The Basics to Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMs)



The purpose of this blog is not to promote the use of SARMs, rather it is to mitigate the health effects and educate those who decide to utilise SARMs.

Medical jargon will be used minimally to reach a broader audience and to decrease misunderstanding.


Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMs), as stated in the name, work at the Androgen Receptor (AR). The receptor responds to hormones like Testosterone and its by-products such as dihydroxy-testosterone (DHT). These receptors are found not only in muscles but all over the body and that’s why anabolic steroids tend to have various undesired effects, because they don’t just work at the muscle.

This sets up the scene for the development of more selective anabolic agents that do not bind to the ARs in tissues that we do not want them to bind, such as the prostate. Hence, this promoted the development of SARMs.

Common Misconceptions:

Originally this was going to be included at the end of this article, however, this is an important topic that should not be overlooked.

Liver Toxicity (Hepatotoxicity)
It used to be a common belief that SARMs will not influence your liver since unlike other Oral/Tablet Anabolic steroids they are not 17α-alkylated. However, this notion is incorrect. In studies on SARMs using lower doses than those used in Bodybuilding a transaminitis was observed in a few participants (Liver enzymes were raised). This has been shown in multiple different studies on SARMs.
Therefore, it would be advisable to use some sort of liver aid whilst using SARMs (Such as Tauroursodeoxycholic acid – TUDCA). These aids will be discussed in a separate article.

Testosterone Suppression
There is a belief that SARMs do not supress your natural testosterone production or it does so mildly unlike anabolic steroids. Whilst different SARMs have different levels of suppression, all do supress your natural testosterone supply. S-23 has the most potent suppression for any recorded SARM. The level of suppression does also depend on the dose. Out of interest, some SARMs were designed to be male contraceptives and therefore Spermatogenesis (production of sperm) is altered.
Therefore, it would be advisable at the beginning and end of a SARM cycle to have blood tests to see where your Testosterone was before the cycle and how it is now. This will guide you as to whether you will require an intensive or non-intensive Post-cycle Therapy (PCT – discussed later) to boost your natural testosterone levels.

MK677 and Cardarine (GW501516)
These two agents are commonly included under the heading of SARMs, however, neither work at the AR and are therefore not SARMs. They will be discussed in separate articles.

SARMs Strength Relative to Anabolic Steroids
Another misconception is that SARMs are not as strong as anabolic steroids in terms of muscle building performance and athletic performance. However, more recent evidence shows that most anabolic steroids and SARMs can induce as much protein synthesis as one another when doses are comparable.


Important Facts about SARMs

SARMs should never be used in individuals who have not undergone puberty or are currently still undergoing pubertal changes and height changes. The reason for the above is that SARMs do not convert to oestrogen and in fact lowers oestrogen. Oestrogen is important in preventing premature closure of the growth plates. Therefore, SARMs can prevent individuals from growing to the height they would have been had they not used SARMs. Furthermore, SARMs do not convert to DHT and decreases your own natural testosterone (and thus DHT) production. DHT is responsible for penile growth during puberty and is thus needed for adolescents.

As alluded to in the previous paragraph, SARMs are not oestrogenic and in fact will lower your oestrogen slightly through the decrease in Testosterone. Although this may sound like a benefit, it is not. Oestrogen is important because it is Cardioprotective (Helps protect the heart) and Neuroprotective (helps protect the nervous system such as the brain). In addition, it is good for sexual function (too much or too little oestrogen can influence one’s libido and erectile function). These are just to name a few of the important functions of oestrogen. Ideally one would want to supplement with exogenous oestrogen (i.e., The pill – however doses will be discussed in a separate article). However, if you chose not to supplement with exogenous oestrogen be aware of the risks and potential sexual side effects. Oestrogen levels should normalize once the SARM is stopped, and natural testosterone production starts again.

Another important point is that most SARMs have not been subject to full human clinical trials which means data on the efficacy and potential toxicity of these drugs is limited. These are also Research Compounds and most have not undergone approval by the FDA and other associations.

Next we will start discussing individual SARM profiles.


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