Just in case you have missed any of it, a few mainstream publications have covered a study that supposedly links supplements used by men to a higher risk of developing testicular cancer. That would be very big news except that the study results and methodology were not so cut and dry.
Getting the full truth out requires a close examination of a study itself, rather than the conclusions the press draws from it, so let us take a thorough look at the research and facts that you should know. The truth isn’t as amazing as certain fear-mongering reports would have you believe, I think you are entitled to an analysis that doesn’t necessarily require a villain which in this case is dietary supplements.
The original study was done by researchers at the Yale School Of Medicine in Connecticut.
The researchers reviewed over 350 men aged 18-55 years old diagnosed with testicular cancer between 2006 and 2010, as well as over 500 control subjects (men with no testicular cancer). Participants were studied and asked about their dietary supplement use or as the study called it ‘muscle-building supplements’, including protein powders, creatine and androstenedione. The inclusion of androstenedione, an illegal anabolic prohormone or precursor to testosterone should straight away raise some red flags about this particular study.
The subjects were asked how many of the 30 different ‘muscle-building supplements’ they used, how old they were when they began using them and how long they had used them for. ‘muscle-building supplements’ is the researchers vague and misleading term. With this data, an analysis was done to determine if there as a genuine link between supplement use and testicular cancer.
The researchers did a report in a 2015 issue of the British Journal Of Cancer that there is an association between ‘muscle-building supplements’ and the development of testicular cancer. More specifically, they found a higher risk of the cancer in men who reported using more than one kind of supplement, in those who started using supplements before 25 years old and in those who used supplements for 3 years or more.
Many media outlets rushed to make this study conclusive and that ‘muscle-building supplements’ caused cancer. The truth of it is that the study fails to answer much of anything. This type of epidemiological study does not allow for anything more than an association to be drawn.
Even though the statistics used suggest that ‘muscle-building supplements’ were linked to a higher risk of testicular cancer, there is just no cause and effect going on here. Imagine the same study replacing the supplements with something like common food products. Statistically speaking, you can find an association between almost any factor and any disease, especially if you throw statistics at it until you find such an association. A correlation does not equal a cause and effect.
Another potential issue with this study is the fact that they used a questionnaire that relies on subjects’ memories of their previous supplement use. It is well established that most people can’t accurately recall what they consumed a week ago let alone a few years ago.
One of the largest shortcomings with this study is that no one really knows what kind of supplements the subjects took. Androstendione was included n the 30 different kinds of ‘muscle-building supplements’ alongside creatine and protein powders. Androstenedione is not a dietary supplement and is a prohormone, basically it’s an anabolic drug.
To compare something like androstenedione with protein powders and creatine and put them together is just ridiculous. There is also no telling whether or not the supplements the subjects used were spiked with anabolic steroids or other dodgy ingredients not shown on product labels. The researchers actually discussed that very possibility in the research paper.
If you take sensationalism around this badly conducted study with a grain of salt then you will see it is not conclusive on testicular cancer so when someone attempts to misinform you on supplement risk and cancer you can tell them the real flaws in the research. There is also a program out there that does not require any supplementation of any kind and is all natural for packing on lean muscle, Click here now to learn more.
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