What Are SARMs, & Which Is Best For You?
What Is a SARM?
A SARM is a selective androgen receptor modulator, they are a class of compounds that have similar properties to steroids and anabolics.
The compounds are very new, only being discovered and created in 1998, initially, they were all used for the purpose of treating muscle wasting diseases, osteoporosis and even cancer.
How Do SARMs Work?
Selective androgen receptor modulators work by stimulating androgen receptors specifically in the muscle tissue and bone.
This is what makes SARMs unique and different from steroids, as steroidal compounds interact with the hair, liver, heart, and testicles, causing serious unwanted side effects such as hair loss, heart problems, testicular shrinkage and liver problems, the list goes on.
Whereas the majority of SARMs only interact with muscle tissue and bones causing a very little amount of side effects. There are many different selective androgen receptor modulators available on the market today which each provide different benefits and effects, which I will cover later in the article.
SARMs Use In Sport
Eventually, athletes caught onto the muscle-building benefits that SARMs provide and started using them as a performance enhancer in major sporting events.
This resulted in a few very famous athletes getting caught up in scandals, a few of these include: Shayna Jack an Australian swimmer who failed a drug test with LGD-4033 in her system, Joakim Noah who plays for the famous basketball team New York Nicks’, also failed a drug test with LGD-4033 found in his system. These various scandals led to all SARMs being banned in sport by the World Anti-Doping Agency in 2008.
From the exposure, it led to bodybuilders and the average gym-goer to start using them for their benefits of gaining muscle, fat loss, bone health and to recover from injuries.
Ostarine/MK-2866 : “Fat Loss SARM”
Ostarine, also known as MK-2866 is one of the most researched and safest SARMs available on the market, with numerous studies being conducted on the benefits and side effects.
It is mostly known for its fat burning potential but also has the ability to increase muscle mass simultaneously. It works by increasing oxidisation of fat whilst binding to receptors in the muscle.
Many bodybuilders use this compound when cutting as it was initially created to treat muscle wasting, meaning even when in an extreme caloric deficit it will preserve the muscle tissue.
Main benefits include:
- Increased muscle mass
- Helps to decrease body fat
- Preserves muscle
- Positive impact on the heart
Although I'm including MK-677 in this guide, it is technically not a SARM, it is a growth hormone secretagogue that is commonly sold and referred to as a selective androgen receptor modulator as it has similar properties and effects.
It boosts growth hormone levels such as IGF-1, this causes increased muscle growth and is commonly used as a mass builder.
MK-677 is without a doubt the most versatile compound in the “SARMs class” as it has so many unique benefits, some of these include:
- Enables you to get better sleep by increasing the amount of time you go into rapid eye movement sleep (REM) which is beneficial for better recovery, cognitive function and overall well being.
- Increases bone density consequently increasing bone strength.
- Prevents muscle from wasting
- It can help pre-mature baldness through the increased IGF-1 levels.
RAD-140 is one of the strongest SARMs in this list and that's available on the market. It is stronger than the known steroidal compound testosterone, having a crazy anabolic to androgenic ratio of up to 80: 1.
The high anabolic ratio ensures that it can provide an insane increase in muscle mass, some users have reported gaining 10-15 pounds of muscle on an 8-week cycle of Testolone. Anyone with some experience in lifting knows how hard that really is.
As well as providing increases in mass it also drastically increases muscular strength and is a good compound to use to break a plateau.
Main benefits include:
- Great for building mass
- Great for breaking plateaus and increasing muscular strength
- Quick results due to the high potency of the compound
In terms of side effects, you may experience slight testosterone suppression and increased aggression in the gym. However, this is dose-dependent and may not experience any side effects with the recommended dosages of 5-15mg daily. When using high potency SARMs like RAD-140 we would recommend using a post cycle treatment (PCT) to bring your hormone levels back to normal.
LGD-4033 is another SARM thought to be the most potent of them all along with RAD-140, this is due to its powerful anabolic properties and androgenic binding abilities. Like RAD-140 it can provide drastic increases in muscle in as little as a few weeks.
Studies conducted on Ligandrol have proven that the SARM provides increases in muscle and overall mass from even a micro dosage of 1mg a day, as the test patients increased lean muscle by 1 pound a week which is amazing for the small amount used.
Main benefits include:
- LGD-4033 drastically increases vascularity and will bring out veins you’ve never seen before.
- LGD-4033 is similar to RAD-140 and will dramatically increase strength and will help smash through plateaus.
- Prevents muscle wasting making it versatile and beneficial during either a bulking or cutting phase.
- Increase muscle mass significantly in a short amount of time.
YK11 is a unique SARM is it is a myostatin inhibitor and works by increasing the follistatin, as the levels increase it helps to lower myostatin levels.
Myostatin limits your full muscular potential, some scientists believe this was created through evolution so that we could be lightweight and run from predators more optimally. Essentially blocking this opens you up to somewhat limitless muscle growth growing way past your natural potential
Main Benefits Include
- Drastic increases in muscular strength
- Increase muscle mass
- Bone strength & overall bone health
YK11 is a fairly new SARM, only being discovered in 2011, this means quantitative data on studies are limited however some users have reported: slight testosterone suppression, increase in blood pressure and more commonly reported is excessive hair growth. In terms of dosages, it is advised you take around 5-15mg max for optimal results.
Which SARM is best for you and your goals?
We may recommend SARMs more than once due to some being very versatile.
SARMs we would recommend for bulking would be RAD-140 and LGD, although if you're looking for a less potent compound we would recommend MK-677 especially for people trying SARMs for the first time.
For cutting and overall fat loss, we would recommend using Ostarine, Cardarine, MK-677, S4, and RAD-140.
Sarms that help build and preserve muscle whilst losing fat include Ostarine, Rad-140, and MK-677.