Everything You Need to Know About Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMs)
Selective androgen receptor modulators, better known as SARMs, are advertised as a steroid alternative. Discover the truth about the safety and effectiveness of SARMs today in our guide.
What Are SARMs?
SARMs contain androgens. Androgens are a unique type of hormone that give steroids and prohormones their muscle growth properties. When you take traditional steroids, you’re typically pumping androgens directly into your body.
Taking SARMs is kind of like taking an indirect form of steroids. Instead of just pumping up your body with androgens, SARMs affect the way your body receives androgens at its receptor sites.
Scientifically speaking, androgens act as ligands, which means they link molecules to other molecules. They primarily connect to cellular androgen receptors, or ARs. Your body’s ARs are integrated in a composite signal transduction conduit that ultimately leads to a magnified expression of particular genes – like the genes responsible for muscle growth and development.
The “selective receptor modulator” part of the SARM refers to the fact that it’s a drug that can either obstruct or promote hormone receptors in different conditions. It’s “selective” because it can choose to do either. By “modulating” the hormone “receptors”, the Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator can help you achieve various health and fitness goals.
You don’t have to know all that science stuff in order to take SARMs, but it gives you some background about what you’re pumping into your body.
What’s important to know is that SARMs are 200 times more powerful and 80 times more selective when it comes to muscle growth compared to legal steroid supplements like Depo-Testosterone (Testosterone cypionate).
How Do SARMs Work?
SARMs are designed to boost the skeletal muscle mass and strength of androgen-deficient individuals. As the body ages, we gradually lose our endurance, power, and skeletal muscle mass.
You can take SARMs in two main ways:
— Injectable Doses
SARMs purportedly produce results similar to testosterone. They also produce dose-dependent improvements in bone mineral density and motorized strength. There’s also some evidence they decrease body fat and increase lean muscle mass.
Benefits of SARMs
— Non-Toxic (won’t damage your liver)
— Avoids Bone Loss
— Reduces Risk of Prostate Problems
— Won’t Impede your HPTA
— Similar benefits to Testosterone in terms of muscle mass, fat loss, and lean muscle growth
— No estrogen and dihyrotestosterone conversion (reduced post-cycle therapy required)
— Faster post-workout and post-injury recovery times
Side Effects of SARMs
Like all drugs that affect your testosterone levels, SARMs will inevitably lead to side effects when taken for long periods of time at high dosage levels. Some of the side effects associated with taking SARMs for more than four weeks include:
— Testicular Atrophy (reduced size of your testicles)
— Gynecomastia (man boobs)
— Development of Male Characteristics in Women (Virilization)
You can limit these side effects by carefully controlling your doses, cycling on and off SARMs, and maintaining adequate post-cycle therapies.
Most Popular SARMs
There are four main SARMs on the market today. Out of all of the ones listed here, Ostarine is the most controversial (see the Lawsuit section below for further explanation):
— LGD-4033: This is a powerful non-steroidal supplement targeted towards bodybuilders who want to build lean muscle while reducing body fat.
— GW 501516 (Cardarine): Burns fat without muscle loss and vastly improves endurance. Used by top athletes and bodybuilders and sometimes called “the king of endurance supplements”.
How to Buy SARMs
SARMs are difficult to find online – especially since they’ve become less and less legal over the course of 2015.
With SARM retailers popping up online (and being taken down) seemingly every week, your best bet is to search Google for SARM retailers in your area.
Be careful where you give your money to buy SARMs: with increased legal crackdowns, you never know when a website will be shut down or suddenly disappear overnight.
Why Are SARMs Suddenly So Popular?
SARMs have suddenly become popular in 2015. Why?
Well, it can be traced back to the banning of prohormones. Bodybuilders like Patrick Arnold first introduced the world to prohormones in the mid-1990s. Prohormones worked like a “lighter” version of steroids. They were safer and came with fewer side effects – but still offered the gains desired by bodybuilders.
In December 2014, the United States passed something called the Designer Anabolic Steroid Control Act (DASCA). That bill effectively banned prohormones from the marketplace. Among other things, it called for fines of $500,000 on anyone who sold prohormones.
Of course, the demand for steroids didn’t disappear overnight. Instead, the market simply decided to find a loophole in the bill, then exploit that loophole for maximum profit.
That’s where SARMs come up. SARMs rely on a loophole in the law because they’re non-steroidal compounds that nevertheless activate androgen receptors.
They’re controversial and probably illegal. We’ll talk about the legality of SARMs below.
SARMs Are Not Legal Supplements
On October 21, 2015, the first SARM lawsuit was filed. The industry enjoyed a great surge for the first 10 months of 2015 but most people guessed that the loophole would eventually be closed and that SARM manufacturers would face a crackdown from the FDA.
SARMs didn’t specifically violate DASCA. That’s why they were initially advertised as the next big thing in the supplement industry – especially after several of them were proven to work nearly as well as traditional anabolic steroid supplements.
The problem with SARMs is that they’re most accurately described as research chemicals. They’re not completely illegal because they’re not officially restricted or scheduled by the FDA. But at the same time, it’s disingenuous to sell research chemicals as nutritional supplements in supplement stores.
SARMs are under active research and may have legitimate medical purposes in the future. But that doesn’t mean they should be rushed to market by any bodybuilding supplement manufacturer that chooses to do so.
For that reason, it seems like it was only a matter of time before the FDA or DEA decided to take action.
The first SARM lawsuit was filed in California by Nutrition Distribution LLC against IronMagLabs. You can read details of that lawsuit below.
IronMagLabs was accused of the following:
— False Advertising (per the Lanham Act § 43 (a)(1)(B))
— Unfair Competition in California (California Business and Professions Code Section 17200)
— California Unfair Competition (Business and Professions Code Section 17500)
The complaint was specifically targeted towards two IronMagLabs supplements: Osta RX and Super DMZ, both of which were allegedly sold incorrectly as dietary supplements.
The problem is that both supplements contain the SARM Ostarine, which is under active investigation as a new pharmaceutical drug and is not recognized as safe and effective.
IronMagLabs claimed the lawsuit was “frivolous” and promised to fight against it “til the end”.
PricePlow.com did a pretty good writeup of the lawsuit here.