Muscle Building Supplements & Testicular Cancer Risk…Is There Enough Evidence?




So if you haven’t seen it already, there has been a recent study looking into ‘muscle- building supplements’ and a specific form of cancer known as Testicular Germ Cell Cancer (TGCC). Now although the study was performed by robust researchers, it is expected that even the researchers themselves will acknowledge that an observational study such as this is not enough to make such a blanket claim! An observational study does not prove causal relationships, in other words there is no way for them to say that muscle- building supplements as an entity increases TGCC. To assert blame to muscle building supplements as a whole is not possible based on this study alone, this is for a number of reasons as follows:


1.) They focussed on 3 main supplements that include creatine, protein and androstenedione ‘or its booster’, which is simply far too broad to make such claims.

2.) The study did not individually test the supplements for contaminants e.g. performance enhancing drugs, and failed to check for confounding ingredients.

3.) Protein as a supplement category is vast, and many proteins contain various ingredients that mean pinning any causal blame on protein alone is unrealistic and unsubstantiated.

4.) The only three supplements disclosed (creatine, protein and androstenedione) exert different roles in the body and work via separate mechanisms, so it’s difficult to isolate a particular supplement (if any).

5.) Because of the breadth and vagueness of the ‘muscle building supplement’ category, no specific recommendations can be made from the results of this study.


I’m conscious to not be bias in any way considering the nature of our business, however due to the abovementioned points, I think it is fair to say that no recommendations can be drawn from this study. It is anticipated that this useful study will encourage other researchers to perform more ‘cause and effect’ studies to narrow down the potential causative factor. It is the general opinion that muscle building supplements can be consumed safely and effectively without fear of developing cancer.



Hauser, N, L, R., Holford, T., Zhu, Y., Zhang, Y., Bassig, B, A. et al. (2015). Muscle-building supplement use and increased risk of testicular germ cell cancer in men from Connecticut and Massachusetts. British Journal of Cancer. 112, 1247-1250 (31 March 2015) | doi:10.1038/bjc.2015.26 (2015). Do muscle building supplements cause testicular cancer? A deeper look at the latest study on MBS usage and testicular cancer. Retrieved 16th April, 2015, from

About the Author

Job Role Qualified Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist Qualifications BSc (Hons) Sports Science | BSc (Hons) Dietetics Tom has always participated in sport both recreationally and competitively which led to an unquenchable thirst for information on anything health, nutrition and fitness. After leaving school Tom went on to play for a football academy during which time he studied Sport and Exercise Science. From here he went on to study a BSc (Hons) Sport Science at UEA followed by his second BSc (Hons) degree, this time at the University of Hertfordshire studying Dietetics. Tom has worked in the fitness, educational and clinical nutrition industry starting out at David Lloyd Health and Leisure Clubs. He then went on to work as a Dietitian (RD) in the NHS, during which time he conducted clinics for healthy eating, weight loss and weight gain, as well as specialised consultations on Diabetes, IBS and Coeliac disease to name a few. He has vast amounts of experience at devising diet plans and supplement regimens, as well as working in the community with schools and competitive athletes. As Head Nutritionist and Supplement expert at Discount Supplements Tom is here to provide current and evidence based health and nutrition information to help you reach your health and fitness goals!
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