SARMs 101: The Complete Guide For Beginners (Updated 2022)
SARMs, otherwise known as selective androgen receptor modulators, have become increasingly popular over the past several years.
Athletes, bodybuilders, and even amateur weightlifters have started taking SARMs, as a way to build muscle, lose fat, and increase strength in the gym.
But—what does the scientific evidence say about SARMs? Are there any long term side effects? How safe are they? How well do they work?
In today’s article, the Nanotech Team will attempt to break down all available research, and present you with the facts.
What Are SARMs?
SARMs, short for “Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators,” are a relatively new class of anabolic compounds, which help users build muscle mass.
They were originally created as a drug to help treat muscle wasting in cancer patients, but bodybuilders and athletes quickly caught on to the potent anabolic effects of these legal steroids.
SARMs work by binding to androgen receptors in your body, which then signals your muscles to grow, leading to rapid strength gains.
In fact, when compared to other anabolic compounds such as steroids, SARMs work very quickly, and have a relatively short half life.
While many human studies have shown that SARMs are relatively well-tolerated, more research must definitely be done on the long term health effects of taking SARMs, particularly in high doses.
Are SARMs Legal?
SARMs are so effective at building muscle, that the World Anti-Doping Agency itself has outright banned them from competition. [R]
Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators are currently on the WADA list of prohibited substances, meaning athletes are prohibited from using them.
In addition to this, the United States Anti Doping Agency, otherwise known as the USADA, has also banned any athlete from using them.
While the use of SARMs is strictly prohibited in the Olympics, they’re still completely legal to sell for research purposes online.
Currently, selective androgen receptor modulators are not sold as dietary supplements, but rather as “research chemicals” not for human use.
However, this hasn’t stopped men from buying SARMs on the internet and using them to gain lean muscle mass, improve physical function, and lose fat.
Mechanism of Action
Most anabolic compounds work by binding to androgen receptors in your muscles—this signals them to grow, leading to rapid muscle gains.
What makes SARMs unique, however, is that they are able to selectively target skeletal muscle androgen receptors, which steroids don’t do.
Unlike anabolic steroids, which both bind to all androgen receptors AND aromatize in your body, SARMs are much more selective in action.
Research has shown that SARMs do not disturb the non-skeletal muscle tissue. This limits their androgenic activity to skeletal muscle mass, boosting their ability to increase lean body mass. [R]
This means that a user who takes SARMs can expect to achieve effects similar to a low dose of steroids, without common side effects.
This isn’t to say that SARMs don’t have any side effects at all—they clearly do. However, most clinical studies suggest that when used within the recommended dosage, SARMs are relatively safe in most people.
SARMs vs. Steroids
One of the biggest differences between SARMs and steroids is that SARMs don’t aromatize into estrogen, while steroids typically do. [R]
In other words, after taking a steroid such as testosterone enanthate, much of it will be converted into estrogen—which can cause side effects.
SARMs, however, don’t aromatize, meaning that they have steroid-like effects, without the aromatization that comes with most steroids.
The drawback of anabolic androgenic steroids, compared to a selective androgen receptor modulator, is that they tend to put more stress on your liver than conventional injectable steroids.
This is why many weight lifters and athletes end up siding with SARMs, in the “SARMs vs. Steroids” debate, after trying just one cycle of SARMs.
Benefits of SARMs
It’s important to understand that there’s many different SARMs, and depending on which SARM you take, you may get slightly different effects.
For example, RAD 140 is one of the best SARMs for a lean bulk. Another SARM such as Ostarine, however, may be better for doing a cut.
That being said, the benefits from taking selective androgen receptor modulators are largely the same for everyone—they just vary slightly.
Benefits of taking SARMs include:
- Increased Muscle Mass
- Enhanced Athletic Performance
- Rapid Body Fat Loss
- Improved Strength Gains
- …and more
Most research suggests that SARMs are extremely powerful when it comes to building muscle, hence the hype surrounding these compounds. [R]
Many users report gaining 10, 15, or even 20 pounds of muscle from just one cycle of SARMs, meaning they can completely transform your body.
SARMs For Bodybuilding
Due to the muscle building effects of SARMs, many men are taking them nowadays to get leaner, to lose fat, and to get stronger in the gym.
While SARMs are often marketed as an alternative to steroids, this isn’t quite accurate—SARMs still pose their own unique health risks.
Human studies have shown that SARMs are well tolerated in general, although more research is needed on the long-term health effects.
Regardless, SARMs are still a potent muscle building drug, that are a viable alternative to steroids when it comes to getting stronger and leaner.
As mentioned before, there’s many different types of SARMs. Each of these will have a slightly different effect on your body, although in general, every SARM will help you build muscle and lose fat.
In addition to this, many compounds such as YK-11 and MK-677 are grouped in the “SARMs” category, although they aren’t technically SARMs.
Here’s a list of several popular SARMs on the market right now:
- Ostarine (MK-2866)
- Testolone (RAD-140)
- Ligandrol (LGD-4033)
- Andarine (S4)
- S23 SARM (Also Known As S-23)
- Stenabolic (SR9009)
- …and more
As more testing is done and as dietary organizations begin to fund research on the long term health effects, more SARMs will likely be formulated.
Regardless, let’s present a brief overview of several existing SARMs, the effects you can expect from them, and the clinical research backing them.
Ostarine (MK 2866)
Ostarine, otherwise known as enobosarm or MK-2866, is perhaps one of the most popular and well-researched SARMs in existence. In fact, one study found that even taking 3mg of Ostarine per day leads to big results.
Sixty elderly men were put on various Ostarine dosages for 3 months, and it was found that simply taking 3mg of Ostarine per day led to an increase in muscle mass by 1.4 kg or 3 lbs. [R]
To put this into perspective, many users take up to 50 mg of Ostarine per day, in conjunction with other SARMs, so I’m sure you can only imagine how powerful a SARM like this would be when taken in that dose range.
- Increases Lean Muscle Mass – A double-blind placebo-controlled trial found that Ostarine improved lean body mass and physical function in healthy elderly men. The drug was well-tolerated by the subjects. [R]
- Improved Bone Density – While no human studies confirm this Ostarine benefit (yet), an animal study has found that MK-2866 enhances bone density and strength. This is potentially great news for anyone with osteoporosis. [R]
- Increases Fat Loss – A human study has shown that Ostarine reduces fat mass by a statistically significant amount at the 3 mg/day dose. This makes this SARM a potentially promising candidate for a cutting cycle. [R]
- Improves Lipid Profile – Ostarine appears to exert a dose-dependent effect on lipid profile. The greater the amount of Ostarine being administered, the higher the decrease in total cholesterol and triglycerides. [R]
Ostarine Side Effects
Anecdotal evidence claims that high doses of Ostarine could cause testosterone suppression. However, the lowered testosterone levels will bounce back to normal after a month. You won’t need a PCT.
The most common side effects associated with suppression are headaches, lethargy, and low libido levels. A very small percentage of people report disturbed sleep patterns after using this SARM.
Testolone (RAD 140)
Another popular SARM, known as RAD 140 shows promising results when it comes to helping users build muscle mass and strength rapidly.
RAD 140, often known by its bro-science “slang” name Testolone, is a serious contender for the strongest SARM on the market right now.
In fact, according to research, RAD 140 is so effective at helping users pack on muscle mass, it’s being considered as treatment for cancer patients suffering from cachexia, or rapid weight loss. [R]
Most of the RAD 140 results that writers and bodybuilders independently report rival a low dose of testosterone enanthate in their effects. In other words, RAD 140 is likely the most potent SARM in existence.
- Increases Muscle Mass – While human trials aren’t available, an animal study has shown that RAD 140 increases muscle mass on either side of the lower pelvis, making it a promising drug for a bulking cycle. [R]
- Neuroprotective Benefits – In an animal study, Testolone (RAD 140) offered neuroprotective benefits relevant to neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease. That too without impacting reproductive tissues. [R]
- Increases Bone Density – Anecdotal evidence links Testolone usage to an increase in bone density. However, the mechanism with which RAD 140 could strengthen bones and prevent diseases like cachexia is yet to be understood.
- Inhibits ESR 1 Growth – According to a pre-clinical study, RAD 140 inhibits the growth of Estrogen Receptor 1, or ER1. It is a gene that stimulates breast cancer to grow. ESR1’s mutations are responsible for helping cancer develop resistance to endocrine therapy. [R]
Testolone Side Effects
Many bodybuilders report hair loss after taking Testolone. However, the side effect is reversible. It goes away once they stop taking RAD 140. If you’re concerned about hair loss, read our guide on how a research chemical called RU-58841 can help grow hair back.
This SARM might cause other complications related to testosterone, including changes in sex drive, gynecomastia, nausea, and vomiting.
Ligandrol (LGD 4033)
Ligandrol, otherwise known as LGD-4033, was first synthesized by a company known as Ligand Pharmaceuticals, but has since been licensed to a company called Viking Therapeutics, under the name of VK5211. [R]
Otherwise known as LGD4033, Ligandrol is a potent, orally available SARM that helps users gain muscle mass very rapidly, and shred fat just as fast.
Best of all, Ligandrol has been found to be safe in a human clinical trial. The participants also experienced increased lean body mass and decreased body fat after taking LGD-4033 (1 mg/day) for 3 weeks. [R]
The dosage for Ligandrol is typically 10 mg per day, and clinical studies have shown that it’s safe in dosages as high as 20 milligrams per day.
- Increases Lean Body Mass – A clinical trial involving 76 healthy males was conducted with Ligandrol. It showed LGD-4033 increasing lean body mass without affecting the body fat mass. [R]
- Decreases Body Fat – Only one human study has been conducted with Ligandrol to date. This SARM showed a dose-dependent increase with fat loss. Participants on a 1mg daily dose experienced more fat loss than those on a lower dose. [R]
- Increases Leg Press Strength – Ligandrol users appear to experience high leg press strength after using this SARM. Leg press is one of the best strength training exercises to combat age-related muscle loss. [R]
- Improves Bone Resistance To Fracture – Animal studies have shown that LGD 4033 increases bone resistance to fracture by reducing the rate of bone turnover and increasing bone density and the rate of new bone formation. [R]
Ligandrol Side Effects
One of the reasons LGD 4033 is getting insanely popular is that it appears to be well-tolerated by most users. Human studies also confirm that this drug is well-tolerated.
Still, we know that LGD 4033 reduces the production of testosterone and other hormones. So it may cause adverse effects associated with testosterone suppression.
Nutrabol (MK 677)
Nutrabol, sometimes referred to as MK-677, is a growth hormone secretagogue, so is technically not a SARM by mechanism of action.
That being said, this research chemical is often paired with SARMs, as it leads to rapid gains in muscle mass, and increases in growth hormone.
In fact, in a study done in 2001, researchers stated that short-term administration of Nutrabol can increase GH, IGF-1, and IGFBP-3 levels. [R]
MK 677 Benefits
- Builds Muscle – Being a growth hormone secretagogue, Ibutamoren has been shown to increase GH and IGF-1 levels. Both GH and IGF-1, in turn, have been proven to boost muscle mass and muscle strength. [R]
- Prevents Muscle Wasting – Muscle wasting is a common complication of cancer. MK 677 successfully reversed protein loss that could contribute to muscle wasting in a study involving food-deprived healthy volunteers. [R]
- Increases Bone Density – In a human study, MK 677 increased bone turnover, which eventually leads to increased bone density. In three separate clinical trials, Ibutamoren increased bone building, a key marker of bone turnover. [R] [R]
- Improves Sleep Quality – Here is one benefit you don’t see most selective androgen receptor modulators SARMS offering. A study has shown that MK 677 improves RED sleep duration as well as sleep quality in the young and elderly. [R]
MK 677 Side Effects
Several studies highlight two common side effects: increased fasting blood glucose and reduced insulin sensitivity. [R]
In a separate study, MK 677 elevated blood pressure in elderly subjects with hip fracture. There were also reports of congestive heart failure, though the subjects who experienced congestive heart failure had a history of it. [R]
Andarine was the first SARM discovered. It is very similar to Ostarine. However, while Ostarine has continued to attract clinical trials, Andarine has now been abandoned – perhaps because it impaired vision in those who were administered this SARM.
Still, bodybuilders use it for bulking, one of the most sought-after benefits of any SARM. Even though Andarine has only been tested in animals thus far.
- Increases Muscle Mass – Mice who took Andarine for 4 weeks experienced an increase in muscle mass. The increase was as marked as that caused by DHT. Even though Andarine, unlike DHT, S4 caused zero prostate enlargement. [R]
- Decreases Body Fat – This benefit was observed in female rats. All of them had their ovaries removed prior to the study. It isn’t unclear whether Andarine could offer this benefit to adults. [R]
- Increases Bone Strength – S4 provided this benefit to castrated male and female rats. The female rats had their ovaries removed to create a commonly used animal model of osteoporosis. [R]
Andarine Side Effects
As stated above, Andarine is prone to causing vision issues. Multiple users report difficulty adjusting to night vision and yellow tint after taking S4. But these side effects go away after the usage has been discontinued.
High dosages have been reported to cause depression, as well—but you can consider taking a mood boosting nootropic like Noopept for this if you do notice this side effect.
Best SARMs Cycles
Now that you have learned what SARMs are capable of, it’s time to turn our attention to a couple of cycles with examples of what results you can expect, so you can decide which you want to try first.
Mixing Cardarine with Ostarine creates a caloric deficit, letting you lose fat and fat while also building some lean muscle. Anecdotal evidence indicates that you can expect to lose as much as 7% of your total body fat during this cycle.
Here are the dosage guidelines:
- 15 mgs of Ostarine a day for 8 weeks
- 10 mgs of Cardarine a day for 8 weeks
- No PCT is needed
PCT isn’t needed because both these SARMs aren’t known for causing severe testosterone suppression.
Stacking Ligandrol with Ibutamoren could help you gain a lot of weight, especially in the first two months when you’ll be using both these SARMs together. You can turn most of the gained weight into muscle by training properly during the cycle.
Here are the dosage guidelines:
- 5 mgs of Ligandrol a day for 8 weeks
- 15 mgs of Ibutamoren a day for 16 weeks
- No PCT is needed
Users indicate that this cycle won’t just help you bulk up – you can also count on it to help you sleep better, increase your appetite, and enhance your stamina in the gym.
Where to Buy SARMs
With so many vendors having SARMs for sale, it’s often difficult to tell where the best place to buy SARMs online would be.
Here at Nanotech, we recommend Pure Rawz above all other companies, due to the fact that their SARMs are 3rd party verified.
In other words, when you buy SARMs from Pure Rawz, you can rest assured that they’re at least 99% pure, verified by a laboratory.
If you’re a beginner, we recommend you start off with an Ostarine cycle, perhaps taking one full dropper per day, for 8-12 weeks.
Factors to Consider When Choosing A SARMs Supplier
Having told you everything you need to know about SARMs, it’s time we turn our attention to the factors to keep in mind while shopping for SARMs online. Any seller that flunks on one or more of these factors isn’t reliable, so it’s better to move on to the next option on your list.
Both the FDA and USADA have warned about SARMs being marketed as dietary supplements, when in fact, they’re laced with prohormones.
3rd Party Testing
Most SARMs products being sold online either have very low doses, or are fake altogether. This is why 3rd party testing is so important.
If you’re going to buy SARMs online, be sure that you get them from a source that uses 3rd party testing, so you know they’re 99% pure.
Most SARMs labeled as dietary supplements are fake, as was exposed in a recent investigation published by the medical journal JAMA. [R]
So, if you do decide to purchase SARMs products online, be sure that the company you purchase from has every batch 3rd party verified.
User reviews go a long way in determining whether the SARM supplier is genuine or just intends to defraud people and make money.
Try buying SARMs from vendors with reviews from multiple people who have tried their products and could vouch for them to be effective.
Some sellers pay users to write glowing reviews about their products. One way to catch them in on the act is by reading between the lines.
Reviews from real buyers are rarely, if ever, outlandish. Even when they are speaking in favor of the product, they choose to mince their words, avoiding terms such as “best ever,” “brilliant,” etc.
Check the Licensing
Almost every SARM supplier claims to sell the highest-quality products. The only way you can check which supplier is speaking the truth is by checking their license.
A license is only issued to vendors that meet all the requirements set by the law. Only the top suppliers have operating permission to serve the people.
The majority of SARMs suppliers on the internet do not have the required license to sell SARMs. If you come across any such vendor which is selling SARMs without the necessary licensing, move on to the next option on your list.
Compare the Costs
The cost of the SARM might also help you verify if you’re buying it from a trustworthy seller.
A rule of thumb is to avoid suppliers who sell the SARM at very low or high prices. Inflated or cheap prices are an indication that the product isn’t genuine or high quality.
Quality SARMs are available at a competitive price because the manufacturing process requires ingredients than can be imported or bought locally at a reasonable price.
That is why it’s best to avoid suppliers who charge astronomically high or dirt-cheap prices for their SARMs.
Side Effects & Safety
While SARMs are largely safe, and while most users who take SARMs experience very manageable side effects, there’s still precautions to take.
Most SARMs will slightly suppress your natural testosterone production, so using a post cycle therapy is definitely recommended.
On cycle therapy isn’t needed by most, unless you decide to take higher dosages of SARMs, in which case an aromatase inhibitor would be useful.
Users taking SARMs may experience the following side effects:
- Mild Back Acne
- Testosterone Suppression
- Decreased HDL Cholesterol
- Mild Liver Toxicity
- Accelerated Hair Loss (Use RU58841 for This)
Again, it’s important to note that most users who take SARMs experience very few negative side effects, as has been verified by research. [R]
This being said, we the Nanotech Team still recommends taking a post cycle therapy at minimum, and potentially an on cycle therapy, as well.
In conclusion, SARMs are a fascinating new class of research chemicals, which when used responsibly, can yield massive muscle gains.
SARMs such as Ostarine, Testolone, and Ligandrol all present phenomenal opportunities to help users transform their physiques quite rapidly.
We hope that you enjoyed our article on SARMs. Always be sure to consult with a medical healthcare professional before trying any new routine.
❓ What is SARMs?
SARMs is short for "Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators," which is a new class of anabolic drug that enhances muscle growth, fat loss, and recovery in users. According to the FDA, SARMs show incredible promise as a new treatment for muscle wasting diseases.
❓ How Do You Take SARMs?
Generally speaking, SARMs are sold in one of three forms: liquid, capsule, or powder. All three are ingested orally, although your dosage will vary depending on which SARMs you're taking, what your goals are, and what your dosages are for the length of your cycle.
❓ How Do SARMs Work in the Body?
SARMs work by binding to androgen receptors in your skeletal muscles, shortly after ingestion. They begin working very quickly, and have a short half life of roughly 12-36 hours (depending on the SARM). Once they've bound to androgen receptors, they signal your body to build muscle and shred fat.
❓ Are SARMs Actually Safe?
Studies have shown that SARMs are very well tolerated by most individuals, and are generally considered to be safe. In fact, the FDA is currently testing several different SARMs as a potential treatment for those suffering from muscle wasting, osteoporosis, and other diseases.
❓ Do SARMs Have Any Side Effects?
Most users tolerate SARMs very well according to clinical research, however there are some potential side effects to be aware of. Some SARMs can cause decreased testosterone, increased cholesterol, and increased estrogen in users when taken improperly.