SARMS, A beginner's guide to safe use!
For aspiring athletes and bodybuilders, the world of supplements can be a dizzying one full of bewildering names and advice, scientific and medical terms.
Add to that a list of instructions and multiple potential side effects, supplements can be a scary and confusing place; particularly for those just venturing into muscle and performance-enhancing products.
What is a supplement?
Also known as an ergogenic aid, as well as muscle and athletic performance enhancers, a supplement is anything taken in addition to boosting a nutritional diet to increase some aspect of the body.
Supplements can be taken for:
• Increasing endurance
• Improving recovery time
• Increasing muscle gain
• Improving weight loss
• Increasing vitamin and/or mineral consumption/absorption
amongst many other things. You can buy a lot of common supplements and even quite a few muscles and athletic performance enhancers from your regular drug store or sports nutrition store.
Sports and Supplements
First, if you are a competitive athlete taking part in any sport that requires drug testing, you must ensure that your supplement isn’t prohibited. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently updated its prohibited list, and you can find it here; reference it before you buy anything to avoid taking anything that may be banned by your sport or governing body.
Secondly, you should always read the potential side effects of any sports supplement that you want to take as you may find that the potential advantages are outweighed by short- and long-term negative effects. Whenever you start a new supplement, strictly and carefully follow the dosage amounts and cycles (most cycles tend to be two to six weeks on the supplement, then a similar amount of time off), even if you are only looking to improve your physique or performance for personal reasons and not compete in a serious sports competition.
Of all supplements, anabolic steroids (muscle and testosterone enhancers) often come with the most side-effects and abuse. Abuse of the substance or compound can be the main issue, with users taking more than their required amount. Steroids are also referenced occasionally as Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs), When PEDS are used at the minimal or correct dosage they can yield significant results with little to no side effects and can be run safely however in the ERA of good and safe supplementation, we cannot and do not recommend steroid use, but would guide you to learning as much as possible about the legal alternatives we have available today.
We highly recommend against ever taking a steroid unless it’s for a medical condition and/or strictly supervised by a medical expert. If you are only taking it for enhancement purposes, you do need to research a solid PCT protocol, our guide on PCT can be read here.
Due in part to the steroid ban of 2014 and the ever-increasing side effects new and existing PEDS can give, a new realm of supplements was created. Or, to be accurate, medical drugs were adopted as supplements: SARMs (Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators).
What Are SARMs?
SARMs are a relatively new and very exciting classification of supplements Without going into too much detail, your body ( both male and female ) is made up of many different hormones, one of the key classifications of hormones for both sexes are called androgens. The Androgen hormone is the growth hormone increasing overall muscle size and testosterone. All bodies have male and female hormones in them and it is important to have the right balance of the key hormones testosterone, estrogen, et al, in the body for optimal performance and health.
SARMs were created, like many compounds for muscle wasting diseases in patients who had undergone trauma or surgeries, one of the best selling and most popular SARMs Ostarine was initially developed for bone wasting diseases such as Osteoporosis ( note the similarity in the names ) the increase in muscle mass and recovery time was noted as a positive side effect to Ostarines bone healing abilities and thus Ostarine was brought to market. Most other SARMs follow a similar pattern the muscle-building elements were simply a 'side effect' to their initial uses.
As far as muscle and athletic performance enhancers go, SARMs imitate natural androgen production in the body and helps to:
• increase protein creation
• reduce muscle loss
• increase muscle mass and growth
• increase fat loss
• increase recovery time
Why Are SARMs and Steroids Different?
Although SARMs and Steroids share a lot of similarities they are quite different.
One of the largest differences is in the number of side effects a steroid can bring, the most significant side effect is that Steroids can, and do have a wide range of side effects due to acting upon numerous receptors in the body, this means that Steroids can bind to estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors, and androgen receptors, Increasing the benefits but also greatly increasing the side effects.
SARMs like the name suggest ( Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators ) bind to the androgen receptors only, these are the testosterone and dihydrotestosterone receptors within the body. This means they work selectively at increasing muscle mass/testosterone and in turn, have no real bearing on other receptors. That is not to say SARMs are side effect free, certain SARMs can cause similar side effects, LGD, for example, is one of the stronger SARMs known to Increase speed, Strength, Muscle mass, but also known to cause short term hypogonadism - a similar side effect seen in many steroids.
Common SARMs are:
Different SARMs can have different uses:
• Muscle Building and wound healing - Ostarine (MK-2866)
• Fat Loss and Muscle building - Cardarine (GW-50156)
• Muscle Building and increased libido (Testolone ( RAD-140)
• Muscle Building, power, and strength (Ligandrol LGD-4033)
A lot of users will STACK certain compounds together to greatly enhance the benefits
SARMs are now banned by WADA - The world anti-doping agency so if your sport of governing body uses WADAs guidelines, it is highly advisable to avoid the use of SARMs. The official legal status of SARMs for research does change from country to country so before deciding to purchase a SARM it is always advisable to check your countries import laws
What is Ligandrol?
Legally speaking, Ligandrol is currently undergoing clinical trials to test its effectiveness preventing muscle wasting and osteoporosis. As far as clinical testing goes, Phase 1 testing has shown an increase in lean muscle mass with minimal side effects, and Phase II is focussed on seeing what its long-term effects on quality of life are.
What Are the Benefits of Ligandrol?
Unlike steroids, Ligandrol will only attach itself to bones and tissue muscles, so it, like all SARMs reduces the chance of severe side effects. In addition, as Lingadrol has undergone several clinical trials, so we can confirm that it is safer than other SARMs and actually can increase muscle mass. One 2010 study found that healthy, young males with no nutritional deficiencies or illnesses who took 1mg of Ligandrol a day for three weeks gained around kilogram (two pounds) of lean muscle with no other changes to diet or exercise.
If you take Ligandrol, you will see improvements in:
• strength: Ligandrol can help you break through plateaus. Many users of this product say this SARM can increase cardiovascular strength and lifting strength in just three weeks, but their testimony should be taken with a grain of salt.
• fat loss: Ligandrol helps build muscle mass by encouraging the body to use stored fat cells to break down for extra energy and recovery. After some time, the body will start to become fat-adapted and will begin to naturally use fat as an energy source because it is easier to break down than muscle mass.
• energy: Unlike steroids and the mood swings they can induce, Ligandrol is said to give you consistent levels of energy and positive feelings throughout the day.
• pumps: Cycling with Ligandrol can help give you fuller, harder muscles with more noticeable veins for longer without the risk of using strong SARMs like Dianabol or Anavar.
• good for both cutting and bulking: As it can increase muscle gain and fat loss without too much water retention you can use it in your bulking or cutting phase and it will be equally effective. Again this is based primarily on anecdotal evidence from people who have used different sources for their supplements.
Is Ligandrol Safe?
Medically speaking, Ligandrol is one of the safest SARMs around. It will not cause water retention, acne, bloating, liver toxicity, affect cardiovascular health or prostate health. It may have a mild suppression effect on your prostate if taken at very high doses for long periods of time.
As such, we highly recommend that you take as close to 1mg a day as possible, as this dosage has been proven to be safe for consumption in humans even though most supplements advise taking 5 – 10mg a day.
Should I Take Ligandrol?
Medically speaking, Ligandrol is one of the safest proven muscle enhancers out there. However, we cannot in good conscience or from a legal point of view say that Ligandrol is suitable for everyone, or even safe for consumption as it an unapproved drug still in the testing phases. In legal terms, Ligandrol is illegal in some countries and in others it may on the Controlled Substance list. It is legal to buy and sell within the US.
If you take part in collegiate or professional sports, do not take this drug.
If you still wish to take Ligandrol, first make sure that you can either import it safely, or that you can purchase it within your country. After reviewing a lot of literature about PEDs, especially SARMs and anabolic steroids, I will say that Ligandrol appears safer than most. On a strictly personal note as the writer of this article, I would suggest avoiding any drug unapproved within your country of residence no matter how safe it is because I would not want anyone to face legal problems because of this article.