Creatine, a dietary supplement used by many athletes to increase muscle bulk, could lead to cancer, a French government agency said last week.
The French Agency of Medical Security for Food (AFSSA) said in a report published on its Internet site that the use of creatine "constitutes a risk that has not been sufficiently evaluated, particularly in the long term."
The report said there is a "potential carcinogenic risk" for users of the product, which is sold over the counter in many countries and is not banned by the International Olympic Committee. It is often described as a "legal steroid".
The AFSSA report quoted epidemiological studies that showed creatine causing "digestive, muscular and cardiovascular problems." The report also said the use of creatine should be regarded "as contrary to the rules spirit and significance of sport" and suggested consideration should be given to it being added to the list of banned products.
The sale of creatine is banned in France, however, and it is also banned by the French Rugby Union.
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