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The inside-guide to SARMs

The inside guide to SARMS

SARM is short for Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator. This is a group of substances that resemble the effects of anabolic steroids but have reduced androgen properties. They are being researched as a safer alternative to androgenic anabolic steroids (AAS) in battling various medical conditions like muscle-wasting. In this guide we look at the different SARMs and related research chemicals.

Most androgenic steroids are developed for the treatment of certain medical conditions, not to simply “get shredded”. The fact is that they are popular because they work.

Anabolic steroids are very effective to prevent muscle waste and loss of bone mass. And those aren’t the only positive effects. Unfortunately, androgenic steroids come with unwanted side effects. As you are probably aware, a lot of people experience acne and hair loss caused by the use of anabolic steroids.

Science has therefore been searching for alternatives that are less prone to cause side effects.

SARMs are a possible answer to this quest. Because of their method of action they can help with muscle wasting, loss of bone mass and faster recovery. But they don’t have the same side effects as their steroid cousins – or to a lesser extent.

There are a lot of different SARMs in varying stages of research. There have been clinical trials for the treatment of osteoporosis.

How do SARMs work?

SARMs work by targeting androgen receptors (AR) in selective tissue. For instance, by binding to the receptors in skeletal muscle but not in the kidneys, liver or prostate. This tissue-selective binding is the main benefit of SARMs.


Androgen receptors are found throughout the body, but they have different functions depending on the kind of tissue. Androgenic anabolic steroids (AAS) generally affect all androgen receptors, resulting in certain benefits but also unwanted side effects. SARMs are more selective in binding to androgen receptors minimizing side effects while still providing the benefits of AAS.

The androgen receptors in skeletal muscles are responsible for the anabolic effects. They increase muscle growth, prevent bone loss and play an important role in fat burning.

What effects do SARMS HAVE?

The different SARMs have, as you can imagine, not the same effects. The most significant benefits attributed to their use can be listed as:

  • Increase muscle mass and strength
  • Decrease muscle wasting during a caloric deficit
  • Prevent bone loss and improve bone density
  • Improved recovery
  • Enhance endurance


While all SARMs are selective androgen receptor modulators, not all compounds labeled as SARMs are actually a SARM. This is the case for Cardarine (GW-501516), Stenabolic (SR-9009) and Ibutamoren (MK-677), all of which do not bind to the androgen receptors but have a different mode of action.

That being said, we will still discuss these substances in this guide because they are often used for performance enhancement, much in the same way as SARMs. SARMs and similar compounds are used as an alternative to anabolic steroids.


SR 9009 is the first example of a research drug that actually isn’t a SARM but a so-called Rev-ErbA agonist. It was first developed with the purpose of studying the circadian rhythm. Initial lab studies showed that SR9009 was capable of increasing exercise capacity.

SR-9009 is a research drug that is not approved for human consumption. Therefore most of what we known about this compound is based on anecdotal evidence and reports by users.


  • Increased endurance
  • Improved stamina
  • Stimulating fat burning


The average dose for SR9009 is 10 mg to 30 mg per day, with 20 mg being the most common dosage.


GW-501516, also known as Cardarine and Endurobol, is a compound that isn’t a SARM either. It is a so-called PPARδ receptor agonist that has initially been researched as a possible treatment for metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. Medical research was stopped during phase 2 because of the results of a study on mice, where huge dosages given over an extended period of time turned out to result in an increased risk of tumors.  

Cardarine has gained popularity because of a number of reported benefits. It is used among athletes and bodybuilders because it improves stamina and cardiovascular endurance and for its fat-burning capabilities.


MK-677 is a growth hormone secretagogue. What Ibutamoren does is raise growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) levels. While other substances that increase HGH and IGF-1 levels are generally peptides, MK-677 is the only orally active compound capable of this effect.  


  • Decreased recovery time
  • Improving sleep quality 
  • Reduced body fat
  • Increased muscle mass


The most common dosage for MK677 is 25 mg per day, although some prefer to not go over 10 mg per day.

MK-2866 (Ostarine)

MK-2866 is the most well-known and well-researched SARM. It is considered pretty mild and safe. It prevents muscle wasting, improves bone density and improves recovery.

For more information please read: What is MK-2866 or Ostarine?

LGD-4033 (Ligandrol)

LGD-4033 is one of the most popular ones. It is more effective for increasing muscle mass then MK-2866 but has many of the same benefits as ostarine does.

For more information please read: What you need to know about LGD-4033


RAD-140 is the most effective substance for increasing muscle mass. It has a 90:1 anabolic to androgen ratio and the effects of RAD 140 are the closest to anabolic steroids of any SARM, excluding YK-11.

For more information please read: Is RAD-140 the strongest SARM around?


YK11 is the least researched compound in this list. YK 11 is different than other SARMs because it is the only one that has a steroidal molecular structure. This has caused some debate about whether YK-11 is actually a SARM or a synthetic androgenic anabolic steroid. On top of that, it has another unique property in that it’s acting as a myostatin inhibitor.

For more information please read: YK-11 is more than just a SARM

Half-life of SARMs

SARMActive Half-life
Testolone RAD-14020 to 24 hours
Cardarine GW-50151616 to 24 hours
Ligandrol LGD-403324 to 36 hours
Ostarine MK-286624 hours
S-23 12 hours
YK-11 6 to 8 hours
Ibutamoren MK-67724 hours
Stenabolic SR-90094 hours