SARMs – Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators
There are no two ways about it – performance enhancing drugs are a controversial topic. If you mention PED’s to most people then they will immediately think of dangerous drugs that athletes take to cheat, such as anabolic steroids. Over the course of the last decade however, there has been the emergence of a brand new class of performance enhancing drugs known as SARMs (Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators), and despite the fact that there is relatively little scientific research and evidence related to SARMs, their effectiveness does appear to be legitimate. From both the very small amount of studies carried out on them (in addition to a plethora of anecdotal evidence) it appears that they are able to build lean muscle mass and burn body fat in a similar vein to that of anabolic steroids, yet without the common side effects associated with steroids such as gynecomastia, testicular atrophy, hepatoxicity and androgen-induced hair growth. They are able to do this in a very targeted way, i.e. by interacting with the androgen receptor to produce the positive effects (muscle hypertrophy and lipolysis), yet not inducing negative effects; therefore, if you’re looking to accrue lean muscle mass and lose body fat then SARMs may be an excellent choice.
That being said, and even though SARMs appear to be safer on paper, most of the studies that have been carried out on SARMs were done on rats, not humans, therefore there is no data that exists in relation to the long-term safety of human usage. Although it seems that they are relatively safe, there could be long-term potential side effects that we will not know about for many years, and as we all know, messing around with your HPTA and hormones can be potentially risky. SARMs are certainly worth discussing and can be considered by those seeking an alternative to anabolic steroids. In addition, it must be noted that SARMs are on WADA’s banned list, therefore if you are an athlete or compete in any form of drug tested competition then you shouldn’t consume these. However, if you’re seeking to experiment on yourself then SARMs are certainly worth considering.
How do SARMs work?
Taking anabolic steroids is tantamount to using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut. Steroids assist you in building muscle by increasing the amount of anabolic/androgenic hormone(s) in your system – to supra-physiological levels. This (amongst other things) increases nitrogen retention within the muscle cell, which in turn dramatically increases protein synthesis. There are also able to boost the rate of lipolysis too. These are considered the anabolic effects of steroids, however there are also androgenic ones too. Whilst some of the androgenic effects aren’t negative (increased strength, focus, muscle hardness), there are numerous negative androgenic effects that steroids produce. There are androgen receptors located all over the body and therefore steroids will interact with these in such places as the heart, liver, kidneys, prostate, sex organs etc. . Androgenic, in layman’s terms, means secondary sexual characteristics, therefore men taking steroids may experience hair loss on the head, hair growth on the body, acne and potentially gynecomastia. Don’t forget, steroids also interfere with the negative feedback loop of the HPTA, and therefore the brain will detect exogenous hormones and shut down the production of natural testosterone leading to testicular shrinkage. Women using steroids will experience all of the secondary sexual characteristics that males experience, and may even experience clitoral enlargement (and it only takes very small doses of weak androgens to cause permanent androgenic effects in women).
Testosterone has an anabolic: androgenic ratio of 1:1, meaning it will cause both anabolic and androgenic effects in equal amounts, therefore those using it can expect both positive and negatives effects (dose dependent). SARMs on the other hand have much better anabolic:androgenic ratios. i.e. more anabolic than androgenic, starting at 3:1 and going up to as much as 90:1. As you can see, SARMs have the potential to build muscle with fewer side effects. They’re also legal too, provided you purchase them for ‘research purposes’. At present there are numerous SARMs available online and several more currently going through clinical trials.
To read more about SARMs go to: http://101sarms.com/