building supplements throughout their lives, such as creatine, androstenedione, and protein. One-fifth of the participants in the study who had testicular cancer said that they have used muscle-building supplements at some point in their lives.
The researchers found that the risk of cancer was increased among the group who took the supplements, which lead them to believe that some compounds found in these muscle-building supplements may be damaging and increase the risk for developing cancer.
The eventually concluded that those who take it before they are 25 years old and use multiple types of creatine have a higher risk for testicular cancer, as well as those who take it for longer periods of time. It is recommended to cycle on and off creatine anyway, so those who took creatine the right way have a significantly lower risk for testicular cancer than those who didn't cycle on and off.
Pure creatine when taken the right way and under medical supervision shouldn't increase the risk for testicular cancer, but it's up to you whether you decide to supplement it or not. And of course, always take your doctor's advice!
It’s up to you whether you continue to take creatine or not. Just remember that there is a right way to take creatine and an excessive way to do it. And excess is always health-damaging. Make sure you talk to a medical care provider before you supplement on creatine for professional advice.
This study is not conclusive, but it does pave the way for more in-depth research. In truth, creatine does provide you multiple benefits, and if you decide to take creatine as a muscle-building supplement, make sure you learn more about it and ask for professional advice to find out if it’s the right supplement for you.