I've covered Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator drugs (SARMs) in a past issue of Applied Metabolics. However, that article focused on the availability of SARMs online and the fact that analysis of SARMs drugs purchased online showed that, similarly to black market anabolic steroids and other anabolic drugs, more than half of them were either mislabeled; contained less than the amount stated on product labels; did not contain the particular SARMs listed on the product bottle; or were outright fake, containing ingredients other than actual SARMs. But I didn't go into detail in that article about precisely what SARMs do or why they were developed. Anyone contemplating the use of SARMs drugs needs to know these details and also the possible side effects of the drugs. In the dozens of Internet sites that sell SARMs, the possible side effects of the drugs are either played down or not mentioned at all. This lack of full disclosure leads many potential buyers of SARMs to view them as merely "supplements," not much different than the nutrient supplements they are already using. Nothing, however, is further from the truth. Make no mistake about it, SARMs are without question, full-fledged drugs. And an axiom of pharmacology states that no drug works without producing side effects, since if it didn't, it simply wouldn't work. For any drug to be released for sale to the public requires years of lab, animal, and finally human testing to prove both safety and efficacy. The current estimated cost to produce and market a new drug hovers around $2 billion. Of course, no drug company would invest that much money and time into a potential drug if they didn't think it would reap huge profits for them up the line. Indeed, this is why most natural substances are never marketed as drugs. Since they cannot be patented by drug companies, no company is willing to produce the expensive research that proves the efficacy of natural substances--even if they are effective for any purpose.
What exactly are SARMs? SARMs is an acronym for "Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator" drugs. As the name implies, these drugs work through the androgen receptor, the same receptor that interacts with testosterone and various anabolic steroid drugs. Indeed, anabolic steroids were originally developed in an attempt to bypass the common side effects of testosterone. Testosterone was first isolated by German scientists in 1934, and it soon became apparent that the hormone, which was the dominant "sex" hormone in men, produced two primary types of effects in the body. The first effect was the most desirable. This was called the "anabolic" effect and involved an increase in protein synthesis that led to such benefits as increased muscle mass, increased bone mass, and decreased body fat levels. Later studies revealed that some of these anabolic effects produced by testosterone also had beneficial, often preventive effects against the onset of a number of common diseases, such . . .