If you’re interested in fitness, bodybuilding, or anything related to gaining muscle and cutting fat, you might have heard of SARMs. Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMs) are a class of compounds commonly used by bodybuilders as an alternative to anabolic steroids. 

However, this can often be a confusing topic when it comes to their use, their audience, and the legality/safety of recreational use. If you’re interested in SARMs, continue reading for a quick rundown of everything you need to know.

What Are They?

SARMs are a class of androgen receptor ligands. That means that they hook onto androgen receptors to alter DNA. Discovered near the beginning of the 20th century, SARMs were quickly recognized as a possible alternative to other androgen specific substances due to their safer nature and more specific effects. 

Similarly to anabolic steroids, SARMs bind to androgen receptors, which are nuclear receptors activated by hormones. These receptors are especially important for people looking to increase muscle mass at an accelerated rate, since they are critical in DNA changes. When anabolic steroids bind to a receptor, they rapidly stimulate protein synthesis, which promotes cell growth. 

However, steroids also affect the hormonal balance in both males and females. Common side effects of steroid abuse in men cause decreased sperm production, low testosterone levels, baldness, and the development of breasts. For females, abuse can cause breast size decrease, voice deepening, and excessive body hair. Because of this and other life threatening side effects, anabolic steroids are banned from recreational use for sports or athletics. 

SARMs were developed to use a more targeted approach. They target these androgen receptors without affecting as many body systems as steroids. In other words, SARMs could be used to stimulate muscle growth without causing as much harm as steroids. 

If you want to find out more about the inner workings of SARMs and how they work, you can find plenty of SARM guides with veritable information.

Who Are They For?

Right now, SARMs are being researched as a possible treatment for a multitude of diseases. They could be used to treat osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, muscular dystrophy, and female-specific diseases because they allegedly promote bone growth, stimulate muscular cells, shrink the prostate, and limit breast cancer. In addition, SARMs are generally administered orally, which is easier and safer than the traditional injection of other androgen substances. 

Another use of SARMs comes in the form of performance-enhancing drugs. Many variants of SARMs are available for sale over the Internet as research chemicals, and athletes often purchase and abuse them for their muscle building qualities.

 SARMs are known to greatly enhance fat loss and increase the rate of muscle development, with fewer consequences than anabolic steroids. As such, the use of SARMs as a recreational substance has skyrocketed, making them one of the most popular performance substances on the market. 

Are They Safe?

As of right now, SARMs are not classified as safe for human consumption. They are not FDA approved, and they are commonly referred to as an experimental chemical. There is not enough clinical evidence to support the recreational or non-prescription use of SARMs, especially when it comes to bodybuilding or athletic enhancement. SARMs are banned by most sports organizations, and a trace of them on a drug test means suspension or disqualification from that sport.

If you’re thinking of trying SARMs, consult with your doctor first, and remember that the side effects are not well documented yet. If you do purchase a SARM product over the internet, be sure that the ingredients are documented, as trace amounts of other, unsafe chemicals may be present in the product.