Supplement Transparency: What Studies Reveal About Mislabeling Of Bodybuilding Products

Some products aren’t what they seem.

study published in the JAMA Network Journal suggests that an alarmingly high percentage of bodybuilding products sold online are mislabeled and contain unapproved drugs.

Researchers tested 44 products they bought online that were marketed as nonsteroidal selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs), which mimic the effect of testosterone and help build muscle.

Several companies are developing SARMs as potential treatment for conditions such as muscle-wasting disorders, but the The U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn’t approved any SARMs for medical treatment yet.


Overall, only about half of the products actually contained SARMs, one in four products contained ingredients that weren’t on the label, and 59 percent had more or less than the advertised amounts of certain ingredients.

Co-author Dr. Shalender Bhasin of Harvard Medical School Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston wrote:

“Our findings show that people should be extremely careful about using these unapproved drugs purchased over the internet not only because these drugs can have harmful effects on their health, but also because the labels cannot be trusted and many products may contain other chemicals not listed on the label whose safety is unknown.”


Some products were found to contain a drug that increases growth hormone. Four products were found to contain the breast cancer drug tamoxifen.

Some of the undiscolsed compounds – Ostarine, Andarine, LGD-4033 and ibutamoren – have been tested in humans but lack FDA approval.

Development of another compound found in the products, GW-501516, was halted because of safety concerns.

Another, SR9009, has been through some preliminary clinical trials but hasn’t yet been tested in humans.


“But people do spend millions of dollars on unregulated drugs every day – and at their peril,” said Dr. Richard Auchus, author of the accompanying editorial and a researcher at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Auchus says that Vitamin D and calcium are the only supplements people should buy, and even then consumers should only shop from legitimate suppliers like the website for a drugstore chain.

Interestingly the editorial does not mention the illegality of anabolics as a potential cause for the prevalence of dangerous mislabeled supplements.

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72 COMMENTS

  1. When I buy chicken breast and steak I am sure that I am getting the amount of protein that I pay for, you dont need supplements you can get everything to muscle from food and you wont get ripped off.

  2. All y’all screaming eat food! No shit! You think anyone who actually lifts don’t know that?? They buy supplements for the extra help, the little bit if edge it may give them. You aren’t going to be some huge shredded person just from eating fish and chicken. All this article means is for the most part the FDA isn’t testing. Y’all would be surprised at the shit that’s allowed in your healthy food by the FDA!

    • Mike Fell ostarine tripled my alt/ast levels. Any “real” oral has never done that. And lgd destroyed my lipids far worse than “real” supps. And they were 100% real. I own a nutrition store and I wouldn’t carry any of them mainly based on the reason that there is no legitimate over the counter PCT. you need clomid to recover as Sarms will shut your hpta down the same way gear will and all these antiE/PCT otc products won’t do shit. The only thing that’s legit that won’t shut you down is Mk677 but it’s not technically considered a sarm.

    • The only reason to use SARMS is you’re afraid of the possible legal issues with AAS or you’re afraid of needles. Once these are finally made illegal you’ll never hear about anyone using them again.

    • John DiMaccio
      Suppression seems to differ from person to person and dosage however it’s also highly likely you got something entirely different then a sarm your side effects don’t at all match what they do . A Lot of companies were busted knowingly or unknowingly putting shit in capsules that are not sarms !!! That’s the real problem with them nobody knows what they are getting

  3. Real food…well no shit and guess what water is wet but some of us supplement (look up the definition in case you’re confused) because getting a ton of quality clean calories is a lot of f’cking food and a lot of chewing. Notice I said quality clean calories…

  4. There’s a new mexican pre-workout (Diablo Power) which I tried the past week and it’s really bad in the way that drives you like those all suplements before ephedra was banned in the US, ansiety , headaches , etc.

    I am very familiar with brands like cellucor, BSN , gaspary etc. And none of those made me feel like this crap.

    The point here is this supplement maybe has some banned substance. Because even in the US the companies cheat on the ingredients , we have no regulations in this Country, do not try it.

  5. Ibutamoren is a fantastic compound. The beneficial effects on sleep, appetite, recovery, skin are unmatched by anything else I’ve ever used. If the fda just made these drugs legal, there wouldn’t be any need for fakes.

  6. so it took this for you to know that 95% of the crap sold at gnc don’t work lol let me help your two things that work creatine pre-workout that is it! save your money on protein eat chicken .

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