An alarming connection has been discovered between supplements designed to build muscle mass and a potentially fatal disease.
According to the Washington Post, researchers found that out of nearly 900 men surveyed from Massachusetts and Connecticut, 356 had been diagnosed with testicular cancer.
They also found a connection between taking these muscle-building supplements and developing testicular cancer.
There were 30 types of pills and powder involved, and their primary ingredients were creatine, protein and androstenedione.
While the men with cancer were of various ages and races, researchers noted that the men from the both control group and the group with cancer shared similar connections such as height, smoking and drinking habits and levels of education.
Researchers ultimately determined that taking muscle-building supplements at the same rate of these men (one pill a week for four weeks) increases one's risk of developing testicular cancer by 65 percent.
Researcher Tongzhang Zheng, who led the study at Yale University, said,
The observed relationship was strong. 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.
The risk of testicular cancer went up 121 percent if a guy began taking supplements at 25 years old or younger.
Taking more than one type of supplement resulted in a 177 percent increase in risk, and those who took supplements for at least three years were 156 percent more likely to develop the disease.
While these findings do point to some sort of connection between muscle-building supplements and testicular cancer, a direct relationship could not be established.
What the findings can do, however, is lead to the uncovering of certain chemicals or compounds that cause the disease.
A professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and a co-author of the study, Russ Hauser, said in a statement,
These results are important because there are few identified modifiable risk factors for testicular cancer.
The study has also called for some lawmakers to question how these nutritional supplements are regulated, which are not considered food or pharmaceutical drugs and therefore are subjected to different testings under the Food and Drug Administration.
An investigation from last February found that because of this ignorance, the majority of herbal supplements sold at major retailers contained little if any of their advertised ingredients.
The muscle-building supplement research was originally published in the British Journal of Cancer.