What are SARMS?
Men have always looked for ways to build up their muscles, or to speed up that process. Steroids were first discovered in the 1940s and have often been used by athletes to enhance their performance and to promote bone health. Steroids also had numerous medical applications during that time period such as treating aspects of cancer, hypogonadism, osteoporosis, and some muscle conditions. 8 They have always been popular with athletes despite the unpleasant side effects including decreased sex drive, puffy nipples, and harm to the kidneys or liver. 8 They also pose a risk to both the prostate and the cardiovascular systems, because steroids can modify the DNA of the cells so that they get bigger. 1
Selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMS) which are non-steroidal in nature were first invented by scientists at Ligand Pharmaceuticals and the University of Tennessee in the 1990s. 1 In order to sidestep the side effects of steroids, protein was used as the base. 8 They are available either orally in the form of a tablet, or by injection. Besides speeding up muscle growth and fat loss, there are medical uses for SARMS. For example, there’s scientific evidence to suggest that in cancer patients, it may assist in preventing muscles from degenerating. 3 Many athletes are uncomfortable with the idea of steroid or SARMS, so they turn to natural testosterone support products like HexoFire Delta Prime.
SARMS: How Do They Work?
Both anabolic steroids and non-steroidal SARMS contain androgens, which are a class of hormone that includes testosterone. Androgens are responsible for growing facial hair, deepening the voice, building muscle, and decreasing fat. They transform into a hormone called ihydrotestosterone (DHT), and then bind to the androgen receptors in your cells. Other androgens become a hormone by the name of estradiol (estrogen) which bind to estrogen receptors. 6
When you take anabolic steroids, your cells become suffused with androgen, filling all of the available receptors. This makes your muscles grow much stronger than previously. Naturally, it also leads to numerous side effects like impotence, loss of fertility, aggression, and others. Some of these effects are not reversable, like heart or liver disease. However, SARMS build your muscles while avoiding these issues. This is because they bind to certain cells specifically, like muscle cells, instead of filling any available receptor. In addition, they don’t transform into hormones that can create side effects. 6
SARMS: Supplement vs Steroids
SARMS are an alternative to anabolic steroids, potentially with less side effects. Both contain androgen. With anabolic steroids, problems and side effects occur that are not evident with SARMS. Unfortunately, SARMS takes much longer to start working compared to steroids. 6
Steroids may be prescribed by a doctor for medical reasons, but outside of that it’s illegal to have or sell them. Non-steroidal SARMS are legal, but these supplements don’t have FDA approval, mostly because few human trials have been conducted with them yet. 6
Despite the slow pace of corroboratory research, non-steroidal SARMS are available as nutritional supplements all over and are widely used by athletes and bodybuilders in order to improve performance, build muscles, and lose fat more quickly. 7
SARMS Side Effects
Manufacturers of SARMS almost always suggest that these supplements have either no or very minor side effects, particularly compared to anabolic steroids. In small doses, that is basically correct. However, it’s also a fact that the longer you’re on the supplements the worse your side effects will become. 6
Some of the current research shows that in fact some of the same side effects occur for both SARMS and steroids users. For example, research conducted by a pharmaceutical company in 2011 concluded that men who were on SARMS experienced a 43% drop in total testosterone levels. 2 A study conducted at Copenhagen University found that this drop in testosterone can persist for years. 9
There have been some findings suggesting that non-steroidal SARMS can increase your risk of developing cancer, although studies have only been conducted with mice. However, other research has shown the opposite – that SARMS can prevent some form of cancer, so the answer is not clear. 4 The truth is, it’s still not possible to say for certain whether SARMS are safe, because research with human subjects is sorely lacking.
What are the Best SARMS?
There are so many SARMS out there that it can get very confusing knowing which one is right for you. What makes a good SARM? First of all, make sure you purchase from a reputable manufacturer. There have been cases with less reputable companies where the supplement sold wasn’t what it was supposed to be, or where ingredients were otherwise tampered with.
There are some ingredients you may want to particularly look out for when purchasing SARMS. These have been researched more than others and have been found to have the most positive effects. Some of these include Ligandrol (LGD-4033), Ostarine (MK-2866, Enobosarm), Andarine (S4), RAD 140 (Teslolone), Cardarine (GW 501516) and SR 9009 (Stenab0olic). 7
Finally, you should always read through the reviews before you make your final decision. Reviews can point out issues you may not have even considered or highlight that a certain product is overwhelmingly successful.
Finding SARMS for Sale
You’re most likely wondering where to buy SARMS. In North America, they are sold widely online and can also be found in some retail stores that sell supplements.
- 1 Bhasin, S., & Jasuja, R. (2009). Selective androgen receptor modulators as function promoting therapies. Current opinion in clinical nutrition and metabolic care, 12(3), 232–240. Retrieved online at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2907129/
- 2 Dalton, J. T. et al. (2011). The selective androgen receptor modulator GTx-024 (enobosarm) improves lean body mass and physical function in healthy elderly men and postmenopausal women: results of a double-blind, placebo-controlled phase II trial. J. Cachexia Sarcopenia Muscle, 2, 153–161. Retrieved online at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1007/s13539-011-0034-6
- 3 Dalton, J.T, et al. (Dec 2013). Selective androgen receptor modulators for the prevention and treatment of muscle wasting associated with cancer. Curr Opin Support Palliat Care, 7(4): 345–351. Retrieved online at View Reference
- 4 Girroir, E. E., Hollingshead, H. E., Billin, A. N., Willson, T. M., Robertson, G. P., Sharma, A. K., … Peters, J. M. (2007). Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-beta/delta (PPARbeta/delta) ligands inhibit growth of UACC903 and MCF7 human cancer cell lines. Toxicology, 243(1-2), 236–243. Retrieved online at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2278023/
- 5 Gupta, A., et al (2004). Activation of nuclear hormone receptor peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor-δ accelerates intestinal adenoma growth. Nature Medicine, 10, 245–247. Retrieved online at https://www.nature.com/articles/nm993
- 6 Matthews, M. (2016). This is Everything You Need to Know About SARMS. Legion. Retrieved online at View Reference
- 7 Naafs, M. (2018). Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMs): A Mini-Review Volume 1 – Issue 1. Department of Endocrinology, International Health Consultancy, Netherlands. Retrieved online at
- 8 Osvaldo, R. (April 2019). The Ultimate Guide to SARMS. SARM Store.com. Retrieved online at View Reference
- 9 Rasmussen JJ, Selmer C, Østergren PB, Pedersen KB, Schou M, Gustafsson F, et al. (2016) Former Abusers of Anabolic Androgenic Steroids Exhibit Decreased Testosterone Levels and Hypogonadal Symptoms Years after Cessation: A Case-Control Study. PLoS ONE, 11(8). Retrieved online at https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0161208