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What are SARMs and are they safe to use as dietary supplements?

Question

What are SARMs and are they safe to use as dietary supplements?

OPSS Answer

SARMs—short for “selective androgen receptor modulators”—are synthetic drugs designed to have effects similar to those of testosterone. SARMs are sometimes sold in products marketed as dietary supplements even though they are not legal as ingredients in any type of dietary supplement. They are also marketed on the Internet for “research only” or as “legal steroids” or “steroid alternatives.” SARMS also are prohibited for use in sport. SARM drugs such as Ostarine and Andarine are still in the research and testing stages.

If you have purchased or considered a SARM product labeled as a dietary supplement (that is, with one or more SARMs on its Supplement Facts panel) or marketed for bodybuilding, then we strongly advise not using such products because they pose significant health and readiness risks. Ostarine and similar SARM drugs also might cause positive results for service members tested for steroids. Importantly, use of such “agents” might stop the natural release of your own testosterone. Some of the ingredient names to watch out for on dietary supplement product labels and websites include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Andarine (S4)
  • Enobosarm (Ostarine, MK-2866)
  • Ligandrol (LGD-4033)
  • RAD140 (Testolone)
  • S-22
  • YK11

For a more complete list of SARM names, including lengthy chemical designations often seen on product labels, please see our “Dietary Supplements and Other Commercial Products Containing SARMs” infosheet.

Note that some similar experimental drugs (such as Cardarine/GW-501516 and Ibutamoren/MK-677) are sometimes marketed as SARMs; they aren’t, but they’re equally illegal for any use other than research.

Updated 22 April 2016