December 2023

SARMs: Warning for Teens and Young Adults

Selective androgen receptor modulators, or “SARMs,” are continuing to wreak havoc on the sport supplements industry – particularly in products marketed to teens and young adults by social media influencers. Here’s what you should know.

SARMs, such as ostarine and andarine, are a category of investigational drugs that are thought to have effects similar to anabolic steroids. SARMs haven’t been approved by the FDA, making them illegal for use in both drugs and dietary supplements. Despite this, the FDA continues to issue warnings as they’re being sold online and increasingly promoted on social media. Influencers are pushing SARMs as a quick fix for improving physical performance and gaining muscle mass. And they’re doing so in a way to make them sound like they’re safe and effective, but they’re not.

SARMs have been linked with serious liver injury, heart attack, stroke, and other life-threatening adverse effects. But many of these products are being sold with no warning label at all. Tell patients to steer clear, and counsel parents to intervene if they see their teen watching social media videos promoting these types of products. Young athletes should also know that ostarine and other SARMs are included on the World Anti-Doping Agency's list of prohibited substances as well as the list of banned drugs for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Ostarine can be detected in blood, hair, and urine tests.

The bottom line is, consumers should be leery of supplements marketed on social media – particularly those in the sports supplement category. Check out our recently updated ostarine monograph to learn more about the safety concerns associated with SARMs.

The information in this brief report is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions. Copyright © 2024 NatMed. Commercial distribution or reproduction prohibited. NatMed is the leading provider of high-quality, evidence-based, clinically-relevant information on natural medicine, dietary supplements, herbs, vitamins, minerals, functional foods, diets, complementary practices, CAM modalities, exercises and medical conditions. Monograph sections include interactions with herbs, drugs, foods and labs, contraindications, depletions, dosing, toxicology, adverse effects, pregnancy and lactation data, synonyms, safety and effectiveness.