FAQs about SARMs

Wednesday - August 26th 2020

1. What are SARMs, and why is Drug Free Sport NZ concerned about them?

2. How are people coming across SARMs?

3. Why are SARMs an attractive alternative to anabolic steroids?

4. Are SARMs illegal in New Zealand?

1. What are SARMs, and why is Drug Free Sport New Zealand concerned about them?
Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMs) are experimental medicines claimed to build muscle mass and bone density; and claimed to have fewer side effects than similar products such as steroids. SARMs cannot be purchased legally in New Zealand.

SARMs pose a risk to athletes’ health as they have not received clinical approval for human consumption. Known side-effects of SARMs can be life threatening, such as liver damage, and an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. The long-term side-effects are unknown.

DFSNZ is concerned about SARMs because of the risk they pose to athletes’ health; and the fact that SARMs are prohibited in sport. We are also concerned that SARMs are occasionally turning up in supplements, and we want to make sure athletes are informed of the risks.

DFSNZ often runs Clean Sport educational workshops in high schools, and we’re concerned by the number of times SARMs are being mentioned by young Kiwi athletes.

2. How are people coming across SARMs?
Often SARMs are purchased like anabolic steroids, illegally online and through the black market. They are often marketed as research chemicals, stating ‘For Research Purposes Only’ on the label. Illegal medicines sold online may not contain what they say they will. 

SARMs are not legal ingredients for supplements either. There have been instances of products containing SARMs being sold illegally as supplements.

Athletes and parents should be aware that SARMs ingredients could be listed on supplement product labels under various names. The most commonly-abused SARMs are; ligandrol (LGD-4033), ostarine or enobosarm (S-22 or MK-2866), and andarine (S-4). Others include: Testolone (RAD140), S23, and YK11.

Please use DFSNZ’s supplement decision making guide to help you to understand the risk of using supplements, and make an informed decision before using any supplement.

DFSNZ and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) do not approve or endorse ANY supplement. DFSNZ recommends that athletes make the effort to understand their nutritional needs and try to meet these through food first.

3. Why are SARMs an attractive alternative to anabolic steroids?
The appeal of SARMs is that they simulate the activity of testosterone, by increasing muscle size and strength, but with different side effects to Anabolic Steroids. Anabolic Steroids have many negative potential side effects such as acne, breast tissue development, shrinking testicles in males, and deepening of the voice, growth of hair on the face, stomach, upper back, and abnormal menstrual cycles in females.

Athletes need to know that the side-effects of SARMs can be life-threatening. Potential side effects include liver damage and increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.

4. Are SARMs illegal in New Zealand?
Yes. SARMs are also prohibited in sport.

SARMs have been prohibited by WADA since 2008. SARMs have the potential to be misused for performance enhancement in sport due to their anabolic properties as well as the ability to stimulate androgen receptors in muscle and bone. They are currently prohibited at-all-times in the category of “other anabolic agents” under section S1.2 of the WADA Prohibited List.

Links for more info