There has been an accumulating amount of attention, talk and inquiries revolving around the topic of SARMs, which stands for Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators. They are relatively new with a limited amount of research behind them over the last few decades. But those promoting them attach quite a bit of attractive claims and promises which can make them hard to ignore, or at least be drawn in with curiosity.
There is hope that SARMs could be used in diseases where therapeutic exogenous androgen supplementation has been proposed and/or effectively used. The initial focus of clinically studying SARMs was geared toward development for their use with muscle wasting conditions. However, the use of SARMs is now expanding. There is hope these compounds can eventually be proven effective to assist with bone and joint health, prevent muscle wasting, and to alleviate increases in appetite.
The goal of this article is to give some basic insights on SARMs with what is known about them in their toddler stages and with the limited amount of studies on them. Hopefully, more research will be conducted in the years to come and help differentiate between the good and bad while helping to ensure quality manufacturing and truth in labeling for any that may hold up to any proven benefits. Until then, we sit vulnerable in a grey area.
Covered in this article:
- Are SARMs Steroids? Are They Legal?
- Do SARMs Have Side Effects? Are They Safe?
- Could SARMs Be Used Instead of TRT?
- The Bottom Line.
Like SERMs (Selective ESTROGEN Receptor Modulators) such as Clomiphene or Tamoxifen that attach to estrogen receptors to influence a preferred behavior as it pertains to estrogen activity, SARMS are thought to attach to androgen receptors with hopes of influencing the behavior of androgens (like testosterone) in the body.
Many will take SARMs with wishes of getting to express testosterone’s anabolic/building qualities, while not to express any of it’s androgenic qualities that would contribute to things like acne. This would be the “Selective” aspect of SARMs. If this ends up proving to be true in time, it could potentially amplify testosterone’s impact on building muscle and bone better and faster - which is very attractive to those looking to strengthen or enhance their body.
Are SARMs Steroids?
Although similar in some aspects, SARMs are not steroids. And unlike oral pro-hormones that are precursors and convert into testosterone or similar within the body, SARMs intentions are to stimulate androgen receptors and modify the influence of testosterone.
One of SARMs claims to fame is that they have a special attraction to “select” certain tissues like muscle and bone, but not for others - like the liver, prostate or brain. This would mean faster muscle and bone growth without unwanted growth in other parts of your body.
Are SARMs Legal?
They are NOT approved by the FDA for use in humans. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) prohibit SARMS for use in sport also. We do NOT know the long term side effects and very few of the short. They are sold online by “research chemical companies” while being instru cted that they “Are NOT for human consumption”.
Of course these companies say this to cover their asses. And of course those seeking them out are obviously buying them to use for themselves, or should we say - experiment on themselves.
Legally speaking, SARMs are in a grey area. Online sites such as eBay and Amazon have banned their sale and some credit processors have refused to involve themselves with many. It is speculated that congress is expected to strengthen laws against them in the coming year or two.
All this being said however, you can legally purchase them online for now - and of course, for research purposes only. And furthermore, you may have to do some funky wire transfer of your money directly from your bank account going somewhere out of the country and patiently wait and hope that something comes in the mail after.
Do SARMs Have Side Effects? Are They Safe?
After taking SARMs, many reports already show dramatic increases in liver enzymes and potential concerns with kidney function with some cases being correlated with increased risk of cancer. They often see negative changes in their lipids where HDL “good” cholesterol significantly drops too low while LDL “bad” cholesterol goes up.
According to a JAMA study published in 2017 that tested 44 SARM products sold online with a claim they had some form of a SARM, only half actually contained any.
Quoted from JAMA article (1): “Chemical analyses of 44 products sold via the internet as selective androgen receptor modulators revealed that only 52% contained selective androgen receptor modulators and another 39% contained another unapproved drug. In addition, 25% of products contained substances not listed on the label, 9% did not contain an active substance, and 59% contained substance amounts that differed from the label.”
Findings such as this always trigger a red flag and a caution bell to ring, at least with us and most health conscious folks. However, those “fast” muscle building claims are quite tempting…
Last: Like abuse or misuse of TRT or any anabolic substances, SARMs can slow down your HPTaxis or in easy language - shut down your body’s natural production of testosterone. Many guys think that SARMs will not diminish their HPT axis as it pertains to their body’s natural production of testosterone.
This is far from the truth because any blocking of the androgen receptor is going to send a negative feedback signal to the brain that the body has more than enough and the body will react.
Could SARMs Be Used Instead of TRT?
Well, you could but at a risk to your health. If your testosterone is low to begin with, it doesn't matter how hard you try to work around such a fundamental piece to the balance within the body, you're not going to be too successful.
Optimizing low testosterone and/or growth hormone (GH) levels is often the base foundation with one’s journey to look and feel their best and a game changer for many. Could it possibly change yours too?
As we age, our bodies produce less of our critically important hormones. These deficiencies cause a number of unwanted symptoms such as depression, lethargy, and weight gain, just to name a few. Simply by getting a thorough blood test, you can see what's going on within your body. Fix any hormone imbalance, and one can fix their life!
Endogenous, naturally made hormones are what the human body is made to work with. Replacing and optimizing the body with these bio-identical hormones lends to giving the body what it works with best and, with less side effects and concerns long term.
The Bottom Line
Emerging and growing science is exciting to find learn of new possibilities for what the future may hold for us. However, this takes time and enough effort to study efficacy and safety of consumed substances within humans. In the meantime, we will be waiting for more confirmation as to the efficacy of any useful SARMs.
And of course those willing to be test dummies, will continue rolling the dice for potential advantages but also, potentially sacrificing their body and health. That choice is each individual’s own to make of course. Or, we can choose already more safe and proven methods.
If you have any other questions about optimizing testosterone or other hormones if effort to look and feel your best, let us know how we may be able to assist you.
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The YOUTH-Rx Team