Performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) are a touchy subject to some and a hot topic of debate for others! Some people consider them as cheating and probably the most popular PEDs are steroids. Unfortunately steroids are a banned type of PED, when combined with the nasty side effects- this is enough to put many bodybuilders off for life! However nothing stands still in the PEDs industry and there is a relatively new kid on the block….

Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMs)

Excitingly over the last 20 years or so, there has been a massive development and a new classification of PEDs has arisen. Selective androgen receptor modulators or SARMSs- are a collection of compounds that are turning the bodybuilding industry on its head.  The current research on SARMs is promising as they do have similar fat burning and muscle gain potential as steroids. However there are very minimal side effects. This is very good news; as no one wants their testicles to shrink, liver destroying, man boobs or to look like a bearded lady!

Basically SARMs target the various anabolic hormones that boost muscle growth and burn fat. Manipulating any hormone can be risky to both your short and long term health. Therefore the aim of this article is for you to make an informed choice about the potential usage of SARMs. Let’s move on…

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The History behind SARMs

Believe or not SARMs were first introduced in the 1940s. They were a multi-purpose medicine that was used to treat diseases such as hypogonadism, osteoporosis, cancer and other conditions that are related to muscle and bone deterioration. This type of SARMs (steroid based) had a big impact on muscle growth because of its high affinity within the cell’s receptors and chemical pathways (I will explain in more detail as we move through the article).

Nevertheless, SARMs (steroid based) did have some side effects attached to them and these included the following:

  • An increase in estrogen levels leading to man boobs (gynecomastia)
  • A decreased in erectile function, libido and sex drive
  • Liver and kidney tissue damage
  • An enlarged prostate and muscle around the heart (cardiac muscle).

The next stage of development

In the 1990s, scientists manufactured a non-steroid type of SARMs. This type of SARMs is protein based, they also act upon the DNA to prevent muscle wastage and promote muscle tissue growth.  Due to these very important factors the non-steroid type of SARMs gained massive popularity in bodybuilding and powerlifting circles.

Therefore SARMs could be the future of in terms of anabolic PEDs. SARMs do have massive potential for muscle gain and fat loss; however they do require a longer course of use and the literature can’t really compare their effectiveness to certain steroids. As mentioned earlier- it is for you to make an informed choice on the best PEDs to use! Keep reading…

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What are SARMs?

The bigger picture- steroids work by increasing your testosterone levels; this in turn boosts protein synthesis and muscle growth. The side effects are in essence the androgenic part of the steroids. Androgens are hormones that induce masculinity e.g. a deeper voice, increased muscle mass, reduce body fat and facial hair etc.

Testosterone is a major androgenic hormone and it works on the body in 3 different ways:

  • Binds to the androgen receptors in the cells
  • Converts to the hormone DHT (dihydrotestosterone) which then binds to the androgen receptors
  • It can convert to estrogen which binds to the estrogen receptor within the cells.

Under normal circumstances the body regulates the production of androgens and should always be ‘equilibrium’ within the cells. When steroids are thrown into the mix, the cells become flooded with androgens and all of the side effects begin to kick in!  This is not good news for any bodybuilder or physique athlete. ‘Why is this the case?’

Well, unfortunately steroids due have a 1:1 ratio of anabolic versus androgenic reactions. This is where SARMs come into the ball game- no pun intended! SARMs are more selective than steroids and have an impressive ratio of anabolic to androgenic properties beginning at 3:1 and into the realm of 80:1. This means that you will have all of the benefits of muscle growth and fat burning without the decrease in ball size, man boobs and major organ failure!

How do SARMs actually work?

As we get older the muscle tissue deteriorates due to the breakdown and subsequent loss of the type 2 muscle fibres. This type of muscle fibre is very important for endurance, power and general functional fitness. A decrease in type 2 muscle fibres can hinder daily activities.

It is well documented that resistance training type training can increase and preserve this type of muscle fibre. If you add SARMs into the mix, then lean muscle mass and strength can be boosted in androgenic reduced individuals.  SARM’s work on the body via:

  • Having a special affinity with bone and muscle tissue but not prostate, liver, kidney and heart tissues
  • SARMs don’t break down into the waste molecules that can cause the nasty side effects.
  • They are not easily converted to dihydrotestosterone which is a catalyst for many of the unwanted side effects.
  • Resistant to aromatase which coverts testosterone into estrogen.
  • Less potent than steroids and don’t suppress the natural production of testosterone. This makes SARMs far easier to recover from!

The benefits of taking SARMs

Let’ see what the current research says about the benefits of using SARMs:

  • Increased muscle strength

Subjects increased muscle strength by x20 when compared to a placebo group and they continued to increase in strength up to 3 months (1).

  • Increase muscle size

Subjects gained 3-15 pounds of muscle over a 12 week period when using high strength SARMs such as RAD140 or LGD4033 (2).

  • Tissue selectivity

Non steroid based SARMs don’t attach themselves to any other tissues in the body. The main focus of attachment for SARMs is the bone and muscle tissues (3).

  • Inhibits cancer cell division

SARMs have a pivotal role in the treatment of breast cancer. This has been attributed to their inability to covert to estrogen within the androgenic pathways. (4).

  • Safety

Subject’s hormone and lipid levels returned back to normal levels without the use of a post therapy cycle. No dangers were seen in the study and although there was suppression in testosterone and HDLs- it was not significant enough to cause any side effects (4).

Are SARMs banned?

SARMs are ‘legal’ if you purchase them for research purposes only. However since 2008 SARMs have been on the World Anti-Doping Agency list of banned substances. The reason why they are on the WADA list is their potential for misuse for performance enhancement in sports due to their anabolic properties.

If you a professional athlete then you should stay away from SARMs. If you are curious and want to experiment with boosting your performance and muscle mass; then why not give SARMs a try. In addition you can administer SARMs orally and you don’t have to inject them- which is always a bonus!

The different types of SARMs

There are numerous types of SARMs, but there are 4 main types of SARMs on the market for athletes, bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts. These are:

  • LGD-4033 (Ligandol and Anabolicum)- is a very strong bodybuilding supplement that boosts lean muscle mass and decreases body fat.
  • MK-2866 (Ostarine)- is excellent for maintaining and boosting muscle mass
  • S4 (Andarine)– increases bone tissue strength and is used for treating osteoporosis.
  • RAD140– increases muscle mass and maybe a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.


LGD-4033 (anabolicum)LGD-4033 is also called Ligandol and Anabolicum, it is one of the better researched SARMs.  It has been examined through numerous studies and it has produced some very interesting results. Healthy subject who consumed 1 mg of LGD-4033 for 21 days had a significant increase in muscle growth (1). The higher the dosage the better the increase in muscle mass.  In another study the cohort took dosages as high as 22 mgs, they had increased muscle mass and no side effects (1). In addition LGD-4033 stimulates muscle mass and not fat loss, and should not be taken as a fat stripper.

Side effects

LGD-4033 may suppress the production of testosterone but this scenario is short lived. There is a slight T- suppression depending on the dosage but the testosterone levels never dropped outside of the normal range. In addition normal testosterone levels were reinstated within the body at around the 3 week mark (1).


Consume 2-5 mgs of LGD-4033 in a single dose for four weeks. This dose is good for smashing muscle mass on and preventing your natural testosterone levels from dipping. When you reach the 4 week limit, wait for 1 month before beginning another cycle.


MK-2866 ostarineMK-2866 is also called ostarine and has numerous human studies under its belt. The studies discovered that MK-2866 had no significant side effects and it is very competent at creating new muscle mass. Subjects consumed 1-2 mgs of ostarine for a 12 week block. The results indicated that the subjects gained 3 pounds of lean muscle mass and lost about one pound of body fat. In addition there was no change to their lifestyle in terms of diet and exercise. These results are quite impressive as the subject’s activity levels were relatively low and the catalyst for the fat loss was the MK-2866 (4).

Side effects

The studies indicated that there were no side effects. Anecdotally individuals did report a slight suppression of their T-levels, when consuming high dosages of ostarine for 8-12 weeks. However the T-levels did return back to normal within 3-4 weeks.


The information regarding the correct dose and ostarine is relatively thin on the ground. However the studies have shown that the best results in terms of gaining muscle tissue and burning body fat, try around 15-20 mg per day. Complete a 4 week cycle and give your body a 4 week flush before starting another cycle.

andarine s4S4

S4, also known as andarine, was probably the earliest type of commercial SARMs. It was extremely popular before the Beijing Olympics in 2008. However in 2008 SARMs were ultimately banned for professional athletes. Athletes who used this type of SARMs did report slight increases in strength, gaining muscle mass and fat loss.

S4 do seem to work at a higher level when combined with other types of SARMs. Fundamentally it does work well with both MK-2866 and LGD 4033. Both of these SARMs suppress T- levels at higher dosages and S4 does seem to stop this from happening. Unfortunately S4 does have some side effects attached to it!

Side effects

The big hitter when taking S4 is that it can cause issues within the eyes. A lot of individuals report altered colour perception and night time blindness. The main cause of this is S4 binding to the eye receptors. In addition S4 on its own is probably the weakest type of SARMs and therefore seem a less attractive proposition than the other types of SARMS.


If you do decide to give S4 a shot- then consume 2x25mgs doses on a daily basis. Then complete a 4 week cycle and give your body a 4 week flush before starting another cycle.

stenabolic rad140RAD 140

RAD 140 follows the same hormonal pathways as testosterone and it has the following benefits:

  • It helps to boost speed, stamina and endurance during high intensity work outs
  • It helps to build up muscle mass in a shorter period of time.

Side Effects

There are no documented side effects of using RAD 140.


Consume 5-10 mgs of LGD-4033 in a single dose for four weeks. This dose is good for smashing muscle mass on and preventing your natural testosterone levels from dipping. When you reach the 4 week limit, wait for 1 month before beginning another cycle.


SARMs are a far safer option than conventional steroids. They do have the benefits of gaining muscle mass and stripping body but without the side effects. If you are a professional athlete then you should avoid them as they banned by WADA. However, if you an amateur bodybuilder and want to pack on some muscle mass, get lean without damaging your health…then why not give SARMs a go!



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