Benefits and Side Effects

You may or may not have heard of SARMs. A study conducted in January 2017 found that 85%* of surveyed males would take SARMs again. But what’s all the fuss about? This article briefly explains the benefits and side effects of Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators.

What are the benefits of SARMs?

Of the 52 males surveyed* the most common benefits** in males 16 – 55 are:

  • Improved strength – 92%
  • Fat-loss – 83%
  • Overall wellbeing – 83%
  • Improved libido – 48%
  • Increased mobility – 33%

**Percentage of each side effect represents those that noticed at least a ‘slight improvement’.

To learn more about how SARMs work and the best use of each, click here.

Why is there a risk?

Selective androgen receptor modulators can cause a number of side effects due to their ability to enhance androgen expression. Once the body receives an external signal to produce a substantial amount of something it can cause suppression because it thinks it no longer has to produce it itself. Some SARMs are more likely to cause suppression than others, C-6 is a notable example of causing suppression and is currently being investigated as a male contraceptive.

Does risk mean they are unsafe?

Based on their ability to select and target tissue, SARMs seem to look promising as a therapeutic option for the treatment of muscle wasting over anabolic androgenic steroids. However several side effects have been documented when used for more than eight weeks at high dosages.

Read more about cycling, dosage and suggested use to avoid risk

Side effects of SARMs

Of the 52 males surveyed* the most common side effect** in males 16 – 55 are:

  • Suppression – 83%
  • Low libido – 53%
  • Acne – 45%
  • Water retention – 45%
  • Vision impairment – 7%
  • Gynecomastia – 0%
  • Unwanted hair – 0%

**Percentage of each side effect represents those that noticed at least a ‘slight change’

For suppression, it may be worth considering PCT – click here to learn more.

The side effects listed above are due to the increase in testosterone that is linked to all SARM use – however, the safety profile of SARMs themselves differ considerably to the traditional use of pro-hormonal therapy. The use of SARMs are promising as a therapy but would only be realised through the implementation of further trials.

How do SARMs compare to pro-hormones?

In addition to the side effects listed above, specific side effects have been documented for each type of SARM:

What is a safe dosage?

The higher doses induce greater anabolic effects, but are associated with higher frequency of adverse effects. Dosage varies by goals, by the SARM and should vary by your age.

Ostarine MK-2866 (Enobosarm)

Developed by GTx, Inc. in the United States, Ostarine is prescribed for the treatment and prevention of muscle wasting in patients exhibiting signs of rapid muscle loss.

How does it work?

Binds to androgen receptor cells and facilitates the protein synthesis process allowing muscle tissue to build and prevents any restriction on the amount of muscle tissue formed.

What role do androgen receptors play in muscle building?

Who may benefit from taking Ostarine?

Non-professional athletes and bodybuilders are regularly known to take SARMs to assist in training to increase physical stamina and strength with similar effects to anabolic steroids without the anabolic side effects. Ostarine is a versatile SARM and can be used for recovery, lean muscle gains and improved strength. See here for more information on how to use.

Notable cases of professional sportsmen using Ostarine:

Tim Means, a UFC fighter was pulled from a fight in 2016 after testing positive for Ostarine.

Lucian Bute, former super middleweight world titleholder tested positive for Ostarine in 2016.

Specific Ostarine MK-2866 side effects when taking high (>20mg) dosages

  • Light sensitivity
  • Increased body temperature
  • Sleep apnoea
  • Increased appetite

Andarine (GTx-007, S-4)

Developed by GTX, Inc, Andarine is used for treating conditions in patients that result in muscle wasting and osteoporosis. The compound differs from Ostarine by using the non-steroidal androgen antagonist bicalutamide.

How does it work?

Andarine competitively blocks the binding of dihydrotestosterone to receptor targets in the prostate gland and selectively targets androgen receptors in the body therefore stimulating muscle growth. Andarine reportedly has a ‘drying’ effect on the muscles and potent fat metabolising effects which gives a defined physique and are popular amongst bodybuilders during phases of a restricted diet.

Who may benefit from taking Andarine?

Andarine is commonly used for its ability to maximise lean muscle growth. It is usually the preferred due to its low potency and the minimal testosterone suppression.

Like all other SARMs, Andarine was banned in 2008 by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

Notable cases of professional sportsmen using Andarine:

There has been no cases of a sportsmen testing positive for Andarine.

Specific Andarine S4 side effects when taking high (>50mg) dosages

  • Short term yellow tint
  • Testosterone suppression

Read more about the types of SARMs in the extensive beginner SARMs guide now.