SARMs: Benefits, Side Effects, Doses, Stacks and More

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Selective androgen receptor modulators, known as SARMs, are the hottest thing to come to the fitness industry lately. They provide some very intenst muscle gains with little to no side effects.

Today, we are going to cover everything about SARMs from A to Z. Just a heads up, this is a long article. Feel free to use the table of contents below to skip to a relevant section if needed.

SARMs v. Testosterone

Most testosterone is administered through an injection or a skin patch. Both of which have their own set of problems and complications. Injections cause a severe fluctuation in the testosterone levels in the bloodstream. Skin patches cause irritation. Both ways require the testosterone to be administered daily, making for inconvenient options.

SARMs have the capability of designing molecules that can be administered orally. They can target the androgen receptors differently depending on the surrounding tissue. The goal of the SARMs research is to allow for a much more customized experience, wherein only targeted tissues are affected, and others that may experience adverse side-effects would not be impacted.

In just the first generation of testing, the SARMs’ ability to be administered orally without causing liver damage has been a huge breakthrough. Testosterone also eventually turns into estrogen and can cause acne, enlarged breasts in men, mood swings, hair loss, and various other negative side-effects.

Where to Buy SARMs: Top 10 Store Reviews

As of April 2018, Congress introduced a bill that effectively bans SARMs forever. The bill has not yet been written into law, so it is still legal to procure them as of now. Many fitness blogs warn that when purchasing SARMs, it is easy to be duped into paying an exorbitant price for something that doesn’t even actually contain SARMs. One popular fitness blogger recommends two legitimate retailers for your SARMs needs.

Proven Peptides Review (BEST Source)

Proven Peptides (www.provenpeptides.com) have a great reputation. They know what they’re talking about, are transparent about posting their lab reports on every product they sell, and have reasonable prices. Their products are as pure as they come. This is undoubtably the best SARMs store on the internet.

We gave their products extensive testing, and they all came back with over 98% purity. Check them out!

Our Rating: 10 out of 10

SarmsPharm Review

SarmsPharm is a popular website for buying sarms. The problem is that they have come under fire for selling underdosed products. When tested, lab tests show that there are a lot less active ingredients than what they claim. Stay clear of this company.

Our rating: 3 out of 10

EliteSarms Review

They recently opened up a USA store, which is good. However, their customer service is lacking and orders take a while to ship. We could not find any verifiable lab tests from this company either. Use caution when ordering from EliteSarms or EliteSarmsUSA.

Our Rating: 5 out of 10

SARMs Global Review

This is another new store that we have never heard of. I can’t find much on this company, but it looks like they sell capsules and liquids. We had problems using their order processing system, so we couldn’t actually give their products a thorough testing.

Our rating: 6 out of 10

Southern Sarms Review

These guys have been around for a while, and seem to have pretty good reviews. Unfortunately, they no longer take credit cards so you will have to pay with bitcoin. If you can do that, then you might have some good luck with this company.

Our rating: 7 out of 10

Olympic Labz Review

Another new store. Crazy high prices here, and we found some bad reviews about their products online. We’ll refrain from rating them until we can actually see some evidence that they provide good products. Use discretion when ordering from them.

SARMs King Review

A good source for our Canadian friends. If you live in Canada, you might want to give these guys a shot. They don’t ship the USA, and their payment processor kind of sucks, but other than that they are good to go. People seem to like their products online.

All Pro SARMS Review

We see this company pop up on Facebook quite often. Reviews seem mixed, with some people swearing by their products and others saying that they are absolutely bunk. We’d stay away for now, but maybe check them out in the future. Also their payment processor seems to be down, so you can not order with a credit card.

Our Rating: 6 out of 10

SARMS4YOU Review

A really great source based in Europe. They only provide Capsules, and the quality seems to be good. Reddit talks about these guys a lot. We’d give them a shot if you don’t mind paying for shipping costs. They have great reviews, and they are our backup source second to proven peptides.

Our Rating: 8 out of 10

Most Popular SARMs

Ostarine (MK-2866): This was developed to prevent osteoporosis and muscle deterioration. It is popular because it is extremely mild and does not suppress natural testosterone production. In a 12-week blind study, participants gained, on average, three pounds of muscle and lost at least one pound of fat. This was with no change in diet or exercise habits. This is especially extraordinary when you consider that it has no real adverse side-effects.

Most ostarine users dose at 20-40 mg per day and find that it can also be stacked with other SARMs to boost fitness progress.

Ligandrol (LGD 4033): This SARM helps one pack on muscle mass at a rapid pace. Only needing one mg a day, and with very little natural testosterone suppression, Ligandrol is a great way to bulk up fast.

Ligandrol has also been known to increase focus, bone density, and sex drive.

While there is little testosterone suppression, it is still a side-effect, and those with low testosterone levels should likely avoid Ligandrol. Though all adverse testosterone side-effects correct themselves within a few weeks of ceasing a Ligandrol regiment.

Nutrobol (MK-677): This SARM helps increase your natural production of human growth hormones. HGH has been used for years, but it is incredibly expensive and must be injected several times a day. Nutrobol only needs to be administered once a day and can be taken orally, rather than via injection.

The main side-effect reported with Nutrobol is water retention. Some people experience “moon face,” which is excess water being held in the face, resulting in a bloated look. Lowering one’s sodium intake can help with this bloating.

Testolone (RAD140): What makes this SARM unique is its anabolic ratio of 90:1, compared to testosterone’s ratio of 100:100. This means that Testolone is nearly as anabolic as testosterone but has next to none of the same adverse effects. You can build and develop rapid muscle growth without fear of losing your hair and increasing your cup size. If one doses 15-30 mg a day, drinks plenty of water, and cycles testolone for no longer than 12 weeks, there should be no cause for worry.

Stenabolic (SR9009): Back when stenabolic hit the market for the first time, marketers were calling it “exercise in a pill,” thanks to its huge impact on the mitochondria.

In a study that was performed on mice, those given stenabolic were able to exercise 50% longer than those who did not receive it. A similar study found that mice dosed with stenabolic lost 60% more fat than those without it, and this was without any alterations to diet and exercise.

Because stenabolic is not a hormonal SARM, it will have no effects on the naturally occurring hormones in your body. It should be entirely safe if administered properly.

sarms from olympic labz

Stacking SARMs: Can You Do it?

Many people ask me if it is safe to stack different SARMs in order to improve their effectivness. You absolutely can, and many people have put together some effective stacks to run. We’re going to take a look at some of the best sarms stacks for bulking, cutting, and recomping.

Bulking Stack

Cycle Length: 8 Weeks

  • Ostarine, 20mg a day.
  • MK-677, 25mg a day.
  • LGD 4033, 10mg a day

This is an advanced stack, and we only recommend this to people who don’t care if people can tell that you’re on something. It’s literally impossible for you to not gain muscle if you run this cycle.

Cutting Stack

Cycle Length: 8 weeks

  • Ostarine, 20mg a day.
  • Cardarine, 20mg a day.
  • SR9009

Recomping Stack

  • Ostarine, 20mg daily.
  • LGD, 10mg daily
  • Cardarine, 20mg daily.

Strength Stack

  • LGD 4033, 10mg a day
  • MK 677, 25mg a day.
  • Cardarine, 20mg a day.

Benefits of SARMs

We’ve spoken briefly about these benefits above, but let’s take a deeper dive into all the ways SARMs can help boost and greatly improve your fitness journey.

Increased muscle strength: A study in the Asian Journal of Andrology showed that participants who took SARMs saw an increase of 20% in their muscle strength for about five months but started showing major decreases in effectiveness around the third month.

Tissue selectivity: The Oxford Academic Journal of Endocrinology state that SARMs have been designed specifically to target the areas of the DNA responsible for protein synthesis of the skeletal muscles. Unlike their anabolic counterparts, SARMs do not affect any other tissues in the body.

Inhibits division of cancer cells: While performing another study, the Public Library of Science’s Peer Reviewed Open Access Journal accidentally discovered that the use of SARMs are effective in treating breast cancer. In fact, some results have shown tumors decreasing in weight by 90 percent; since SARMs do not convert into estrogen, the side-effects of using SARMs for cancer treatment are virtually nonexistent.

Increase in sex drive: Many studies have shown that regular dosages of SARMs can increase libido in both men and women. Again, SARMs have been shown to be a much more effective and safer treatment plan than testosterone, which is a common therapy for a low sex drive.

sarms bottles

Beware of False Claims

Many online retailers claim to be sending you a bottle of whatever type of SARM you have ordered, but since the FDA does not regulate SARMs, you never truly can tell what you’re getting. Many labels claim to be a nutritional supplement, with all-natural ingredients, but contain growth hormones and steroids.

That is why it is imperative to vet the places from which you plan on purchasing your SARMs. Being able to trust your retailer goes a long way in procuring these supplements.

Understanding Anabolic Steroids

To understand just how effective SARMs are, it’s important to understand how their alternatives work. One of the most popular improvement enhancers is the anabolic steroid. When the steroids are injected into the muscle, your body is suddenly overwhelmed with androgens, which in turn saturate the androgen receptor cells. After the cells have been thoroughly saturated, there is still an overage of androgens remaining in your system that are essentially useless at this point.

Instead of letting that excess go to waste, your body converts the influx into estrogen, whether you like it or not.

Estrogen has many effects on the body, especially the male body, which does not naturally produce those levels of estrogen. Some of the most common side effects are hair loss, shrinking of the testicles, engorgement of the breasts, as well as some longer-term problems, like liver and heart disease.

Anabolic steroids are also very addictive, making the chances that users could become dependent on them very high.

The Safety of SARMs

Since SARMs are still being studied, it’s hard to quantify exactly how safe they are. They’ve only been researched for the past couple of decades, and almost all the testing has been done on rodents. We may share a staggering 98 percent of our DNA with rodents, but rats we are not, and there is no substitute for real-world experiences and testimonials.

Some websites may claim that there absolutely no testosterone suppression, but that is categorically false. While the dip in testosterone levels was 54 percent less in SARMs users than with steroids, it was still a 46 percent total overall dip.

Are SARMs Legal?

Technically, yes, they still are legal and are going to remain as such until Congress writes up the bill to officially and legally ban them. However, professional athletes should steer clear of them entirely, as they are in direct violation with the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency). Any supplement that has that many anabolic properties and enhancement abilities offers an unfair advantage to athletes.

Despite all of this, if you are not a professional athlete and are just looking to boost your fitness goals and progress, SARMs are a great way to get you there.

SARMs Effect on Osteoporosis

Many people with low testosterone levels find themselves suffering from weakness in their bones and general deficiencies in their musculoskeletal health.

It is a well-known, medically accepted fact that androgens may not only help decrease bone waste but stimulate healthy bone growth. In both sexes, sex hormones are vital for the promotion and sustainability of healthy bone growth.

SARMs have shown hopeful results for men and women who suffer from a weakening in their bones. They can help repair deterioration that has already occurred, but they can also prevent further bone deficiencies.

Not Everyone is on the SARMs Bandwagon

Despite their growing popularity among bodybuilders, the FDA has been cracking down on SARMs distributors. Recently, they issued warning letters to three separate supplement companies in the USA that were selling the drugs openly.

In a press briefing, the FDA stated that:

“We are extremely concerned about unscrupulous companies marketing body-building products with potentially dangerous ingredients.

“Life threatening reactions, including liver toxicity, have occurred in people taking products containing SARMs. SARMs also have the potential to increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, and the long-term effects on the body are unknown.”

Thanks to the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, anything classified as a dietary supplement can freely be sold before being approved by the FDA. Some retailers have attempted to use this loophole to their advantage and label their SARMs as dietary supplements. However, since the FDA explicitly opposes this classification, labeling a SARM as a dietary supplement is, in fact, quite illegal.

Another issue that has been brought to light is the outright lies in the labeling of SARMs. The Journal of the American Medical Association evaluated many supplements that claimed to have SARMs. Approximately 60 percent included ingredients that either differed or were not included on the label in any way. 10 percent of the products tested didn’t contain any active ingredients at all.

In addition to the shady operation of some of these labs, the FDA warns that those who regularly dose with SARMs have an increased risk of liver toxicity, heart attacks, and stroke.

The main problem with SARMs is that there is not enough data to determine one way or another the potentially harmful long-term effects, or even the benefits.

World Anti-Doping Agency

Established in 1999, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has been the official authority on what drugs can and cannot be used by professional athletes around the world. The key capacities of the agency are medical research, education, and development of anti-doping campaigns.

They develop policies and procedures to mitigate doping amongst elite athletes and are the ones that serve justice to perpetrators.

In 2017, Joakim Noah of the New York Knicks tested positive for SARMs during a routine doping test while he was out due to a knee injury. Noah was suspended for 20 games, 10 of which he would have missed anyway thanks to his injury.

The NBA stated that Noah tested positive for LGD-4033, which the World Anti-Doping Agency has labeled as a SARM, which has “similar properties to anabolic agents, but lack the steroid-related side-effects.”

WADA has SARMS on their “prohibited at all-times list,” a testament to how strongly they believe the damage that can be inflicted by SARMs outweighs the possible benefits.

SARMs and Drug Testing

Since SARMs are so popular among bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts, their nature begs the question: could you get busted for using if you are drug tested?

While SARMs don’t typically show up on regular drug tests, such as a urine test taken for employment, some tests can be administered that only look for traces of specific supplements. The Army, for example, has a specific list of prohibited substances, including anabolic steroids. If you are concerned about the possibility of testing positive, take a look at the federal controlled substances list. If the supplement in question is not included, they do not test for it.

Ostarine: Our Favorite SARM to Date

Ostarine is one of the most popular SARMs in use and helps the user gain lean muscle mass. If you are looking for consistent muscle gains in your fitness journey, ostarine may just be the SARM for you. Not only does ostarine work, but it also works fast.

It is one of the few known supplements that offers a healthy, complete muscle gain, as well as the reversal of any previous muscle degeneration.

Ostarine is also popular in treating bone wasting cancers and diseases. Thanks to its fast-working properties, it’s an excellent treatment for strengthening bone and muscle in cancer patients. Again, it not only helps build up healthy muscle, bone, and tissues, but it also helps to reverse prior wasting as a result of the disease.

One of the most appealing qualities of ostarine is that it does not have any of the negative side-effects that traditional steroids pose, as long as you follow the recommended dosages. Since it’s a SARM, it does not affect hormones; because it’s non-methylated, it doesn’t contain any of the liver toxins that are responsible for so many of the anabolic steroid’s terrible side-effects.

Some of the side-effects that have been reported are feeling hot, sweaty, and flushed directly after injecting it, a terrible taste, disrupted sleep, and possible lethargy.

Another thing to consider is that the company that manufactures ostarine, GTx, has never publicly disclosed the ingredients in their ostarine.

While most dosage charts recommend 25-50 mg, many fitness experts believe you should stick with a dosage of 12.5 mg per day.

ostarine1

The FDA has Crack Down

Charles Anthony Hughes, better known as Dr. Tony Huge, felt the real consequences of this crackdown in a big way. A former bankruptcy lawyer, Dr. Huge had deep ties to a Sacramento facility that was selling SARMs, an illegal substance.

Dr. Huge also had a hefty YouTube following, with over 100,000 subscribers, which was linked to Enhanced Athlete, the company that was raided by the FDA.

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency gave fair warning about SARMs being added into dietary supplements that were not being properly labeled, but it was not heeded by everyone.

On his YouTube Channel which, again, was linked to the company Enhanced Athlete, he touted the wonders and miracles of SARMs often, and openly admitted to mega-dosing with them.

Calling yourself a “doctor” is a dangerous business, and in a civil suit brought against Enhanced Athlete, Dr. Huge’s lawyers had to explain that he was not actually a doctor and that the moniker was bestowed on him by his fans.

Enhanced Athlete classified itself as a non-profit supplement and research company, but the FDA wasn’t buying it. On December 6, 2017, the FDA enforced a search warrant at several locations affiliated with Enhanced Athlete and Dr. Huge. The FDA was on the hunt for ostarine, 2,4-Dinitrophenol (DNP), and several other “research chemicals.” During the raid, the FDA seized hundreds of thousands of dollars in finished and unfinished products, as well as raw materials.

In a statement after the raid was completed, Enhanced Athlete was quoted as saying:

We believe this to be the first time that the FDA’s criminal investigation unit has executed a search warrant related to SARMs. Tony has always believed that SARMs are nearly as powerful as steroids in the correct dosages. This will come to the realization of the FDA and other government authorities eventually if it hasn’t already. This means that the window of opportunity is closing on SARMs.

Not only did Enhanced Athlete have their product seized, but the fire marshal also condemned one of their buildings thanks to some outlets that were out of code and for failing to get the proper permits for lab work.

Enhanced Athlete certainly could not claim that they had not received plenty of warning regarding the distribution of SARMs. Warning letters were sent to three sports nutrition companies last year; the FDA reported that SARMs had been greenlighted for investigation as a new drug and would be subject to a multitude of clinical trials. The FDA also warned that it is legitimately illegal to classify SARMs as any sort of dietary supplement.

While Enhanced Athlete did not personally receive one of these letters, the FDA believed that their warnings were sent to enough influential distributors for their message to be spread effectively.

One of the reasons Enhanced Athlete was on the FDA’s radar was based on a raid completed at one of their European distributors in which around 11 kilos of DNP were found at a Northern England location. DNP is incredibly dangerous and has been approved as a primary ingredient for pesticides and fertilizers, among other toxic products.

Dr. Huge, while still a bar-certified California attorney, doesn’t practice law anymore, instead choosing to focus on his alter-ego and his YouTube success. Despite being linked intrinsically with Enhanced Athlete, they insist he is not a founder and had just provided personal testimonials of the SARMs they sell.

How Social Media assists the FDA

The FDA has taken to scouring social media for any mention of SARMs in an attempt to get them out of reach. According to several attorneys and legal experts, the FDA and FTC put a lot of stock in Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube to study how companies are advertising and promoting illegal products. Since they are usually savvy enough not to advertise illegal products on their homepage anymore, regulators have had to get crafty with their investigation tactics.

For example, the Enhanced Athlete website states that Ostamuscle, their ostarine, is “sold for research purposes only, and NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION.” However, a quick perusal of their testimonial section shows reviews for the very products they claim are not to be consumed.

The Future of Enhanced Athlete

After the raid, Enhanced Athlete claimed that the FDA gave them the okay to continue operations, though perhaps not fully. The CEO of the company was quoted as saying:

We understand that the FDA serves a vital purpose of protecting consumers and ensuring that manufacturers of sports supplements, medications, or research chemicals do so in a safe and clean environment and that they label their products properly. We hope to work with the FDA and fully comply [with]any requests they may have.

It is important to note that SARMs are not illegal to buy or sell, but they cannot be marketed to the public, and no claims can be made as to their benefit.

Upcoming SARMs Ban of 2018

In a bipartisan partnership in April 2018, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) introduced a bill that would grant the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) authority to target the distribution and purchase of SARMs, especially that class of drugs that is being illegally marketed and distributed as either research chemicals or dietary supplements.

This legislation would amend the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and add it to the existing list of Scheduled III controlled substances. What this would do is ensure that SARMs are controlled and regulated by the DEA in the same way anabolic steroids are. This would also ensure that any infractions related to SARMs would be a felony drug offense and subject to civil penalties.

The FDA insists that SARMs pose serious health risks, including a potential increase in the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and irrevocable liver damage.

In a statement written by Hatch and Whitehouse, they state:

SARMs are synthetic drugs that have negative effects similar to those of anabolic steroids. Even though SARMS are not approved by the FDA for human use and pose the same safety risks as anabolic steroids, they have proliferated under a regime in which they are not subject to the same controls. The SARMs Control Act closes this loophole to ensure that the DEA has the authority it needs to prevent abuse and diversion of these dangerous substances. American consumers deserve to know if they’re buying seriously dangerous drugs slipped into everyday dietary supplements.

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, the Council for Responsible Nutrition, the American Herbal Products Association, the United Natural Products Association, and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, have lauded the bill and the bipartisan cooperation in bringing to the light the possible dangers of SARMs:

Each of our organizations has consistently supported efforts to enact and enforce laws to protect consumers, eliminate bad actors marketing illegal substances masquerading as legal products, and prosecute criminals who manufacture and sell them. Your bill will help move toward this goal. The SARMs Control Act is a bold step, adding teeth to prevention and enforcement efforts in the battle against illegal substances being marketed as legitimate products. The dietary supplement industry and USADA stands ready to work with you and all of Congress to deliver a strong bill to the President.

Real SARMs Before and After Results

Users looking for a boost can find many reviews that paint the picture of happy SARMs customers.

One review comes from a woman who was pleased with the results:

As a woman competitor, I definitely would recommend ligandrol (proven peptides brand) to other competitors or any woman wanting to add strength and size.  Not having to worry about certain side effects really takes out that fear, and you can put your mind completely on your goals.   I am so excited to get back on it in January and excited to see where I can go with this product.

An older man who was looking to get some definition back also found great success with SARMs:

I am a 69-year-old man who started lifting late in life. I ate my normal amount of calories during my experiment and maintained my usual workouts, which are 7 days per week.  The SARM’s (sic) brand I have forgotten but were available at my local meal prep shop. I’m not a particularly strong guy, so lifts going up 20-30 lbs. means a great deal to me and that’s what I experienced.

This user found SARMs helped him achieve his personal fitness goals:

Ultimately SARMs, specifically Ostarine in this case, changed my body composition and in doing so helped me reach my dream physique, and I would recommend anyone and everyone on the fence to get them while they still can.

sarms vs steroids

sarms before and after

Deciding if SARMs are Right for You

It’s easy to see the appeal that SARMs hold. Not only for body-building and fitness reasons but for their potential in making a big difference in the medical field. This is because of its bone and muscle growing properties.

Fitness enthusiasts have known the power of SARMs for years. Further research is required to know the full potential of these drugs. It is easy to write them off as another illegal way for athletes to bulk up and give themselves some unfair advantages. However, anything that has the potential to heal, improve, or reverse the damage caused by cancer needs to be thoroughly researched.

Up until now, the bulk of all SARMs research has been conducted only on rodents. With the FDA taking more interest in the potential side-effects of SARMs, hopefully, their potential benefits will not be overlooked. Anything that can lessen the devastating effects of cancer needs to be looked at from all angles.

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