A recent study that investigated supplements and their potential impact on testicular cancer has made its rounds in the media. Needless to say, gym bros all across the world are fearing for their family jewels. But, should you worry? Well, not necessarily and here’s why.
The authors of the study investigated the relationship between testicular cancer and muscle building supplements. Male residents from hospitals located in either Massachusetts or Connecticut during 2006-2010 were recruited for the study. Some of the men already had some degree of testicular germ cell cancer — a common form of cancer in young men. Others did not.
The men were provided with a questionnaire which asked about their supplement use. Supplement use was classified as using one or more supplements one or more times a week for four consecutive weeks. The researchers assessed 30 different muscle building powders and pills but only noted creatine, protein and androstenedione. Additional questions were asked related to exercise habits, smoking, drinking, and family history related to testicular cancer.
After analyzing the data and taking into account the different risk factors for testicular cancer, the researchers found that men who used workout supplements had a 65 percent greater risk for developing testicular cancer than those who did not.
Does that mean you should burn all your workout supplements? Of course not.
This study only found that using workout supplements is potentially connected to an increase in testicular cancer. It does not prove a relationship. Additionally, because the category of muscle building supplements were too broad, no specific recommendations can be made on which to avoid. Therefore, there is currently no reason to fear the protein or creatine powder in your cabinet.
However, the quality of the dietary supplement industry is questionable at times. It is always a good idea to consult with a registered dietitian to assess any dangers of a supplement you are taking.
Gavin Van De Walle specializes in sports nutrition and co-owns supranutrition.com. Van De Walle earned a Bachelor of Science degree in nutrition and food science from South Dakota State University, and is a certified personal trainer. He also has several published articles on the topics of nutrition and fitness on popular websites such as eHow, Livestrong.com, the Houston Chronicle, and several other major outlets.