What are SARMs?
SARMS are a new class of anabolic compounds that were synthesized to be a better medicine than exogenous testosterone.
SARMs were developed with the main goal of mimicking anabolic steroids’ muscle building effects, but without their side effects.
SARMs have been studied as potential treatments for multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis (muscle loss), cancer, and sexual dysfunction.
Anabolic steroids can cause a number of side effects, including cholesterol fluctuations, benign prostatic enlargement (erythrocytosis), gynecomastia and leg swelling.
SARMs are designed to select tissue and block side effects such as androgenicity, estrogenicity, and cardiovascular disease associated with anabolic steroids. The transcriptional activation that leads to SARMs tissue selectivity has not been fully understood. It is therefore possible that SARMs could still have unpleasant side effects, similar to anabolic steroids. SARMs should only be used as’research chemical’ until further human trials have been conducted.
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The bodybuilding community is very fond of SARMs, as they are perceived to be a “safer version” of steroids. This hypothesis has not been confirmed, and it is dubious based on the research that is available and anecdotal information from our doctors.
Are SARMs safe?
SARMs have been produced since the 1940s. These early chemicals were testosterone derivatives known as steroidal SARMs.
Fast-forward to the late 90s, and SARMs (as bodybuilders call them today) arrive on the scene. These compounds are relatively new and their effects have not been fully studied.
SARMs are not FDA approved because their safety has not been fully determined. SARMs were labeled by the FDA as potentially harmful ( 1) in 2017. The FDA warned people against using SARMs.
SARMs have also been linked to liver and cardiovascular problems in short-term users. The FDA also stated that long-term effects of SARMs are unknown.
Only 52% SARMs sold online actually contain the SARM labeled.
39% SARMs also contained another unapproved chemical, raising safety concerns ( 2)
Based on anecdotal data and lab analysis from 2,000 SARM-users over the past 10 years, Dr. Thomas O’Connor hypothesized that SARMs are more harmful than steroids.
Are SARMs Legal?
SARMs can be purchased and sold as “research chemicals”. It is for this reason that they are sold most commonly in liquid form. Rodents can be administered with this method.
Companies have started selling SARMs as capsules (a method of administration that is favourable for humans) because bodybuilders have become more aware of the potential anabolic effects.
Due to the lack of FDA approval, it can be problematic for manufacturers who label SARMs’nutritional supplements for humans’. Companies are prohibited from describing the benefits of supplements that have not yet been medically proven.
Muscular Strength and Size
SARMs are known to increase muscle size and strength.
Early human trials have shown that SARMs build muscle at a fraction of anabolic steroids’ levels ( 3).
Participants on SARMs gained 1-1.5kg of fat-free mass in this study over a period of 4-6 weeks. On the other hand, testosterone enanthate users gained 5 to 7 kg of fat-free mass.
The stimulation of the androgen-receptor increases lipolysis, allowing users to burn significant amounts of subcutaneous body fat. SARMs will therefore not only increase lean muscle tissue but also increase muscle definition and tone.
SARMs are associated with less social stigma, since they are less known and taboo. Anabolic steroids, on the other hand, were prescribed to bodybuilders (ironically) in the 1960s before the side effects of anabolic steroid use became apparent.
The public’s less negative view of SARMs has led to them surpassing steroids in terms of popularity.
Google searches for steroids in the US are 68,000, but 96,000 searchers look for sarms.
No Injection Required
SARMs can be administered either orally as a liquid. This eliminates the possibility of needle contamination or incorrect injection techniques that could lead to paralysis.
The Perfect Gift for Women
Due to their low androgenicity, SARMs are not likely to cause virilization in women at low or moderate doses. They are therefore a better option for women than many anabolic steroid options.
As SARMs are still in the “investigational” stage, women may find it safer to choose the few woman-friendly steroids which have been thoroughly studied, such as deca durabolin, anavar or primobolan — all of which inhibit masculinization.
What is the best treatment for osteoporosis?
Anabolic steroids can increase bone mineral densities (BMD). BMD is important for bone health.
SARMs improve not only bone mineral density but also mechanical strength of the bone, providing a potential better treatment for osteoporosis patients.
SARMs side effects
Hair Loss & Gynecomastia
SARMs block alpha reductase, 5- alpha reductase enzyme activity. Therefore no conversion into estrogen or DHT occurs directly.
In theory, bodybuilders using SARMs should experience gains in lean muscle without any risk of gynecomastia.
In practice, however, SARMs users report cases of gyno or male pattern hair loss.
These side effects are caused by the fact that SARMs compete with natural testosterone to bind the androgen (AR) receptor.
SARMs are more binding than natural testosterone, and will therefore win the contest. This leaves free testosterone available to convert into estrogen and DHT.
SARMs are indirectly responsible for the adverse effects of estrogen and DHT.
Arimistane (Androsta-3,5-diene-7,17-dione) is a mild aromatase inhibitor that bodybuilders may utilize during SARMs cycles to prevent gynecomastia, and other estrogenic effects.
While other AI’s like aromasin or letrozole are often used in steroid cycle, they are too powerful for SARMs and can cause an estrogen deficiency.
SARMs reduce FSH and LH via excessive binding to AR receptors, causing a drop in natural testosterone. SARMs can cause different levels of suppression, which is why some users administer PCT (post-cycle therapy).
The stronger the SARM is, the greater the suppressive effect.
If our readers are using SARMs, we advise to get blood work performed by your doctor, to assess the extent of damage to the HPT (hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular) axis, helping to determine whether a PCT is needed.
SARMs that are less suppressive can still be used in high doses to inhibit the endogenous production of testosterone. The hypogonadal effects can be exacerbated by stacking SARMs.
As far as a PCT is concerned, SARMs have a short half-life due to their oral administration. Users only need to wait a few days to administer a PCT. This is a vastly different experience from steroids which can take up to two weeks to leave the body.
Bodybuilders typically use either Nolvadex, or Clomid for a PCT after SARMs. Nolvadex is the stronger SERM.
Increased blood pressure
SARMs, in phase I and II trials have been shown to cause significant reductions in HDL cholesterol.
SARMs delivered orally may cause cardiovascular strain, as oral steroids are notorious for their negative effects on blood lipids. A lack of aromatization could also be responsible for high cholesterol, as higher estrogen levels are known to increase HDL.
Users of SARMs can combine regular cardio with fish oils to prevent heart damage and reduce HDL.
Researchers have found mild to severe elevations of ALT/AST in liver enzymes, which indicate hepatic mutation. It may be worthwhile to supplement with TUDCA to protect the liver when cycling. This has been shown to reduce inflammation as well as damage to the organ.
Combining SARMs and hepatotoxic oral steroids such as dianabol (anadrol), winstrol, etc., is not advised. It is not recommended.
Dr. Thomas O’Connor believes that SARMs are not safe based on his analysis of patients’ labs. He also says that a man under his care had deteriorating liver and cholesterol enzymes after taking Cardarine. He compared the adverse effects of Cardarine to taking mega-doses of anavar. (50mg/day). The patient reported no noticeable improvement in body composition after using this SARM.
Further research has shown two men develop hepatocellular-cholestatic liver injuries after using SARMs (4). A 24 year-old man who was previously healthy took LGD-4033 for nine weeks. A 49-year-old man took RAD140 for four weeks and then sporadic usage thereafter.
In long-term studies on animals, a SARM known as cardarine, (GW 50156), caused tumors. (5).
In this study, however, rats were given cardarine at high dosages for two years, which is equivalent to 2/3 their life expectancy.
A shorter-term study on humans administered lower doses found no tumor formation. Researchers observed that cardarine had antiinflammatory effects in pancreatic cancer ( 6).
SARMs are not known to have long-term effects on cancer or humans, but it is possible, if abused, that SARMs can cause cancer.
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How do you take SARMs?
SARMs are available orally, intramuscularly, or sublingually.
SARMs are usually liquids, so users should measure the dosage with an eyedropper or syringe and then place it in their mouth. Some users pinch their nose to get rid of the strong taste and odor associated with SARMs. Mints can also be used to keep your breath fresh after consumption.
Some bodybuilders put the liquid into food such as bread to reduce the taste. However, this method may impact availability, and is therefore not recommended for optimal result.
MK-677 has the strongest taste of all SARMs and can last for several hours after administration. It can be helpful to administer the liquid at the rear of the throat, avoiding the tongue.
The latin phrase ‘sub lingua‘means ‘under tongue’.
Sublingual administration is preferred over oral due to its faster, and directer entry to the bloodstream. ( 7). The liquid comes into contact with mucus (located beneath the tongue), allowing for an easy entry into the venous system due to capillaries under the epithelium.
This method also increases biological accessibility by avoiding presystemic metabolic processes, potentially increasing the results.
The liquid can be placed under the tongue using an eye dropper, syringe or other syringe. Let it sit there for 10 to 15 seconds before swallowing.
Sublingual administration has the disadvantage that users are increasingly unable to avoid the bad taste. This may become less of an issue with experience.
SARMs that are administered by injection are less common. However, they have a few benefits: greater biological availability in comparison to oral administration as the compound is not broken down by liver ( 8). This means that the same dosage may produce better results than oral delivery.
SARMs that are taken orally can also negatively affect HDL cholesterol, 9. This is due to the fact that they pass through the liver and stimulate hepatic Lipase. Injectable SARMs could offer better protection of cholesterol values and reduce cardiovascular strain.