drugs

SARMs: Golden Goose or Sitting Duck?

SELECTIVE ANDROGEN RECEPTOR MODULATORS: 

A GOLDEN GOOSE OF GAINS, OR JUST ANOTHER SITTING DUCK FOR YOUR LIVER?

 

Have you ever heard the story of the golden goose?

It’s an old incredibly old fable, literally about a goose that one day lays a golden egg. Rather than waiting to see if the goose would lay more gold, it was killed by its impatient owner who wanted all of the riches immediately.

On the surface this may not seem like anything more than a foolish children’s tale, the tale of the golden goose serves as vivid reminder that ‘greed loses all by striving all to gain.’  You’d probably never guess, but there’s a similar story behind the mythical substance, known as SARMs.

 

Originally developed as a 'big-pharma' ticket item since the late 1990’s, in recent years, selective androgen receptor modulator or SARMs have gained a cult-like following as the new magical-anabolic substance within the fitness industry. However, outlandish claims together with the exploitation of pharmaceutical patents, abuse of legal-loopholes, and booming black-market business, have the potential to destroy SARMs before they can even turn a legitimate profit or be used to treat some of the most vulnerable clinical populations.


What exactly are SARMs? Believe it or not, that’s not actually the simplest question to answer. For the purposes of this article we’ll be looking at a novel class of nonsteroidal selective androgen receptor modulators that fall under the popular umbrella-name of SARMs.
 

Before we go any further, let me clarify something about SARMs – they are drugs. They have medical, ethical and legal implications associated with them. Yet, many recreational users probably don’t have a clue what they are or how they work. To be honest, with so much misinformation about them out there, I can’t entirely blame them for that either.

Unlike many other popular-fitness articles about these drugs, you won’t get any advice on how to take SARMs here. Not only would that be totally unethical and illegal, but in my opinion, the trend of the blind leading the blind has only fueled the unsubstantiated worship of these compounds by bro-pharmacists and guru-prep coaches.

Don’t let the fact that until a couple years ago you could readily and legally purchase SARMs from various pseudo-supplement retailers, and often voluntarily be sold false claims about the effectiveness, safety or purity of these drugs.

As it stands today, there’s a lot still to be uncovered about the newest kid on the anabolic block. Indeed, SARMs are steroidal millennials. They haven’t even been a ‘thing’ for 20 years, yet have a reputation that far precedes the research, data and efficacy of these drugs.


With so much bad, incorrect and misleading information on SARMs, we’ve literally got to start at the very beginning. Let’s talk about androgens.

 

 

LAYING ANABOLIC GOLD

I’ll try to keep this as simple as possible, but in order to better understand how these drugs work it’s important to know a little about the biochemical properties and physiological processes of androgens and SARMs.

Even though they are dubbed ‘male’ hormones, each of us produce varying degrees of androgens naturally throughout the life course. They are complex molecules that act as ‘chemical messengers’ for numerous processes essential to bodily function. Made at different locations throughout the body including the ovaries or testies, adrenal glands and fat cells, androgens all share a 4-ringed cholesterol structure.

Regardless of the job at hand, many androgens act on - or send messages inside specific target cells known as “androgen receptors” or “AR”. As a member of the steroid receptor superfamily, the androgen receptor is an incredibly important target for numerous pharmaceutical interventions, including in, for example, cases androgen deficiency, osteoporosis, and muscle wasting. There are many drugs that interact with androgen receptors, and promote androgenic or anti-androgenic effects. These compounds are known as “androgen receptor ligands” and typically are thought of as either causing: (a) androgenic results (“agonists”); or (b) anti-androgenic results (“antagonists”).

 

Another way, and possibly simpler way to understand this process is by thinking of lock and key: only certain keys can unlock certain doors.

Here’s an example of what I mean. You have a house that has a front door, back door, side door, and a door that provides entrance to a basement suite. It’s likely that you would have a master key – a skeleton key of sorts that can open all four doors. This “key” represents substances like testosterone and other anabolic-androgenic steroids. These drugs “unlock” androgenic receptors, which results in various androgenic effects.

But, what happens if you want to provide limited entrance to your house only through the basement door?

Thanks to SARMs, you can now do that too.

 

The ability to only “unlock” some or selective androgen receptors is the main reason behind the development of SARMs. By doing so, researchers thought that it would be able to minimize undesirable side-effects normally associated with anabolic-androgenic steroids. At the same time, it was believed that by opening some ‘doors’ and not others would allow users to exploit desirable effects - aka. the gains. And, all it would take would be to swallow a pill or two, once a day. I’ll let you decide for yourself if maybe that sound a little to good to be true.

While it took a few decades, a lot of money and numerous failed experiments, by the late 1990’s pharmaceutical companies believed they finally had created the perfect oral-anabolic drug for use in clinical populations. To do so, they developed a nonsteroidal substance that could do the job of a steroid by acting on specific androgen receptor sites. It also had simply dosing, little side effects and all the anabolic benefits desired. Hopefully it goes without saying that this was no easy feat – and arguably came with some issues for both researchers and trial users.

How exactly do you create a substance that can act on androgen receptors and provide all the tuff’ with none of the fluff?

Completely change the way it looks.

 

Let’s go back to our house analogy. Is there a way to unlock a door without having the key? Sure, grab yourself a hair pin and pick the lock. Now, if you’ve ever tried picking a lock with a hair pin, you’ll know this is a skill that requires mastery. While it’s not impossible to do, you must have the right combinations to be successful.

Does a hair pin and a key look anything alike? Heck no.

Guess what?

Neither do steroids and SARMs.

As I mentioned above, as a steroid, androgens share a 4-ring cholesterol structure. Guess what? SARMs don’t. Just by nature of them being a nonsteroidal compound they can’t and don’t have this same signature structure. Instead, there are 8 different chemical structures or “scaffolds”, that make-up the SARMs family – and each family has a host of different SARMs nested within it. As a result, the total number of specific SARMs structures are endless.

Unlike steroids, SARMs shouldn't metabolize into DHT (dihydrotestosterone by 5-[alpha]-reductase) or aromatise to estrogen – which means there shouldn’t be the same side effects such a male patterned hair loss, or gynecomastia.

In theory, SARMs may sound like a pretty golden product to try… all gains and only glory. Think again. This goose needs a lot more time, before it can safely take flight.

 

 

THE DUCK TEST

Have you ever heard of the duck test? You know the one I mean … "if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck."

What happens if it doesn’t look like a duck?

What happens if we change one of the crucial identifying components? If it doesn’t look like a duck, but it swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, is it probably a duck? I’ll let you be the judge of that one.

The reason I bring this up, is that this premise underlines the popular opinion of SARMs safety.

If it looks like a steroid because of a specific 4-ring structure, works on an androgen receptor, and can promote muscle growth and strength, then it must be an anabolic steroid… and those come with some hefty side-effects. So, what happens if it doesn’t look like a steroid? There aren’t any side-effects, duh.

Just like that, we have the foundation for one of the biggest myths surrounding SARMs. That they are somehow ‘safe’ to use - a ‘healthy’ steroid alternative that doesn’t have any side-effects. Sure, SARMs many not ‘look’ structurally like steroids, but they still share a lot in common with anabolic steroids, including similar associated health risks.

 

Before I go any further I also want to make something else clear – contrary to what many in the industry are saying about SARMs, they are not “100% anabolic.” While a major selling point of these compounds is that they are drugs that can provide only the anabolic effects of anabolic-androgenic steroids, and that’s just not the case - at least not yet. Plus, many of the popular SARMs used within the industry still have androgenic components – thus, opening the door for androgenic side effects. And these go beyond potential visual changes, and suppression of testosterone and sperm development through suspending the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonadal axis.

SARMs have many of the same side-effects of oral anabolic steroids, including influencing a rapid breakdown to levels of HDL or high-density-lipoprotein cholesterol (the good stuff) and inflammation-induced rise in liver enzymes. While it’s possible these could be rectified by using an injectable form of SARMs, the reality is, that probably won’t be manufactured anytime soon. Keep in mind, these drugs were almost exclusively designed for oral use in therapeutic populations.

Many of negative sides of SARMs are exaggerated by supraphysiological dosages … you know, the “higher than suggested” standard doses used by athletes and bros alike.

Clinical studies on SARMs have only been done in vitro, isolated cells or in either animal studies (aka on rats) - or like many steroids, on the sick or old within clinical population settings. They have not been tested on healthy, young active males and females, and the doses within the research on SARMs are significantly lower than those required for performance enhancing effects. Even those lower doses have been seen to result in negative side-effects!

I think this is a good time to remind you that we’re dealing with the millennial anabolic. If after over 75 years we don’t know the full extent of AAS side effects, how do we know the health consequences of SARMs? We don’t.

We do not know the health consequences of SARMs.

Not only that, but by the time that we learn about a new SARM, it’s often already been re-configured by researchers. Currently pharmaceutical companies are testing “second-generation” non-steroidal SARMs (maybe even third by the time you read time) – leaving an entire flock of first-generation SARMs behind.

Why didn’t those ones go to clinical trial? Simple, they didn’t work like they were supposed too. Many first-gen SARMs had far too many risky side effects to ever get ‘stamp of approval’ required for their use.

No stamp = no approved used = no profit for drug companies.

And so, first gen-SARMs got scrapped by the pharmaceutical world. But you know what they say. One man’s trash, is another man’s treasure.

 

 

KILLING THE GOOSE

First-gen SARMs were found by researchers to dangerous and not actually effective, but that didn’t stop our industry’s serial snake-oil supplement gurus from manufacturing, propagating and making millions off sales. Unfortunately, this is one of many shortcomings associated with mainstream SARMs use.

The propaganda surrounding SARMs are plentiful. Much of it is nothing more than a myth – it holds small fragment of reality, and a whole lot of bs.  

For example, SARMs do build muscle. I can’t deny that. In some of the early studies on first-gen SARMs, there were ‘modest gains’ in lean mass – 1.0 to 1.5kg over the course of 4 to 6 weeks. Here’s the kicker – studies on injectable testosterone resulted in 5 to 7kg of lean mass gains over the same period. Plus, the modest SARMs gains came with nasty side effects!

 

If you’re familiar with SARMs you’ve probably noticed that many of them have code names, usually being made from a combination of letters followed by numbers. The reason for this is rather simple. SARMs are patented products that have not been approved for use, and are either still in – or never made it out of trial phases. They are experimental drugs that have not been offered for commercial sale by legitimate companies. Nevertheless, this hasn’t stopped the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) or recent law changes from tightening the iron anti-doping grip on the sale and use of SARMs.

In early 2008, SARMs were added to WADA’s prohibited list, becoming one of the many substances banned for use in athletic competition. Mainstream use continued to fly under the radar. But in May 2016 that would come to an end when the FDA reportedly explored complaints of specific SARMs being marketed and sold by supplement companies.

Basically, a pharmaceutical company caught wind that one of the drugs they had been studying in clinical drug trials for nearly a decade was being reproduced by sport supplements companies and marketed to the masses. Under the guise of calling this drug a “dietary supplement”, these companies almost got away with it too! Obviously, there’s more than one legal issue here. One of these include that under US federal law, dietary supplements can’t include a substance being investigated as a new drug. Which as you’ve just read, many SARMs most definitely are!

 

There’s also been recent (and growing numbers of) reports discussing SARMs being found in various products that they shouldn’t have been included in… buyers beware: tainted supplements do exist!

As I mentioned earlier, SARMs are patented – that means any company manufacturing them without the consent of the founding pharmaceutical, is doing so illegally. While it’s recorded that at least one pharmaceutical company has begun sending cease-and-desist letters to stop the illegal manufacturing of a specific SARM, there remains numerous other SARMs still readily available for purchase.

 

How did supplement companies get away with selling SARMs illegally for so long?

Through the lovely legal loophole known as “research chemicals.” Discussing it is out of the scope of this article, but I’ll say this – at this time, SARMs are not available for resale under any circumstances in both United States and Canada. Yes, Canada too… contrary to popular belief SARMs are not licensed or permitted for medical or therapeutic use in here either. If you doubt this, just take a look at the numerous cases against athletes who have been caught using SARMs through the Sport Dispute Resolution Center of Canada.

There are also major questions being raised about the purity of SARMs currently being sold. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Those backyard black market labs who make dirty gear, are now also in the SARMs game too. Underground SARMs tested by academic researchers found that instead of containing a pharmaceutical-grade drug as claimed, the products were more like a D.I.Y. disaster – containing at least 15% impurities.

So, what does all this mean? Although SARMs can’t be legally defined as ‘anabolic steroids’ (since they don’t have structurally resemble testosterone), that doesn’t mean they are free game.

 

Thought to be the “future of androgen therapy,” SARMs were truly believed to be an alternative to steroids – a Utopian drug that would revolutionize the pharmacological world. It’s been nearly 20 years since their inception, and there has yet to be an approved drug in this category yet. Few have been close, and while there are a few hopefuls currently in trial stages, at this point in time the golden egg hasn’t had time to hatch. Ultimately, the golden goose of gains hasn’t even been laid yet.

Thankfully, this hasn’t killed the SARM dream yet. Researchers are continuing to reconfigure molecular structures at an astronomical pace, and the newest generation of drugs may be available for clinical use within the next few years. Presently, both the side-effects and suspicious claims are alive and causing a lot of potential harm for the future of these drugs.

For now, it looks like SARMs may be nothing more than a sitting duck.

 

 

 

© Victoria Felkar. All rights reserved. For informational purposes only, not to be construed as legal or medical advice.

 

 

The Vanguard Sessions Podcast: Drug Talk

The Vanguard Sessions with Andrew Rose #10

 

Back at podcast guesting thanks to Andy Rose and The Vanguard Sessions!

I first met Andy a few weeks back at the elitefts Sport Performance Summit. I was on stage just about to sit down with the other presenters for a Q&A session, when he introduced himself and asked me if I would be interested in coming on his podcast. In the days following, after exchanging banter and chatting about the current state of the industry, I knew that this was going to be a great podcast experience.

From the pervasive and historical use of drugs in sport, to talking about some of the current issues surrounding anabolics and women's health, we dive into the PED abyss. Thanks again Andy!

 

EPISODE LINK:

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-tapap-8dbc0c

 

ITUNES: 

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-vanguard-sessions-podcast/id1350278649?mt=2

 

Andy's Summary: 

I think it's high time we unbury our heads from the sand. Drugs - the performance enhancing kind - are here and they're here to stay. What's not here, unfortunately, is the data needed to help keep us healthy and safe. Sure, we're all getting bigger, faster, and stronger. Are we dying quicker? Are we destroying our bodies faster than we're repairing them? Will we ever have the answers? Or will we keep fumbling around in the dark using anecdotal broscience from some forum our old gym buddy once read on his ex-cousin-in-law's phone? This is a long episode, but I couldn't cut it short. There was way too much to be discussed.  Enjoy.  

 

spartan_2.jpg

 

Learn more about Andy Rose & The Vanguard Sessions podcast:
www.aefit.net
FB: @AndrewRose
IG: @vanguardbarbell
 

 

The Enigma of Anabolics for Her

 

Women & Steroids:
Ignorance & the Enigma of Anabolics for Her.

Lately I've found myself disgusted with the sheer amount of overly simplistic and dangerous discussions of female anabolic-androgen steroid (AAS) use. By no means is this an easy area to unpack. Quite frankly, it's an enigma, and in order to host a responsible conversation requires a lot more than just reciting 'scientific data' like it's gospel.

To begin to understand this massively intricate topic takes challenging certain personal beliefs like biological difference between the sexes, typical “masculine” or “feminine” characteristics, and knowledge about the body itself. It involves understanding physiology, biomedicine, the endocrine system, hormones, and of course androgens specifically, while not forgetting to mix in ‘personalized medicine’ – a method emphasizing evaluation and programming based on the individual and their uniquely dynamic characteristics. It demands a grasp of the physical and chemical properties of AAS, and basic clinical pharmacology of the effects of specific compounds is also essential.

Most critical of all, there needs to be context. Who exactly are we talking about? What other health and performance variables must be considered? What additional factors - whether internal or external to that particular individual's body must be explored? What drugs were used, for how long, and what source are they from? In this conversation, context is everything. 

As an academic researcher I am writing this not as scare tactic. In fact, I’m very critical of, and often appalled by, pseudo-scientific, unethical, and propaganda-like scholarly publications preaching the ‘evils’ of steroid use without citing relevant studies to back such claims. Nothing irks me more than reading information, hearing conversations, and seeing firsthand the damaging results of uneducated and ill-informed bro-pharmacists. I recognize fully the dangerous influence of Dr. Juice – the contest prep cocktail isn’t just a concern for females but all AAS users, but to say it simply – the body is complicated. 

 

Often I see athletes getting so focused on the ‘outside’, that what is happening on the inside gets ignored. At the crux of most sport is the desire to perform, and not just 'good enough' but to excel. To take your body to a new limit - whether it's an achievement of strength, speed or physical appearance. It's ok to want to win. It's ok to push the limits. But we have to start appreciating that by doing so, we alter and modified how well our internal systems can function. No matter how much 'science' or 'evidence' is involved during the process, many times the extent of this is unbeknownst until it's too late.

 

Fem chem.

While AAS are a class of drugs often containing synthetic testosterone, we all have this steroidal hormone flowing naturally in our bodies. Of course there are large variations in natural (endogenous) levels of testosterone. Since we are talking about women, I want to mention a hugely important point – whether genetic or due to other causes, some females have high levels of androgens. Indeed, androgen excess is the most common endocrine disorder in women of reproductive age.

Women naturally produce sex steroids in various parts of their body – primarily the adrenal glands and ovaries. Other tissues such as fat and skin can also assist in converting weak androgens to stronger ones. Furthermore, some women with excess androgens may have excess levels of circulating insulin (insulin resistance), which has a massive effect on metabolic function, and can manifest in a wide range of symptoms including weight gain and lethargy. High androgens are also a common marker for an endocrine disorder called 'Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome' (PCOS) (as I've discussed before, this is a misunderstanding panacea). While it may come with a list of sub-characteristics and manifestations, little is known about 'PCOS' in “fit” women. Currently there is a limited study exploring how AAS may interact with 'PCOS', metabolic function, or influence the body’s ability to create and use androgens naturally.

Why am I spewing this medical mumbo jumbo? All of this is hugely important to remember when discussing women and steroids for a number of reasons including the fact for whatever reason people seem to think the female body lacks any amount of androgens to begin with. Furthermore, there appears to be a lack of regard for the variance in natural levels of androgens, and the different ways in which women can metabolize these steroids. I told you, it's complicated. But guess what? All of this gets even more complex when you add in our abysmal knowledge of athlete steroid use in general.

 

Bro Knowledge

For over 50 years AAS have been a cluster of controversy and panic, which unfortunately has limited academically sound and clinically applicable information on these drugs. The studies that do get discussed within the industry often pertain to the use of AAS within medical populations, or are concerned with self-administration by males – neither can be translated for female use! So where do you go then to learn about women and steroids? Internet forums of course! And if that doesn’t work, hire a prep coach. If those thoughts crossed your mind, even for a second, please give yourself a very hard smack, as that assumption couldn’t be more wrong and dangerous.

Let's break a few things down –

Your prep coach is not a researcher and Internet forums are not medical textbooks. Many times the information isn’t even on the specific compound you are looking to better understand because (surprise) anabolic steroids are sold on the BLACK MARKET. They are unregulated and not controlled for purity or strength. Thus, there is a high chance they have been cross-contaminated. Please note that a little sticker saying “pharmaceutical grade” means absolutely nothing. For men this is important, but for women it is absolutely crucial. Although health risks exist with any AAS, there are certain properties associated with specific compounds that may pose less of a risk for some women (please note the absolute lack of any generalizing statement within this comment).

The effects of female hormone manipulation are murky. Even if you determine a particular steroid is acceptable for personal use, you’ll be lucky to get your hands on a bottle actually containing the desired drug. And this matters! You should know what you are taking as all AAS are not the same!

Different AAS elicit different anabolic and androgen responses- anabolic induced changes to rates of muscle growth AND androgenic responses such as acne, hirsutism (abnormal hair growth), and reproductive dysfunction. These vary from drug to drug, and are often described in the form of a ratio. For example, synthetic testosterone has an anabolic to androgenic ratio of 1:1. This is the one and only time you’ll read a specific compound name in this article. Why? There’s a sickening sense of “protection” associated with specific drugs due to this ratio. An assumed safety net has been cast over certain drugs deemed “ok” for female consumption simply because they have lower androgenic activity. This notion is not only irresponsible and foolish, but it’s created a lack of critical thinking and laziness around female anabolic use. It amazes me that someone will prep for months BUT won’t put in the time and effort to truly understand the drugs they are putting into their body, and the influence on their health. While there’s little assistance from medical sciences on anabolic steroids, education is not impossible.

 

I'm not getting off my soap-box yet. Please know, I’m all for personal choice. I completely respect an individual’s decision to build their body as they please, but regarding AAS, there is a responsibility to fully understand risks, rewards, and long-term consequences of usage. Who you are today may not reflect who you want to be tomorrow. While you may want to be the next Ms. Olympia, life changes - your health changes. If you really want to learn more about steroids for the female users start with the basics. Understand basic human physiology. Work with a health care practitioner to track your sex hormones and menstruation patterns, and know the interaction of these on the endocrine system. There is some work out there on women and steroid use - however, there is a lot of room for improvement... variables not controlled for or even mentioned, problematic methodologies, and just all around bad science. 

 

Ignorance & bad science

So no, women and steroids is not a topic that you can simply search on the Internet or ask a random bro about. As I mentioned above, unfortunately it's also one that recently some of the industry's "most educated" have completely dropped the ball on - spewing off preconceived notions and unsubstantiated information without any critical reflection of the impact that their words have on the health of others.

To be honest, I get sick to my stomach when I think about the far reaching consequences of the conversations happening on social media about women and steroid use. I'm not just talking about female AAS use either, but steroids and other pharmaceuticals used in hormone manipulation in all forms: androgens, peptides, selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs), anti-estrogens, oral contraceptives, hormonal IUDs, hormone replacement therapies -  oral, injectable, implants, patches, creams, sprays, and powders.

 

Do I know everything there is to know about female hormone manipulation? Hell no. By no means do I see myself as an authority on this topic. Even with my doctoral research being on women and steroids - the use of AAS and oral contraceptives by female athletes, and all the time I have spent specializing in this area and working directly with female athletes, doctors and other professionals, I am no expert. 

Guess what? When it comes to women and steroids, I'm not afraid to admit that there is a lot that I don't know. Now that I've probably lost the confidence of a few by admitting this, I'll tell you something that I do know about this topic: I don't know because we don't know. We don't know because there is a complete lack of study, critical conversation and personal dialogue - not only as it relates to female hormone manipulation, but women's health issues as a whole. Especially, information from a female perspective, which when it comes to these topics isn't important - it's essential.

 

As a result, it's vital to get good, reputable and contextual information out there. It's crucial to host conversations about women and steroids openly and without bias. But, there is a warning that should come with doing this - 

Words have power.

When you have power, words become the divine

 

Be careful what you put out to the world because the publication of inaccurate or misleading data is no different than the ignorance you seek to destroy. Ignorance is not bliss - it is dangerous. Ignorance disguised as scientific knowledge has infinite power. It is an incurable disease that spreads like wildfire, and puts the health and safety of women in serious danger.

It's time to start respecting that anabolics for her is an enigma. You are not an expert on this topic because no one is an expert. Maybe once you do that, we can actually start helping women.

 

 

Ps. I am working relentlessly to be able to start sharing more of my research on women and steroids with you. After the recent events online, it's clear that right now - more than ever it's needed. 


Copy the link, share and help spread the word.
victoriafelkar.com/library/womenandsteroids

 

 

Ask Me Anything E3: Women & Hair Loss

Ask Me Anything

Internal and External Variables for Female Hair Loss (including androgen use)

From hats to hormones, seasonal changes to genetics, there are a lot of internal and external variables that make this topic a complicated one!

To get to the root of female hair loss, within the video I talk about →

  • Why hair loss is more than just about androgens 
  • The multi-factorial basis of hair loss
  • Internal & external variables that contribute to hair loss including
  • Some factors that aren't often get considered
  • My own experience with PCOS, hair loss, and frustrations with physicians
  • Androgenic alopecia (AA), PCOS & anabolic-androgenic hormones
  • The combination effect: managing individual precursors & variables for AA
  • Various treatment routes for AA
  • Why knowing the ingredients of your hair products matters
  • PEDs and their influence on hair loss

 

If you like what you see, feel free to share. If you have any questions you'd like me to cover please feel free to shoot me a message.

Video Location: Android Bodies
www.androidbodies.ca
FB: Android Bodies Inc.
IG: @androidbodies

Video by: Alora Griffiths
aloragriffiths.foliodrop.com
FB: Alora Griffiths
IG: @aloragriffiths

Ask Me Anything E1: PEDs

Do you believe there's a time and a place for PEDs?

In this clip I go over the complexities of performance enhancing drug use by discussing:
· A brief history of their use in sport
· What exactly is performance enhancement
· Societal ideals of PED use
· The importance of knowing your own stance on PEDs
· Therapeutic value of compounds vs. enhancement

If you like it, please feel free to share!
 

· · · ·

Video Location: Android Bodies
www.androidbodies.ca
FB: Android Bodies Inc.
IG: @androidbodies

Video by: Alora Griffiths
aloragriffiths.foliodrop.com
FB: Alora Griffiths
IG: @aloragriffiths

 

 

SARMs for Women

In this Q&A I tackle a question about SARMs for women, but in doing so open up a bigger conversation about the "new" kids on the anabolic block and the importance of information literacy.

Clearing Up Clenbuterol

A Dopers Delight or Misused Stimulant?

Following the Olympics in 1992, a new breed of stimulant gained global recognition. Hailed as the “dopers delight”, this anti-asthma medication was special. Not only could it be used as a stimulant but many believed it could also enhance muscle growth. Only 4 years earlier, steroid guru Dan Duchaine introduced the bodybuilding world to this same drug - which to this day remains one of our sports most misunderstood and misused compounds: Clenbuterol Hydrochloride.

Targeting specific receptor sites in the body’s sympathetic nervous system (SNS), Clen is a selective beta-2 sympathomimetic… wait, a what?

A car backfires and subconsciously you jump off your couch - this is an automatic physiological response initiated by our SNS in response to a perceived threat. Known as fight-or-flight, this response is the result of the release of a hormone called norepinephrine (NE). To work, NE has to bind and activate a specific receptor in your body called a beta-2 receptor. Think of this like a lock and key. Only one key (NE) can both fit (bind) and unlock (activate) one lock (beta-2 receptor).

This is where Clen comes in. Clen acts as a “fake” key that can unlock only some beta-2 receptors (why it’s called “selective”).  

Although its labeled use is an anti-asthma medication, Clen is able to unlock fat and muscle tissue cells throughout the body. Like other beta-2 agonists, clen is a “thermogenic” = Clen-sweats. This is caused by an increase in body temperature and metabolic rate, as well as its ability to directly target fat cell breakdown of triglycerides to free fatty acids is what makes Clen such as popular “fat loss” drug.

Its anabolic capabilities however are still up for debate. Although since the early 90s bros have been using clen as a part of post-cycle therapy or as an alternative to steroids to get “lean-gains”, there remains no human research (animal studies only) that provide evidence to support an increase in lean muscle mass as a result of clen. Regardless, Clen has become a stable drug for many athletes both inside and out of bodybuilding. While Clen-shreds may sound enticing, they certainly don’t come without controversy and concern. It doesn’t matter how Clen gets into your body – inhaled, pill or liquid form, or injected, remember this: Clen is dangerous.

Keep in mind that clen is different than other beta-2 agonists or stimulants based off: specificity, potency, and duration of effect. This makes for steady, strong blood levels of Clen, which often are easy to achieve with just a single or twice-daily dose (thanks to its 35-hour half-life). After a few weeks (usually 4-6 weeks) the body’s beta-2 receptors slowly stop responding due to a process called “down regulation” … simply put, they stop responding and require rest (aka. stop the drug).

However, like other performance enhancers, Clen is great at turning users into complete idiots by tempting them with magical everlasting results. What follows is the “more is better, longer is better” complex.       

From developing a psychological dependency based off ill-informed perceptions that Clen can be used long term, to the fact that users gauge the effectiveness of the drug based off the presence initial side effects such as shaky hands, insomnia, sweating and nausea – it appears that we have a growing Clenhead epidemic on our hands.  

Yes, initial side effects should dissipate after a few days and this does NOT mean that the drug has stopped working, so please stop boosting the dose to supersonic levels and somehow believe that stacking it with other stimulants will results in “better results” and not a cardiac arrest. Wake up and education yourself on drug dependency and the long term effects of Clen that happen even after beta-2 receptors stop “responding.”

Not only that, due to its strength, long half-life, and perceived effectiveness, there is such thing as Clen toxicity – which is why in Canada it’s not available for human use even with a prescription, and within veterinary practice has dramatically declined over the past few years.

Clen has never been made available for human or animal use in the US, and within sport clen it is completely banned regardless of the fact that some countries around the world (Bulgaria, Russia and China) continuing to prescribe it as a therapeutic drug. (… cough cough, the IOC wonders why there has been an increase of athletes with “asthma”).

Since the mid-90’s, it’s even illegal to use Clen to bulk-up livestock. Not only were the animals questionable, but those who ate Clen’d meat suffered symptoms of Clen overdose, such as fever, vomiting and diarrhea. Just an FYI to athletes who travel - be mindful that not all countries have banned its use in livestock. Anti-doping agencies have reported a number of cases where athletes tested positive for Clen after eating contaminated meat … or at least that’s what the athlete told officials after being caught Clen-handed.

Regardless of the fact that Clen is pretty much illegal for ALL consumption, it continues to be widely available on the black market and used for performance enhancement. From the consumption of cocaine in 18th century, amphetamine use during cold-war and now to today’s Clenheads – even though athletes have been using stimulants for centuries it doesn’t make it safe or smart. 

 

Originally Published: Insider Controversy, Muscle Insider Magazine, 29: June/July 2016

 

The most popular drug...

FACT: Caffeine is one of the most widely consumed drugs in the world.

When you think a warm delicious cup of caffeinated coffee, an addictive drug comparable to an amphetamine, cocaine, or heroin isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. However, caffeine uses the same biochemical mechanisms as these drugs in order to stimulate your brain and nervous system and fight fatigue. Unlike these other drugs, caffeine remains cheap and easy to find. I bet many of you don’t need to look any further than the bottom of your gym bag to find various free sample packs of caffeinated pre-workout mixes and fat burners.

Although many countries around the world have their own story and source of caffeine, this psychoactive substance has been a part of global history for thousands of years. Anthropologists have traced caffeine back all the way to the Stone Age. These prehistoric people found that if they chewed on the seeds, bark or leaves of certain plants their mood would elevate, energy and focus would increase, and hunger would vanish. How’s that for some broscience!  

From being used as a natural pesticide to paralyze and kill many insect species, to being linked to religious ceremonies in order to let worshipers stay up and pray the night away, caffeine is one substance that has truly stood the test of time. In fact, caffeine is so good giving the human body a ‘boost’ that most of the world’s population continues to consume this psychoactive stimulant daily. For many consumers, caffeine is caffeine, but in reality there are two different types: 1. Synthetic caffeine which man-made and found in many sport supplements, foods, drinks, and medications; 2. Natural caffeine that is harvested from over 60 different plants such as coffee, yerba mate, and guarana.

FACT: Caffeine is the drug of choice for most athletes.

While it doesn’t seem as criminal as the usual PED suspects of growth hormone, testosterone and blood doping do, caffeine has become one of the most popular performance enhancing drugs of the 21st century. In response to an increase in caffeine use by athletes, many sport governing bodies have started to pay more attention to caffeine. Although in 2004 the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) downgraded caffeine from their prohibited to monitoring list, it still remains classified as a banned substance in many sport organizations around the world.

But can caffeine really enhance athletic performance?

After much debate, sport scientists have finally proven what most of us already know – yes caffeine does enhance performance. It does so by stimulating the central nervous system (brain, spindle cord) – in order to create many of the same effects that amphetamines do, such as increasing heart and respiration rates, decreasing perception of fatigue, and improving athletes sense of performance. In a study by Costill, Ivy and colleagues, caffeine was found to lower an athlete’s perception of effort at any given rate of work. Essentially, caffeine consumption made the athletes in this study perform at higher intensities without realizing that they were putting in more effort to do so.

Now that we’ve established that caffeine is an effective performance enhancing drug, let’s chat about when it’s best to get your buzz on. Although ongoing research is still trying to pinpoint the exact time to ingest caffeine for general athletic performance, studies have concluded that 1 hour prior to cardiovascular endurance training and up to 20 minutes before performing high-intensity exercise will provide the most optimal results. 

How much should you consume? The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that enhanced athletic performance only requires 2 to 3 mg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight a day. That means that a 200lb athlete would only need to take around 180g to 275mg caffeine each day in order to improve performance. Let’s think about that for a second … hmm … some pre-workout supplements currently on the market contain well over 400g of caffeine per scoop! And no, more is not better!

Research suggests that higher doses of caffeine do not produce any additional benefits. At higher levels, caffeine has the potential to impair fine motor skills and athletic technique, in addition to causing nervousness, restlessness, insomnia and headaches. If you happen to exceed the recommended daily dose, make sure you are close to a bathroom as gastrointestinal distress will follow fast! Caffeine can also increase the risk of dehydration when combined with exercise because of its diuretic properties. And if you drink caffeine to stay awake, be careful as sometimes the reverse effect can occur. Take it from me, caffeine is also very addictive. After discontinuing use headaches, fatigue, and irritability can leave you craving just ‘one more hit’ of caffeine.

Due to its popular use and easy availability, caffeine’s more harmful properties’ are often underestimated or forgotten all together. Although lethal caffeine overdoses are rare, they do happen. Recently the bodybuilding scene has been home to a few cases of caffeine toxicity. Symptoms of caffeine toxicity include tremors, chest pain, vomiting, seizures or convulsions, heart attack, coma, and even death.

Wake up and smell the coffee, caffeine is a powerful performance enhancing drug. It’s time to start treating it as such.

 

Originally Published: Drug Zone, Muscle Insider Magazine, 26: Dec/Jan 2016