Supplement trade associations and USADA warn consumers about SARMs

By Stephen Daniells contact

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / NithidPhoto
© Getty Images / NithidPhoto
The dietary supplement industry’s leading trade associations and the US Anti-Doping Agency have voiced their support of the recent FDA actions to protect consumers from body-building products containing Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMs) illegally marketed as dietary supplements.

The US Food and Drug Administration issued a consumer warning last week​ against bodybuilding products containing SARMs labeled as dietary supplements.

FDA’s warning came on the heels of warning letters sent to three companies that market products containing the ingredients. FDA had this to say about the offending products distributed by Infantry Labs LLC​, IronMag Labs​ and Panther Sports Nutrition​: “Although the products identified in the warning letters are marketed and labeled as dietary supplements, they are not dietary supplements. The products are unapproved drugs that have not been reviewed by the FDA for safety and effectiveness.”

In a joint statement, the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the Natural Products Association (NPA), the United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA), and the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) stated they are “committed to amplifying consumer alerts/warnings issued by FDA, and to disseminating tips consumers can use to make smart decisions when choosing sports nutrition products”​.

“SARMs are dangerous and illegal, and they pose an immediate risk to consumers, jeopardize the careers of athletes, and have no place in any sports nutrition regimen,” ​reads the joint statement.

WADA Prohibited List

SARMS are prohibited under the S1 Anabolic Agent category of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List. The ingredients have the potential to be misused for athletic performance enhancement due to their anabolic properties and their ability to stimulate androgen receptors in muscle and bone. They are not approved for human use or consumption in the US, but they have still been found in a number of adulterated products falsely labeled as dietary supplements.

“Ostarine” is one ingredient in the class of SARMs, but the ingredients may also go by an alternative name, or be entirely undisclosed on the label, noted the joint statement.

“FDA regulates the dietary supplement industry and this advisory puts companies on notice that those failing to comply with the law are subject to strict enforcement actions,” ​said the statement. “Additionally, the advisory serves as a reminder to consumers—particularly amateur and elite athletes—to educate themselves on the dangers SARMs-tainted products pose.

“There are legitimate sports nutrition dietary supplements that are safe, beneficial, and not prohibited by WADA, and it is important for all consumers, including athletes, to engage in due diligence when deciding which products to use and which companies to purchase products from.

“Further, consumers should maintain an open dialogue with healthcare practitioners, and, as appropriate, trusted coaches and trainers, when incorporating products into their training programs or performance goals. Finally, consumers would be wise to manage expectations for their sports nutrition supplement products and should not purchase dietary supplements claiming to have drug-like effects.”

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