New legislation may affect the bodybuilding and athletic communities as selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) are set to be regulated by the FDA. These products are synthetic drugs which mimic testosterone. They are different and separate from anabolic steroids, yet pose some of the same risks.
What Makes SARMs Dangerous?
SARMs are associate with serious health concerns ranging from heart attack and stroke to fatal liver damage. These products are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration and are illegally marketed and sold as dietary supplements. Failure to run SARMs through the FDA means the manufacturing process, marketing, testing, and labeling are not regulated. They are not reviewed by the FDA for safety and effectiveness. Consumers have no assurance that these products are what is claimed, are safe for use, and have no legal grounds for lawsuit if serious injury or death occurs as a result of use. It's the mission of the FDA to "protect public health by ensuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, and medical devices..."
The SARMs Control Act of 2018
The proposed legislation builds upon the Designer Anabolic Steroids Control Act of 2014 and will specifically:
- Add SARMs to the list of Schedule III controlled substances, regulating them in the same way as anabolic steroids
- Define SARMs, including a list of specific substances and an outlined process for adding new substances
- Prohibit the import, export, manufacture, distribution, dispensing, or possessing with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense any product containing SARMs--unless properly labeled
- Add SARM-related offenses to the defined "felony drug offense" and the civil penalty provisions of the CSA
- Requires the FDA provide information to the DEA regarding dietary supplements which contain SARMs
Common SARMs to Look For
A supplement company that is illegally using SARMs in their products will not advertise it. You cannot count on labels when a product is not FDA approved. Instead you must look at the labels and check the ingredients.
Specifically, look for these SARMs:
- Andarine (S4)
- Enobosarm (Ostarine, MK-2866)
- Ligandrol (LGD-4033)
- RAD140 (Testolone)
The following are not SARMs, but should be avoided since they're experimental drugs that are not approved or safe for human use:
- Cardarine (GW-501516)
- Ibutamoren (MK-677)
For more information about identifying SARMs products and to insure your safety while consuming dietary supplements, visit Operation Supplement Safety for a comprehensive list.
Will the SARMs Control Act of 2018 be enacted by the House or Senate? It is impossible to speculate, but this type of regulation will occur eventually, and these illegal products will become unavailable as manufacturers are punished for their misdeeds. As consumers, it's our responsibility to do our own homework in the meantime. Taking SARMs may improve your physique and athletic performance, but they can also kill you, rather speedily. Avoid products that are not FDA approved, that have ingredients that read more like chemicals, and that call themselves dietary supplements, but boast big (medical) results.