Tennessee Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan released an emotional video on social media Wednesday informing the public that he had unknowingly taken an NFL banned substance. In his video, Lewan references the drug ‘ostarine’ as the substance that he failed him the drug test. Ostarine shows up on the NFL Player Association banned substance list.
From the USDA.org website, here’s a breakdown of what the drug exactly is.
What is ostarine?
Ostarine is the trademarked name for a Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator (SARM) that is not approved for human use or consumption in the U.S., or in any other country. In recent years, WADA has reported an increasing number of positive tests involving SARMs, and athletes who use these substances most likely obtain them through black market channels.
Research has shown that SARMs like ostarine have fewer androgenic properties, meaning they have less influence on the development and balance of male hormones, including testosterone.
While they are not yet approved for human use, SARMs are of interest to the medical community because they might be effective at treating different health conditions without resulting in the negative side effects of steroids. Ostarine is currently being investigated as a way to treat a variety of muscle wasting diseases, such as osteoporosis, cancer, and hypogonadism.
Is ostarine prohibited in sport?
Yes, ostarine is prohibited at all times under the S1 Anabolic Agent category of the WADA Prohibited List. The number of positive tests involving ostarine has increased steadily over the past few years, with WADA reporting 28 globally in 2015.
Do everyday products contain ostarine?
There are products that contain ostarine, but only illegal ones. Given that ostarine is not approved for human use or consumption in the U.S., or in any other country, there are no legal medications that contain ostarine.
It’s also important to note that ostarine is not a permitted ingredient in dietary supplements. However, you should be aware that some dietary supplement manufacturers illegally put SARMs like ostarine in their products and sell them as “legal steroids” or “research only” chemicals.
Moreover, they may omit ostarine from the label entirely, or use misleading names to confuse consumers. For example, ostarine may also be called enobosarm, MK-2866, or GTx-024. Some examples of supplements that contain ostarine can be found on the USADA High Risk List.
It’s apparently not uncommon for ostarine to be present in supplements without being acknowledged on the label. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency talks about how sometimes these banned substances are on the label and sometimes they’re not.
Lewan also posted Polygraph information on his instagram account to further his case that he did not knowingly take the banned substance.
Source: Taylor Lewan’s ‘A” sample tested positive this summer, but the results on his “B’ sample have not yet come back from lab. If the B sample matches the A, he would be facing a four-game suspension. But test results still pending.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 24, 2019
The Titans left tackle still has a chance to not be suspended if sample “B” doesn’t match sample “A” or if he wins his appeal to the NFL as reported by Paul Kuharsky.
Taylor Lewan is not the only football player to be reprimanded for ostarine, Clemson defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence missed Clemson’s College Football Playoff wins over Notre Dame and Alabama after testing positive for the drug. Lawrence was questioned heavily at the NFL combine about his suspension before getting drafted 17th overall by the New York Giants.
The NFL usually wins by falling back on their policies and for Lewan, it’s clearly stated in the NFL Rule Book that players need to be very carful when taking supplements.
As the Policy clearly warns, supplements are not regulated or monitored by the government. This means that, even if they are bought over-the-counter from a known establishment, there is currently no way to be sure that they:
(a) contain the ingredients listed on the packaging;
(b) have not been tainted with prohibited substances; or
(c) have the properties or effects claimed by the manufacturer or salesperson.
Therefore, if you take these products, you do so AT YOUR OWN RISK! For your own health and success in the League, we strongly encourage you to avoid the use of supplements altogether, or at the very least to be extremely careful about what you choose to take.
Take care and good luck this season.