A Guide to SARMs and Their Legality

sarms and their legality
Table of Contents

Researchers who do not know about SARMs may have some questions about how they work and whether they are currently used in clinical trials. Are legal within the United States? This guide will help you understand more about them and their legality in the U.S.

SARMs stands for Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators. Their mechanism of action in muscles is similar to steroids, and they are being researched for the treatment of myriad diseases.

Weightlifters and bodybuilders often aquire them illegally for muscle growth and enhancement in spite of the fact that they are legal for laboratory use only. We do not condone the utilization of these products outside of research conducted by authorized personnel and when conducting clinical trials.

SARMs are orally bioavailable, so researchers do not need to inject test subjects. They are soluble in ethanol or PEG400. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about SARMs.

3 Key Factors About SARMs

Several crucial considerations come into play when engaging in clinical research involving Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMs). It is imperative to address questions surrounding the legality of SARMs and the safety aspects of conducting clinical trials. Below, we outline key factors to bear in mind if you are contemplating embarking on clinical research involving SARMs:

1. SARMs Are Legal to Buy in the U.S.

SARMs are technically approved for laboratory research NOT recreational or athletic consumption or human consumption of any form as they are NOT dietary supplements.

In more recent years, many sports leagues have followed suite with the world anti doping agency (WADA) and have banned SARMs as performance-enhancing substances, even though they are not anabolic steroids and are not for human consumption. 

Here is a partial list of the sports leagues that have prohibited the consumption of SARMs as they are NOT FDA approved:

  • The National Football League (NFL)
  • Major League and Minor League Baseball (MLB and MiLB)
  • All Divisions of the NCAA

Any league following the (WADA) guidelines will also consider SARMS a level iii controlled substance. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has provided a comprehensive prohibited list for athletes and provides an explanatory article on what athletes should know about participating in research related to SARMs. 

The USADA prohibits SARMs for research purposes at all times for all athletes and has notified the public health department of such regulations. It’s fair to say that any athlete competing in organized sports should steer clear of SARMs research.

2. How SARMs Were Created

Those interested in participating in clinical trials with SARMs through a qualified researcher may wonder where these research chemicals came from.

Scientists created them by accident in the early 1990’s – while seeking treatments for prostate cancer, they identified a SARM molecule known as Andarine (S4), also known as S4.

It was ineffective as a treatment for prostate cancer, but Andarine started to become popular among scientists and whether or not SARMs affect specific tissues. The original Andarine molecule was later refined and created into what is known as Ostarine MK 2866

3. Why Researchers Are Studying SARMs

Research into SARMs is ongoing, and many test subject documents are being analyzed. From the original SARMs that were created, other SARMs began joining the list such as LGD 4033.

Another example is MK 677, but their adverse effects and side effects are unknown and still being studied which is why they are not FDA approved.

SARMs are ONLY approved for laboratory use at this time, but if SARMs one day become approved for mammalian use, they may have the potential to provide a significant boost for subjects in various ways.

References for 3 Key Factors Section Above [11,12]

studying the legality of SARMs and how they are made

A Few Common SARMs

Below is a complete guide of most SARMs, found in different countries such as the US and European countries,  with this list continuing to grow. There are various options for those interested in participating in their research, but we would advise to continue to monitor their legal status as the DEA’s authority takes precedence in various countries.

Here is more information on a few SARMs:

Liquid Testolone (RAD140)

Liquid Testolone exerts its actions by binding to the androgen receptors without the full range of androgenic effects that steroids often produce. RAD140 was initially developed to treat osteoporosis, then scientists discovered that it works as a muscle enhancer [3,4,5]. Researchers are studying RAD-140 [3,4,5]:

  • Does it decrease or increase lean muscle mass
  • Does it decrease or increase endurance
  • Does it worsen or improve fat loss
  • Does it have neuroprotective benefits

Research on Testolone is ongoing, as with all SARMs.

Stenabolic (SR9009)

Liquid Stenabolic is not technically a SARM, but rather an agonist to the REV-ERB protein, found in various parts of the body, including the skeletomuscular system and the liver [1,2,3].

This protein’s job is to help regulate the body’s circadian rhythms and act on fat-storing cells. SR9009 was found to benefit these areas and to be highly effective in increasing metabolic activity when tested in in-vitro studies. Research is studying effects of Stenabolic including:

  • Does it decrease or increase the resting metabolic rate
  • Does it decrease or increase recovery rates of connective tissue
  • Does it enhance wakefulness
  • Does it increase or decrease atherosclerosis and arterial buildup
  • Does it enhance endurance
  • Does it worsen or improve fat loss

Stenabolic, is oftentimes marketed deceptively as though it is not a SARM, it is still not FDA-approved. Adverse effects in rat studies are being tested for this compound.

Cardarine (GW501516)

Cardarine as demonstrated in research, is a selective PPAR6 and AMP-K modulator that is particularly advanced due to its ability to enhance specific processes that scientists are researching to include [7,8,9]: 

  • Effect on burning fatty acids
  • Can it promote fat loss
  • Does it increase endurance
  • Effect on insulin sensitivity
  • Effect on HDL/LDL cholesterol
  • Effect on exercise recovery time

Does SARMs Quality Vary?

Researchers can buy SARMs legally for laboratory research, but it’s essential to be aware that some suppliers have been found to sell options that are mislabeled and potentially dangerous. Keep in mind that:

  • In one study, only 52% of products marketed and sold as SARMs actually contained SARMS. An additional 39% contained other unapproved drugs and growth hormones and 10% contained no active ingredient at all. This can skew research results and side effects noted in a study can be voided.
  • Some providers even counterfeit their certificates of analysis, further complicating production and research.
  • SARMs are legal, but ensure as a researcher you purchase legal, accurately labeled SARMs from a reliable source with quality testing. If participating in a clinical trial, ensure the clinical trial you are participating in has the legal authority to conduct this trial.

Reference Articles 10 for above content

The main idea is Sports Technology Labs sells SARMs tested by American third-party laboratories for at least 98% purity – the same standard used by universities and chemical suppliers worldwide.

In comparison to many others, Sports Technology Labs ensures the highest quality products to provide researchers with the best SARMs company out there.

This is why it’s crucial to get SARMs like RAD-140, RU58841Andarine S4, and S23 from a reputable company to conduct accurate and valid research so all side effects and findings of trials conducted can move forward with awareness and updating resources such as public health websites and awareness [10].

To read more about our policies regarding SARMs, please refer to our Legal page.

Scientific References:

1. Chaturvedi P1, Pratta M, Steplewski K, Connor J, Kumar S. Functional characterization of an orphan nuclear receptor, Rev-ErbAalpha, in chondrocytes and its potential role in osteoarthritis. Arthritis Rheum. 2006 Nov;54(11):3513-22.

2. Sitaula, Sadichha et al. “Suppression of Atherosclerosis by Synthetic REV-ERB Agonist.” Biochemical and biophysical research communications 460.3 (2015):566–571.

3. Ma H, et al. “Increased atherosclerotic lesions in LDL receptor deficient mice with hematopoietic nuclear receptor Rev-erba knock- down.” J Am Heart Assoc. 2013;2:e000235.

4. Anusha Jayaraman, Amy Christensen, V. Alexandra Moser, Rebekah S. Vest, Chris P. Miller, Gary Hattersley, Christian J. Pike, Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator RAD140 Is Neuroprotective in Cultured Neurons and Kainate-Lesioned Male Rats, 4, Volume 155, Issue 4, 1 April 2014, Pages 1398–1406

5. Miller, Chris P. et al. “Design, Synthesis, and Preclinical Characterization of the Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator (SARM) RAD140.” ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters 2.2 (2011): 124–129. PMC.

6. Gouras GK, Xu H, Greenfield JP, Hai B, Wang R, Greengard P. Testosterone reduces neuronal secretion of Alzheimer’s beta-amyloid peptides. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 Feb 1;97(3):1202-5.

7. Oliver WR, Shenk JL, Snaith MR, Russell CS, Plunket KD, Bodkin NL, Lewis MC, Winegar DA, Sznaidman ML, Lambert MH, Xu HE, Sternbach DD, Kliewer SA, Hansen BC, Willson TM (April 2001). “A selective peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor delta agonist promotes reverse cholesterol transport”. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 98 (9): 5306–11. doi:10.1073/pnas.091021198. PMC 33205. PMID 11309497.

8. “GW501516 Glaxo Wellcome phase change I, UK”. R & D Focus Drug News. 20 November 2000.

9. Sprecher DL (December 2007). “Lipids, lipoproteins, and peroxisome proliferator activated receptor-delta”. Am. J. Cardiol. 100 (11 A): n20–doi:10.1016/j.amjcard.2007.08.009PMID1804784

10. 1Burmeister, M. A., Fincher, T. K., & Graham, W. H. (2020). Recreational use of selective androgen receptor modulators. US Pharm, 45(60), 15-18.

11. Meyer L. FDA In Brief: FDA warns against using SARMs in body-building products. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 2017 Oct. https://www.fda.gov/news-events/fda-brief/fda-brief-fda-warns-against-using-sarms-body-building-products

12. Van Wagoner RM, Eichner A, Bhasin S, Deuster PA, Eichner D. Chemical Composition and Labeling of Substances Marketed as Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators and Sold via the Internet. JAMA. 2017;318(20):2004–2010. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.17069

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