Selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) are being used in a bodybuilding subculture to accelerate muscle development, reduce body fat and enhance athletic performance. However, despite their appeal to bodybuilders, gym-goers and athletes, they are often misused and pose serious health risks.
The FDA warns against using sarms supplement due to their unproven long-term effects. Moreover, it is also possible that the supplements do not actually contain the SARMs they claim to. A study conducted in 2017 found that a significant number of products sold as SARMs did not contain the actual compound and instead contained other ingredients such as steroids.
SARMs are synthetic compounds that bind to androgen receptors on healthy muscle cells, causing them to become more receptive to testosterone and other anabolic hormones. These effects are similar to those of anabolic steroids, but without the associated side effects such as water retention and bloating, hair loss, increased acne, higher cholesterol levels and an increase in liver or kidney disease risk.
The most popular SARMs include andarine, ostarine (enobosarm/MK-2866), ligandrol (LGD-4033) and testolone. Ostarine is arguably the most clinically characterized of these compounds, and has shown promise as an adjunctive therapy for muscle wasting (cachexia) in cancer patients.
When using SARMs, it is recommended to start with a low dose and gradually increase it over time. It is also important to cycle on and off in order to avoid tolerance. Stacking SARMs with complimentary mechanisms of action is also important to help achieve the desired results. This can be done by pairing a SARM that promotes muscle growth with one that promotes fat burning.