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SARMS

SARM stands for selective androgen receptor modulator, and it’s a type of drug that’s chemically similar to anabolic steroids.

There are quite a few SARMs on the market, and some are stronger and have a higher risk of side-effects than others.

The more popular ones are…

  • MK-2866 or GTx-024 (Ostarine)
  • LGD-4033 (Ligandrol)
  • LGD-3303
  • GSX-007 or S-4 (Andarine)
  • GW-501516 (Cardarine)

 

Now, to understand how these drugs work, we first need to look at the physiology of hormones.

 

Androgens are hormones that produce masculinity (deeper voice, facial hair, more muscle and lower body fat, and so forth). The most well-known androgen is testosterone, but there are others as well.

Androgens exert their effects in the body in three main ways:

  1. Binding to your cells’ androgen receptors.
  2. Converting to the hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which then binds to androgen receptors.
  3. Converting to the hormone estradiol (estrogen), which binds to a different type of receptor on cells (estrogen receptor).

Under normal circumstances, your body carefully regulates androgen production, relying on sensitive feedback mechanisms to prevent imbalances.

When you introduce anabolic steroids into the body, though, your cells become flooded with androgens–so many that all available receptors become fully saturated.

This sends an extraordinarily powerful message to all cells that are listening, including muscle cells, which grow rapidly in response.

That sounds like good times to us weightlifters, but then there are the liabilities.

Research shows that some of the side effects of steroid use are reversible and some aren’t. Permanent damage is possible.

For example, reversible changes include testicular atrophy (shrinking), acne, cysts, oily hair and skin, elevated blood pressure and “bad” cholesterol levels, increased aggression, and lowered sperm count.

Irreversible damage includes male-pattern baldness, heart damage, liver disease, and gynecomastia (breast development).

Another major downside to steroids is the risk of biological and psychological addiction.

One study found that 30% of steroid users developed a dependence syndrome, and if you speak to enough honest drug users, you’ll hear all about their addictive properties.

Now, for years, scientists have been trying to develop steroids or steroid-like drugs that aren’t as detrimental to people’s health and well-being, and supplement marketers claim that SARMs are just that.

They’re non-steroidal drugs designed to stimulate the androgen receptors in just muscle and bone cells, having little effect on the other cells in the body, and thus the endocrine system as a whole.

In a sense, taking regular ol’ anabolic steroids is like carpet bombing your system with androgens. It gets the job done, but it’s sloppy and results in a lot of collateral damage.

Taking SARMs, though, is like drone striking just the asshole whistleblower journalists…er…I mean, bad guy terrorists.

In other words, SARMs can tell your muscle cells to grow without all the noise and mess caused by anabolic steroids.

Technically speaking, SARMs accomplish this in two ways:

  1. They have a special affinity for certain tissues like muscle and bone, but not for others, like the prostate, liver, and brain.
  2. They don’t break down into unwanted molecules that cause side effects, like DHT and estrogen, as easily.

This second point is rather significant.

One key characteristic of SARMs is they’re not easily converted into an enzyme called 5-a reductase, which converts testosterone into DHT, a driver of many unwanted side effects of steroid use.

SARMs are also resistant to the enzyme aromatase, which converts testosterone into estrogen.

Finally, because SARMs are less powerful than regular steroids, they don’t suppress natural testosterone production as heavily, making them easier to recover from.

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