Anti-doping authorities have shifted their focus from steroids to SARMs.
Known as selective androgen receptor modulators these chemicals are sold via the Internet as an aid for muscle building without the side effects traditionally associated with steroids.
“SARMs have been shown in early clinical studies to build lean mass and muscle strength,” said researcher James Dalton.
“They differ from commonly used androgenic steroids by their ability to stimulate muscle and bone growth with lesser prostatic effects in males and virilising effects in females,” Dalton added.
Anti-doping agencies are watching developments closely. The Food and Drug Administration in the US (FDA) has released a statement expressing concern about unscrupulous companies marketing bodybuilding products with potentially dangerous ingredients. The use of SARMs is also prohibited in sport by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
“Life threatening reactions, including liver toxicity, have occurred in people taking products containing SARMs. SARMs also have the potential to increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, and the long-term effects on the body are unknown, ” FDA officials said. “The unfortunate reality is that some dietary supplement manufacturers illegally put ostarine and other SARMs in their products, and some omit ostarine from the label entirely or use misleading names to confuse consumers.”
One SARM, in particular, known by a variety of names such as MK-2866, S-22, ostarine or enobosarm, is growing in popularity. Ostarine is not currently available as a prescription medication in any country.