In recent years, the fitness and bodybuilding community has seen a surge in the popularity of Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators, commonly known as SARMs. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a stern warning against the use of these compounds by teenagers and young adults. The FDA stresses the importance of understanding the risks associated with SARMs and urges individuals to make informed decisions about their health.

What Are SARMs?

SARMs are synthetic drugs that bind to androgen receptors in the body, leading to an increase in muscle mass, bone density, and strength. They were initially developed to treat conditions such as osteoporosis, muscle wasting, and cancer. However, they have since been abused by athletes and bodybuilders to enhance their performance and physique.

Why Are SARMs Dangerous?

Although SARMs are marketed as a safer alternative to anabolic steroids, they can still have serious health consequences. Because they are synthetic drugs, their long-term effects on the body are unknown. Studies have shown that SARMs can cause liver damage, heart attack, stroke, and other serious health problems.

In addition, SARMs are often marketed as dietary supplements, which means they are not subject to the same regulation as prescription drugs. This makes it difficult to know what ingredients are in them and how they may interact with other medications or supplements.

Who Is Using SARMs?

SARMs are most commonly used by teenagers and young adults who are looking to improve their physical appearance or athletic performance. They are often sold online or in supplement stores under names such as Ostarine, Andarine, and Ligandrol.

Why are SARMs Gaining Popularity?

SARMs are synthetic chemicals designed to mimic the effects of testosterone and other anabolic steroids. They have been marketed as a “safer” alternative to traditional steroids, boasting fewer side effects and the ability to selectively target muscle and bone tissues. This unique property has led many teens and young adults to experiment with these substances in hopes of improving their athletic performance, physique, or both.

The FDA’s Warning on SARMs Usage

Despite their apparent appeal, the FDA has voiced serious concerns about the safety and effectiveness of SARMs. The agency is particularly alarmed by their growing popularity among adolescents and young adults, who may not fully comprehend the potential health risks associated with their use.

The FDA emphasizes that SARMs have not been approved for human consumption and that there is limited information available about their long-term effects on health. Furthermore, the agency points out that the compounds found in many SARMs products sold online may not match the ingredients listed on the label, raising additional safety concerns.

Potential Health Risks of SARMs

The FDA has identified several potential health risks linked to SARMs, including liver toxicity, increased risk of heart attack and stroke, and a heightened likelihood of experiencing life-threatening reactions. Moreover, because SARMs affect hormone levels, they may disrupt the normal functioning of the endocrine system and lead to a range of negative side effects, such as:

  • Stunted growth in adolescents
  • Decreased fertility and testicular size in men
  • Masculinizing effects in women, including the deepening of the voice and the growth of facial hair
  • Increased risk of mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, and aggression
  • Psychosis/hallucinations
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Liver injury and acute liver failure
  • Pregnancy miscarriage

The Importance of Education and Prevention

In light of the FDA’s warning, it’s crucial for parents, coaches, and educators to be aware of the dangers associated with SARMs usage and to openly discuss these risks with teenagers and young adults. By promoting education and fostering open conversations, it’s possible to help young people make informed decisions about their health and well-being.

Additionally, the FDA encourages consumers to report any adverse reactions or quality problems associated with SARMs through the MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program. This information helps the agency monitor the safety of these products and take appropriate action when necessary.

The FDA has issued warning letters to companies selling unapproved products marketed as SARMs over the years. The FDA has also pursued criminal actions for distributors of these products. 

Seeking Safe and Healthy Alternatives

For those looking to improve their athletic performance or physique, there are numerous safe and proven methods that don’t involve the use of potentially dangerous substances. A well-balanced diet, regular exercise, and adequate sleep can all contribute to a healthier body and improved performance in sports or other physical activities. It’s also important to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian to develop a personalized plan that meets an individual’s specific needs and goals.

In conclusion, the FDA’s warning on the use of SARMs among teenagers and young adults serves as a reminder of the potential dangers associated with these unapproved substances. By promoting education and awareness, we can help protect the health and well-being of our youth while encouraging them to pursue safe and effective methods for achieving their fitness goals.

The FDA encourages health care professionals and consumers to report any adverse event related to the use of SARMs products to the FDA’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program. To file a report, use the MedWatch Online Voluntary Reporting Form. The completed form can be submitted online or via fax to 1-800-FDA-0178. 

Additional guidance on how to report issues with products can be found at the FDA 101: How to Use the Consumer Complaint System and MedWatch.

Additionally, you can reach out to your local consumer complaint coordinator: Consumer Complaint Coordinators.