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What are SARMs? Should you buy SARMs?
SARMs are the new, hot drugs on the block among many young bodybuilders. They’re all over the internet and they’ve not caught on with the public yet because they’re not called steroids.
In this article, I am discussing what SARMs are – and the danger these pills present. SARMs are controversial because they’re called “steroids without side effects”, they’re very easy access products and are heavily marketed products online through social media and popular banner ads.
The problem is that this marketing makes SARMs look like just another supplement – like mass gainers, whey, or BCAAs. The difference is that SARMs are far more complex, severe, and dangerous than a protein powder. They’ve become one of the most popular drugs in the industry causing quite some damage,
mostly around the younger bodybuilders who don’t know the real price of SARM use.
As a natural bodybuilding website, I wanted to discuss the topic and get it out in the open. Most importantly, if you take anything from this article it is this: SARMs are not free from consequence or risk.
1) What are SARMs?
In this article, I definitely won’t be telling you where to buy the SARMs – but I will explain what they are and what they do. The basic idea behind a SARM is a similar effect to many anabolic androgenic drugs, but are more selective in their action. They don’t change your levels of things like testosterone but they do act on the same receptors – a double-edged sword that doesn’t get around the risks
of steroid or PED use.
SARMs – so-called “legal steroids” – are ‘Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators’. they have become increasingly popular drugs in the fitness industry since 2012, and even earlier among top-level drug-using bodybuilders and other athletes.
They were discovered earlier in the 2000s for other medical purposes but since that time they have been suspected as a major factor in Olympic and competitive sport doping. In normal medical use, SARMs may help with cancer, osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, alzheimer’s, muscle wasting conditions, and even sexual dysfunction.
Recently, SARMs have been placed in various supplements marketed to fitness enthusiasts where they’ve clearly gained traction. The worrying part is that they’re often masquerading as dietary supplements or legal steroids with no side effects.
SARMs aren’t injectable – they’re oral drugs, making it an easy target for marketing purposes to young audiences. SARMs are now a popular drug in the fitness industry and this topic deserves its own discussion – especially with the influencers using SARMs on Instagram!
2) The danger of SARMs
a. Do SARMs give steroid results without any side effects?
SARMs wouldn’t be popular if they didn’t do anything. They work if you’re willing to sacrifice your health and wellbeing for some gains – and I’m not talking small consequences. That’s the number one statement marketers use to profit from SARMs: they’re like steroids without the risk. But – on both of these counts – they’re wrong and we need to be careful with that line of discussion.
They’re an easy oral drug to get which supposedly give you results without the hard work and discipline usually associated with good bodybuilding results. They follow the same kind of marketing problems we saw with prohormones before them, where they’re just steroids by a different name.
A lot of them have a similar name to the steroids we know, but slightly different:
LGD-4033 (also known as Ligandrol, VK5211)
MK-2866 (also known as Enobosarm, Ostarine)
RAD-140 (also known as Testolone)
- Here are some “key benefits” of their use:
- Muscle growth
- Helps with fat loss
- “Safer than steroids” (supposedly – but that’s far from clear or even true)
- Easy oral use
- Improving strength
- Gives more energy
On paper, these look like the best products you could get for yourself – they are even described as “supplements” in some brick-and-mortar stores.
With a description like that it’s not surprising – who doesn’t want all the results from steroids without the dark side?
Unfortunately, when it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Human research into SARMs is poor, but the (FDA) in the United States relentlessly warned that use of SARMs was linked to:
- liver failure
- increased risk of heart attack or stroke
- suppression of natural testosterone production (resulting in breast tissue
- development or shrinking of the testicle in males)
Many former SARM users – just like steroid users – regret their decision to use PEDs afterwards. I’ve seen hundreds of regret stories featuring SARMs.
Those who gain success from these types of products are louder than the vast majority who get hurt from them – especially because the younger guys aren’t taking them as seriously as steroids, so they tend to do less research. This means they’re not making the informed, responsible choice that steroid users often do to accept the risk and damage.
I cannot stress it enough: SARMS are not safe to use.
b. Common sense: easy gains means high health risks
The more I hear about SARMs, the more I understand the danger they present. It’s a shame that these products have become so popular on social media and that beginners and amateurs are being pushed these products to their doorsteps like they’re simple food-supplements.
This allows them to be seen as more efficient and less dangerous than steroids. With a different name, they lack the same stigma and seriousness we give to steroid use. They had been discovered to have interesting features to heal those who suffer from disease-related muscle loss and have been developed more intensively in the years of 2000s onwards.
SARMs are popular with bodybuilders who are already taking on serious risks – they’re just another drug in the “stack”. Because of the marketing, SARMs represent an accessibility risk – most 18-year-old guys don’t know where to get testosterone, but they can get their hands on these innocuous looking ‘supplements’ online from semi-reputable providers.
While they’re often marketed as supplements or safe legal steroids, SARMs represent many dangers and have many side effects that we’ve already outlined. The problem is that we cannot get amazing results without any cost. For most of us, that price is time and hard work – for SARM and steroid users, it’s the health of their livers, kidneys, and endocrine system.
You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Nothing really comes easy in the world of bodybuilding, it’s usually hard work to build muscle, and if you substitute hard work with magical products, you’re most likely sure that
there will be a downside to it.
Unfortunately, this is the way these SARMs are being promoted in today’s industry: legal steroids without the side effects. Basically, easy gains – a magic pill that does all the work for you and doesn’t involve any downsides.
3) The popularity of SARMs
All of the problems around SARMs right now are based on their popularity – they have changed the scene forever. They’re not the drugs of major bodybuilders most of the time, but rather the guys who are taking it semi-seriously – those chasing the fitness model or Instagram-influencer physique and lifestyle.
They’ve become trendy in a way that steroids never were and they’re exposed to a wider community. They’re legal in some territories and they represent a much more accessible way of getting easy results, they’re not even that expensive, and they are sold all over the internet.
There’s a definite buzz around SARMs that I’ve never seen before outside of hardcore bodybuilding circles. Now I’m seeing guys without 2 years’ experience getting into SARMs because they’re easy to get, use, and they only realise the side effects when it’s too late!
a. Easy oral drug, tempting for the teenagers
They’re a massive topic on forums like Reddit or Youtube where folks share their experience with these “magic’ pills. The danger is that SARMs are a ‘young adult’ drug, and it’s clear from the marketing and the way they’re presented to these communities.
Most of the threads on Reddit are an introduction to young folks’ experiences and the side effects they have felt from these drugs – debating whether or not it’s a worthwhile trade between gains and health-damage.
What is shocking is to see how legal and easy to access these drugs are. It’s amazing how the delivery method – as an oral rather than injectable – has made SARMs popular. It’s pretty obvious that a lot of these young guys would take it far more seriously if they had to actively deal with the standard injectables of steroids, for example.
People who have no idea about them ask if these products are good/efficient supplements which the seller will answer yes. It’s not even possible to research many of these products since they’re not even researched for non-medical use!
If you are someone reading this article and starting your bodybuilding journey, don’t be tempted by these easy oral drugs – you don’t have to try them, your goal body is probably completely possible without any performance-enhancing drugs!
b. SARMs interest has skyrocketed since the social media era
We can see here these two graphs clearly showing there must be a correlation to why SARMS have risen lately. Social media is probably one of the main factors to why:
I’ve personally come across many Instagram pages promoting SARMs with links redirecting to sellers online. The amount of YouTube videos talking about SARMs have rapidly increased, sometimes to spread awareness, but sometimes to talk about their benefits too without even discussing the serious side effects.
The Australian government also supports this hypothesis by delivering articles (link) on how certain SARMs are being used more than it has ever been. Big brands around the UK are selling these in their local shops, just like “Predator Nutrition”.
They call it the “hardcore” section. They must know these products are not just strawberry lollipops, yet they are still being sold like these are, and there’s a real lack of regulation around these products specifically because they’re so new on the scene. It’s the responsibility of the fitness industry to deal with the reputation and information around them.
This is something really dangerous – how about some gym newbie walking in a shop like that one and being advised that these “supplements” will help him reach his body-goals? This beginner just bought himself some dangerous drugs without knowing it.
While the owners of such stores are seeing their income increasing, the buyers are potentially facing up against lifelong or severe medical effects. It’s part of the shady, grimy reputation of the supplement industry that gives all supplements a bad name.
c. SARMs are only getting more popular
SARMs haven’t just only got popular, they’re also seemingly still getting more popular all the time.
Until the fitness industry realises making money at the price of their customers’ health, it won’t get much better. There’s money to be made on the naivete of young guys and their insecurities – especially when no government organisation is stepping in to call you on your bullshit!
The fitness industry needs to become more ethic-conscious. Maybe there’s something bad about advertising harmful supplements to impressionable teens who don’t even have a fully developed frontal lobe. This is even worse when you see the types of guys targeted. These are guys who have very little gym experience, probably don’t even have their nutrition and sleep together, and are just desperate to chase their idols’ physiques.
Until the fitness industry becomes more aware and spreads this type of awareness, I don’t see these types of products leaving the market or a decrease in the usage of these drugs. It’s likely getting slightly better with big influencers like MorePlatesMoreDates, Greg Doucette, and small natural bodybuilding channels who bring up the truth of these drugs.
At the very least, they let their followers know that these products have many dangers and they’re not just candies, but still not enough. It’s the absolute minimum that influencers should be doing and so many are still deliberately overlooking their role in the market.
4) Are there any measures set up to regulate SARMs?
One of the major problems I’ve already talked about is how SARMs – as they’re not technically steroids – are not regulated the same way.
a- Governing bodies aren’t really bothered about SARMs
Whether these are political or sporting bodies, what has been done for SARMs so far is not impressive. This has been going on for a while and there are not many authorities who can claim to have done anything.
Nothing but a peanut!
There is much more that could and should be done – especially in places where the dangers of SARMs are already acknowledged, like the UK. There are countless sites out there that will operate offering international shipping to get their illegal stock out to customers in other areas.
For example, in the UK, SARMs remain legal and are often sold through companies operating abroad. The lack of regulation also means there is no control for what is in these products. SARM users are getting the worst of both worlds:
1- They’re legal and so can be sold on the market to anyone with a bank card
2- They’re not regulated so you can’t confirm things like purity or legitimacy
I can see some articles online from government sources who are aware of SARMs, while they still fail to take action on things like their import or sale. Good work, guys. Some countries such as the US or Australia have banned these substances, but when it comes to countries such as the UK, no measures have been taken so far.
b- We need a better industry and more awareness
For now, awareness would mostly come from influencers and governing bodies within the fitness industry.
That is always going to be a battle: most governing bodies in the fitness industry are several steps behind the industry and have to regulate after the fact.
Many of them are already involved with money from the companies profiting off of SARMs and it’s not going to be until we see a whole SARM generation before the dangers of these drugs are clear. That means influencers have to raise awareness and set a new balance around YouTube Fitness, Instagram, and other media.
5) Achieving better results naturally
Many SARMs users are young and already have all the potential to build a great physique. However, as already mentioned, many of them are using performance-enhancing drugs as a way to crutch their sketchy recovery and lifestyle habits.
I’ve seen tons of guys who use SARMs (and even real steroids) as a way to overcome their poor lifestyle of eating like shit and partying all the time. It’s a real worry to think about what the combined effects of these habits are on these guys’ organs!
Some of them certainly attain a great physique thanks to the help of these drugs (at the cost of their health), but most of the physiques, even great physiques attained through SARMs in my opinion, are attainable naturally. Especially those based on influencer/model standards!
Moreover, natural physiques maintain well while drug-enhanced physiques offer quick results but deflate when you have to stop the drugs. Combine that with the negative effects to the endocrine system and it’s clear how dependence on these drugs can suck guys in.
The results of habits and better living are permanent – both as personality traits and physique change – while drugs often cover up bad habits. These aren’t the same and they show up when it comes to both the permanence of a physique over the years and the kind of person you become!
If you learn all the great basics of natural bodybuilding, you might actually get your dream physique and stay healthy! And we have plenty of articles on this website to help you do so – in a healthy and sustainable way.
SARMS are popular around the industry and the main issues are the lack of awareness around the danger of these products and their easy access. These two factors together are why we’re having such a major issue with these sneaky steroid-alternatives.
In the current situation, the best thing we can do is spread awareness with the tools we have today – social media and responsible influencers. So far, the industry is still very drug orientated, and there has to be counterbalance for a healthier industry.
If nothing else, I hope this opens your eyes to the risks and seductive power of SARMs, and why they’re a bad idea. To anyone intending to use these products, I recommend you don’t but:
- Make sure you’re old enough to deal with the responsible informed consent of use
- Make sure you understand the trade-offs in a serious way – it’s not a small choice
- Lock your diet, training, sleep, and other lifestyle factors in first
Natural bodybuilding is the way to go, in my opinion. But, if you’re committed to SARM use, make sure to be open, honest, and as responsible as possible. The fitness industry desperately needs honesty, communication, and voices telling young guys the truth about SARMs!
For those who agree with the danger of these drugs and think they’re harmful, I can only encourage you to spread awareness around you or share this article!
What is your take on SARMs? Have you had a bad experience with SARMs?
You might also be interested in this article about Arnold Schwarzenegger discussing drug- testing.
Let us know what you think in the comments!