SARMS Side Effects: The Complete Guide

SARMS Side Effects: The Complete Guide

What are the Side Effects of SARMS?

Of late, a supplement of a new kind has been doing rounds on the online scene as a safer alternative to steroids. Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMs) are chemical compounds flaunted to boost one’s athletic performance and improve your physique by mimicking the effects of exogenous testosterone, without the adverse effects of using anabolic steroids.

However, a new study published in JAMA indicates that many of the products sold online as SARMs contain illegal substances, prohormones and steroids. What’s more, most of the labels put on these products are utterly misleading.

The researchers conducted a study where they analyzed 44 compounds promoted as SARMs. The results showed that 39% of the supplements contained banned substances such as steroids and prohormones. 25% of the products contained elements that weren’t even included on the label. Furthermore, 59% of the products were either under-dosed or overdosed.

What’s more, given that these compounds are not approved by the FDA, very little information exists about their efficacy and safety. In October 2017, the FDA released a warning declaration about SARMs. The agency stated that SARMs had caused life-threatening reactions, including liver toxicity, stroke and heart attacks.

While the researchers admitted that their results do not represent all SARMs products, they emphasized the need for more regulation.

The following review will explore the reported side effects of SARMs, be it from clinical studies or anecdotal evidence.

What Are SARMs?

We already covered what the acronym SARMs represents. However, what they?

The androgen receptor belongs to a family of steroid hormones and plays a crucial role in the physiology of tissues. The receptor includes mineralocorticoid receptors, glucocorticoids, PR, ER and vitamin D3 receptors.

SARMs were designed to target specific tissue receptors to impact their androgenic activity without the side effects of conventional steroids. Androgen receptors are found all over the body, including bone, muscle, prostate, seminal vesicles, among other regions. When it comes to bodybuilding, the only effects one wants to see in mass, size, and strength is on the muscle and bone tissue.

While anabolic steroids targeted all the androgen receptors, SARMs, through their selective action, only target the ARs in the bone and muscle tissue. And that is why SARMs were discovered; to provide the benefits of anabolic compounds, without incurring the risk of side effects.

But does this mean that SARMs are entirely safe?

Are SARMs Safe?

The majority of SARMs in the market right now are thought to overcome the potential virilization and aromatizing effects of steroidal agents. This was realized by searching for tissue-selective agonists of the AR that could activate the androgen receptors in specific tissues while sparing others.

SARMs are non-steroidal, which means that they are not susceptible to the enzymatic metabolism of target tissues. In the case of steroids, some enzymes converted DHT into metabolites or manufactured testosterone from androstenedione. However, SARMs are not affected by these enzymes. Overall, this implies that SARMs do not convert into unwanted molecules such as estrogen and DHT, known to cause undesirable effects.

Therefore, SARMs are a category of synthetic substances that mimic the effects of testosterone in the muscle and bones, with a MINIMAL EFFECT on other organs, and reduced side effects compared to that of steroids. Thus, the theory is that you can enjoy the benefits of steroids without the risk of side effects.

However, the keyword above is, minimal effect. Therefore, SARMs may cause minimal side effects due to their non-steroidal profile. This means that when used over a prolonged period or in larger doses, the impacts may become more pronounced.

What are the Side Effects?

SARMs are, without a doubt, safer than steroids. That’s the appeal with these compounds. However, the question still up for debate is, how much safer are we talking about?

The general conclusion obtained from reading numerous personal reviews, different scientific studies, and even taking SARMs, they are generally much safer than anabolic steroids or prohormones.

However, there is a wide variety of SARMs, and they are all different, and their side effects are too. On that note, you will realize that some SARMs are safer than others.

Ostarine (MK-2866)

A multi-billion-dollar pharmaceutical company known as Merck was the first company to develop Ostarine. However, this SARM is currently in a clinical testing phase under a company known as GTx Incorporated.

This SARM was developed to help prevent and reverse bone and muscle wastage from degenerative diseases. As a result, there is lots of promise that this SARM can help to treat cancer patients combating bone and muscle atrophy.

The side effects of Ostarine include:

  • Lethargy
  • Cold sweats
  • Mild suppression of testosterone production at higher doses
  • Some individuals, especially those who are sensitive to estrogen experience swollen nipples
  • Headaches and back pain, especially for new users
  • Some users may experience challenges achieving erections, reduced strength, and skin changes after using high doses of Ostarine

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Ligandrol (LGD-4033)

Ligand Pharmaceuticals is the company behind the research and development of LGD-4033. However, Ligand is working together with another company known as Viking Therapeutics. On the streets, this SARM is known by the name Anabolicum. This is one very popular SARM and is considered a staple for bulking stacks. The product was researched for its potential to combat catabolic conditions for bone and muscle tissue.

Lots of Ligandrol reviews will gloss over side effects or even purport that there aren’t any side effects to be concerned about. That is not accurate information.

The following are some of the Side effects associated with using Ligandrol.

  • Mild gynecomastia, especially in people who are genetically predisposed to the condition
  • Mild suppression in testosterone production
  • Some water retention
  • Headaches
  • Mild nausea
  • Drying of the mouth

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Cardarine (GW-501516)

GlaxoSmithKline PLC recently developed this SARM for its positive effects on blood vessels, the heart, and diabetes. However, the company stopped its research in Phase II testing on rats after realizing it caused cancer.

However, as time went by, this SARM became significantly popular in the bodybuilding community as a cutting agent, given that it significantly boosts oxidation of fat.

The following are some of the concerns regarding Cardarine side effects.

  • Cardarine has the potential to cause damage to the liver
  • Users may experience digestive problems such as stomach aching, cramps, bowel trouble, constipation and diarrhea.
  • GlaxoSmithKline studies show that rats that were given an approximate of 55mg (human form) per day for 104 weeks (2 years). These rats got cancer. This dosage is about five times the recommended dosage and was administered for a very long time.

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Andarine (S4)

GTx Incorporated is the company behind the research and development of Andarine. The research firm initially intended to use the SARM in treating muscle-wasting conditions, osteoporosis and benign prostatic hypertrophy.

S4 has a knack for being highly bioavailable and can help with building muscle, burning fat, and gaining strength.

Unfortunately, rumor has it that GTx has halted researching this product to continue studying Ostarine.

When it comes to the side effects, here’s what you should look out for when dealing with Andarine.

  • First, Andarine may lead to suppression in testosterone production during a cycle. The good news is that most people recover well. However, some may require post cycle therapy to help them bounce back.
  • Secondly, Andarine may cause a yellow tinge in vision. What’s more, it may affect your ability to see in the dark, and also make you highly sensitive to light.
  • Depression is another frequently mentioned Andarine side effect

Testolone (RAD-140)

Testolone can be considered the newest SARM in the industry. Radius Health Incorporated developed it in 2010, although not for bodybuilding purposes.

RAD-140 has the highest anabolic to androgenic ratio of nay SARM to be discovered; 90:1.

Testosterone, on the other hand, has an anabolic to androgenic ratio of 100:100. This implies that Testolone is almost as anabolic as testosterone, although it is merely a hundredth as androgenic.

Testolone is highly versatile as it is useful for citing fat while retaining muscle, gaining lean muscle, and sometimes even gaining muscle during a cutting phase.

Side effects in Testolone are infrequent as long as the user sticks to the recommended dosage. However, the following side effects become more probable as users increase their dosage past the prescribed limit.

  • Abnormal hair growth in women
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Changes in sex drive
  • Unstable mood
  • Occasional sleepless nights
  • Sporadic headaches
  • Occasional dry mouth
  • Increased aggression

Unfortunately, YK-11, Nutrobal (MK-677), and Stenabolic (SR-9009) are not real SARMs, contrary to how they are marketed. As a result, it was only fair to recognize them, but not mention their side effects alongside those of Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators.


As we’ve covered above, the question needs to change when it comes to SARMs. It should change from are they safe, to how safe are they? This is because SARMs are probably the closest thing to anabolic steroids you’ll ever get, with minimal side effects.

Again, another recurring issue is that SARMs should be safe, and their side effects mild and temporary as long as you stick to the recommended dosage.

Here’s a key take away. Real SARMs should not cause adverse side effects as long as you stick to the recommended dosage (rule of thumb, keep your dosage to a bare minimum). However, the fact that these products are not regulated, you may end up purchasing a bunk product being passed off as a SARM.

As a result, you should always buy SARMs from a legitimate and reputable SARMs vendor.