A new and exciting group of performance-enhancing drugs known as selective androgen receptormodulators (SARMs) have been increasing in popularity over recent years. They are similar toanabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) in that they are highly anabolic and can greatly enhance yourability to gain strength and muscle. They differ from traditional steroids by their mechanism ofaction, generally having fewer adverse side effects than most anabolics. Unfortunately, we don’tknow the potential long-term side effects as these compounds are relatively new, and there haveonly been a few clinical studies on some of the more popular SARMs on the market. I believeSARMs have a place on their own in the medical, bodybuilding and performance enhancing worldand foresee their surge in popularity in the coming years as more studies are carried out. Peopleget to see the true potential these compounds have.
The History Behind SARMs
SARMs have been around for over two decades now, and most were developed, like steroids, totreat muscle and bone wasting conditions and diseases. Developed as a safer alternative to usingtestosterone and other anabolic compounds, they all have one common advantage overtraditional steroids. SARMS are selective to the androgen receptors in skeletal muscle and bonetissue. When consumed, the compounds are digested, metabolized and primarily attachthemselves to androgen receptors in muscle tissue and bone, allowing accelerated growth(hypertrophy) of muscle and increased bone density due to their anabolic nature. Most SARMshave a higher binding affinity to the androgen receptors than testosterone or DHT, which isanother advantage they have over traditional steroids.
Conversely, steroids are not selective to just the androgen receptors in muscle and bone. Theybind to receptors in other body tissues, unfortunately leading to unwanted growth of organs likethe heart and prostate. Over time this can lead to several harmful conditions such as ventricularhypertrophy, where the left ventricle of the heart grows too large, becoming inefficient andgenerally leads to severe cardiac issues and possible death.
Different Forms of SARMs
The majority of SARMs come in oral form, either as pills or liquid. While some injectable SARMsare coming onto the market, they are rare and hard to come by. When consumed, oral SARMshave a short half-life, so you can easily control your dosage and keep levels stable, and when youdecide to decrease the dosage or cease usage, you don’t have to wait weeks or months for thecompounds to clear your system. Not having to administer them via injection regularly is a bigplus for those wary of needles. Unfortunately, all oral pills of this nature, whether SARMs, steroidsor even OTC medications, are designed to pass through the liver, making them liver toxic(hepatotoxic); the level of toxicity depends on the compound and dosage.
There are many oral steroids as well, but most are 17-alpha alkylated to improve the oralbioavailability, making them more hepatotoxic than SARMs. They are substrates for 5alpha-reductase or CYP19 aromatase, which means they convert into dihydrotestosterone (DHT)or estrogen, respectively. DHT derivative compounds can cause hair loss for men (and male-likefacial hair growth for females), acne, prostate growth, cancer, and depression. Elevated estradioland estrogen in the body can cause erectile dysfunction, gynecomastia, water retention (leadingto high blood pressure), and depression. DHT and estrogen have many positive functions in thebody, but when levels become too high or low from exogenous hormone use, there can benumerous negative and detrimental side effects. Most SARMs do not have these side effects.Some of the more potent SARMs reportedly can have some side effects, generally at high dosage.Moderately responsible dosage protocols seem to have little to no negative side effects for mostpeople.
SARMS vs. Steroids
When comparing SARMs to steroids, they both share the anabolic qualities that promote musclegrowth, performance enhancement, enhanced fat loss, etc. Most SARMs have a greater bindingaffinity to the androgen receptor over steroids, making SARM use advantageous. Most SARMs donot share the androgenic (or generally harmful) side effects steroids have, such as increasedaggression, acne, sexual dysfunction and virilization (developing masculine features in females).The decreased amount of androgenic activity is reportedly dosage-dependent. At lower dosages,the androgenic properties are minimal. These advantages make SARMs a legitimate steroidalternative, especially for women who don’t want to develop facial hair, deepen the voice, enlargethe clitoris, etc. These adverse side effects are inevitable and irreversible for female steroid users,even at low doses of even mild steroids like Anavar. Most female SARM users report no negativeshort or long-term side effects.
SARMs for Strength
SARMs are generally considered weaker than steroids when it comes to strength, but thatdepends on the compounds being compared and the dosage. Some users will take 50-100 mg ofan oral steroid like Anadrol or Winstrol, while most SARM dosage protocols range from 5-30 mg. Ifthey were to compare mg per mg, different types of SARMS such as S-23, RAD-140 and LGD-4033are considerably more potent than most steroids. The problem with higher doses for men is thatnatural testosterone production will be suppressed, which has several adverse side effects onbuilding muscle, which is why most SARM users would be taking them in the first place. This caneasily be negated by running a testosterone base, which then crosses the user into the realm ofhaving to inject testosterone, which isn’t ideal for everyone regularly. Lower doses of specificSARMs can be taken without experiencing full testosterone suppression, but to experienceoptimal results, you would most want to run testosterone concurrently.
Most SARMs, like steroids, will require you to run a proper post cycle therapy (PCT) to get yournatural testosterone production turned back on when your SARM cycle comes to an end. Forwomen, this is redundant, as there is no concern with natural testosterone suppression. Womendo not require exogenous testosterone to grow stronger, larger muscles; they produce a muchsmaller quantity of testosterone in the ovaries and adrenal glands.
Why Sarms Are Not as Well-Known as Their Steroid Counterparts
Seemingly there are numerous benefits to SARM use, so why are they not as popular as theirsteroid counterparts? Most traditional steroid users are uneducated and misinformed about theserelatively newer compounds. There also have not been many clinical studies done proving theirefficacy, and most of the existing research has been done on monkeys and lab rats rather thanhumans. SARMs are not classified like steroids are, which would make them illegal without adoctor’s prescription. They are currently considered research chemicals, making them legal to selland purchase for your lab rat, as they are not yet approved for human consumption. They alsocost significantly more to produce than most steroids, so nefarious underground labs (UGLs)manufacture a lower-dosed product and replace them with a cheaper steroid alternative likeDianabol. This means consumers will have a hard time sourcing legitimate SARMs. The downsideof unregulated underground labs is that there is no quality control, so it’s impossible to know ifwhat you’re taking is what you think it is. Generally, there’s no way for the average consumer totest the quality of their SARMs. As SARM research continues in the medical industry, we aregetting very close to being able to source pharmaceutical-grade SARMs. Until then, the risks canoutweigh the possible rewards of these performance-enhancing research chemicals forconsumers looking to build their bodies and improve their quality of life.
SARMs’ Most Popular Compounds
Here’s a rundown of the most popular SARMs currently available. New SARMs are currently beingdeveloped, as well as lesser-known SARMs that aren’t widely used due to lack of efficacy orunfavourable side effects.
MK is the most clinically studied SARM to date, and the research has proven its efficacy. It isgoing through the final phases of testing for medical use. While it is a weaker SARM, it is the leastsuppressive with the least amount of adverse side effects. It is often combined with other SARMs.It can be used for both bulking and cutting cycles. It is preferable for female use due to its lack ofandrogenic qualities.
Suggested dosage:● Men: 20-40 mg/day for 12-16 weeks.● Women:10-25 mg/day for 12-16 weeks.
RAD has very high anabolic potential. Its effects are very similar to testosterone and are beingclinically studied as a potential testosterone therapy replacement. It also provides the mostsignificant increase in strength, and muscular endurance of all SARMs other than S-23. It hasbeen shown also to have neuroprotective qualities also been shown, thus promoting brain healthand healing. Also, it has breast cancer-fighting potential, with human clinical studies currentlyunderway. Usage decreases prostate size, which is beneficial as steroids cause prostateenlargement and related issues. It is used for both bulking and cutting cycles, but is ideal forcutting due to how it makes muscles appear hard and dry. Unfortunately, it is also one of the mostsuppressive SARMs but has relatively low liver toxicity.
Suggested dosage:● Men: 20-40 mg/day (split into two dosages due to its unknown half-life) for 12-16 weeks.● Women: 5-15 mg/day (split into two dosages due to its unknown half-life) for 8-12 weeks.
LGD is one of the most potent and most popular SARMs used to build lean muscle tissue. It offersthe highest potential for muscular hypertrophy of all SARMs. Along with Ostarine, it is the moststudied SARM due to its efficacy, having a high level of bioavailability and tissue selectiveness. Itis close to being approved for medical use, relating to healing fractured/broken hips. Waterretention is a reported side effect, making it ideal for bulking cycles.
Suggested dosage:● Men: 10-40 mg/day for 12-16 weeks.● Women: 5-10 mg/day for 8-12 weeks.
While not a SARM by its mechanism of action, it’s commonly grouped into the SARM family ofcompounds. It is a PPAR receptor agonist and was initially marketed as “cardio in a bottle.” Itactivates AMPK, which is responsible for oxidizing fatty acids and stimulating muscle glucoseuptake. It significantly increases endurance and accelerates metabolism. It positively impacts thecardiovascular system, liver, kidneys, cholesterol (increasing HDL while decreasing LDL), bloodpressure and protects the brain against oxygen deficiency. It has had human clinical studiescarried out proving its efficacy. It is an excellent addition to all SARM and steroid cycles.
Suggested dosage:● Men/women: 10-20 mg/day for the duration of the cycle.
MK is a growth hormone secretagogue and ghrelin receptor agonist, not a SARM, but is oftenmistaken for one. It increases the strength of the pituitary glands’ growth hormone pulsations andthe total daily production of growth hormone. It doesn’t cause pituitary desensitization as otherGHRPs do. It is used in combination with other compounds during a bulking cycle or to helpregenerate injured muscle, bone or joint tissue. It is a legitimate substitute for those unable toexperiment with exogenous HGH and is equivalent to administering a lower dose of HGH daily ata fraction of the cost. It can significantly increase appetite, which is a side effect to be aware of.Suggested dosage:
Suggested dosage:● Men/women: 15-30 mg/day. It can reportedly be run long term, with recommendedcycling off.
SR is again not a SARM. It is a synthetic Rev-ErbA ligand. This compound has very similar effectsto GW-501516 but has poor bioavailability and a very short half-life. It increases both enduranceand speeds up the loss of stored fat tissue.
Suggested dosage:● Men/women: 10-40 mg/day (split into 3-4 dosages due to its very short half-life) for 8-16weeks.
S-4 (Andarine)S4 is another strong SARM used to build lean muscle tissue. It has similar effects to RAD-140 andLGD-4033. It allows you to build up a relatively large amount of muscle mass in a short period.However, it reportedly negatively affects vision, causing a yellowish tinge to users’ eyesight, whichreportedly reverses after use.
Suggested dosage:● Men: 25-100 mg/day (split into 3-4 dosages due to its very short half-life) for 8-12 weeks.● It is not recommended for women.
YK-11YK is considered a SUPER-SARM. It is chemically closer to a DHT-based steroid than a SARM,although it is still referred to as a SARM due to its selectivity to muscle and bone tissuesandrogen receptors. While being considered both a SARM and a designer steroid, it is unique as itis the only known compound to increase follistatin levels. Follistatin suppresses myostatin, whichprevents muscles from growing too large. As a myostatin inhibitor, YK-11 has huge potential forbodybuilding.
Suggested dosage:● Men: 10-30 mg/day (split into two dosages due to its unknown half-life) for 8-12 weeks.● Women: 0.5-2 mg/day (split into two dosages due to its unknown half-life) for 6-8 weeks.
S-23S-23 is considered the strongest SARM currently on the market, similar in function to RAD-140. Itsupports both the growth of lean muscle tissue, increased bone density and fat loss. It isreportedly very bioavailable. It can enhance female libido and has been researched as a possiblemale hormone contraceptive. It is the least selective SARM in nature, leading to prostateenlargement at a higher dosage. It is also considered the most suppressive SARM.
Suggested dosage:● Men: 10-30 mg/day (split into two doses due to its short half-life) for 8-12 weeks.● Women: 5-10 mg/day (split into two doses due to its short half-life) for 6-8 weeks.