Cardarine (GW501516, GW516)


Cardarine (GW501516, GW516)

This drug was first brought to my attention when I saw that many personal trainers were giving it to clients to promote fat loss. I was surprised at the popularity and wanted to delve deep into the research.

  • First described in 1992, Cardarine is a Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor Delta (PPARD) receptor agonist (aids with stimulation of the receptor).
  • It is not a SARM, however, most individuals catergorize it with SARMs.
  • PPARD agonists plays a large role in metabolism.
  • It was originally developed to aid individuals in improving their good cholesterol (HDL)
  • They influence insulin sensitivity, glucose tolerance and cholesterol levels positively.
  • Furthermore, research has shown therapeutic benefit on indicators for obesity, type 2 diabetes, and high cholesterol (hypercholesterinemia).
  • This drug is still under research.
  • The reasons this drug may prove beneficial as a weight loss agent is that it decreases glucose use when exercising and promotes fatty acid utilization for energy.
  • It improves exercise endurance and power output.
  • In animal studies, Cardarine drastically reduced mouse fat whilst increasing endurance.
  • Cardarine can remodel fast twitch muscle fibers (strength) into slow twitch (endurance).
  • Cardarine has been investigated in phase 2 human trials on 268 humans. They found a dose of 10 mg to increase HDL (good cholesterol), decrease LDL (bad cholesterol) and decrease Triglycerides. This study also found it to be cardioprotective (protective to the heart). Furthermore, lean body mass increased in participants.
  • This drug was pulled from development in 2009. During safety trials Cardarine was shown to increase the risk of cancer at all doses tested. Findings like this will mean further research is unlikely. There is criticism of this study, but I will talk about that in a separate article.
  • It is banned by WADA.

Side Effects:

  • Besides the possible carcinogenic (cancer causing) side effects, the drug was well tolerated at 10 mg a day in all human trials.
  • There was no liver toxicity.
  • No change in the blood count or kidney function was also reported.
  • Again, there are not enough studies to fully characterize the side effects.


  • The half life is reported to be 12 to 24 hours, thus once or twice daily oral administration can be used.
  • For performance enhancement the drug is taken before exercise on training days.
  • 10 to 20 mg daily is typically used for 6 to 12 week cycles.

Warning: It has not been approved for human consumption


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