SARMs: steroid-like gains without side effects

SARMs: steroid-like gains without side effects

Here we continue searches for the best way to replace steroids. Today's information seems to be filled with a lot of misinformation and misconceptions so let’s try and shed a little light on the subject.

What are SARMs? How do they work?

Selective androgen receptor modulators or SARMs are a novel class of androgen receptor ligands. 

SARMs can either block or stimulate the same nuclear hormone receptors under different conditions. Consequently, if they can block or stimulate a receptor in a selective tissue manner, they may be able to mimic the beneficial effects in one tissue. And, at the same time, minimise the unwanted effects of the synthetic steroidal hormones in other tissues.

According to the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry, they are intended to have the same kind of effects as androgenic drugs but be much more selective in their action, allowing them to be used for more uses than the relatively limited legitimate uses of anabolic steroids.

Adrian Melia, the journalist of the Flex, described them in the following manner: "They work like a light switch to turn on specific receptors to produce particular results. Both anabolic steroids and prohormones bind to the androgen receptor which will result in muscle growth. However, SARMs have full anabolic activity in muscle and bone. They have a minimal effect on the prostate, as opposed to anabolics, which can be very harmful to this gland. In spite of being oral compounds, SARMs are not methylated, so they are not liver toxic."

There is a multitude of benefits with SARMs: 

  • Increased lean mass gains 
  • Better strength 
  • More endurance 
  • Joint healing abilities 
  • Anabolic (even at doses as low as 3 mg)
  • Beneficial to bones, muscle tissues, and sexual function
  • Gain significant strength and muscle mass with adequate calories
  • Water retention cannot occur (any weight gained will be that of lean muscle tissue)

Talking about bodybuilders, they tend to keep competitive shape off-season by increasing anabolic activity, such as attaching a potent SARM to the body. In this way, there fruit of suffering - muscle tissue, can be preserved. This will result in a tighter, leaner, harder and more muscular physique.

SARMs species are various. There are about a dozen in either clinical (human) trials or pre-clinical (animal) trials.

Types of SARMs

  • Ostarine (MK-2866)
  • Ligandrol or Anabolicum LGD-4033
  • MK677 (Nutrobal)


MK-2866 (also called ostarine) is one of the best-studied SARMs. Ostarine shows no meaningful side effects and is very effective at building muscle. 

It was created by GTx to avoid and treat muscle wasting. It can, later on, be a cure for preventing atrophy, cachexia, sarcopenia, and Hormone or Testosterone Replacement Therapy.

There were two fundamental papers about the drug. The first published in the Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia, and Muscle concerned elderly men and women who took modest doses of ostarine for 12 weeks grew 3 pounds of muscle and lost a pound of fat, with no changes to diet or exercise.

As for the second one, cancer patients saw nearly identical results along with a similar timeframe. There were no side effects in either study.

Ostarine shines best when used for gaining lean muscle (bulking) or putting on extra size. The suggested cycle is 4-8 weeks. Moreover, there is no PCT required after such time period.

While, ostarine, used for an 8-week cycle, should be followed by a PCT.

What about side effects, studies found none of them. However, people report short-term testosterone suppression when they take high doses of ostarine for 8-12 weeks. Testosterone rebounded to normal levels within a couple of weeks after they stop.


Also called Ligandrol or Anabolicum LGD-4033 does not appear to stimulate fat loss.

Increases in muscular endurance are also reported, especially when stacked with other SARMs. It is unclear how much of an effect (LGD-4033) will have on endurance when used alone due to SARMs still being relatively new to the market, but the effects do appear to be strong.

The side effects of LGD-4033 appear to be minimal for many users.

Unlike anabolic steroids that promote large amounts of androgenic activity, such related adverse effects seem to be absent in almost all cases. Side effects of Anabolicum are possible, but again very rare, making it one of the more desirable items in the performance enhancement arsenal. 

The side effects of LGD do not include any of an estrogenic nature, making water retention, bloating, gynocamastia and high blood pressure associated with water retention very unlikely. LGD-4033 does not promote aromatisation, the conversion of testosterone to estrogen. 

No anti-estrogens are needed with the use of this SARM. Again, I do feel this is dose dependent as 8-10mg is all that’s required for LGD Despite an attachment to the androgen receptors, the target area remains muscle and bone. The side effects of LGD should also not be concerning the prostate; some activity in the prostate may exist but should be insignificant. Virilization, the masculine traits often promoted in women due to the use of anabolic steroids should not occur with this SARM.


MK677, another name - Nutrobal, Ibutamoren, is what’s known as a growth hormone secretagogue, which means to induce secretion of growth hormone.

MK-677 works as an antagonist to the growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHSR). This is why when individuals start to take the drug, at the start they may experience a spike in appetite. This tends to dissipate with use.

As Flex reports, aside from a dramatic change in your IGF-1 and growth hormone levels while taking MK 677, you may experience many benefits from a cycle including:

  • More rapid healing of ligaments, tendons, bones as well as old injuries
  • Builds lean muscle mass and size gains
  • Increases the oxidation of fat
  • Improves sleep
  • Has even been shown to loosen tight skin after weight loss

What's all the hype about?

Then we took to Jeff Nippard, Canadian natural pro bodybuilder and internationally-qualified powerlifter, to see if he is aware of that subject.

In the video below Jeff in a dialog with Ben Carpenter, an experienced supplement industry worker, tried to find out what SARMs are really about.

According to them: "It is reasonable to be skeptical of SARMs manufacturing. They are currently only legally sold as 'research chemicals'."

And that's true as far as you’ll notice SARMs retailers include disclaimers like “for lab research purposes only” and “not for human consumption.” They do this in case laws change, so they don’t get in trouble with the government.

The study published on the Jama Network had the purpose of investigating "What types and quantity of ingredients are found in products sold through the internet and advertised to contain selective androgen receptor modulators?"

The results were the following: chemical analyses of 44 products sold via the internet as selective androgen receptor modulators revealed that only 52% contained selective androgen receptor modulators and another 39% contained another unapproved drug. 

Besides, 25% of products contained substances not listed on the label, 9% did not contain an active substance, and 59% contained substance amounts that differed from the label.

The meaning is that selective androgen receptor modulators, which have not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, were available through the internet and were inaccurately labeled.


All in all, going under the cool song throughout the article we decided to end up with such negative research.

We can see that the negative side of SARMs is minimal. However, the stumbling block lies in the fact that manufacturers aren't professionals enough to make us sure that these products are really worth it.

So remember, due to the nature of ongoing research of these products, new data is brought forward all the time. But biohacking is still about self-experimentation, and it often carries a bit of risk with it – especially if you’re trying cutting-edge things.

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