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Muscle Building Supplements And Risk Of Testicular Cancer

August 18th, 2016

Muscle Building Supplements And Risk Of Testicular Cancer

Muscle Building Supplements And Risk Of Testicular Cancer

Most men invests a lot of their time, money and energy on their physical appearance. But it is no surprise that in this fast-pace life, people look for short-cuts. Do you know that most dietary supplements are not regulated by FDA? This also means that most supplements that are available in the market have the potential to cause wide variety of complications or adverse effects on health. According to the latest reports, men who use performance enhancing supplements are at higher risk of developing a wide range of complications including testicular cancer.

FDA Regulation And Muscle Building Supplements

According to a new study reported in the Pharmacotherapy journal (1) investigators suggested that most body building supplements are hazardous for health as it is fairly easy to add ingredients or chemicals which have not undergone any testing or clinical trials. Since, people are most concerned about short term benefits, a lot of individuals don’t even perform any research before purchasing or consuming these supplements. For example, androstenedione, one of the most common ingredient used in many muscle-building supplements is considered illegal. It was banned by USDA in 2004 due to its potential risk on health, but several overseas companies have continued to use this compound as an integral part of the muscle building supplements.

In addition, most small sized companies (especially overseas or internet companies) invest very little effort on actually calculating the dosage and ingredients of the supplements. In turn the wrong information provided on the label can also misguide users. There are many supplements (in the form of pills and powder) that do not provide any supportive statements by the manufacturers for the claims they have made about their products. However, this doesn’t means that each and every dietary supplement in the market is hazardous.

Muscle Building Supplements And Testicular Cancer

Muscle building supplements have always been popular among men. A lot of individuals also consider these supplements for meal replacements as companies claim their product can help the consumer in gaining muscle mass and losing extra fat. But according to a new study reported in the British Journal of Cancer, investigators suggested that the use of some muscle building supplement is strongly linked with testicular cancer. Previous studies have also indicated the presence of certain ingredients that have the tendency to harm testicles.Risks And Realities Of OTC Testosterone Supplements image

Researchers from Yale University conducted a study in which 900 men (aged between 18 to 55 years) admitted to the use of supplements containing androstenedione, protein and creatine as the main ingredient. However, on follow-up testing, it was observed that 350 men from the sample of 900 developed testicular germ cell cancer.

After controlling other factors, results showed that men who had used supplements in the past, (especially before the age of 25) and had used more than one muscle-building supplements for 2 or more years were at greater risk of developing cancer when compared to control group. This study is among the first studies that has helped in establishing a strong association between muscle building supplements and development of testicular cancer.

What Are Some Factors That Can Increase The Risk Of Testicular Cancer With Supplements?

It has been observed that muscle boosting supplements have toxic concentration of steroids (and synthetic analogues) as well as creatinine and other nitrogen compounds that can disrupt the normal functioning of hormones. In addition, certain other ingredients such as caffeine (that helps in boosting energy levels) can also lead to liver damage and affect the metabolism of these compounds in the body. Use of muscle building supplements on regular basis further increase the risk. Investigators have discovered that the risk of developing cancer increases by up to 65% in men who have a history of using more than one bodybuilding supplement.

Besides bodybuilding supplements, several other risk factors can also aggravate the risk of developing cancer and other complications. Other risk factors include:

  • History of chronic and excessive alcohol consumption
  • Smoking
  • Groin injuries

It is highly recommended to avoid unnecessary supplements or drugs unless advised by your doctor. In addition, make sure to read the label and perform thorough research before purchasing your supplements.


1. El Rahi, C., Thompson‐Moore, N., Mejia, P., & De Hoyos, P. (2015). Successful Use of N‐Acetylcysteine to Treat Severe Hepatic Injury Caused by a Dietary Fitness Supplement. Pharmacotherapy: The Journal of Human Pharmacology and Drug Therapy, 35(6), e96-e101.

2. Li, N., Hauser, R., Holford, T., Zhu, Y., Zhang, Y., Bassig, B. A., … & Schwartz, S. M. (2015). Muscle-building supplement use and increased risk of testicular germ cell cancer in men from Connecticut and Massachusetts. British journal of cancer, 112(7), 1247-1250.

3. Andres, L. P., Sacheck, J., & Tapia, S. (1999). A review of creatine supplementation: side effects and improvements in athletic performance. Nutrition in Clinical Care, 2(2), 73-81.

4. Eichner, E. R. (2014). Fatal caffeine overdose and other risks from dietary supplements. Current sports medicine reports, 13(6), 353-354.

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