For the last few years, SARMs have become a hot topic in the training world. As with any new product, there are many questions and misconceptions about SARMs and how they compare to steroids.
If you’ve been wondering about these supplements, here’s what you need to know about how SARMs and steroids are different.
What Are SARMs?
SARMs— Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators— are compounds that bind with androgen receptors and impact protein synthesis. In plain-speak, they create a change in the body that stimulates muscle growth.
SARMs were stumbled upon during a drug development trial that was aiming to find a viable treatment for prostate cancer. Professor James T Dalton, the scientist in charge of the trial, determined that his discovery wasn’t useful against prostate cancer but had other merits. Namely, the newfound SARMs had a significant impact on muscle growth and fat loss. Unfortunately, the trial got halted as a failure for its original intention before these effects could be explored further.
Types of SARMs
As the acronym implies, there’s more than one type of selective androgen receptor modulators. Some of the most commonly used SARMs include:
- Ostarine – also known as MK-2866, this SARM is known for stimulating testosterone production and improving lean muscle mass.
- Cardarine – also known as GW501516, this compound is known for performance enhancement through an increase in strength and endurance. While Cardarine is not a SARM, it’s often classified as such.
- Ibutamoren – also known as MK-667, this compound is also often mislabeled as a SARM, though, like Cardarine, it’s technically a growth hormone secretagogue. It has numerous effects, outlined best in Sarmguide’s MK 677 review.
There are other iterations of SARMs and SARM-like compounds that have varying efficacy and impacts.
What Are Steroids?
While steroids and SARMs are similar, they’re quite different on the molecular level. Anabolic steroids are synthetic hormones that react like testosterone in the body. They are illegal in many parts of the world, as well as sporting federations. However, many bodybuilders use them to support muscle growth and aid in training recovery.
One of the main downsides to steroid use is the laundry list of side-effects. The hormonal changes often lead to physical changes that aren’t always desirable, such as shrunken or swollen genitalia, hair growth or loss, etc. These side effects are primarily caused by improper use of the synthetic hormone injections.
How Are They Different?
There are a few key differences between steroids and SARMs. First, steroids are illegal, whereas SARMs are not. That being said, studies of SARMs are limited, leaving them in a gray area not regulated by the FDA. So, while SARMs aren’t illegal, it can be challenging to find reputable products that won’t cause bodily harm.
Another significant difference is that SARMs are taken orally rather than injected. This option is viewed as a positive alternative that reduces the risk of infection compared to anabolic steroids.
SARMs also have significantly fewer known side-effects than steroids. This perk is possibly related to the fact that SARMs are targeted toward muscles, whereas steroids can impact the entire body. Additionally, SARMs are compounds, whereas steroids are synthetic and can work against your body.
One important thing to keep in mind regarding SARMs is that most of the evidence surrounding their usage is anecdotal, as very few scientific studies have been conducted regarding their lasting effects. Some users have reported increases in blood pressure, vision changes, and skin irritation. While SARMs might be a better option than steroids, they aren’t without side-effects.
If you decide to boost your training with SARMs, it’s vital to do your due diligence and ensure you’re purchasing from a reputable company. Pay attention to your body, and stay abreast of news reports and updated research.