A brief introduction to SARMs.

SARMs, or selective androgen receptor modulators, are a new breed of PEDs. SARMs are synthetically created to mimic the effects of testosterone. 

SARMs are still in the research and testing phases and some clinical trials of  SARMs have been conducted. These clinical trials are in varying stages and none of these compounds have been cleared for medical use. Despite this, SARMs are being marketed as ‘safer’ alternatives to anabolic-androgenic steroids or promoted as compounds that are meant for ‘research purposes only’.

SARMs differ from traditional AAS in that they have androgen-receptor specificity, tissue selectivity, and a lack of steroid-related side effects. The main difference between SARMs and AAS is that with SARMs, no other tissues or organs are affected to the extent that AAS affects the body. Because SARMs are tissue-selective it seems that one needn’t worry about affecting unwanted areas of the human body. 

SARMs were added to the WADA Prohibited List in 2008. The first known case of SARMs use in sports was in 2010. Since then, however, SARMs have become increasingly popular amongst athletes for performance enhancement in their specific disciplines. A simple google search will reveal the extent of SARMs used in various sports including (but not limited to) football, rugby, and CrossFit. For this reason, many SARMs are continuously added to WADA’s Prohibited List.

SARMs are sometimes added as illegal ingredients in dietary supplements. Many products slip onto the market that contains some of the SARMs considered illegal or prohibited by WADA. These supplements may pose a health risk to various athletes who unknowingly consume prohibited substances and consequently suffer the backlash of drug testing. Those athletes who test positive for banned substances often cite “accidental contamination”, the same excuse many supplement companies offer when confronted on their ingredients list.

Nonetheless, anecdotal experience seems to praise SARMs as an alternative to other PEDs. Especially with regards to performance enhancement, muscle and strength gain, and weight loss. It is favored in the bodybuilding community for the aforementioned, and many claim that SARMs are here to replace steroids.

There is still a lot of research that needs to be conducted on SARMs. They have been available on the market for just over a decade but only recently, though (within the past couple of years) have they been absorbed into mainstream fitness circles.