SARM stands for Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators. As the name states, They work by modulating certain androgen receptors in our bodies. They’re often thought of as the upgrade to steroids when it comes to enhancing performance, but are they safe?
The Short Answer:
Yes. But that answer alone shouldn’t be sufficient. Relatively speaking, SARMs are safer than steroids. Steroids have amazing effects on muscles and bones but they also affect every other cell that recognizes them. SARMs are formulated to only affect certain cells, minimizing the side-effects. This means they still have side effects, some of which could be debilitating under certain conditions.
Why Steroids and SARMs Have Side Effects
To understand why SARMs still have side-effects, you have to know why Steroids have them. Nearly all our cells have receptors on them. Think of these receptors as mailboxes that only accept a certain kind of mail. The mail that’s often sent to them are your hormones. Each hormone has an effect on a particular cell, making them act in specific ways. One common hormone that affects all humans is growth hormone, controlled by the pituitary gland. This hormone is the reason why we grow from infants to kids and onwards.
Our cells receive these hormones at very specific times, in very specific conditions. One other set of hormones are the gonadal hormones, commonly known as testosterone and estrogen. We get a flux of them when we hit puberty age, allowing us to develop our gender-specific traits. Our body controls these hormones in such a fine balance that interrupting them would cause a near domino-like effect.
Steroids are essentially chemicals that mimic testosterone. When they are introduced into the body, the body thinks it had a spike of testosterone, making muscle cells gather more proteins, make bone cells gather more calcium and so on. If only it stopped at muscles and bones steroids would be fine. Instead, it affects the user’s arteries, heart, liver, kidneys, skin, eyes and even their gonads.
What’s worse is that steroids have the tendency to be abused. Higher doses over a long period of time cause an extreme imbalance to your body’s hormonal levels. Steroids cause problems such as:
- Impotency and Erectile Dysfunction
- Testicular Shrinkage
- Male-pattern baldness (even in women)
- Excessive body hair growth
- Severe Acne
- Increased potential for tendon rupture
- Decreased potential for height (If taken by adolescents)
There are also severe effects such as:
- Liver damage leading to failure
- Increased risk for infection
- Psychological effects like mania and “roid rage”
These effects are through steroid use, caused by the way steroids work. SARMs can also cause these symptoms, but only potentially speaking.
SARM Side Effects
There’s a value used by people to judge how beneficial a type of steroid is compared to its potential negative effects. Known as the “Anabolic to Androgenic Ratio,” this ratio determines how much muscular growth you’ll get relative to the androgenic effects that cause the side-effects listed above. Commonly, steroids have a 1:1 ratio, meaning an equal potential for gain with an equal potential for side-effects. Advances in the formulation have made some steroids have ratios as good as 5:1, meaning it has 5 units more of potential for the same dosage.
SARMs take it to the next level. Certain SARMs have a 10:1 ratio, even soaring to 20:1 all towards a blistering 90:1. Regardless of how you raise it, there’s still that 1 unit of potential negative effects. Take more than the recommended dosage over a long enough duration and you’re likely to suffer some kind of consequence.
A good portion of SARMs suppresses testosterone production. This means people with existing hormonal issues like low testosterone have increased risks of side-effects and complications.
This all being said and before taking anything that alters your body, make sure you do your homework. SARMs can push the boundaries of physical development so it’s your responsibility to keep yourself safe.