Are SARMS legal, how are they used in bodybuilding and how do they differ form steroids and prohormones. Your questions answered.
If you’ve read our Prohormone article then you will know that they have been effectively banned since 2014.
Although pre prohormones like 1-Andro that are found in products like 1-AD from Hi-Tech may soon be all the rage, there is yet a controversial set of substances known as SARMs, which are still rattling around in the grey area of legality.
SARM stands for Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator, which is a super fancy term…for a pretty fancy biochemical process.
These compounds are non-steroidal for the most part, but still interact with the androgenic receptors that steroids work with.
What’s more is they typically provide the same muscle growth as a light prohormone or steroid cycle.
Before you jump in your car and go on a SARM shopping spree, there’s some stuff you ought to know, including whether your journey will end in (a) problems with the law; and (b) problems with your health.
Note: SARMS are effective for cutting – Which SARM should you use for cutting? Well, there are 4 that are the most common and effective. Ostarine (MK 2866), Andarine (S4), Cardarine (GW-501516), and Stenabolic (SR9009) are the most effective to use on cutting cycles. You can combine them to create a SARMs cutting stack to exponentially enhance your results.
Where Does the SARM Story Begin?
Big Pharmaceutical companies are an unstoppable force when it comes to research and development.
The development of these drugs is undertaken by them, for medical application (and the inevitable profit of course). Bodybuilders have simply jumped on the bandwagon.
SARMs were brought in to the world to be treatments. One reason for this is due to the extensive list of negative side effects which can be caused by anabolic steroids.
Why Are SARMs Special?
There are two major reasons SARMs have the potential of becoming the next wave of drugs capable of preventing muscle wasting diseases, and promoting muscle growth in healthy people:
The main purpose of a SARM is to behave as an agonist of androgen receptors without the binding affinity that steroids have with the aromatase and 5a-reductase enzymes – or indeed possessing intrinsic androgenic activity.
They are by nature variable, and can bind to the androgen receptor in specific tissues.
These 2 qualities highlight the “selective” aspect of their name more acutely than anything else.
It should also be noted that non-steroidal SARMs (see below), unlike steroids, cannot be classified through common structural denominators (such as the 4 ring base structure of steroids), and are thus unique from one another.
Can SARMs Build Muscle
SARMs, or selective androgen receptor modulators, work on the cells by manipulating anabolic hormone levels without having any effect on other tissues such as prostate or skin.
Steroids differ from SARMS. Steroid receptors which cause anabolic and androgenic effects in the body such as increased muscle mass or aggression.
SARMs on the other hand target specific tissues like bone and muscle while leaving others unaffected! This makes them a safer alternative to steroids for many applications including: bulking, cutting & lean mass building.
They can even be used by women who want to bulk up their muscles without having any masculinizing side-effects from taking higher doses of testosterone!
However unlike some steroid alternatives that have been marketed recently there is actually scientific data behind this new class of drugs with research being performed both academically and commercially .
Sarms build Muscle by increasing protein synthesis. This means they make your body more efficient at synthesizing proteins which is the building block of muscles .
The way sarms do this? By acting on specific cellular androgen receptors that are found in skeletal tissue like bone and muscle, while having no effect on others such as prostate or skin.
They also increase endurance levels leading to an overall improvement in your ability to exercise harder longer, which can really help you get over plateaus when trying to bulk up! SARMs have already gained popularity among athletes because steroids cause damage if taken long term.
So, SARMs are Not Steroids?
Big Pharma’s original plan was to find the solution to the ‘side effect’ problem via steroidal or non-steroidal means.
That is to say, provided the conditions are met, a SARM can be a steroid.
In this case however, we are referring to non-steroidal types, which do not have the 4-ring-base structure.
Which Is Better SARMs or Steroids?
It’s still early days in terms of research. There isn’t nearly the catalogue of information available that is for steroids.
The characteristics of SARMs also precludes any sweeping assumptions such as can be made with 17-alpha-alkynated oral steroids.
For example, with methandrostenolone (Dianabol), this chemical trait is known to cause liver toxicity. The same can be said for all similar oral steroids.
That being said, a SARM needs to be (a) selective; and (b) safe, in comparison to steroids.
In terms of muscle growth results, it will be difficult to compare the two. I highly anabolic androgenic steroid will be more powerful.
However, in theory, a SARM can be used safely over a much longer term than an anabolic steroid.
By being selective, these compounds target the intended muscle tissue, while avoiding the liver, sex organs and breasts, not to mention hair and prostate.
Are SARMs Safe?
Are they understood? More to the point.
Safer, perhaps, in most cases. Sure, they won’t bind with aromatase and cause as many estrogenic effects as, say, a course of Sustanon, but that’s not the only thing to watch out for.
This is still hormone treatment, after all. Running a SARM can still shut down your natural testosterone production by enough to matter. Then there’s the case of those whose research gets abandoned because they caused cancer in the lab rats.
Post Cycle Therapy (PCT) will be a must. People prescribed a SARM will also be prescribed the ideal amount of PCT drugs, and adjusted for over the period of treatment.
Bodybuilders wanting to get ‘swole’ have no such medical support network, not to mention legal grounds for use (see below).
With these compounds, it is not merely a case of “should you take SARMs?”.
It is more a question of which exact one are you thinking of taking because they are all so different and have very different effects.
Are SARMs Legal as Supplements?
It depends where you live in the world. You won’t be finding them in any western supplements, as of late 2015 when the first lawsuits started…not legally anyway.
There are some companies still operating beneath the shade of grey, and until the full ban drops, they will continue to do so for a fast profit, at their own risk.
Summary on SARMs
There’s no easy way to use a SARM without the potential for risk. There are examples, like Ostarine, that are looking good so far. There are Ostarine alternatives such as Ostabulk that are receiving great reviews from users
Then there are the abandoned examples like Cardarine which has effectively been replaced by a natural Caradine alternative that is both legal and side effect free.
Without full knowledge of each compound being researched it would be difficult to weigh the risks versus rewards. Despite this, many many people are purchasing SARMs via shady deals or semi-legal avenues.
We just hope they know what they are doing.