SARMS Before and After Transformations
You’ve heard this acronym thrown around on bodybuilding forums and might have possibly even seen some people tout about their effectiveness in the gym. But what are they exactly? Are they dangerous? Let’s find out…
What are they?
First, in order to understand whether it would be beneficial to use them or not, we should figure out what they are in the first place. SARMS is an acronym that stands for “Selective Androgenic Receptor Modulators”. A mouthful, I know. But I promise, it’s not as difficult to understand as you may think.
The term “Selective” out of the entire acronym is the most important context clue to help us figure out the functions of these drugs. Comparing them to anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) will give us a better understanding of what SARMS are. Steroids are synthetic (man-made) versions and modifications of testosterone that exert both anabolic and androgenic properties, hence the name. Anabolic properties include muscle growth and cell repair while androgenic properties are usually what cause issues, such as hair growth (or lack thereof), oily skin, and acne . These often result in those more severe typical steroid side effects such as infertility, high blood pressure, and shrunken testicles.
What makes SARMS different is that its “selective” nature prevents many of the side effects of steroids from ever occurring. Simply put, SARMS only act on specific receptors throughout the body that provide the most benefit with the least risk, when compared to steroids anyway. The purpose of SARMS creation is for safer therapies for those with muscle-wasting diseases, such as age-related muscle loss (sarcopenia) and cancer, as those with these kinds of diseases are much more sensitive to the common side effects of steroid use. However, that’s beyond the scope of this article, as we will be focusing on its uses within the realms of bodybuilding and recreational fitness.
Use in Sport
No SARM has actually been approved for full clinical use as of the time of this article release. However, it has been banned by WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) since 2008. It has proven to have great ability to stimulate muscle growth in its preclinical trials. This has motivated underground labs (UGL’s), also known as black market labs, to be selling this off of the internet, just like steroids have been sold for a long time now . This creates a huge concern for the health and well-being of those who choose to make this risky purchase; as these labs are unregulated and don’t follow the strict standards that the Pharmaceutical Quality/Manufacturing Standards (CGMP) demand. These are basically regulations that all drug manufacturers must follow in order for drugs to be considered safe for administration/consumption.Are they Dangerous?
Unfortunately, we don’t have nearly as much evidence on this topic as we do on steroids. This is because they are still in the infancy stages of clinical trials, thus many of the studies conducted have been on rats. These types of studies can be difficult to translate to human beings. However, they have shown positive adaptations in body composition, muscle mass, and bone density [3,4].
One common claim of SARMS are that they don’t inhibit the body’s natural production of testosterone like steroids do. Unfortunately, they do, it just takes a longer time for this to occur, approximately 4-6 weeks, as with steroids it usually occurs in a matter of days. The reduction is also usually less severe. However, it can reduce testosterone as close to as much as taking steroids. So much so, that some SARMS are actually being utilized as male contraceptives! . This is because they lower levels of both luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which the pituitary gland in your brain uses to signal to the testicles to produce testosterone.
It can be hypothesized that they possibly cause cancer. However, this is the same claim that can be made for steroids. This is because anything that causes growth in the body has the ability to cause cancer; even protein! Possibility of occurrence does not mean that it will happen. So take this observation with a grain of salt.
So how have people been acquiring these drugs so easily? Well, it’s a bit complicated. Technically, these drugs are illegal for human consumption. However, they can still be sold as research chemicals. Because of this, there are many websites out there they put these drugs up for sale in the form of capsules or sublingual liquid, advertising that they should be used for “research purposes only.” Pretty shady business, don’t you think?
A step towards stricter control was taken on April 24, 2018, when a bill called the “SARMS Control Act of 2018”was introduced into congress. The goal is to add this class of drugs to the Controlled Substances Act, along the same level of steroids and prohormones. However, it is still not in full effect, as it still has to be considered by a committee board before it is sent to the House or Senate. According to govtrack.us, there is only a 3% chance of this bill being enacted .
So, as for now, SARMS are still technically “legal” and will probably continue to be for a little while longer. However, sooner or later, given the history of steroid and prohormone laws, it will most likely be enacted in the future.
Should You Use Them?
This is a very personal question. First, it depends on your ethics and morals. Is doing something potentially illegal and dangerous okay for you? This isn’t necessarily “good” or “bad”. It’s simply what your goals are. However, I am not condoning their usage.
Next, what are your goals? What exactly are you trying to accomplish by taking them? A lot of people take them to increase muscle mass and strength. However, some people also take it to enhance their fat loss results. Some even use it after their discontinuation of their steroid cycles in order to recover their natural testosterone production, which is highly unproven.
Once you figure out these aspects, you can better provide yourself an answer that provides more benefits than risks. Unfortunately, there just isn’t enough scientific evidence out there to give us a decisive answer like we do with steroids.
Luckily, though, we can use the answers that steroid research has brought us to give a relatively accurate hypothesis. When steroids are used responsibly, as in use and not abuse, they are surprisingly safe, relatively speaking. Most, if not all problems, occur when steroids (usually multiple) are taken as dangerously high dosages, well above the normal therapeutic dose. Even in those who have abused steroids, reports are rare for severe life-threatening side effects in athletes . Unfortunately, many side effects don’t occur for about 20 or so years after abuse has even begun.
So with this information, we can make assumptions about the effects of SARMS over the long term. Most studies demonstrate that SARMS are basically less potent versions of steroids, both in its benefits and its side effects. Because of this, it seems as if SARMS are “safer” than steroids, but we can’t say this with absolute certainty. Due to the lack of data, any self-experimentation with SARMS should be taken with EXTREME CAUTION, starting with the lowest effective dose and working up gradually.
Common Internet Results
The internet is filled with a plethora of sarms before and after transformations with people claiming that they had received incredible results simply from adding SARMS to their workout routines. These should only be taken lightly, as these are all self-experimentation protocols, with no standardization of its protocol and procedure. These are purely anecdotal.
A popular internet fitness website called ErisFit performed 3 months of self-experimentation with a SARM called LGD-4033 . This is a common “bulking” SARM. After the cycle, he claimed a 7% increase in bone density (which is very significant), 1.3 inch increase in the thighs, 0.5 inch increase in calves, and insignificant results in body fat and muscle mass.
This is probably the most accurate self-experimentation protocol you can find on the internet with SARMS, primarily because it used a DEXA scan to measure body composition, which is recognized as the “gold standard” of measuring bone density, and one of the most accurate measurements of fat mass and lean mass that you can obtain.
However, he didn’t release his diet plan. Because of that, we can’t make the inference that he didn’t gain significant amounts of muscle mass because of inadequate nutritional intake.
Another popular bodybuilding website moreplatesmoredates.com, touts a really impressive sarms before and after two year transformation after “several rounds of SARMS” . However, this website does a mediocre job of recording as much data as possible in order to make sure the results were from the actual SARMS themselves, rather than some other variable such as a change in diet or training program, or possibly even combining SARMS with steroids.
Now, I don’t doubt that the SARMS helped him, I absolutely do think a lot of his transformation has to do with the result of SARMS use. However, we don’t know how much he was using and whether it was a safe amount or not. Along with this, we don’t know how many different kinds that he took either.
Lastly, on his website, he has several sponsors offering discounts from peptide companies selling SARMS, such as this one:
Because of this, it’s obvious that there was a monetary motive for publishing the article on his transformation. For all we know, he may have taken these alongside steroids in order to enhance his results even farther, even though he claims not to. We will never know for sure.
The choice is yours to make. Whether or not you should take these drugs is completely up to you. There is simply not enough data out there to determine their safety. What we do know is that they work. Plain and simple. They WILL produce results. As research progresses, we will soon find out whether or not these can be safely used over the long term.
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3.Gao, W., Reiser, P. J., Coss, C. C., Phelps, M. A., Kearbey, J. D., Miller, D. D., & Dalton, J. T. (2005). Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator Treatment Improves Muscle Strength and Body Composition and Prevents Bone Loss in Orchidectomized Rats. Endocrinology, 146(11), 4887-4897. doi:10.1210/en.2005-0572
4.Kearbey, J. D., Gao, W., Narayanan, R., Fisher, S. J., Wu, D., Miller, D. D., & Dalton, J. T. (2006). Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator (SARM) Treatment Prevents Bone Loss and Reduces Body Fat in Ovariectomized Rats. Pharmaceutical Research, 24(2), 328-335. doi:10.1007/s11095-006-9152-9
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6.GovTrack.us. (2018). S. 2742 — 115th Congress: SARMs Control Act of 2018. Retrieved from https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/s2742
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