Dietary creatine and cancer risk in the U.S. population: NHANES 2017–2020
Peer reviewed, Journal article
MetadataShow full item record
Original versionOstojic, S., Grasaas, E. & Jelena, C. (2023). Dietary creatine and cancer risk in the U.S. population: NHANES 2017–2020. Journal of Functional Foods, 108, Article 105733. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jff.2023.105733
While creatine is generally considered a safe dietary compound, there have been concerns about excessive creatine intake and its possible link to cancer. The main of this study was to examine the relationship between dietary creatine intake and cancer risk in the general US population using data from the 2017–2020 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). We extracted a dataset that included information on medical conditions and dietary intake from 7,344 NHANES respondents. We used individual data files containing detailed information about each food and beverage item consumed to calculate creatine intake from meat- and milk-based food sources. In a subset of NHANES respondents who reported their cancer status, the average daily creatine intake was 11.6 ± 11.5 mg per kg body mass (95 % CI, 11.3 to 11.8); all participants in the subset were 20 years or older. Cancer-free individuals consumed significantly more creatine per day than those with cancer (11.7 ± 11.6 mg/kg body mass vs. 10.6 ± 10.2 mg/kg body mass; P = 0.01). The odds ratio for having cancer in the subset of participants consuming < 10.5 mg of creatine per kg body mass daily (the 50th percentile of consumption) compared to those with higher intake (≥10.5 mg) was 1.18 (95 % CI, from 1.01 to 1.37), indicating a significant association between lower dietary creatine intake and increased cancer risk (P = 0.03). Our findings suggest that consuming a diet that includes more creatine may be associated with a reduced risk of cancer or malignancy in U.S. adults aged 20 years and over, with the average difference in creatine intake between cancer-free individuals and cancer groups was relatively small (1.1 mg/kg body mass). Further studies are necessary to confirm the potential benefits of creatine-rich foods or dietary supplements in the management of cancer.