Here’s a question that rolled in the other day:
“have you wrote bout Sarms before? i’m just hearing about it now and i’m wondering if it’s legit or snake oil ?”
SARMs (short for selective androgen receptor modulators) are a group of experimental drugs designed to limit the loss of muscle associated with various diseases, such as cancer.
The idea is that taking them will make your muscles bigger without the side effects you get from standard anabolic drugs.
SARMs are certainly “legit” in the sense that some of them do accelerate muscle growth.
In one study, a group of elderly men and women taking 3 milligrams of Ostarine (which also goes by the name of enobosarm, GTx-024 or MK-2866) per day for 12 weeks gained almost three pounds (1.3 kilograms) of muscle .
And that was without doing any exercise or changing their diet.
You can find products that claim to contain SARMs in various online supplement stores.
So, when you’re stocking up on whey and creatine, you might see a SARM for sale, assume it’s just another supplement, and add it to your basket.
Which isn’t a great idea, for a couple of reasons.
First, SARMs are NOT supplements. They are drugs. And you have no real clue if what you’re buying is real or bogus.
I know a guy who got his hands on a product that claims to contain Ostarine, one of the more popular SARMs out there.
He took it in the hope of gaining the “3-4 kg (7-9 pounds) of lean mass in 4-6 weeks” that was promised.
But, nothing happened.
No muscle growth, no fat loss, nothing.
So, who knows what was in the capsules?
Given the lack of results, it probably wasn’t Ostarine.
But, short of submitting it for chemical analysis, there’s no way to find out for sure.
And even if you do get your hands on a genuine SARM, you’re faced with another problem.
The product my friend bought claimed to contain 5 milligrams of Ostarine in each capsule. The recommended use was 3-6 capsules per day, for a total of 15-35 milligrams of Ostarine daily.
However, studies on Ostarine have typically used a dose in the range of 1-3 milligrams per day.
In other words, the recommended use for some of these products is upwards of five times higher than the amount used in the research.
Why is that a problem?
Even with relatively low doses of Ostarine, there are still side effects.
In the study I mentioned earlier, free testosterone levels dipped by around 20% in subjects taking Ostarine . Total testosterone was down by over 40%. HDL, the so-called “good” cholesterol, was reduced by almost 30%.
And that was with a dose of just 3 milligrams per day.
Nobody really knows what the side effects are going to be with 20-30 milligrams of Ostarine per day.
With such high doses, you’re acting as a human guinea pig.
SARMs are worth a try if you’re feeling in an “experimental” mood.
Personally, unless I knew for sure that what I was taking was genuine, I wouldn’t go there.
SEE ALSO: THE MUSCLE BUILDING CHEAT SHEET
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ABOUT CHRISTIAN FINNChristian Finn holds a master's degree with distinction in exercise science, is a former personal trainer and has been featured on BBC TV and radio, as well as in Men's Health, Men's Fitness, Fit Pro, Zest, and Perfect Body magazine.