CAMAG has produced an application note describing a simple and rapid HPTLC screening method for steroids and selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) in bodybuilding supplements.
The isolation of endogenous sex hormones was achieved in the 30s and later, beginning in the 50s, Djerassi et al. were able to synthesize the first orally available progestogen. The search for exclusively anabolic molecules has been a great challenge for many researchers. However, we know today that the anabolic activity of a sex hormone cannot be separated from its androgenic or estrogenic activity. Many of the former patented molecules have disappeared and now doctors mostly use the natural anabolic-androgenic steroid testosterone. The situation is different for the growing black market supply of performance enhancing supplements. Anabolic-androgenic substances were widely used in competitive sports and for body enhancement (muscle building) already in the 50s. Today in addition to steroids mostly SARMs are developed and marketed as dietary supplements. Most of these new SARM molecules derive from the antiandrogen bicalutamide. To date their long-term effects have not yet been thoroughly tested on humans. Adding more concern is the fact that with the increasing demand for new miracle drugs, many new but unapproved substances from the pharmaceutical companies’ almost forgotten databases appear in the online market.
HPTLC is a rapid and simple screening method for steroids and SARMs in bodybuilding supplements. Without tedious sample preparation the substances are directly separated, detected with excellent sensitivity and quantified with the TLC scanner shown in this application note. A specific derivatization allows for an additional evaluation with the TLC Visualizer. UV spectra and mass spectra help with the identification.
 Grill M., Broszat M.: Detection of steroids and selective androgen receptor modulators. CAMAG Bibliography Service CBS 118, 2017, 2-4.