SARMs are frequently being marketed at bodybuilders online as “legal steroids”. These drugs are not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, and a new study has found that there are occasions where these drugs contain unapproved substances or the amounts of the substances differ to the levels specified on the label.

According to the Dr. Shalender Bhasin who conducted the study “There are serious potential side effects, and there’s this wide-held misperception that these compounds are safe” It’s been reported that some SARM’s haven’t had sufficient human testing and the safety of them is still unclear.

Reports from the FDA have shown that there are some cases where life threatening reactions have occurred in users, including liver toxicity, as well as an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.”Young men, almost exclusively young men, they’re using these compounds to improve their appearance” Bhasin said.

The study looked at 44 popular brands of SARM’s including ostarine, andarine, RA140, ibutamoren, GW501516 and SR9009, which were all evaluated using the World Anti-Doping Agency’s approved procedures for chemical analysis.

It was found that 39 of these products contained unapproved drugs such as steroids or growth hormones which have been banned by the agency. Only 18 out of the 44 products contained chemicals that matched what was stated on the label, and a significant number of them had listed ingredients which were not detectable. 

Bhasin said in response to these findings that “The whole basis of commerce is that you buy something either on the internet or in a store, and it has a label that shows what is in the container, and it tells you what the product is and how much is being sold. Just imagine, you go to the grocery store and you want to buy baby food for your children. The contents are not what the label says, or worse, it contains something else whose safety is unknown.”

Drs. Richard J. Auchus and Kirk J. Brower of the University of Michigan commented  “How can these pharmaceutical agents be widely available to the public without FDA approval, prescription, or manufacturing oversight? Rapid developments in information technology, consumerism, medicine, and public policy”

The FDA has issued warnings to at least three companies that sell products containing SARM’s which have been marketed as dietary supplements, claiming that these products have not had adequate safety evaluations. A spokesperson said that this should be seen as a warning to the industry as a whole, not just to individual companies.

The spokesperson added that it’s difficult to monitor the sales of these products, as “most of these are being sold in dietary supplements so they don’t require any kind of premarket review. The internet is far more vast than the FDA is. As soon as we go after one of these websites or sellers or something, another one just crops back up in their place.”

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