Last updated on July 10th, 2019
What are SARMs? How do they work in connection with bodybuilding? How do they compare to steroids and are they safe? What are the best SARMs and brands? All questions answered in this article
Are SARMs the next “big” thing in bodybuilding? Not really, but a lot of people are talking about them these days.
In fact, SARMs are often seen as being a good alternative to steroids and other performance enhancing compounds.
However, to be a viable alternative to steroids, SARMs would need to be able to offer similar benefits while being safe and legal to use.
The good thing about SARMs is they do offer benefits that are almost as good as steroids.
The problem is, it’s illegal to buy SARMs and use them to build muscle or enhance athletic performance. Doing so can also result in competition bans.
SARMs are ‘Safer’ than Steroids
As for being a safer option, SARMs are less risk of side effects than steroids. The thing to remember is, we are talking “less” risk here.
Presenting less risk is a far cry from presenting no risks at all.
SARMs can cause side effects and using them may seriously endanger the health.
That’s an important point.
Before reading any further take a moment or two and let the information sink in.
This article provides the truth about SARMs—good and bad.
After you have finished reading it you will know the reasons why you may want to start using SARMs.
You will also have an understanding of all the reason why it may be better if you steer clear and do not use them at all.
SARMs = Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators
What are SARMs?
The word “SARMs” is an acronym. It stands for Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators.
Like the word “steroids” SARMs is actually an umbrella term that covers a specific kind of drug.
SARMs have been available since 1998, so they are not as new as many people think.
Over two decades later, they are still in the development stage.
SARMs were created as potential treatments for certain medical conditions.
However, as with any compound that can help with fat burning and boost muscle growth, it was not long before they caught the attention of bodybuilders.
A number of pharmaceutical companies have put forward SARM drug candidates, which have been evaluated in pre-clinical and clinical trials.
To date, none of them are approved for human consumption or for use as prescription drugs.
What SARMs Do and How They Compare to Steroids
In order to understand how SARMs work, it’s necessary to have a basic knowledge of hormones.
Hormones are chemical messengers. Let’s use ghrelin as an example.
It’s a hunger hormone.
When the stomach is empty, it triggers the release of ghrelin. The blood then carries the hormone to the hypothalamus area of the brain.
The hypothalamus governs appetite. As soon as ghrelin gives it the tip-off the stomach is empty, the hypothalamus initiates feelings of hunger.
There are many hormones in the body and each one is responsible for certain specific tasks.
Testosterone is an androgen hormone. Women have a little testosterone in their bodies, but men produce more.
That’s only right. It’s the male sex hormone, after all.
Testosterone is responsible for masculine traits such as a deep voice and facial hair.
It’s also an anabolic steroid that helps with fat burning and encourages muscle growth.
The presence of extra testosterone allows men to be naturally more muscular and, therefore, stronger than women are.
Steroids are drugs that are pretty much a synthetic form of testosterone. That’s why women who use steroids run the risk of losing their femininity.
How Steroids Work
Using anabolic steroids floods the cells with androgen hormones, albeit ones of a synthetic nature.
Steroids improve nitrogen retention and protein synthesis—the two fundamental biological processes necessary for muscle growth.
Don’t lose sight of the fact that these are chemical messengers.
The presence of such a high level of androgen hormones in the muscle tissues screams the need for muscle growth.
Apart from enhancing muscle growth, steroids can also improve speed and stamina.
They help with fat burning too. In short, they do everything the body’s normal androgen hormones do but have a greater presence in the system.
Steroids-The Flip-Side of the Coin
The body can convert testosterone to estrogen (female sex hormone).
Providing it abnormally high levels of synthetic testosterone can push estrogen levels up.
That’s why men who use steroids sometimes develop breasts.
However, steroids can damage the body in many other ways as well. There are all sorts of nasty side effects involved, including shrunken testicles, uncontrollable rage, and organ damage
Steroids also cripple normal testosterone production.
When people use steroids, the body does not need to produce testosterone so it stops doing so. Then, when they stop using steroids, the body has very little natural testosterone.
It can take weeks for things to get back on track. That why steroid users have to follow their steroid cycle with a Post Cycle Therapy (PCT).
The Need for a Safe Alternative
Regardless of the risks, steroids have been popular with bodybuilders and athletes since the 1970s. There has been a need for a safer alternative for a long time.
Modern-day supplement science is extremely advanced so, these days, it’s possible to buy safe and natural steroid alternatives that can provide similar benefits without any of the risks.
Although SARMs are often seen as being big news, it’s important to remember they are still old news. They came into existence at a time when there were no safe steroid alternatives available.
The scientists responsible for developing SARMs did a good job, in a way, because, although they are not as powerful as steroids, SARMs are a bit safer to use.
In real terms, though, it’s a case of nice try, but no cigar.
How SARMs Differ from Steroids
Like normal androgen hormones, steroids bind with the androgen receptors in the cells. Show a steroid a cell that has an androgen receptor it can bind to and it will go ahead and do it.
Let’s not lose sight of the fact that SARMs are Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators. This is the advantage they have over steroids. Instead of just binding to cells, they are “selective” about which ones they bind to.
By only binding with androgen receptors in muscle and bone cells, SARMs have less impact on the other cells in the body or, indeed, on the endocrine system as a whole.
SARMs are also less likely to convert to estrogen or breakdown into molecules that may have undesirable effects. It can still happen though.
Also, because they are less powerful than steroids, SARMs don’t suppress normal testosterone production to the same extent. However, they can still interfere with it.
The fact that one compound is less harmful than another is not a good argument for its use.
Some Popular SARMs Types
Most SARMs are identified by a series of letters and numbers. There’s a reason for this. Due to the fact that they have not got approval for medicinal use, the pharmaceutical companies haven’t made the time to give most of them a name.
Popular types include:
- MK-2866 or GTx-024 (Ostarine): Intended to be mainly used for treating osteoporosis or reversing muscle loss in the elderly.
- LGD-4033 (Ligandrol): Chemically very similar to Ostarine
- LGD-3303: Has good oral bioavailability. It’s more anabolic than androgenic and has also been evaluated as a possible treatment for osteoporosis.
- GSX-007 or S-4 (Andarine): An abandoned drug candidate that was originally intended as a treatment for enlarged prostate.
- S-23: An untested drug. It aims to be a male hormonal contraceptive pill.
There are, of course, many more names you may come across while researching this subject online.
Here’s a few examples:
Where to Buy SARMs – Illegal / Available
Despite the fact that SARMs have not been sufficiently tested and are not approved for human use, it’s still possible to buy them online.
Some of the companies selling them try to avoid legal ramifications by providing a small print cover your ass disclaimers that state “This product is strictly for laboratory and research purposes only.”
Let’s be honest, most people buying such products won’t be doing so for that reason and the people selling them probably know it.
Then there are the industry wide-boys who are selling products they allege to be SARMs when, in reality, they don’t contain them at all.
Why People Use SARMs
Although the pharmaceutical companies are still trying to develop SARMs capable of gaining approval for treating medical conditions such as osteoporosis, their efforts have not met with success.
In reality, the only people who are using this type of drug are likely to be those who have athletic aspirations.
Many athletes who use SARMs do so in out of a desire to increase muscle bulk and strength. Others, who are hoping to improve their speed and agility, may use them to boost performance.
Like certain steroids, some SARMs can help with fat loss.
Again, as with steroids, some of them are more commonly used during bulking cycles while others are seen as better for cutting.
Of course, for all SARMs, there will be an equivalent steroid, but many people choose them over steroids because they have heard they are safer.
A lot of potential users often believe there will be no suppression of normal testosterone. However, although they are not as bad for this as steroids, disrupting testosterone production is one of the biggest problems with this type of drug.
Finally, there are athletes who use SARMs instead of steroids because they hope they will be harder to detect.
What the FDA Says About SARMs
The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is the organization responsible for protecting the health of consumers in America.
One of the things it does is make sure drugs are safe for people to use. The FDA also monitors the activities of supplement suppliers and makes sure their supplements won’t place anyone’s health in jeopardy.
No drug can be legally sold in the USA without FDA approval.
The FDA has a very dim view of SARMs. In October 2017, it issued a warning against using them in bodybuilding products.
The warning begins by stating the FDA is extremely concerned about companies marketing bodybuilding products that contain “potentially dangerous ingredients”.
It then points out SARMs have not got FDA approval and stresses there are serious safety concerns regarding their use.
Additionally, the warning makes it clear the FDA has taken action against several supplement manufacturing companies that were distributing SARMs and will continue to take a proactive stance against companies marketing such products.
SARMs are not dietary supplements, they are unapproved drugs that have not been reviewed for safety and effectiveness.https://www.fda.gov/news-events/fda-brief/fda-brief-fda-warns-against-using-sarms-body-building-products
SARMs and Competitive Sports
Sports Organizations take the same stance with SARMs as they do with steroids.
In fact, SARMs have been prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) since 2008.
If tests show athletes have been using them they will be hit with a competition ban.
WADA classes SARMs as “other anabolic agents and prohibits their use under section S1.2 of its Prohibited List.
After discovering an increase in the use of this type of drug, WADA and other anti-doping agencies have become more diligent in their efforts to stop SARMs abuse in sports.
A lot of people believe SARMs are harder to detect than steroids and are willing to take the risk.
However, modern drug tests are very efficient. Many athletes have learned this the hard way.
In October 2015, Florida Gators quarterback, Will Grier, tested positive for LGD-4033. He got an immediate suspension.
Using such compounds is a violation of NCAA rules.https://www.sbnation.com/college-football/2015/10/12/9510055/florida-qb-will-grier-suspended-for-rest-of-2015-due-to-ncaa
The following year, professional basketball player Joakim Simon Noah tested positive for the same drug.
The NBA banned him from competing in his team’s next 20 games.https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/25/sports/basketball/knicks-joakim-noah-suspended-for-failing-a-doping-test.html
Should You use SARMS
SARMs can boost muscle growth, improve performance, and do other steroid-like things.
They also present somewhat less of a risk of side effects. If you want, the main selling points, you’ve got them right there.
However, they still do present certain risks. So there are still negative aspects, yet their ability to boost muscle growth and performance is inferior to steroids.
Just like steroids, SARMs are illegal drugs and using them can get you banned from sporting competitions.
Bearing in mind these things, it’s hard to see why anyone would think these experimental compounds are worth the risk.
Such products have abilities that are on a similar par to those of steroids but they are not drugs. They are supplements that provide herbs and other natural compounds that deliver steroid-like benefits with no risk to the health.
However, if you still think SARMs are a good fit for your needs, having read this article you should now know all the pros and cons.
Most people just listen to stories going around and then take a chance. That’s something you no longer have to do.
Can you stack SARMs?
Yes. People sometimes use specific combinations to achieve certain things. Just like steroids, if you build a stack you can increase the benefits. Of course, doing so increases the potential range and level of side effect you may experience as well.
Are SARMs more powerful than testosterone?
No. They lack the power of normal testosterone. That’s why their ability to suppress normal testosterone production is not as great as that of steroids. It’s also a good reason to consider thinking about using a natural testosterone booster instead.
Do SARMs Require a PCT?
That will depend on which one you’re using and your own individual response. How long you use them may also be a consideration. However, testosterone suppression remains the biggest problem with this type of drug.
Do SARMs have to be injected?
Although some people do inject certain SARMs, most people take drugs of this type orally.
Where to buy SARMs online?
Yes, but doing so does not make good sense. Some of the products being sold as SARMs are not at all. Others may be poor-quality versions. You can never be certain what you will get. It’s also important not to lose sight of the fact that buying and using this type of drug is against the law.
Is there a risk of man boobs?
This is something that cannot be ruled out. When you flood your body with SARMs and they bind with androgen receptors, it means fewer receptors are free to bind with your own testosterone. That means more of it may convert to estrogen and DHT.
When estrogen levels are high it always increases the risk of man boobs (gynecomastia).