Researchers tested 44 products they bought online that were marketed
as nonsteroidal selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs),
which mimic the effect of testosterone and help build muscle.
Overall, only about half of these items actually contained SARMs,
the study found. One in four products contained ingredients that
weren’t on the label, including potentially dangerous drugs, and 59%
had more or less than the advertised amounts of certain ingredients.
“Our findings show that people should be extremely careful about
using these unapproved drugs purchased over the internet not only
because these drugs can have harmful effects on their health, but
also because the labels cannot be trusted and many products may
contain other chemicals not listed on the label whose safety is
unknown,” said study co-author Dr. Shalender Bhasin of Harvard
Medical School Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Anabolic steroids are among the most frequently abused appearance-
and performance-enhancing drugs, researchers note online November 28
in JAMA. Use of these drugs was once mostly limited to athletes, but
they’ve gained in popularity among men seeking to build muscle and
appear more fit.
SARMs are designed to have effects similar to steroids, and several
companies are developing SARMs as potential treatment for functional
limitations associated with aging and muscle-wasting disorders.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn’t approved any SARMs to
treat these medical problems. These unapproved drugs are marketed as
dietary supplements even though they haven’t been reviewed for
safety or effectiveness, the FDA has warned.
Consumers shouldn’t use SARMs in bodybuilding products because they
can have life-threatening side effects such as heart attacks,
strokes and severe liver damage, the FDA has warned.
SARMS, like anabolic steroids, are among the substances athletes
aren’t allowed to use under rules outlined by the World Anti-Doping
For the study, researchers searched online for suppliers selling
SARMs and bought all of the items they found that were in stock and
possible to purchase.
Then, the study team had all of the products they bought tested
using protocols followed by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
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Some products were found to contain a drug that increases growth
hormone and other substances that are also banned by that agency,
the study found. Four products were found to contain the breast
cancer drug tamoxifen.
Most undisclosed substances found in the tested products were
themselves experimental. Some of the compounds – Ostarine, Andarine,
LGD-4033 and ibutamoren – have been tested in humans even though
they have not yet won approval by the FDA.
Development of another compound found in tested products, GW-501516,
was halted because of safety concerns.
Another compound discovered in the products, SR9009, has been
through some preliminary clinical trials but hasn’t yet been tested
“But people do spend millions of dollars on unregulated drugs every
day – and at their peril,” said Dr. Richard Auchus, author of an
accompanying editorial and a researcher at the University of
Michigan in Ann Arbor.
Vitamin D and calcium are the only supplements people should buy,
and even then consumers should only shop from legitimate suppliers
like the website for a drugstore chain, Auchus advised.
That’s because the current study highlights problems with
supplements that go beyond just SARMs, which may lure a subset of
the bodybuilding community with a distrust of medical professionals
and a penchant for risk-taking behavior, Anchus said by email.
“This is one of many warnings about such supplements that scam and
endanger the public,” Auchus added.
SOURCES: http://bit.ly/2i0NxLN and http://bit.ly/2AngOva
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