The popularity of Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators or otherwise known simply as SARMs is rising through the roof in the bodybuilding community.
Many bodybuilders including experienced pros are tending towards switching anabolic steroids for SARMs and this is mainly because they are generally perceived as a safe alternative to anabolic steroids.
Now while there is a great chunk of truth in this perception, it must also be mentioned that not all SARMs can be classified as being entirely safe for human use.
This post reveals five (5) of the safest SARMs, their impact and benefits to bodybuilding, and recommended safe dosages for beginners. You will also get to know some of those SARMs that are widely regarded as unsafe because of their harsh side effects.
But first we start by answering one of the most frequently asked questions about SARMs.
I. How Safe are SARMs?
Many bodybuilders ask this question because of the general perception that SARMs are safer than androgenic-anabolic steroids (AAS).
But the reality is that there are constraints on the level of scientific studies into the long-term side effects of many of the known SARMs available in the open market.
So just like AAS, bodybuilders also expose themselves to health risks when using SARMs. For example, some SARMs are known to cause fluctuations in a user’s serum testosterone and blood lipids level, as well as elevated aspartate transaminase (AST) and alanine transaminase (ALT) levels in the liver.
So while there is a strong argument in support of SARMs being a safe alternative to anabolic steroids, it would be foolhardy to suggest that they do not or cannot cause users to experience substantial side effects.
II. The Safest SARMs Around
For anyone looking to enhance their body composition and performance levels with SARMs, safety has to play a major role in whatever decision is made when choosing a SARMs. That being said, five of the top rated SARMs for their safety include:
It must be mentioned that Ibutamoren, Cardarine, and Stenabolic are technically not SARMs.
However, because they are widely accepted in the world of bodybuilding as SARMs, they are worthy of a mention in this post.
#1. Andarine (S4)
Andarine is widely acknowledged as a SARM with mild side effects. As a matter of fact, it is known that Andarine has very little HPTA, hepatic, and cardiac side effects, especially when administered in accordance with a recommended personal dosage plan.
Andarine is usually used by bodybuilders looking to benefit from strength and lean muscle mass gains of between 5 to 10 pounds from your first cycle. Andarine improves vascularity leaving you looking ripped and sculpted.
However, there is one particular side effect that is often linked to Andarine use, and that has to do with your vision. You may find it a bit hard to adjust when exposed to bright light after you have spent time in a dark room.
Also, users have stated that they tend to see green or yellow rings when they look directly into a source of light and this occurs whether they look in the direction of the natural light of the Sun or an artificial light source like an electric bulb.
One logical explanation for this side effect has to do with Andarine binding to ocular receptors at a greater level than other SARMs. The good news is that the vision issues associated with Andarine are often reversible and your regular vision will be restored soon after you have concluded an Andarine cycle.
A typical Andarine dosage for male bodybuilders is between 25 to 50 mg per day taken over an 8 week period. For women, a lower daily dosage of between 12,5 to 25 mg over 8 weeks would suffice.
#2. Ostarine (MK-2866)
Ostarine is a mild SARM that is often recommended for beginners looking to gain lean muscle mass and strength while also shedding subcutaneous body fat.
Using Ostarine as a first timer can see you gain as much as 10 pounds of lean skeletal muscle mass. However, Ostarine has its issues, as it is known to cause hepatic stress and elevate the values of liver enzymes.
Nevertheless, your liver function should return to normalcy after an Ostarine cycle. But this should serve as a note of caution to anyone that has an underlying liver health issue, you should first consult with your physician before you start an Ostarine cycle.
In addition to causing hepatic stress, Ostarine may influence both your LDL and HDL cholesterol levels causing you to experience a slight elevation in your blood pressure, although this is only a temporary condition.
Ostarine may also lower total testosterone levels, and your SHBG tests would suggest that this SARM is suppressive in nature. But this may not apply to all users, as not everyone would exhibit symptoms of low testosterone levels.
However, your free testosterone levels will not be lowered by Ostarine, and not everyone may need to run a post-cycle therapy (PCT) protocol after their Ostarine cycle.
Male bodybuilders using Ostarine for the first time may decide to take 15 mg per day for eight weeks while female bodybuilders may also run an eight week Ostarine cycle, but with a daily dosage of 10 mg.
There is a genuine argument in support of female bodybuilders gaining greater muscle tissue hypertrophy in comparison to their male counterparts despite running on a lower daily dosage.
You should maintain only a recommended Ostarine dosage plan, as suggested by your physician or coach to avoid greater exposure to side effects.
#3. Ibutamoren (MK 677)
While technically Ibutamoren is a growth hormone secretagogue, it is often classified as a SARM. Ibutamoren is known as a potent bulking SARM with equally effective subcutaneous fat burning properties.
Many MK 677 users claim that they experience no side effects while others may experience varying levels of HPTA-related complications. You can expect to build as much as 7 pounds of lean muscle mass from using Ibutamoren for the first time while your body fat percentage drops down by some points.
Ibutamoren is capable of increasing blood sugar, and prolactin levels leading to mild gynecomastia and an elevated blood pressure respectively. Also, while Ibutamoren will help in the burning of subcutaneous body fat, it could increase your visceral fat storage and mass.
A daily Ibutamoren dosage of 25 mg over a 16 week cycle should suffice for male bodybuilders while female beginners can take 15 mg daily also for a 16 week period.
#4. Cardarine (GW501516)
Known as a Peroxisome Proliferator Activated Receptor Delta or PPARD for short, Cardarine is a receptor agonist with significant fat burning potential.
Cardarine is classified as a SARM that can reduce muscle fatigue, as well as improve the stamina and endurance levels of your skeletal muscles in addition to boosting your metabolism and encouraging lipolysis.
Cardarine will also reduce cholesterol levels while improving your body’s insulin resistance level. Studies in mice suggest that very high doses of Cardarine may have carcinogenic risks. However, maintaining a low to moderate daily Cardarine dosage is generally believed to be safe.
Female bodybuilders may use a daily Cardarine dosage between 7,5 and 15 mg over an eight week cycle while in the same time period, male bodybuilders may use between 10 and 20 mg per day.
#5. Stenabolic (SR9009)
Stenabolic is technically a Rev-ErbA agonist, but widely classified as a SARM. Stenabolic offers users very effective fat burning effects, as it is capable of elevating the basal metabolic rate, reducing blood sugar levels, inhibiting glucose expression, and boosting mitochondria.
As a matter of fact, because Stenabolic is active at the hormonal level, it is able to help less active individuals burn substantial body fat. But you will optimize your fat burning experience when you combine your Stenabolic cycle with strength training and a calorie deficit diet. Stenabolic is also able to enhance the athletic performance of bodybuilders mainly due to its ability to boost mitochondria.
However, muscle building is not the strongest attribute of Stenabolic, but thus SARM is definitely a safe alternative to anabolic steroids, as it will not suppress your HPTA while still positively influencing both your liver function and cholesterol levels.
Male bodybuilders may take a daily Stenabolic dosage of 50 mg of a 4 to 8 week cycle while female bodybuilders may take a lower Stenabolic dosage of 30 mg per day also for 4 to 8 weeks.
III. SARMs with Potentially Greater Side Effects
While you have seen some of the safest SARMs around, there are also those SARMs that you really should avoid due to their harsh side effects. Some of these SARMs are RAD 150, S23, and YK 11.
RAD 150 is the successor to RAD 140 and the former has greater side effects in comparison to the latter. When it comes to side effects, we place RAD 140 as well as LGD 4033 in the class of moderately harsh SARMs. LGD 4033 and RAD 140 are usually recommended to intermediate level bodybuilders, especially after a successful initial or first SARMs cycle. RAD 150 is viewed as a powerful SARM that potentially exposes users to a greater number of harsh side effects.
S23 is known to promote greater pumps and exceptional strength gains. However, like EAD 150, S23 exposes users to many side effects including those associated with suppressed testosterone.
YK 11 is classified as a SARM, but it is technically a myostatin inhibitor. Users have claimed to experience symptoms associated with suppressed testosterone in addition to joint pain, acne, raised cholesterol levels, and liver enzymes.
III. The Safest SARMs Stacks
Some of the safest SARMs stacks that you can try out today will see you combine a sARM with either Stenabolic or Cardarine. You will combine a genuine SARM with another compound in order to not only optimize your bodybuilding results, but also ensure that your liver, testosterone and cholesterol values do not spike to unsafe levels.
If you combine two or more SARMs, you are more than likely to experience adverse effects to your HDl/LDL cholesterol, AST/ALT liver enzymes, and HPTA levels.
Finally, the safest SARMs stacks available include:
- A Stenabolic and Cardarine stack which is ideal for cutting programs.
- An Ostarine and Andarine stack which is great for lean bulking programs, as it promotes lean muscle mass.
- A RAD 140 and Ostarine stack works wonders for a bulking bodybuilding program.