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Many of you may have heard the term “SARMs” being tossed around the fitness community and even the professional bodybuilding scene for quite some time now, which has led to many people wondering what they are and their capabilities. SARMs is an acronym for Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators, they are a group of synthetic compounds that were originally created to treat muscle wasting diseases and become a potential candidate for anabolic therapies. Since then they have been adopted by bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts due to their dramatic effects on muscle growth, fat loss, strength, endurance and cardiovascular performance.
WHAT DO THEY DO?
SARMs work similarly to anabolic steroids, in the sense that they bind to androgen receptors in the body that switch on chemical messengers to express certain genes and enhance certain functions. Basically, this means that when taking SARMs or steroids they will increase the bodies capability to do things such as build muscle, enhance fat loss, increase strength and endurance.
SARMs ‘selectively’ bind to androgen receptors and this is what separates them from steroids. When they were created, individual SARMs were made to cause specific results and therefore bind to receptors that would stimulate the desired result. This is the reason that there are a multitude of different SARMs.
A major reason that SARMs are used by such a large amount of people is their lesser side effects when compared to anabolic steroids. Due to their selective nature SARMs only stimulate receptors in bone and muscle tissue and therefore do not influence unwanted growth of internal organs. They also do not breakdown into by products such as DHT and estrogen which cause unwanted effects such as acne and gyno. They are also orally administered which makes them easy to take in tablet or oral liquid forms (such as using a dropper).
BENEFITS OF USING SARMS
As discussed in the previous section, SARMs do not cause as many side effects as anabolic steroids. Of course this is an incredible benefit, but does this mean they don’t work or are not as strong? No, certain SARMs are just as strong and in some cases stronger than certain anabolic steroids.
When taking SARMs, an individual will experience massive increases in muscle growth, strength gain, fat loss and endurance. Which are all of course highly desired when attempting to build an aesthetic physique, get stronger, faster or more endurant.
A massive positive to taking certain SARMs over steroids is their anabolic to androgenic ratios. Androgens are hormones responsible for giving males their “men like” characteristics including more body hair, differences in voice and appearance and so on. Certain SARMs contain high anabolic effects while causing less androgenic effects meaning they do not increase these male characteristics, making them safe for men and women to take that do not want these side effects.
THINGS TO CONSIDER/PRECAUTIONS
SARMs are to be cycled when being used. Similar to when steroids are used, SARMs should only be used for 8-12 weeks at a time followed by an off cycle period for the body to regulate its hormonal function.
SARMs are commonly thought to not suppress testosterone, this is not true, SARMs most definitely suppress testosterone. The severity of suppression is dependent on which compound has been cycled, but all SARMs require a Post Cycle Therapy (PCT) similar to when finishing a steroid cycle. It is important to also note that a natural test booster is not a sufficient PCT for SARMs. Nolvadex, Clomid or products containing those compounds are appropriate to use after a cycle of SARMs.
SARMs may still alter liver enzyme levels and cholesterol levels. Certain individuals have experienced these negative side-effects in post cycle bloodwork. It is important to be aware of this risk when thinking of or cycling SARMs, along with taking appropriate measures post cycle such as seeing a doctor for a blood test to determine if any negative effects have occurred.
SARMs are not a regulated compound due to legality reasons. Due to this, there is no quality or quantity control when companies are manufacturing SARMs. This means that when purchasing SARMs you must choose a reliable source and brand to ensure the product contains the correct compound in the amount stated on the label.
COMPOUNDS THAT ARE NOT SARMS
Some compounds have been grouped within the SARMs scene and are commonly referred to as SARMs but they do not work through androgen receptors and are therefore NOT SARMs. These compounds are still extremely effective, they just simply work through different hormone imitation and receptors within the body to produce their effect. 2 examples of these compounds are:
MK-677 – The Growth Hormone (GH) secretagogue, which works by stimulating ghrelin hormone in the central nervous system, which binds to ghrelin GH secretagogue receptors in the brain (within the Hypothalamus). This receptor then stimulates the production of Growth Hormone and IGF-1. Through stimulating GH and IGF-1, effects such as enhanced muscle growth and fat burning occur.
GW-501516 – Exercise in a bottle. GW-501516 otherwise known as Cardarine is a Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor beta (PPAR) agonist which acts on PPAR receptors to enhance performance and stamina. By doing this it drastically increases an individual’s exercise capacity, in studies it has shown to increase exhaustive running distance by 30%. It also increases fat burning capabilities.
When taking these compounds, there is no requirement for PCT as they do not cause disruptions to the body’s natural testosterone production. Each of these compounds of course have their own side effects that should be taken into consideration when using them and deciding dosage/cycle length.
SARMs are powerful compounds that can drastically enhance an individual’s physique and performance. It is important to take the appropriate precautions when using SARMs, such as an effective PCT. When choosing a singular or multiple SARMs for usage, it is important to be aware of their individual properties as some may be more suitable than others. When using compounds such as MK-677 or GW-501516 there is no need for a PCT to be taken, but precautions in dosage and cycle length should be taken.