Is SARMs a safe alternative to steroids? Recently, one of the hottest topics in the fitness world are SARMs, i.e. selective androgen receptor modulators. The special feature? Their anabolic effect is much more pronounced than in the case of steroids (AAS). It can be a dozen or even several dozen times greater than the undesirable androgenic effect. For comparison, with steroids, these ratios are 1: 1 vs even 90: 1 with SARMs. However, SARMs are not supplements.
In this post, I will examine the two best-studied substances to date: LGD4033 aka Ligandrol and MK2866 aka Ostarin. All the rest of the SARMs have to get out of the mouse labs first. Until human clinical trials are conducted, any experimentation with them should be ruled out.
What are SARMs?
SARMs are in the group of compounds in the field of experimental biohacking, i.e. its most risky variant. I would call it a use-on-your-own-responsibility agent.They are advertised on the Internet as legal steroids, which certainly attracts the attention of young growth adepts, unfamiliar with marketing bullshit. Despite the incomparably higher proportions of anabolic to androgenic effects, SARMs can cause all the side effects observed with the use of anabolic steroids.
However, they happen less often at higher doses and only occur during long-term use. Headache, insomnia, mood disturbances and increases in liver enzymes (ALT, AST) are common. However, liver damage is rare, and rarely to prostate hyperplasia, gynecomastia or, for example, breast cancer in men.
SARMs can, however, contribute to lowering the natural production of testosterone. At the same time, they decrease the concentration of SHGB protein (testosterone binding), so the decrease in endogenous testosterone concentration is often imperceptible. Nevertheless, great caution must be exercised.
Why do SARMs work differently than steroids?
Steroids act on many tissues at once, leading to a litany of side effects such as prostate enlargement. The phenomenon of SARMs is that they are selective and affect only skeletal muscles. They are not steroidal, so they are not converted to active metabolites – the action of aromatase and conversion to estradiol. They are also not affected by 5-alpha-reductase and converted to dihydrotestosterone.
What’s more, at the time of writing this article, SARMs are completely legal and available in an oral form. This eliminates the need for frequent injections. Currently, there are over a dozen human clinical trials with the use of SARMs in progress. Ostarine and lingandrol are the best researched. Here’s what they are characterized by.
MK-2866 Ostarin. Builds muscle, burns fat.
Ostarine was the most used SARM among more than 25 American professional athletes suspended since 2015 for using adrogen modulators.
At the same time, it is the best-studied SARM in human trials. More than a dozen studies have shown very interesting results in terms of building muscle mass. Interestingly, no significant side effects were found in them. In one study, volunteers gained an average of 0.5 kg of muscle mass per month. Poorly? Not necessarily, because none of the subjects taking ostarine exercised forcefully. In theory, then, combining ostarine with a solid workout routine in the gym should produce some pretty impressive results.
Side effects of MK-2866
No significant side effects have been found in human studies to date. When browsing bodybuilding forums, however, you can find anecdotal reports of users taking high doses of ostarine for 8-12 weeks reporting short-term testosterone suppression. After the cycle ended, their testosterone levels returned to their regular levels.