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SARMs, otherwise known as selective androgen receptor modulators, have become the next big thing in the fitness industry. Professional and amateur bodybuilders and athletes alike are taking SARMs to better build muscle, lose fat, or increase overall strength. The problem is there are still some unanswered questions about the TRT alternative. What does the science say? Are they safe to use? Do they have any side effects? Let’s look at the facts.

What Are SARMs?

Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators, or SARMs, are a relatively new class of anabolic compound that helps people build muscle mass. These compounds were originally developed as a drug to help cancer patients retain existing muscle mass and regain lost muscle. It wasn’t long before athletes and bodybuilders caught on to them and started taking advantage of these legal steroids.

SARMs work by binding with the androgen receptors in your body. They stimulate muscle growth, leading to strength gains. When compared to standard steroids, SARMs work faster and have a shorter half-life, meaning they aren’t in your body as long.

Do SARMs Work?

SARMs are considered effective for the most part. If you are taking them and aren’t finding them effective, then the problem could be your dose. SARMs aren’t prescribed at a high enough strength to be effective, so you’ll need a bit more than the recommended amount to see the results you were hoping for.

Are SARMs Safe?

Many SARMs manufacturers and dealers promote them as being a safer alternative to anabolic steroids or testosterone replacement. The fact of the matter is that these drugs produce the same side effects – if not worse side effects – than your standard oral anabolic steroids. For example, they cut your HDL levels by up to half as other steroids do.

People turn to SARMs because they are unregulated and available over the counter. You don’t need to get “permission” from your doctor or the government to have access to them. Many appreciate that freedom of choice and turn to products that are readily available. This doesn’t mean that those products are necessarily better, however. In fact, some of them may be more dangerous because they aren’t regulated. If you do buy SARMs, it’s best to stick to trusted names and brands.

While SARMs aren’t much safer or more dangerous than typical steroids and testosterone, SARMs precursors can be. As the name implies, these are things that come before SARMs. However, there’s no guarantee they will turn into the SARMs you want. There are many different kinds and not all of them are effective. Dr. Rand McClain of Regenerative and Sports Medicine, as well as co-founder of LCR Health, recommends sticking with the real thing over a TRT alternative. He says this is because with TRT, you know what you’re getting. The freedom of choice comes with the freedom, if not requirement, of doing some research and finding products that best suit you and your needs.

Advantages of Taking SARMs

While SARMs aren’t much different from TRT, there are some advantages to using these products.

  1. Your body naturally develops more muscle than if you were working out without taking anything on the side.
  2. You’ll experience enhanced strength.
  3. You’ll recover quicker from injuries and intense workouts.
  4. SARMs generally stick to muscle and bone tissue, placing less stress on the brain and prostate, unlike testosterone. However, evidence disputes claims that SARMs don’t affect the liver.
  5. There are different forms of SARM available for different purposes, such as SARMs for building muscle, endurance, and more.
  6. One of the major benefits of using SARMs is that there is less need for post-cycle therapy because they don’t affect your endocrine system as much as TRT.
  7. Non-steroidal SARMs actively increase libido rather than suppressing it.

Disadvantages of Taking SARMs

It’s only right to know the good and bad of anything you put into your body. With that in mind, here are the disadvantages to using SARMs.

  1. SARMs are less powerful than regular steroids. You’ll have to take more to get the same effect.
  2. One study shows that SARMs suppress natural testosterone production as with other steroids.
  3. One study on mice suggests using SARMs can actually increase risk of developing certain cancers.
  4. While SARMs are legal and can be found online easy enough, you should avoid using them without a prescription. They haven’t been approved by the FDA for human consumption just yet as research continues.
  5. Finding good quality pure SARMs can be challenging.

SARMs and Your Diet

As is the case with anything like this, your results depend on your diet and exercise regime while using SARMs. They can’t do all the work for you. You have to put in some of the effort.

The key for using SARMs is to make sure that you have enough protein your diet. If anything, you need more while using SARMs. These steroid alternatives put your body into an anabolic state, meaning that your body processes and synthesizes more protein. Most experts recommend doubling your protein intake when on SARMs.

SARMs are also known for having an anti-estrogen effect. You can combat this by eating more vegetables, especially mushrooms and other vegetables known to fight anti-estrogen effects. There are also some foods that should be avoided altogether, including sugar, cured meats, fried foods, alcohol, and soy products.

The Verdict: Are SARMs a Safer TRT Alternative?

In summary, SARMs are an interesting new class of chemicals that could offer great results when used responsibly. However, the research on these products is still ongoing. What we do know is that, at their current level, SARMs are still only on the same level as, if not just below, standard TRT. If you have a choice between the two, our experts recommend sticking with traditional TRT. SARMs aren’t as beneficial as the marketing hype would have you believe. They are a decent TRT alternative for those who use it for muscle building, but we wouldn’t consider it a better option.

Author Dr. Rand

Dr. McClain has dedicated over 35 years of his personal and professional life studying nutrition, exercise, herbs and supplements and is also a Master of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

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