If you’ve had anything to do with athletic training or bodybuilding then there’s a large chance you’ll have heard about SARMs. Are SARMs Safe? it is most doubtful questions in the mind of a sports person. For most of us, there comes a time when our hard work and effort in training is met with plateaus. And no one likes plateaus!
Anabolic steroids are often used by athletes to overcome these plateaus, but they come with several health risks. SARMs are marketed as a safer alternative to anabolic steroids, but with less of health risks. The ultimate question remains are SARMs safe?
Can a substance that offers similar results to anabolic steroids come without the potential health risks? Let’s take a closer look at everything you need to know about SARMs.
What Are SARMs?
SARMs or selective androgen receptor modulators have been around since the 1940s, but they’ve only really hit the fitness industry over the last couple of decades. SARMs were initially used to combat functional limitations and frailty commonly associated with osteoporosis, cancer, and aging.
These first-generation SARMs were non-steroidal. However, in the 1990s new SARMs such as Ostarine were discovered. They had similar qualities to anabolic steroids in that they could boost testosterone levels, which had great implications for bodybuilders and athletes.
Are SARMs Safe?
Anabolic steroids pose several serious health risks such as:
- Liver or kidney problems
- Fluid retention
- Blood clots
- High blood pressure
- Cardiovascular disease and heart attacks
- High cholesterol
- Infertility and erectile dysfunction
- Lower natural testosterone levels
- Erectile dysfunction
- Increased risk of prostate cancer
With all of these risks, it’s easy to understand why anyone less than a professional bodybuilder might be put off from using anabolic steroids. But are SARMs any safer?
The short answer is ‘yes’. Because SARMs are selective they only target androgen receptors, unlike anabolic steroids that also affect organs such as the liver, kidney, and heart. However, SARMs are less effective than anabolic steroids so for users looking to replicate the effects of anabolic steroids they need to take a much higher dose.
This is where it gets complicated. Yes, SARMs are generally much safer to use than anabolic steroids, but if you are taking doses high enough to replicate the effect of using steroids then you are likely to see similar side effects. Common side effects of SARMs include:
- Joint pain
- Testosterone suppression after SARMs cycle
- Erection difficulties
- Disrupted sleep
- Low energy
- Increased estrogen
- Increased chance of heart attack and liver damage
As you’ll notice, most of these potential side effects are the same as you might expect with taking anabolic steroids. The side effects are reported as being much milder than what you’d expect with steroids.
To take SARMs safely it’s important to consider on-cycle therapy, post-cycle therapy as well as abiding by dosage and cycle length recommendations. On-cycle therapy helps to protect organs such as the liver from increased toxicity that comes with taking a SARMs supplement.
Post-cycle therapy is important to maintain healthy testosterone levels after a SARMs cycle. Because SARMs mimic testosterone in the body, the body stops producing it naturally. When you stop taking SARMs this causes your testosterone levels to drop. This is what causes side-effects such as erection difficulties, depression, and low energy levels.
We’ll take a closer look at SARMs dosages and the recommend length of each cycle as we cover the different types of SARMs.
Different Types of SARMs
SARMs are predominantly used to increase athletic performance and improve body composition. However, they can also be used to increased testosterone for those suffering from low testosterone levels.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular SARMs for sale and how they can benefit you.
1. Ostarine (MK-2866)
Ostarine is widely considered the best overall SARM as well as being one of the safest to use. It’s also one of the only SARMs that have been subjected to human studies.
Ostarine is most often used for those who are looking at shedding fat, but it also boasts several other benefits. It’s also possible that Ostarine might be used to treat muscle-wasting diseases and osteoporosis due to its effect on bone density.
Ostarine also helps to increase lean muscle growth as well as increasing strength and endurance by reproducing the effects of testosterone.
Ostarine seems to present minimal side effects when used correctly. It’s important to use Ostarine for no longer than 8 weeks. Start with a dose of around 10-15mg each day to assess your body’s response. You can safely up the dose to 30mg a day.
In a typical 8 week cycle you can expect to gain 5-10 pounds of lean muscle while losing 3-5% body fat.
2. Testolone (RAD-140)
Testolone is the number one SARM for bulking and is one of the most potent SARMs available. One of the best things about Testolone is that it’s very potent even in smaller doses. Users report seeing the benefits soon after starting to take it.
A typical cycle of testolone should last between 8-12 weeks. New users should start with 10mg a day and move up to 30mg once they’ve assessed their tolerance. Post-cycle therapy is important to reduce testosterone suppression after completing a cycle.
The most notable side-effects of Testolone are irritability and aggression. This is great for your time spent in the gym, but not so great for your everyday interactions with others. Testolone users report that these effects disappear after completing their cycle.
3. Ligandrol (LGD-4033)
Ligandrol is another SARM that has undergone human trials. It’s also one of the most potent SARMs currently available. Ligandrol is best used for increasing lean muscle mass, boosting recovery, and increasing libido and sexual function.
Due to its potency, it’s important to stick to a low dose of about 5-10mg of Ligandrol a day for no more than 8 weeks. If you stick to this dose then post-cycle therapy might not be necessary.
However, more experienced users looking for more dramatic muscle growth will often take higher doses of around 15-20 mg a day. If this is the case then post-cycle therapy is a must. Failing to use PCT correctly can result in a complete shut-down of testosterone production.
Other than testosterone suppression Ligandrol is known for water retention. If you’re using Ligandrol then it’s important to up your water intake to avoid it. As with all the other SARMs and their side-effects, this will end shortly after your cycle ends.
4. Andarine (S4)
Andarine is similar to Ostarine and was even developed by the same company. However, it was abandoned after phase I human trials as impaired the vision of those who took it.
Andarine promises to be more bioavailable than Ostarine meaning it can have much better effects on muscle growth. Andarine poses much less of a risk to testosterone suppression, and it is unlikely that any post-cycle therapy will be needed after finishing a cycle.
The most worrisome side effect is the reported yellow tint to the user’s vision as well as difficulties adjusting to the light. All of these side effects have been reported to stop once you stop taking Andarine.
Andarine has an incredibly short half-life so users commonly split their dosage into three separate doses throughout the day. Inexperienced users should start with a daily dose of around 25-50mg a day, whereas more experienced users might take up to 100mg daily. Andarine cycles commonly last between 10-12 weeks.
5. Nutrobal (MK-677)
Nutrobal works by stimulating the production of human growth hormones. Increased HGH has the potential to offer several great benefits including:
- Longer REM sleep
- Increased lean muscle mass
- The decrease in body fat
- Improved mood
- Stronger bones
- Improved recovery
- Improved endurance
It is recommended that new users start with a dose of around 15-20mg a day, but more experienced users will often take as much as 50mg daily. A typical cycle lasts for 12 weeks.
Nutrobal doesn’t suppress testosterone production so there is no need for any post-cycle therapy, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely free of side effects. The most commonly reported side-effects when using Nutrobal include headaches, water retention, and joint ache.
YK-11 is the number one go-to if you’re looking for fast results. It has the same molecular structure as a steroid but still behaves like a SARM in that it selectively binds to the androgen receptor. It has no animal or human studies under its belt, but the reports from YK-11 users are promising.
YK-11 is thought to increase your libido, muscle mass, and strength. Some users have reported up to 15 pounds of muscle growth throughout a 12-week YK-11 cycle.
YK-11 is a very potent SARM so new users should start with a daily dose of 10mg, and work up to a maximum of 20mg daily. YK-11 does pose liver toxicity issues so it’s important to take on-cycle liver support while suing YK-11.
It can suppress testosterone production it’s important to use post-cycle therapy, especially at higher doses. The only other notable side-effect is increased aggression, which will dissipate after your cycle is over.
7. Cardarine (GW501516)
Cadarine is most widely used for its endurance-enhancing properties. It causes the liver to change its main energy source to fatty acids. As well as increasing your endurance and athletic performance it can also improve the body’s ability to burn fat and reduce inflammation.
Because Cardarine affects the liver directly you must use on-cycle liver support while taking Cardarine. Cardarine should be cycled for no longer than 8 weeks. New users should start with 10mg daily and work up to 20mg afterward.
There are no notable physical results from taking Cardarine. Its primarily used to increase energy levels. As a result, it is most commonly stacked with other SARMs.
To maximize the effects of SARMs most experienced users will stack different SARMs together. Trying to work out which SARMs complement each other can be a tricky business. And inside your body is not the best place for trial and error!
Don’t panic though. Let’s take a look at the best SARMs stacks for cutting and bulking.
The Best SARMs Stack for Cutting
When it comes to the ultimate triple-stack for burning fat while continuing to build lean muscle it boils down to these three SARMs
- Ostarine (20mg daily)
- Cardarine (15mg daily)
- Andarine (20mg daily)
This is an incredibly potent stack, and more inexperienced users will often leave out the Andarine. The Ostarine provides most of the cutting element, while the Cardarine increases your energy output making it possible to burn more calories. Adding Andarine further boosts your performance, but also helps to add lean muscle mass.
The first time you run this cycle it’s important to keep it to 6 weeks. If you choose to return to it, then you might consider running it for as long as 8 weeks. The break you take between cycles must be no shorter than the length of the cycle itself.
You will want to be using on-cycle support and good post-cycle support if you’re running all three SARMs at once.
The Best SARMs Stack for Bulking
If your goal is to pack on as much muscle as possible then the best three SARMs to stack for bulking are:
- Ligandrol (10-15mg daily)
- Testolone (10mg daily)
- YK-11 (10-15mg daily)
This is the most advanced bulking stack there is, so it’s important to stick to the given doses. It’s possible to run the cycle for up to 8 weeks, but the initial cycle should be 6 weeks. Just like the cutting stack, you’ll need to leave a minimum of the cycle length between running the cycle again.
It should go without saying, but you’ll need on-cycle support and very good post-cycle support at the end of your cycle. Without post-cycle support, your testosterone production would likely completely shut-down.
Are SARMs Even Legal?
Before you go out and buy your stacks, there’s one last question to answer. Are SARMs even legal? The answer is both yes and no.
SARMs are legal to buy, but you’ll notice that they’re all sold ‘for research purposes’ or ‘not intended for human consumption. So, it’s legal to buy and sell SARMs, but you can’t sell them under the premise that they’re for humans to use.
It’s a grey area, and it highlights the question ‘are SARMs safe?’. With little research done into most available SARMs and no governing body such as the FDA monitoring their quality, it’s important to be vigilant when buying SARMs.
One study found that only 52% of the SARMs that were tested contained any selective androgen receptors at all! A quarter of the products tested even contained substances that weren’t listed on the label.
SARMs can be a great way to build muscle and improve your overall body composition and athletic performance, but do your research and use due diligence before parting with your money.
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