You’ve probably heard of SARMs before. Maybe you read they are similar to steroids and promote muscle growth. Or, perhaps they caught your attention for being a safer alternative with fewer side effects.
In any case, you’re in luck because this guide will go over absolutely everything you need to know about SARMs, their effects on your body, a SARMs store in the UK, and much more.
Let’s dive in.
What Are SARMs?
SARMs, short for selective androgen receptor modulators, are a group of compounds with steroid-like effects (1). But, unlike steroids like trenbolone, SARMs don’t have the same side effects: hair loss, mood swings, sleep issues, elevated blood glucose levels, etc.
Steroidal SARMs (based on androgenic hormones like testosterone) have been around since the 1940s (2). Non-steroidal SARMs (not based on androgen hormones) started to gain traction in the 1990s and are now a popular choice for people looking to elevate their training results safely.
How do SARMs Work?
To understand how SARMs work, we must look at the mechanisms behind steroid compounds and see what makes them tick.
Steroids are substances that promote muscle and strength gain by binding to androgen receptors (3). These receptors interact with androgen hormones (e.g., dihydrotestosterone and testosterone) and regulate gene expression.
Testosterone interacts with specific receptors that promote primary male characteristics: muscle gain and such (4). In contrast, dihydrotestosterone communicates with other androgen receptors that promote secondary characteristics: body hair growth, the development of Adam’s apple, deepening of the voice, etc.
Steroids come in many forms, but their chemical formulas are similar because they are based on androgen hormones. These substances work the same as your hormones: binding to androgen receptors and promoting gene expression.
SARMs are similar to steroids in some ways but different in others. A similarity between SARMs and steroids is that both classes of compounds interact with androgen receptors to promote changes in your physiology.
A difference is in how steroids and SARMs achieve the above outcomes. Where steroids interact with a range of androgen receptors in all tissues of your body, SARMs do so selectively. As the name suggests, selective androgen receptor modulators interact with some receptors while ignoring others. These effects allow such compounds to cause favorable changes in your body, such as muscle gain, without the side effects.
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What is the Purpose of SARMs?
Much to many people's surprise, SARMs weren’t originally intended to make training enthusiasts huge and strong. These compounds were developed to help people with conditions that lead to excessive catabolism (tissue breakdown). Some examples include osteoporosis, cancer, and AIDS(1).
Later, people realized the potential of SARMs to help trainees build more muscle and get stronger.
Are SARMs Safe, And Do They Bring Any Side Effects?
This one is slightly more complicated to answer because we are all different and respond in unique ways to the same compound.
SARMs have grown in popularity, and hundreds of thousands of users worldwide report experiencing little to no side effects. But, a small percentage of individuals deal with issues like mood swings and a decrease in testicular size(1).
You should ignore extreme claims that SARMs are entirely safe or detrimental to your health. Many sellers will tell you these compounds come with no risk, and you shouldn’t believe them. Similarly, a small and vocal group of people speak out against SARMs in the UK, claiming they are basically steroids with a different name.
You should know that the effects of SARMs vary from person to person, and the only true way to understand how they would impact you is to do a cycle. We firmly advise you to do your research, read the available studies, and check out articles and videos from various sources.
Forums can also be a nice place to consume information because many people speak from experience. Of course, be careful not to fall for extreme claims and wild interpretations of studies.
Are SARMs Legal In The United Kingdom?
At the time of writing this guide, the SARMs UK status is legal. Many of the compounds are available for purchase in stores around the UK.
With that said, SARMs are on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) list of banned substances. Athletes interested in drug-tested events and competitions should avoid using SARMs and similar compounds.
How do SARMs Differ From Anabolic Steroids?
One notable difference between SARMs and steroids is they only come in oral form, so there is no need for injections. As an added benefit, selective androgen receptor modulators don’t cause methylation and don’t promote liver toxicity.
Another benefit of SARMs is there is little to no conversion to dihydrotestosterone or estrogen. Low DHT conversion means users are at a lower risk of experiencing early hair loss (male-pattern baldness) (5). Similarly, a low conversion to estrogen reduces the risk of suffering from gynecomastia (breast tissue enlargement) or water retention (6).
A unique selling point of SARMs is they bring steroid-like effects with fewer side effects. But how true is that?
Unfortunately, while SARMs bring fewer side effects, the primary drawback is they aren’t as effective as steroids. One reason is that SARM doses are lower than those of steroids. For reference, the average Ostarine dosage is 10 to 15 mg daily while bulking. In contrast, someone doing a trenbolone cycle during a bulk should take 150 mg to 250 mg per week.
We could argue that taking high SARM doses would bring similar results to steroids, but nobody is brave enough to try. Others say that even high doses of SARMs can’t deliver the same benefits as steroids like trenbolone, clenbuterol, or testosterone.
SARMs are fascinating compounds with interesting effects. They are certainly growing in popularity, and many choose them precisely because they are safer than steroids.
People not looking to step on a bodybuilding stage but simply wanting to build some muscle and shed fat can achieve great results with these compounds.
With that said, SARMs are not entirely safe and can come with side effects. Research the specific compound you’re interested in and read the available literature.