More and more people are using SARMs, which could be an issue as the supply from China is currently drying up because of a ban on SARMs manufacture, with no other countries yet taking up the slack.
However, as long as long-term supply is guaranteed, then SARMs will only grow in use because they are proving to be relatively safe to moderate use over the short to medium term.
We don’t have long-term data for SARMs, because there are no human studies for SARMs that have been properly conducted over more than a few weeks. Also, none of those human studies have ever been done on healthy people to evaluate the long term bodybuilding benefits.
However, anecdotally, SARMs been around for about 15 years or so in terms of being easily available. 15 years on, you are just not seeing loads of people on bodybuilding forums, and social media, saying how they are all developing problems.
Also, the chemical profile of SARMs is quite straightforward mostly, and even though it’s not 100% know how some of them work in the body, the general mechanism of action is understood and is widely recognized in most cases to be pretty benign.
However, that’s not the whole story, so let’s dig in now and get you up to speed to that you can decide if SARMs are right for you.
Not All SARMs Are The Same
The first thing to understand is that not all SARMs are the same. Many people think they are all simply different strengths of basically the same thing.
That’s not the case, and although some SARMs are androgenic (meaning that they mimic the action of testosterone in the body), that’s not actually the case.
RAD-140, S-23, S-4, LGD-4033, and MK-2866 are definitely androgenic (although MK-2866 is very mild). They mimic testosterone in the body, and interact specifically with androgen receptors in muscle and bone tissue. So they are highly targeted, and don’t just hammer all the androgen receptors in the body in the same that anabolic steroids do.
However, that’s not the whole story for SARMs. You’ve then got SR-9009, MK-677, YK-11, and GW-501516.
None of those for SARMs are actually androgenic at all. They are merely talked about as SARMs for marketing purposes.
- SR-9009 is a REV-ERBa agonist
- MK-677 is a growth hormone secretagogue
- YK-11 is a myostatin agonist
- GW-501516 is a PPAR Delta receptor agonist
Which means, you could take all four of those and not suffer any issues with testosterone at all. However, each of those, and androgenic SARMs generally, do have side effects and warnings you should be aware of.
What Are The Exact Risks You Face When Using SARMs?
So when you are using SARMs you’re basically facing different risks depending on the SARMs you’re using.
Firstly, if you’re using any androgenic SARMs, especially at higher doses, then you are going to suffer from depletion in testosterone production. This is because the body is fooled into believing it has a higher supply than it does, so it starts to cut down its own production.
That’s easily dealt with with a PCT supplement like Nolvadex or Clomid. As long as you don’t keep hammering high doses and ignoring the signs of testosterone drop, then you can taper down, when the cycle, and recover them in about three or four weeks.
However, the non-androgenic SARMs at slightly more complex. None of them are really linked to any strong side effects that could be damaging for the long term.
MK-677 does dramatically increases appetite. So you could overeat and actually put on weight if you don’t match that input with your energy output. But that’s only a small problem during a cycle.
There was some talk several years ago about GW-501516 Cardarine potentially causing the production of cancer cells, or at least precancerous cells.
However, that all came from one study on lab rats. During the study, the lab rats were given doses that were in the hundreds of milligrams per day over a year. No human is ever going to take more than 20 or 30 mg per day for more than three months (unless they are nuts).
So in reality, there is little evidence that normal level bodybuilding doses of this chemical could ever produce those same results in the real world.
How To Minimize The Chances Of Long-Term Problems
Really and honestly, the androgenic side effects are the ones you really need to watch out for in the short to medium term.
If you keep ignoring testosterone depletion and then starting more cycles of androgenic SARMs, you could get to the point where there is a partial or complete testosterone production shutdown. This could have significant problems for the long term.
With androgenic SARMs, keep the cycles to 12 weeks or less. Make sure you are aware of the size of testosterone drop, and taper down. The cycle if they hit badly.
Use Nolvadex or Clomid between cycles, and always try and keep the gap between cycles equal to the length of the cycle you’ve just completed.
For non-androgenic SARMs, keep doses as low as possible is the best advice.
YK-11 is a potent chemical that’s structured very closely to anabolic steroids but in a far more targeted way. So it’s crucial you keep the doses of that low, even though it’s been found to only bind to the androgen receptors with a low affinity.
So my final word of advice has to be for androgenic SARMs keep doses low as possible, and use PCT supplements, and for non-androgenic SARMs keep the doses as low as possible and the cycle length as short as possible as well.
The power of SARMs is in stacking them. If you create intelligent bulking, cutting, and maintenance stacks, you can keep the individual doses as low as possible, and keep the cycle length as low as possible as well, yet still reap the maximum rewards from SARMs of bulking up, hardening your muscle tone, delivering huge energy boost, and cutting fat.