If you want to find out exactly what “SARMS” are, or how they work and how effective they can be, then you’ve come to the right place.
If you’ve been watching your macros and your calories, and giving your workouts everything you can stand, you may still discover that you’re not giving your online fitness coach the answers you were hoping for when he asks about your progress. You might have been thinking about steroids – despite their obvious health risks, but then suddenly, you stumble across SARMs.
For some people, SARMS appear to be the holy grail of bodybuilding, helping us to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time. However, what’s the truth, where’s the science behind these supplements, and are they safe?
Introducing SARMs: How Do They Work?
For the uninitiated, “SARM” stands for selective androgen receptor modulator – a kind of drug that’s similar to anabolic steroids. There are plenty of these things on the market, and some have more side-effects than others. What’s more, at this point in time, SARMs have not been approved for medical use, which means that pharmaceutical marketers haven’t even given them real names.
To understand how SARMs work, you need to understand how hormones work – the chemical messengers that your body uses to communicate with other cells. You can think of these like the outgoing mail that sends important messages throughout your body. When they reach the hormone receptors in your body, then important activities are carried out. For instance, androgens are the hormones that produce facial hair, muscle, and lower fat levels (like testosterone).
Androgens impact the body by:
- Binding to androgen receptors in your cells
- Converting DHT (dihydrotestosterone) which further binds androgen
- Converting estrogen (estradiol), which binds to different receptor cells
When you start using anabolic steroids, your cells can become flooded with androgens, which means that the receptors suddenly become saturated. This sends a powerful message to all of the cells that are listening – including muscle cells, which rapidly grow in response. While that sounds great – the truth is that research shows that the side effects are terrible.
Research shows that some of the side effects of steroid use can be permanent. However, taking SARMs is different. They have a certain affinity for particular tissues such as bone and muscle, but don’t impact others such as the liver, brain and prostate.
They also don’t naturally become unwanted molecules that cause side effects such as DHT and estrogen! Additionally, SARMs are resistant to the enzyme aromatase, which converts estrogen into testosterone, and because they’re less powerful than a typical dose of steroids, they can be easier to recover from. But that doesn’t mean they’re safe.
But Are SARMs Safe?
Nonsteroidal SARMs have only been around for a couple of decades, which means we don’t have much research to inform us of how safe they are. What we do know, is that the more SARMs you consume, the more likely you are to have side effects – ranging from problems with testosterone, to cancer. Additionally, SARMs are much likely to be more easy to recover from than typical steroids.
Although they don’t convert into estrogen and DHT in the way that a batch of steroids do, they also don’t have the same negative impact on your system. Additionally, they aren’t as anabolic as pure steroids, which means that they won’t suppress the creation of natural testosterone anywhere near as much. However, that doesn’t mean that SARMs are safe – in fact, the risks are far greater than the potential benefits.
The Truth about SARMs
At the end of the day, SARMs are drugs that can deliver some of the benefits associated with anabolic steroids, with less of the short-term side-effects. Though they’re not quite as effective as steroids, they can boost muscle growth more than standard natural supplements that are available on the market, and they’re generally safer too – but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re totally safe.
Research has shown that SARMs can also suppress natural testosterone production and have a negative impact on the endocrine system, and there is some evidence that they may increase the risk of cancer too. What’s more, we have no idea if there are any long-term effects of using SARMs yet.
Because of this, we’d often recommend staying away from SARMs.
The risks simply outweigh the benefits.
Personal Trainer London
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