Ostarine has been in the news lately as two Olympic Weightlifters (and several other athletes in different sports) have tested positive for the substance in 2017. So we wanted to ask the questions…what is ostarine and why are athletes taking the banned substance?
Ostarine is a compound in a pharmaceutical product called Enobosam manufactured by GTx, Inc. According to Wikipedia, ostarine is an “investigational selective androgen receptor modulator” (SARMs) and it is used to treat conditions like muscle wasting and osteoporosis.
SARMs are meant to have the same effects as anabolic steroids such that they can be used more often for clinical purposes. SARMs are believed to have less negative side effects than anabolic steroids while still allowing for anabolic effects. In addition, SARMs do not harm the liver like steroids.
Enobosarm is prescribed to treat osteoporosis, andropause, reversing muscle sarcopenia in elderly and cachexia in cancer patients. In simpler terms, it is meant to stop, slow or reverse bone or muscle loss.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) banned SARMs in 2008 before there was a drug on the market. The first doping violation for an athlete using a SARM goes back to 2013 when cyclist Nikita Novikov tested positive. Since then, the number of SARM violations has increased each year.
Richard Bohlken was suspended from the 2015 CrossFit Games season after taking a supplement that was cross-contaminated with ostarine. And just this past week, weightlifter Kelly Dykes was suspended for eight years after her second failed drug test, both involved ostarine.
Surprisingly (or not), ostarine can be purchased in the United States although it is illegal. A quick online search for ostarine will bring up online stores selling and promoting the benefits of this illegal substance. And by illegal, we mean that ostarine cannot be sold or prescribed by a doctor in any country in the world.
Bodybuilders have been using ostarine for years in order to try out anabolic drug use before getting into full-fledged anabolic steroids and to get the anabolic benefit while minimizing the negative side effects. The idea is that SARMs help your muscle and bone tissue grow without damaging your prostate, liver and brain.
SARMs were considered to be harder to detect than the typical anabolic steroids although that may be changing with recent spike in ostarine violations.
Bottom line is that ostarine is being taken by athletes to increase muscle mass and maintain body composition while reducing the number of side effects as traditional anabolic steroids.