If you are a bodybuilder or strength athlete looking to build muscle and blitz body fat, then you’ve likely come across some of the best SARMs around.
SARMs stands for selective androgen receptor modulators. Like anabolic steroids, SARMs bind to androgen receptors in body tissue. However, unlike anabolic steroids, which bind to androgen receptors throughout the body, SARMs are selective in only binding to certain androgens .
This is an important differentiator between anabolic steroids and SARMs. SARMs create anabolic activity by directly stimulating androgen receptors. However, they do not create androgenic activity in non-skeletal muscle tissue – the cause of many unwanted side effects .
This has led to many bodybuilders and strength athletes assessing how SARMs can help with bulking and cutting whilst avoiding unwanted side effects associated with anabolic steroids.
We run through some of the best SARMs stacks out there, as well as the side effects and legal standing (under USDA guidelines) of SARMs both in competition and at a recreational level.
Best SAMRs For Cutting & Bulking
- Testolone RAD-140
- Ligandrol LGD 4033
Our team of in-house strength and fitness experts have reviewed the top 5 best SARMs on the market. All of our research is fact-checked and based on scientific evidence.
We also run through the side effects and health risks associated with all of the best SARMs.
Top 5 Best Best SARMs
Here at BigBlueTest, we comprehensively review leading health and fitness supplements.
We show you all of the main benefits, side effects, and health risks of the best SARMs, including Ostarine, Andarine, and Ligandrol.
1. Ostarine MK-2866
Best Overall SARM
The first selective androgen receptor modulator on our list of the best SARMs is Ostarine MK-2866.
Bodybuilders use Ostarine MK-2866 to help build muscle and accelerate weight loss. It binds to androgen receptors in the body, which tell muscles to grow. It also kicks starts protein synthesis, which helps the body build lean muscle mass fast .
Many strength athletes also use Ostarine MK-2866 during cutting phases as it helps to maintain lean muscle mass and an anabolic state during sustained calorie-deficit.
Ostarine MK-2866 was originally developed to help cancer patients and people living with AIDS counteract muscle wastage. In one study, just one milligram of Ostarine MK-2866 was shown to significantly increase the stair-climbing potential of cancer patients .
In bodybuilding, strength athletes that are building muscle can expect to see an increase in lean muscle mass of between 5-7lb during a six-week cycle.
Ostarine MK-2866 Side Effects
While there is limited medical research into Ostarine MK-2866, scientific studies have shown that Ostarine MK-2866 does not share some of the negative side effects seen in testosterone and anabolic steroid use – such as enlarging the prostate gland and sexual organs .
Some people supplementing with Ostarine MK-2866 will experience nausea, stomach cramps, digestive discomfort, and diarrhea. Women should not supplement with Ostarine MK-2866 when pregnant.
2. Ligandrol LGD 4033
Best SARMs For BodyBuilding
Next on our list of the best SARMs is Ligandrol LGD4033. Alongside Ostarine MK-2866, it is the most popular SARM on our list and is suited to men and women. It was originally developed to help combat the negative effects of osteoporosis.
Ligandrol is one of few different SARMs that have undergone introductory human trials. And the results to date have been positive.
In a 21 study that looked at the impact of Ligandrol LGD 4033 supplementation in healthy men, it was shown that all 21 participants saw an increase in lean muscle mass. What’s more, participants showed an increase in stair climbing power and leg strength .
Ligandrol LGD 4033 is also extremely potent. Throughout the study, each male participants only received 0.1-1mg of LGD 4033 per serving and saw positive effects.
A further study looked at the impact of LGD 4033 supplementation (0.1, 0.3, and 1 mg/day) in 76 healthy men over a 3-month period (combining different low doses).
The study found that men, on average increased lean muscle mass by 3lb throughout the period and that participants could safely tolerate the supplement.
In animal studies where high doses were given, it was shown that animals could safely consume up to 22 mg of LGD 4033 per day without suffering negative side effects. Though lower doses of LGD 4033 were sufficient for accelerating muscle growth .
It is believed that Ligandrol is more suitable for women than other SARMs. Women naturally build muscle at a slower pace than men. Therefore LGD 4033 can help kickstart this process and help accelerate muscle gains.
Ligandrol LGD 4033 Side Effects
Ligandrol LGD 4033, like other SARMs, is non-steroidal, meaning you won’t experience the same unwanted side effects as anabolic steroids.
Further research into the side effects of Ligandrol is required. However, in human trials to date, LGD 4033 has been well-tolerated by participants. Anecdotally, some bodybuilders who have supplemented with LGD 4033 have complained of nausea and stomach upset.
3. Testolone RAD-140
Best SARMs For Bulking
Next on our list of the best SARMs is Testolone RAD-140.
Testolone or RAD-140 is one of the most potent SARMs. It was originally developed to treat various muscle wasting diseases, as well as breast cancer .
Bodybuilders have been attracted to RAD-140 because it is more selective than other anabolic steroids and SARMs in only binding to androgen receptors in muscle tissue and bone.
It also blocks androgen receptors in breast tissue and the prostate, decreasing the risk of associated prostate and breast cancers .
Currently, there are no human clinical trials that look at the effect of RAD-140 on muscle building. However, in a study that looked at 9 monkeys who were given a daily dose of RAD-140, all 9 monkeys experienced gains in lean muscle mass after 28 days.
Similar animal studies have shown RAD-140 to be beneficial in weight loss, preventing breast cancer, and boosting brain function. Though again, none of this evidence has been backed up by human trials.
The chemical structure of Testolone RAD-140 is completely different from testosterone and other anabolic steroids. This means that the chemical pathways that convert testosterone into estrogen cannot work on Testolone. This is another reason that bodybuilders have experimented with RAD-140 supplementation .
Testolone RAD-140 Side Effects
There is only anecdotal research into the negative side effects of Testolone. It is believed that RAD-140 does not share the unwanted negative side effects of synthetic testosterone supplementation, meaning it might be a safer and more effective alternative.
However, at present, these claims are not backed up by scientific research. Some bodybuilders have experienced mild side effects when supplementing with RAD-140, including nausea, lethargy, and insomnia.
Other bodybuilders have anecdotally commented that RAD-140 can cause temporary hair loss during SARMs cycles.
4. Andarine S-4
Best SARMs For Cutting
The next SARM on our list is Andarine, also known as S-4.
Andarine was originally developed to help with muscle wasting diseases and osteoporosis. However, bodybuilders now build Andarine into their SARM stacks, thanks to its ability to build muscle and strengthen bones .
Limited studies have been carried out exploring the impact of Andarine in humans. Still, in animal research, Andarine has been shown to build muscle mass, increase bone density, and accelerate fat loss .
With that said, Ostarine MK-2866 has been favored by medical experts due to the impact of potentially dangerous side effects suffered when supplementing with Andarine.
Andarine Side Effects
While research into Andarine is limited, humans have experienced vision-related side effects when supplementing with Andarine. As such, proceed with caution if you wish to add Andarine into your supplement stack.
Many bodybuilders and strength athletes opt to supplement with Ostarine as an alternative when bulking and cutting.
SARMs Buying Guide
Now that we have run through some of the best SARMs out there, let’s turn our attention to our SARMs buying guide.
Selective androgen receptor modulators remain a great area for bodybuilders and strength athletes. And for a good reason. There remains a lack of human clinical trials into the long term side effects of SARMs.
There is also a lack of information on how SARMs impact natural testosterone production, testosterone suppression, and blood work.
Let’s look at some of the important questions you should ask before buying a SARMs.
What Are SARMs?
SARMs is an acronym for selective androgen receptor modulators. They are a group of chemical therapeutic compounds that bind to androgen receptors throughout the body .
However, unlike anabolic steroids, which bind to androgen receptors all over the body, SARMs have the unique ability to bind to muscle tissue and bone selectively.
This selectivity has made SARMs popular among bodybuilders and strength athletes. This is because high-quality SARMs can promote muscle growth and sustain lean muscle mass during bulking and cutting cycles.
The best SARMs stacks are also non-steroidal and are not substrates of 5 alpha-reductase or CYP19 aromatase . This means that they can not be converted to estrogen, unlike testosterone.
There is currently very little clinical research into the impact of SARMs in human studies. Some studies into different SARMs like LGD 4033 have shown that SARMs can significantly positively impact lean muscle mass without negative side effects.
With that said, SARMs remain unapproved by the FDA. They are prohibited in recreational sport and competition both by the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) and the USADA (US Anti-Doping Agency).
Are SARMs Safe To Use?
At present, the use of SARMs as a safe dietary supplement is inconclusive.
SARMs are not approved for use by the FDA and are banned substances under WADA and USADA guidelines. In fact, SARMs are listed in the category of “Other Anabolic Agents” under section S1.2 of the WADA Prohibited List.
There has been limited research into the impact of SARMs on human health. Some initial research has looked at 8-week cycles of SARM intake on lean muscle mass and fat loss, but the bulk of clinical research has been carried out on animals.
Supplementing with products that are not regulated and approved by the FDA increases the risk of abuse. That is because substances can misquote quantities.
If you are looking for SARMs for sale, proceed with caution.
What Are The Benefits Of Taking SARMs?
There are potentially significant benefits for bodybuilders looking to supplement with the best SARMs.
Early clinical trials have indicated that SARMs like Ostarine MK-2866 and Ligandrol LGD4033 have positively impacted lean muscle mass among healthy men.
What’s more, SARMs can selectively bind to muscle tissue and bone, which means that they could positively impact muscle growth without increasing the negative side effects of testosterone and anabolic steroids .
As outlined in our guide to the best legal steroids, SARMs and legal steroids can potentially provide similar benefits to anabolic steroids without negative side effects.
Anabolic steroids’ common side effects include acne, breast tissue development in men, hair growth in women, anger, anxiety, sleep disturbance, and cardiovascular health problems .
Do SARMs Have Side Effects?
Given the lack of human-based clinical research into different SARMs, the potential side effects need to be explored further.
In initial research, it seems that humans can intake and enjoy the benefits of SARMs without unwanted negative side effects. This makes SARMs an attractive alternative to anabolic steroids.
With that said, SARMs remain a banned substance by both the USADA and WADA. SARMs are also not regulated or approved by the UD FDA.
In fact, while lacking evidence, the FDA has warned consumers of the potentially life-threatening side effects of SARMs use, including a heightened risk of heart attack and stroke.
In anecdotal research, bodybuilders who supplement with SARMs have not experienced negative side effects.
And in a clinical trial that explored LGD 4033 supplementation in 76 healthy men who took low doses (0.1, 0.3, and 1 mg/day), each tolerated the substance without side effects.
How Should You Take SARMs?
If you decide to supplement with research chemicals like SARMs, you should start by working out your goals before kicking off your next SARMs cycle.
If you are looking to bulk up and build muscle, you should take a different SARMs stack to someone that is cutting and looking to blitz body fat.
The common SARMs cycle is an 8-week cycle that starts with a low dose of SARMs. If you find that your tolerance to the SARMs is ok, you can take a higher dosage.
Some initial research has indicated that 12-week SARMs cycles are also effective, but you should not supplement SARMs for longer than 12 weeks. On top of this, do not continually supplement with more than 5mg of SARMs per day.
Given the long term health benefits and associated risks of SARMs remaining unproven, if you experience any negative side effects during your cycle, stop taking SARMs immediately.
Now that we have covered some of the main benefits and side effects of SARMs let’s cover some quick FAQ.
Can Men and Women Take SARMs?
Yes, men and women can take SARMs. One of the main drawbacks of women taking legal steroids and anabolic steroids is that they growth hormones and testosterone.
While anabolic steroids pose several health risks to men and women, it is thought that these side effects are even stronger for females.
There is some initial evidence that SARMs are a good alternative for women. Early evidence suggests SARMs may also be used as breast cancer treatment and to combat osteoporosis.
Should I Carry Out Post-Cycle Therapy?
Many bodybuilders cycle anabolic steroids and SARMs because it’s important to give your body a break.
This prevents you from building a tolerance that could have a long-term impact on your natural hormone balance and hormone production.
On top of this, when you stop taking SARMs and anabolic steroids, you provide your HPTA (the system that regulates your hormone production) a chance to increase testosterone production naturally.
Some health practitioners believe that it is important to take PCT supplements after carrying out SARMs cycles. This helps your body return to normal hormone balance and production levels, especially if you have abused SARMs supplementation .
Whether you are taking prohormones, SERMs like Nolvadex and Clomid, stenabolics, or SARMs, we’d advise that you speak to a medical practitioner who can help set up a post-cycle therapy for your individual needs .
Unlike anabolic steroids, it is advised that you can start post-cycle therapy immediately after your SARMs cycle.
Do SARMs Impact Testosterone Levels?
Yes, some SARMs can decrease testosterone levels. When taken at high doses, certain SARMs can increase testosterone suppression.
If you have experienced negative side effects caused by decreased testosterone production, then it is advised you start post-cycle therapy to rebalance hormone levels.
Where Can You Find SARMs For Sale?
There are a host of reputable dietary supplement stores in the USA that sell SARMs online.
If you are purchasing SARMs from a non-reputable dealer, then you should ignore the dietary information provided, as it is likely a false disclaimer.
Remember that the FDA does not regulate SARMs; this means some leading supplement shops will avoid selling popular SARMs.
Is YK-11 a SARM?
No, YK-11 is not a SARM.
In fact, it is commonly mistaken for a SARM (and even a prohormone) because bodybuilders use it to pack on lean muscle mass and build muscle.
YK-11 actually has the same structure as an anabolic steroid and is similar in structure to DHT.
Is Cardarine a SARM?
No, cardarine is not a SARM.
Cardarine is a PPAR Receptor Agonist that helps bodybuilders build workout endurance and overall fitness levels.
Unlike Ostarine MK-2866 and LGD 4033 that help you bulk up and build muscle, Cardarine is often used when dieting to improve cardio workouts’ intensity.
Is Ibutamoren a SARM?
No, Ibutamoren (or MK-677) is not a SARM.
Ibutamoren works to increase growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). Many bodybuilders use Ibutamoren when they are pushing through increased training loads.
This is because Ibutamoren stimulates ghrelin, which can increase appetite and improve sleep quality.
Best SARMs Bottom Line
Our guide to the best SARMs has walked you through some of the most popular SARMs, and how they claim to help bodybuilders improve athletic performance.
Our guide to the best SARMs is not an endorsement of SARMs. Instead, we hope to provide you with scientifically-backed information to help guide your own SARM supplementation decision.
If you choose to supplement with SARMs, make sure you first read all of the benefits and potential side effects of SARMs. What’s more, only purchase from reputable retailers carry a trusted brandmark and a host of positive reviews.
And finally, remember that SARMs are currently not regulated by an official body, such as the FDA. They are also considered a banned substance by the USADA and WADA.
If you plan to supplement with SARMs, then you run the risk of breaching competition rules.
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