Creatine + Nitrite = Carcinogen
by Anthony Roberts
Back in 1971, a scientist by the almost impossibly cool name of Archer (M.C. Archer, technically) performed a little study whereby he examined the interactions of nitrite with creatine and creatinine. The result of that study was a very brief, very forgotten, two page paper. Since creatine and creatinine are both present in the human body, both nitrates and nitrites are frequently used in food production, it’s logical to take an interest in their interaction. The average daily intake of Nitrate in the human diet is estimated at 75 milligrams (mgs). After it’s consumed, roughly 5% of the nitrate (NO3) taken in by healthy adults is further reduced to nitrite (NO2) by bacteria in saliva, and an additional amount in the stomach. Most people consume a couple of grams worth (2,000mgs) of creatine each day from a typical diet. So what happens when an excess of creatine and nitrite/nitrate get together in an acidic environment, similar to what might be found in…the belly of a human being?
Creatine reacts with nitrite under acid conditions to produce first sarcosine and then N-nitrososarcosine, which is a weak carcinogen in the rat. Creatinine reacts with acidified nitrite to produce either creatinine-5-oxime or 1-methylhydantoin-5-oxime, depending on reaction conditions. The toxicity and environmental significance of these compounds is not yet known. (Science – 1971- Archer -1341-3)