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Are you looking to build muscle or cut fat? If so you have probably heard about steroids, and the potential benefits and side effects of their use.
There are some who would claim that SARMs are as effective as anabolic steroids, but is this true?
The following article will try to answer this question. We are going to look at what these drugs are, what effect they will have on you, and whether we would recommend their use or not.
What Are SARMs?
SARMs stands for Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator. They were originally created in 1998 and were invented to help fight muscle and bone wasting conditions like cancer cachexia and osteoporosis.
At the present time companies have created a legal loophole by claiming that the compounds are not for human consumption and are for research purposes only. Of course, we know this is not actually true.
How Do SARMs Work?
When you take a Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator it will bind to your androgen receptors.
It is these receptors that help control the masculine characteristics, for example, a deeper voice, facial hair, muscle growth, fat loss etc.
By taking SARMs your body will become flooded with androgens, which will send a powerful message to your cells, including your muscle cells, forcing them to grow rapidly in response.
Benefits of SARMs
Using SARMs can potentially provide you with the following benefits:
This is one of the main benefits of SARMs and probably the reason why you are reading this article.
Using them can help to increase muscle mass by binding to the androgen receptors within your body. This increases the uptake of both nitrogen and glucose, which causes an anabolic effect.
Increasing endurance levels will help you to push through intense training sessions without burning out.
By increasing muscle fibres you will increase your capacity to absorb oxygen. This helps you to push that little bit harder during exercise.
Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators can aid fat loss in two ways.
Firstly they can stimulate the body to break down fat cells for use as energy. And secondly, they can reduce the formation of fat cells.
Increased Bone Density
To reduce bone fractures SARMs could help. They can create denser bones by increasing periosteal bone formation and decreasing endocorticol and trabecular bone turnover.
Better Recovery Time
It is claimed that using them can help decrease recovery time after intense workouts.
This is a benefit, as when you are recovering you are not likely to be training, or not training as hard as you could/should be to see real physical results.
Are SARMs Safe?
Some would claim that using SARMs is completely safe, but this is not true.
In October 2017, the FDA released the following statement :
“Life threatening reactions, including liver toxicity, have occurred in people taking products containing SARMs.”
“SARMs also have the potential to increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, and the long-term effects on the body are unknown.”
Let's look at the potential side effects of SARMs:
If you are a female user of SARMs then you need to be aware of virilization.
This occurs when you start to develop male features such as facial hair, the deepening of your voice and irregular menstrual cycles.
You would need to use large dosages of the drugs for a prolonged period of time to encounter this side effect, but it is still one that you should be made aware of.
If you have a predisposition to baldness then using Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators can speed up the hair loss. A similar effect will occur with steroid use too.
Gynecomastia (Man Boobs)
Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators are highly anabolic with a 10:1 anabolic to androgen ratio. This makes gyno and water retention less likely than using some steroids.
However, you may see a rise in oestrogen retention when using these synthetic drugs, which can cause issues like gynecomastia.
There are oestrogen blockers available that can help, for instance, Nolvadex, Clomid and Tribestan.
Suppression of Natural Testosterone Production
Using SARMs can potentially cause your natural testosterone production to stop.
If you are doing a long cycle then it is recommended that you undertake Post Cycle Therapy at the conclusion to restart your natural production.
This side effect has been mentioned and with many users online claiming that SARMs caused blurred vision and even temporary blindness.
Risk of Cancer
One of the most worrying potential side effects is that SARM usage has been shown to cause cancerous growths in mice .
While we are not mice it is still something worth considering before using SARMs.
Other Common Side Effects
Using them may also cause the following side effects:
- Prostate issues
- Poor joint and ligament health
- Reproductive health issues
Frequently Asked Questions
The following are questions that are commonly asked about Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (to submit your own questions use the comment form found below this article):
Are SARMs Legal?
SARMs are not legal in many parts of the globe. They are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), however, they are often illegally marketed and sold online as dietary supplements.
In the USA, the SARMs Control Act of 2018  was introduced, which is used to help regulate the buying and selling of them.
As they are synthetic drugs that have the potential for side effects they have been banned from use in all professional sports.
Are SARMs Steroids?
The simple answer to this question is no. SARMs are not steroids.
Even though they both produce similar benefits, and in some case similar side effects, SARMs only affect the androgen receptors so, in theory, you should encounter fewer androgenic side effects.
Are SARMs Natural?
No, they are synthetic drugs so are not natural.
Can SARMs Cause Gyno?
Many would say that SARMs won’t cause gynecomastia. However, this is not strictly true.
When you use these synthetic drugs they will bind to your androgen receptors. As your body likes to keep its hormone levels regulated, especially your testosterone levels, the binding of your androgen receptors will lead to a lowering of testosterone production and an increase in oestrogen production.
It is this increase in oestrogen that can potentially cause gyno to occur.
Can SARMs Cause Acne?
They shouldn’t cause acne, but there are plenty of “fake SARMs” that have the potential to cause this side effect.
Can SARMs be Detected?
Due to the potential for misuse in sport, there has been plenty of research undertaken to help detect SARM usage .
They are harder to detect than traditional steroids, but I suspect as the usage increases those testing will be more aware of what to look for while testing for banned performance enhancers.
How Long to Take SARMs?
This will depend on which Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator you choose to use.
The most popular SARM is Ostarine, which has an approximate half-life of 24 hours.
Typically you would take 25 mg daily for 12 weeks. Regardless of whether you are undergoing a bulk or a cut.
How Long do SARMs Stay in Your System?
Again, this will depend on the SARM you are using. Typical half-lives of popular SARMs are:
- Ostarine – 24 hours
- Ligandrol – 24-36 hours
- Cardarine – 24 hours
- Andarine – 4-6 hours
- YK-11 – 6-10 hours
- Nutrobal – 6 hours
- Stenabolic – 4 hours
- Testolone – 20 hours
What SARMs Are Best for Bulking?
Ligandrol is the SARM that most experts would recommend for use during the bulking phase.
What SARMs Don’t Need PCT?
I would recommend using PCT after using these drugs. While it is claimed that they do not affect your hormone levels, this may not be true.
What SARMs Are Good to Stack?
This would depend on your goal.
For bulking, typically the following SARMs are stacked together: Ligandrol, Testolone and Nutrobal
If you are cutting then there are some who would recommend the following combination: Ostarine, Andarine and Cardarine
When to Take SARMs?
Experts would say that the best time to take them would be first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.
They should be taken both on training and non-training days.
Which SARMs for Fat Loss?
The SARM most would recommend for use during a cutting phase would be Ostarine. Using it will help ensure you lose fat while maintaining your hard-earned muscle mass.
Who Takes SARMs?
From pro bodybuilders to the everyday gym goer, there are going to be plenty of people who use these drugs.
Most won’t admit to their use, especially those who rely on supplement endorsements.
This hasn’t deterred some athletes from using them however, with many athletes risking a ban from their sports if they are caught doping.
In 2017, the NY Knicks’ Joakim Noah was suspended for 20 games for testing positive for doping with SARMs .
How to Buy SARMs?
There are plenty of online shops that sell Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators, however you need to be cautious when buying online as there are plenty of companies and individuals looking to rip you off.
For instance, you may encounter one of the following problems:
1. The contamination of the drugs with toxic chemicals due to poor quality control
2. Weak and ineffective formulas created by mixing weak and potentially harmful substances to save money
3. Product mislabelling
In a 2017 study  it was found that only 52% of SARMs sold online contained any trace of the drug. That 25% of products tested contained significantly lower dosages than stated, and that 25% of products contained unlabelled substances such as oestrogen blockers.
As the buying and selling of SARMs is illegal the online marketplace is lawless, so you should exercise caution when attempting to buy online.
Conclusion: Should You Use SARMs?
While there are certainly benefits to be gained from using them, the truth is that they are not as effective as anabolic steroids, but are still potentially dangerous.
Using these synthetic drugs can halt testosterone production, which can lead to a host of health issues.
There are also major risks you may encounter when buying online. With this issue unlikely to get any better as it is doubtful that SARMs will be made legal anytime soon.
In our opinion, I would recommend looking for an alternative. The risks of SARM usage far outweighs the potential benefits.
Building Muscle Without SARMs
Our chosen alternative to Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators is Crazy Bulk, who sell a variety of products shown to both build muscle and burn fat.
One of their more popular products is D-Bal, which contains ingredients such as Isoleucine, Valine, Leucine, Whey Protein and Tribulus Terrestris.
The benefits you can gain from using this muscle builder include:
- Muscle and strength gains
- Better nitrogen retention
- An increase in protein synthesis
- Improved blood flow
- Increased oxygen retention
If you doubt any of these claims then I would recommend visiting the Crazy Bulk website yourself. Their website has plenty of authentic user testimonials to back up the impressive claims.