Can You Take SARMs in the Military? A Straightforward Analysis

Written by James C., M.S.(C), PT

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The use of SARMs (Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators) in the military has become an increasingly prevalent topic, as these performance-enhancing substances have gained popularity among athletes and fitness enthusiasts. SARMs are known to provide similar results to anabolic steroids but with fewer side effects. As a result, they have caught the attention of various organizations worldwide, including sports authorities and military institutions, who seek to maintain the integrity of their respective fields.

Can You Take SARMs in the Military

While it’s commonly known that anabolic steroids are banned in the military, there’s some confusion when it comes to the legality and consequences of using SARMs. Officially, SARMs are on the Department of Defense’s prohibited list. But enforcement may be inconsistent, and many service members still use them, thinking they may not be detected during a standard drug test. The use of SARMs in the military is a complex and controversial subject, touching on issues of regulation, drug testing, health risks, and potential penalties.

Key Takeaways

  • SARMs are prohibited in the military, but enforcement may be inconsistent.
  • The use of SARMs raises issues of regulation, drug testing, health risks, and penalties.
  • Sports organizations and military institutions are concerned about maintaining the integrity of their respective fields.

Understanding SARMs

Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMs) are a class of therapeutic compounds that have similar properties to anabolic agents but with reduced androgenic activity. They are designed to selectively target androgen receptors in the body, providing benefits such as increased muscle mass and strength, as well as enhanced bone density. Because of these properties, SARMs have gained popularity among athletes and those looking to improve their physical performance.

SARMs were initially developed to treat medical conditions like muscle wasting and osteoporosis. They work by binding to androgen receptors, which regulate the expression of genes involved in muscle and bone growth. Since SARMs target these receptors specifically, they can potentially provide the same muscle-building and bone-strengthening effects as traditional anabolic steroids without causing severe side effects.

In recent years, there have been concerns about the use of SARMs in competitive sports and the military. Due to their potential for enhancing performance, they could be considered an unfair advantage and may be prohibited by some organizations. Additionally, the long-term effects of SARMs use are not fully understood, raising concerns about their safety and potential health risks.

When it comes to the military, drug tests are often conducted to ensure that soldiers are not using illicit substances. While standard drug tests may not detect SARMs, specific tests can be used to identify their presence in the body. These specialized tests can be expensive and are not typically administered unless there is reasonable cause for suspicion. However, it’s important to note that the military’s stance on SARMs may vary, and some branches may have stricter regulations and testing procedures in place.

In summary, SARMs are compounds that can potentially provide muscle and bone growth benefits without the side effects associated with anabolic steroids. While they are gaining popularity for their performance-enhancing effects, their use in competitive sports and the military is a topic of ongoing debate. It is essential for individuals considering using SARMs to research the rules and regulations of their specific organization and weigh the potential benefits against the possible risks and consequences.

Regulations On Use of SARMs in the Military

The military has strict guidelines on the use of dietary supplements, including selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs). The Department of Defense (DoD) follows the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations and requires service members to do the same.

SARMs, designed to mimic the effects of testosterone, can cause potential health risks and negatively impact military readiness. The DoD and military branches hold their service members accountable to the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) for using any banned substances, including SARMs.

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Currently, the military conducts random drug tests for its members; these tests primarily focus on detecting illicit drugs such as MDMA, cocaine, methamphetamine, and others. While the standard drug tests do not specifically screen for SARMs, it is essential to understand that the use of these substances could lead to complications for service members.

If a service member is suspected of using SARMs, the commanding officer can potentially authorize an additional test to detect these substances, though it may be uncommon due to the high cost and need for reasonable cause. However, it is important to note that SARMs have not been approved by the FDA for human use, and their long-term effects are still unknown.

In conclusion, service members should avoid using SARMs to prevent any potential health risks and maintain their compliance with the Department of Defense, its regulations, and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

There has been a growing concern over the use of SARMs (Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators) among military personnel due to their powerful effects, which are similar to androgenic drugs. The legal status of SARMs use in the military varies, but there are some significant implications to consider.

Firstly, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved SARMs for human use, which means that these substances are not regulated like other dietary supplements. As a result, their quality and safety can be questionable. This is particularly concerning for those in the military, as the use of unregulated substances could lead to adverse health effects and jeopardize their readiness or ability to serve.

Moreover, the Department of Defense follows strict guidelines on the use of supplements among its members. Due to their unapproved status by the FDA, SARMs could be classified as illegal for military personnel to use. Those found using SARMs may face disciplinary actions and possible discharge from service, given that the use of such substances could endanger their health and the safety of those around them.

It is also important to note that some dietary supplements containing SARMs are falsely marketed as safe and legal alternatives to anabolic steroids. With the military’s emphasis on physical fitness and the prevalence of supplement use among personnel, this could lead to an increased risk of inadvertent ingestion of SARMs. To mitigate this risk, the military should maintain strict monitoring practices and educate service members about the potential dangers of using unapproved substances.

In conclusion, while the specific legal standing of SARMs in the military may vary, it is essential for service members to be aware of the potential risks associated with their use. The military must maintain rigorous standards and continue to educate its members about the importance of using only approved and regulated supplements to ensure their health, safety, and overall readiness.

SARMs and Drug Testing in the Military

drug testing in the military

The military conducts drug tests on its personnel to ensure their readiness and overall well-being. These drug tests primarily focus on detecting common illicit substances such as marijuana, cocaine, and opioids. The drug testing protocols deployed by the military are designed to ensure reliability and accuracy, with urine tests and blood tests being the most commonly employed testing methods.

While SARMs (Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators) are used by some to increase their physical performance, they are not typically included in the standard military drug test panel. This is mainly due to the higher costs associated with specifically testing for SARMs or performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). In most cases, a separate test would be needed to detect the presence of SARMs in an individual’s system.

It is essential to note that if there is suspicion or a credible report regarding the use of SARMs or other PEDs by a personnel member, the military can conduct a specialized test to detect these substances. In such cases, detection of SARMs or PEDs can result in disciplinary action, which may include disqualification from duty or other penalties as deemed necessary by the military.

In summary, while SARMs are not usually included in the standard military drug test, the military can and will test for them under specific circumstances. Service members should be aware of the potential consequences of using these substances and consider the implications for their career and overall health.

Comparison between SARMs and Other Substances

Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMs) are a class of compounds that have similar anabolic properties to anabolic steroids, but with reduced androgenic effects. This makes them a popular alternative to traditional anabolic steroids, prohormones, and other supplements for enhancing physical performance.

Anabolic Steroids are synthetic compounds designed to mimic the muscle-building effects of testosterone. These substances promote rapid muscle growth and fat loss, but also come with significant side effects such as acne, hair loss, liver damage, cardiovascular issues, and aggressive behavior.

Prohormones are precursors to anabolic steroids. They are initially inactive and become active once processed by the body. Although they are technically legal and available as over-the-counter supplements, prohormones can have similar negative side effects as anabolic steroids.

Supplements encompass a broad range of substances, from protein powders and amino acids to vitamins and minerals. While some of these products can contribute positively to muscle growth and overall health, they generally do not provide the same dramatic results as SARMs, anabolic steroids, or prohormones.

SARMs, on the other hand, selectively target androgen receptors in muscle and bone tissue, allowing for muscle growth and increased strength without the negative side effects associated with anabolic steroids and prohormones. This makes them an appealing option for athletes and military personnel looking to improve their physical performance without putting their health at risk.

It is important to note that while SARMs seem to have fewer side effects compared to anabolic steroids and prohormones, they are not entirely risk-free. Some users have reported experiencing mild side effects such as nausea, fatigue, and changes in appetite. In addition, the long-term effects of SARMs usage have not been thoroughly studied, and more research is needed to fully understand their impact on the human body.

In summary, SARMs offer a targeted approach to muscle growth and strength enhancement, with fewer side effects than anabolic steroids and prohormones. However, users should be aware of potential risks and consult with a medical professional before incorporating these substances into their training regiment.

SARMs and Health Risks

Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMs) are synthetic drugs designed to mimic the effects of testosterone, with the goal of boosting physical performance. Though they have gained popularity among some bodybuilders and athletes, there are significant health risks associated with SARMs. It is essential to be aware of these risks, especially for military personnel who are required to maintain peak physical condition for their duties.

One noteworthy health risk is the potential for liver injury. SARMs have been known to increase the levels of liver enzymes, which can be an indication of liver damage. While it is not conclusive that SARMs are directly responsible for liver injury, the correlation is concerning, and individuals who use these substances should monitor their liver function closely.

Additionally, the use of SARMs has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular issues such as heart attack and stroke. This is due to the potential impact SARMs have on blood pressure, lipid profile, and arterial stiffness. Military personnel, who are often engaged in strenuous physical activities, should be cautious of these potential risks to their cardiovascular health.

Another critical health risk involves the possible impact on fertility. SARMs have the potential to suppress the production of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which are necessary for sperm production in males and the menstrual cycle in females. This suppression could lead to temporary or even permanent fertility issues, making it especially relevant for military personnel who may be planning a family in the future.

Moreover, while there is currently limited evidence to support a direct link between SARMs and cancer, some studies have reported an increased risk of developing certain cancers, such as testicular and prostate cancers, with the use of SARMs. Though more research is needed to confirm these correlations, the potential cancer risk should not be taken lightly.

In summary, SARMs carry considerable health risks that could impact the liver, cardiovascular system, fertility, and potentially contribute to the development of certain cancers. Given the high physical demands placed on military personnel, it is essential to be cautious in using these substances as they could have detrimental long-term consequences.

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Selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) have gained attention in recent years due to their potential to increase muscle mass and bone density without the harmful side effects associated with anabolic steroids. Below are several popular types of SARMs along with their potential side effects.

Ostarine (MK-2866) is a commonly used SARM that aims to increase muscle mass, improve bone density, and overall physical performance. However, it can cause side effects such as suppressing natural testosterone production in long, high-dosed cycles, and in some cases can lead to gynecomastia. It is crucial to have a post-cycle therapy (PCT) and an aromatase inhibitor on hand when using Ostarine.

Ligandrol (LGD-4033) is another well-known SARM that focuses specifically on building muscle mass and strength. It also has the potential to increase bone density. Side effects may include testosterone suppression, headaches, and nausea. It is essential to closely monitor the dose and cycle length when using Ligandrol.

Andarine (S4) is a SARM that targets muscle growth and fat loss without causing water retention. It may be beneficial for bodybuilders and athletes looking to improve their physique. However, some users can experience side effects like temporary vision disturbances, suppressed hormone levels, and mood swings.

Cardarine (GW501516) is not a SARM, but rather a PPARδ receptor agonist that has the potential to enhance endurance and fat loss. Although frequently grouped with SARMs, Cardarine has different mechanisms of action. Potential side effects include an increased risk of cancer in high doses or prolonged use, as well as gastrointestinal issues.

RAD140 (Testolone) is a highly potent SARM that aims to boost muscle mass and strength significantly. It is considered relatively safe compared to other SARMs, with minimal suppression of natural testosterone levels. Possible side effects may include headaches, nausea, and symptoms of hormonal imbalance.

It is essential to note that SARMs are unregulated chemicals, and their long-term effects on the human body are not completely understood. Extensive research is still being conducted to determine their safety and efficacy. While some users may experience minimal side effects, others may be more susceptible to potentially dangerous reactions due to individual response variation. It is crucial to exercise caution, follow recommended guidelines, and be aware of potential consequences when using SARMs.

The Stance of Sports and Bodybuilding Organizations on SARMs

Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMs) have become a topic of controversy within the sports and bodybuilding industries due to their potential for enhancing athletic performance. Various organizations have taken a stance on the use of SARMs, with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) leading the charge.

WADA has explicitly prohibited the use of SARMs in all forms of sports and athletic competitions, categorizing them as “Other Anabolic Agents” under section S1.2 of the WADA Prohibited List. This prohibition applies to athletes at all levels, from those competing at the highest level of sport to those participating in recreational activities. The reason behind this prohibition is the potential side effects and health risks associated with SARM consumption, as many of these substances have not undergone clinical trials or been deemed safe for human use.

Not only are SARMs banned by WADA, but other sports and bodybuilding organizations have followed suit. The potential for serious side effects, including increased risk of stroke and heart attack, has raised concerns about the legitimacy of using SARMs as workout supplements or performance enhancers. As a result, athletes who test positive for SARMs may face severe consequences, including disqualification and potential legal ramifications.

In addition to the dangers posed by SARMs, their use in sports and bodybuilding goes against the principles of fair play and integrity that should guide all athletes and competitors. Many view the use of SARMs as cheating, given their potential to grant an unfair advantage to users. Consequently, sports and bodybuilding organizations continue to refine their policies and testing protocols to identify and sanction athletes who use SARMs in an attempt to maintain a level playing field.

In conclusion, the stance of sports and bodybuilding organizations on SARMs is clear: their use is prohibited due to the potential health risks, lack of regulation, and infringement upon the principles of fair competition. Athletes considering the use of SARMs should be aware of these risks and potential consequences and opt for safer, regulated alternatives for enhancing their performance.

Penalties for Use of SARMs in the Military

The use of SARMs (Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators) in the military is considered a violation of rules and regulations due to the potential health risks and unfair advantages they may give to those who take them. In this section, we’ll discuss the potential penalties and consequences for military personnel caught using SARMs.

Detection of SARMs in Drug Tests
Although a standard military drug test may not detect SARMs, specific tests designed to identify these substances can be employed. These specialized tests are more expensive and may only be authorized by a commanding officer under reasonable suspicion. Consequently, it is essential to be aware that using SARMs may still lead to penalties if detected.

Ban on Banned Supplements
The military follows a list of banned supplements, which includes substances such as steroids and certain other performance enhancers. While SARMs may not be explicitly mentioned, they are implicitly grouped under similar substances and, thus, using them would be considered a violation of policies.

Penalties and Consequences
When caught using SARMs, service members face a range of possible penalties. These consequences depend on the specific military branch’s regulations, the individual’s rank, and the circumstances of the violation.

  • Disciplinary Action: Service members caught using SARMs may face disciplinary actions such as negative counseling, corrective training, or even an Article 15. These penalties could affect their military career by impairing promotions, awards, and potentially jeopardizing their security clearance.
  • Administrative Separation: In more severe cases, the use of SARMs could result in an administrative separation from the military, leading to a loss of pay, benefits, and potential challenges in finding civilian employment.
  • Legal Action: Depending on the severity of the violation and the evidence supporting it, service members could also face legal actions, including court-martial and potential imprisonment.

To avoid these penalties, it is vital for military personnel to stay educated about prohibited substances and avoid using SARMs or other banned supplements. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and prioritizing natural methods to improve physical performance is the best approach to ensure a successful and lasting military career.


SARMs, or Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators, have gained popularity among athletes and bodybuilders for their potential benefits in improving strength, lean muscle mass, and overall performance. However, their use in the military has been a topic of considerable debate.

It is important to note that in routine military drug tests, SARMs are not typically detected. These tests primarily focus on identifying heavier substances, such as MDMA, cocaine, meth, and crack. Nonetheless, it is possible for specific military drug tests to detect the presence of SARMs in an individual’s system.

Members of the military must exercise caution when considering the use of SARMs. It is crucial to be aware of any policies and regulations concerning drug testing and substance use within the military, as well as the potential health risks associated with SARMs. For those looking to enhance their physical abilities, it may be advisable to seek alternative methods, such as proper diet, exercise, and approved supplementation.

In conclusion, while SARMs might not be readily detected in standard military drug tests, there are some tests that can potentially identify their presence. Military personnel should be aware of this possibility, along with the potential consequences and risks associated with using these substances.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do SARMs show up on military drug tests?

SARMs do not show up on standard military drug tests as they require specialized testing for detection. These tests are costly and are generally not conducted unless there is reasonable cause for suspicion.

Are SARMs considered banned substances by the DoD?

Yes, SARMs are considered banned substances by the Department of Defense. These substances are on the military-banned supplements list for 2023 and include Ostarine (MK-2866), Ligandrol (LGD-4033), Ibutamoren (MK-677), Testolone (RAD-140), Cardarine (GW-50156), and Andarine S4.

Can SARMs be shipped to APO addresses?

When ordering SARMs, military personnel can use the code AA (Armed Forces America), AP (Armed Forces Pacific), or AE (Armed Forces Europe, Africa, etc.) for their state and provide a five-digit ZIP code. However, it is important to remember that possessing SARMs in the military is not legal. Therefore, shipping them to APO addresses is not recommended.

No, SARMs are not legal to possess in the military, as they are deemed as banned substances by the Department of Defense. Using or possessing SARMs while serving in the military can lead to disciplinary action and potentially harm one’s career.

What are the risks of using SARMs while serving?

Using SARMs while serving in the military can pose various risks, both physically and professionally. Physically, using SARMs may lead to side effects, such as hormonal imbalances, liver damage, and increased risk of injury. Professionally, possessing or using SARMs can lead to disciplinary action, potentially damaging one’s military career or even leading to expulsion from the military.

How long do SARMs stay in the system for detection?

The detection time for SARMs varies based on the specific compound and the individual’s metabolism. Generally, SARMs can be detected for up to several weeks after the last dose. However, it is essential to reiterate that specialized testing is needed to detect these substances, which is not part of the standard military drug tests.

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