If you’ve been browsing any bodybuilding forums lately, you’ve no doubt heard of a common supplement known as “SARMs.” SARMs, otherwise known as “Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators,” are a unique class of compounds which are purported to be “legal steroids.”
But just what are SARMs? Are they safe? In today’s article, we’ll be covering everything you need to know about this fascinating new supplement, including:
- What Are SARMs?
- How do SARMs Work?
- The Best SARMs Cycles
- Are SARMs Safe?
So, with this in mind, let’s begin.
What Are SARMs?
Put simply, SARMs stands for “Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators.” This means that they selectively target which androgen receptors to bind to.
While this may not seem like a big deal, it’s one of the reasons that they’re becoming so popular. When you take a conventional steroid such as Testosterone Enanthate or Trenbolone Acetate, these compounds bind to many of your androgen receptors (both good and bad).
This is why steroids are so powerful – they bind to your androgen receptors, which leads to massive muscle growth. The downside, however, is they also bind to androgen receptors which cause muscle growth in areas you don’t want, such as your heart.
This is why it’s so important to look after your heart health. If you’re on TRT, for example, it’s very important that you visit a cardiologist on the regular… let alone steroids.
In addition to this, because steroids are essentially hormones, they’re very dangerous to your body as a whole. They aromatize very quickly, which often leads to side effects, such as:
- Roid Rage
- Terrible Acne
- …and more
With SARMs however, there are very few side effects, namely because they’re not hormonal, and they only bind to specific androgen receptors (hence the name).
How Do SARMs Work?
After taking SARMs, they are quickly absorbed and begin to rapidly bind to androgen receptors in your body. On average, SARMs have a much faster onset than steroids.
Users can expect to notice results on SARMs after just a week or less, which is very fast compared to how long most steroids take to start acting (over a month for some).
Once in the body, SARMs will begin to bind to your androgen receptors, which signals your body to build more muscle and burn more fat.
They are quickly processed by the liver, and while they may be slightly hepatoxic, studies show that steroids are far more dangerous and that lipids and hormone levels return to normal shortly after ceasing SARMs usage.
Many have even compared the results they get from SARMs to taking Testosterone Replacement Therapy, or TRT. They’re that powerful – and the research here backs it up.
What the Research Says
While more research should be done to assess the long-term side effects of SARMs, a growing body of research suggests that they are very safe, and most importantly, very effective.
Take, for example, a study conducted by the Boston University School of Medicine. In their research, they found that SARMs (Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators) present an unprecedented opportunity to help users improve physical performance (source):
“The last decade has witnessed unprecedented discovery effort to develop selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) that improve physical function and bone health without adversely affecting the prostate and cardiovascular outcomes. SARMs hold promise as a new class of function promoting anabolic therapies for a number of clinical indications, including functional limitations associated with aging and chronic disease, frailty, cancer cachexia, and osteoporosis.”
Another study, conducted by Chinese researchers, found that a popular SARM known as Ligandrol was very well tolerated among test subjects (source)
“LGD-4033 was well tolerated. There were no drug-related serious adverse events. Frequency of adverse events was similar between active and placebo groups. Hemoglobin, prostate-specific antigen, aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, or QT intervals did not change significantly at any dose. LGD-4033 had a long elimination half-life and dose-proportional accumulation upon multiple dosing. LGD-4033 administration was associated with dose-dependent suppression of total testosterone, sex hormone–binding globulin, high density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. follicle-stimulating hormone and free testosterone showed significant suppression at 1.0-mg dose only. Lean body mass increased dose dependently, but fat mass did not change significantly. Hormone levels and lipids returned to baseline after treatment discontinuation.”
There is a growing body of research which shows SARMs are not only very safe and well tolerated, but are extremely potent at helping users build muscle.
So, with this in mind, let’s explore some of the best SARMs out there, which users are taking to transform their physiques in a very short period of time.
3 Best SARMs (Ostarine, RAD 140, Ligandrol)
According to my own experience, ample anecdotal evidence, and what the research shows, there are three SARMs which are by far the most powerful to take:
- RAD 140
I have personally taken all three of these SARMs, and have tested them myself, so I am not only speaking from personal experience, but I am also looking at what the data shows.
Ostarine, otherwise known by its research name MK-2866, is a powerful selective androgen receptor modulator which is commonly taken to increase strength and muscle mass.
Some of the benefits of taking Ostarine include:
- Increased lean muscle mass
- More strength gains
- Faster recovery
One study, conducted by researchers in Memphis, Tennessee, found that SARMs such as Ostarine (sometimes called Enobosarm), were highly effective at building lean muscle (source):
“Recent clinical efficacy data for LGD-4033, MK-0773, MK-3984, and Enbosarm (GTx-024, Ostarine, and S-22) are reviewed. Enobosarm, a nonsteroidal SARM, is the most well characterized clinically, and has consistently demonstrated increases in lean body mass and better physical function across several populations along with a lower hazard ratio for survival in cancer patients.”
In fact, some users (such as myself) have been able to put on muscle nearly 3x faster by using SARMs stacks such as Ostarine, combined with Cardarine and Ligandrol.
RAD 140 (Testolone)
RAD 140, otherwise known as Testolone, is by far the most powerful SARM in existence.
It has an anabolic/androgenic ratio of 90:1, meaning that it’s 90% as effective as testosterone, but only has 1% of the aromatization and side effects.
When I was personally on my RAD 140 cycle, I gained 21 pounds of muscle in just two months, while also losing 12 pounds of fat. Thankfully enough, it’s also very safe.
In a study conducted by researchers at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, it was found that RAD 140 was far safer than Testosterone Replacement Therapy (source):
“In this regard, SARMs like RAD140 can be better alternatives to T because they are only partial agonists or antagonists to androgenic regulation of prostate while still having androgenic effects on other tissues such as muscle and brain. In addition, higher doses of SARMs as compared with T might still promote neuron viability and not induce apoptosis, making them a suitable therapeutic strategy against age-related disorders such as AD.”
How’s that for having your cake and eating it, too? Not only can you get most of the benefits of taking pure testosterone, but you can do it with far fewer side effects, too.
Another popular SARM is known as Ligandrol, or otherwise commonly referred to as LGD-4033. This SARM is often taken in conjunction with other SARMs, which is known as a “SARMs Stack.”
In a previous article on Ligandrol, I described the history of this interesting SARM:
“LGD-4033 was initially discovered by Ligand Pharmaceuticals, hence the name “Ligandrol.” Researchers believed it could help medical patients with muscle-wasting diseases, such as cancer and HIV, but it was very quickly shown to have other effects such as rapid muscle growth and shredding fat in record time (like an ECA Stack).”
“Ligandrol is now undergoing testing by Viking Therapeutics, and is being used by numerous bodybuilders and amateur lifters all across the globe. Its current legal status makes it available to sell online, classified as a “research chemical.” The FDA is attempting to change this, though.”
After going through testing at Viking Therapeutics, many beneficial results were found to taking Ligandrol, such as increased lean muscle mass.
In fact, in a study conducted by GTx Pharmaceuticals, researchers found that Ligandrol is so good at building muscle, that it can be used to help cancer patients suffering from muscle wasting (source):
“Recent clinical efficacy data for LGD-4033, MK-0773, MK-3984, and Enobosarm (GTx-024, Ostarine, and S-22) are reviewed. Enobosarm, a nonsteroidal SARM, is the most well characterized clinically, and has consistently demonstrated increases in lean body mass and better physical function across several populations along with a lower hazard ratio for survival in cancer patients. Completed in May 2013, results for the Phase III clinical trials entitled Prevention and treatment of muscle Wasting in patients with Cancer1 (POWER1) and POWER2 evaluating Enobosarm for the prevention and treatment of muscle wasting in patients with nonsmall cell lung cancer will be available soon, and will potentially establish a SARM, Enobosarm, as the first drug for the prevention and treatment of muscle wasting in cancer patients.”
So, not only is the anecdotal evidence for the efficiency and effectiveness of Ligandrol very promising, but the research seems to confirm this as well!
Are SARMs Safe?
Now, of course, with any new growing body of research, we need to wait a little bit longer to see the long-term results. So far, however, all of the research looks very positive.
Study after study has confirmed the efficacy of using SARMs for building muscle, and studies have shown that they also help users recover faster, and lose fat very rapidly.
Many bodybuilders are now using SARMs to give them a competitive edge as well, which is why the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recently banned them from the Olympics:
“SARMs have been prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) since 2008. SARMs have the potential to be misused for performance enhancement in sport due to their anabolic properties as well as ability to stimulate androgen receptors in muscle and bone. They are currently prohibited at-all-times in the category of “other anabolic agents” under section S1.2 of the WADA Prohibited List. Some examples of SARMs are Ostarine and Andarine.”
If they were banned from the Olympics, you know they’re legit. The research shows it, the anecdotal evidence shows it, and even the IOC acknowledges that they’re a huge advantage.
Do SARMs Require A PCT?
When on SARMs, there is some evidence to suggest that your natural testosterone levels will drop slightly. This is normal, and your testosterone will return to normal afterward.
This is why users recommend taking SARMs in “cycles” of 2-3 months, and then taking a break while using a PCT. This simply stands for “Post Cycle Therapy.”
PCT is a set of testosterone-boosting ingredients meant to get your natural testosterone production back to normal, and it is highly recommended that you take a PCT after your first SARMs cycle.
What is a SARMs Cycle?
A SARMs cycle refers to when users will “stack” multiple SARMs, or in other words, take multiple SARMs at once. There are numerous benefits to doing this.
When you take multiple SARMs at once, you will get far better results, because more of your androgen receptors will be activated, thus increasing muscle growth.
Some SARMs such as RAD 140 and Ostarine are so strong that you probably don’t even need to add another SARM to the mix. If you want to maximize your muscle growth, however, you can certainly consider a good SARMs stack.
My first SARMs stack was the following:
- Ostarine: 25mg/day
- Cardarine: 10mg/day
- Ligandrol: 10mg/day
The results I got from this stack were absolutely incredible. I ended up putting on about 18 pounds of muscle, and losing 7 pounds of fat, in just 3 short months.
Another popular SARMs stack would be the following:
- Testolone: 30mg/day
- YK-11: 10mg/day
Testolone (RAD 140) is already extremely powerful, so when combined with YK-11, which is a myostatin inhibitor, the muscle gains would be absolutely incredible.
SARMs: The Bottom Line
All in all, SARMs are a fascinating new compound which shows incredible promise not only for helping medical patients but for helping bodybuilders put on lean muscle very quickly.
While more research certainly needs to be conducted, all of the preliminary clinical studies show that SARMs are very well tolerated among test subjects, and yield great results.
If you do decide to explore taking SARMs, always consult with your doctor first. Nothing published on Fitness and Power is to be construed as medical advice, and we are not doctors.