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Health & Fitness

SARMs vs Steroids: A Comparative Guide

The use of steroids for physique enhancement is nothing new. But that doesn’t make it any less dangerous, or illegal for that matter. As a synthetic variation of the human hormone, testosterone, you wouldn’t think that steroids could be addictive. 

However, the National Institute for Drug Abuse states that long-term steroid use can lead to a serious drug abuse disorder. This mental addiction is characterized by the continued use of a harmful substance, despite negative consequences. 

This is where SARMs have entered the market as a safer alternative. To learn more about SARMs vs steroids, check out this guide for all the information you need. 

What Exactly Are Steroids?

Whether you’re looking for legal SARMs for sale (recommended) or steroids (not recommended), it’s important to know exactly what you’re putting into your body. 

As mentioned, anabolic-androgenic steroids are a synthetic, or man-made variation of the hormone testosterone.

This hormone is responsible for muscle growth and maintenance in both men and women. But it also has an effect on your bones, liver and kidney function, reproductive system, hormonal balance, nervous system, and more. 

It’s no secret that steroid use is illegal, but this doesn’t hinder many people looking for assistance when building a certain physique or wanting to maintain a physical aesthetic. 

Steroids were originally developed for the treatment of severe medical conditions. Today, steroids help to treat various types of diseases that cause muscle wastage such as AIDS, COPD, cancer, liver, and kidney disease.

Muscle loss relates to a higher mortality rate with any of the above diseases. This is where steroids help to improve therapeutic outcomes and extend a person’s life.

Steroid dosage is extremely important in terms of the benefit it can offer. In short, the dosage determines just how harmful steroids can be to the human body because of the many adverse side-effects. 

What Are the Benefits of Steroids?

While most people are aware of the negative effects of steroids, they can actually offer some benefit to your health. However, this is hugely contingent on the purpose of steroid use and the dosage. 

As with any other synthetic drug, using steroids comes with its own set of side-effects. But some of the benefits of steroid use include: 

  • An increase in red cell production 
  • Improved muscle endurance 
  • Improved muscle power and strength 
  • Improved muscle recovery post-exercise 
  • A decrease in body fat 
  • A fast increase in muscle tissue density caused by rapid protein synthesis 
  • Improved bone density 

As you can see, steroids are beneficial for bone and muscle density and the synthesis of new muscle. Hence their use in the treatment of muscle wastage. Not-to-mention their popularity within the bodybuilding and other sporting communities. 

What Are the Side Effects of Steroids?

The benefits aside, steroids are far more well-known for their potentially harmful side-effects. However, the way in which each person reacts to steroids depends on their individual genetics, as well as the steroid dosage. 

The adverse side-effects of steroids also depend on the anabolic-to-androgenic ratio of a steroid dose. Basically, anabolic relates to muscle growth, while androgenic relates to male sex traits. 

By taking steroids without medical advice, you put yourself at risk of: 

  • Heart disease — steroids increase the size of your heart (the left ventricle) and increase your blood pressure 
  • Liver damage — excessive amounts of testosterone can lead to liver toxicity 
  • Decreased testosterone production — your body is susceptible to hypogonadism, i.e. shrinkage of the testicles or ovaries
  • Infertility — reduced testosterone production affects sperm production and quality 
  • Male-pattern baldness — androgenic effects of steroids can cause or worsen male baldness 
  • Gynaecomastia — an increase in the size of male breast tissue caused by hormonal imbalance

Not only this, but steroids are well-known for triggering a change in behavior, especially in males. This includes heightened aggression, impulsivity, anxiety, and even depression. They can also cause an increase in hemoglobin levels. This thickens the blood, increasing your risk of stroke or heart attack. 

Not-to-mention a major change in cholesterol levels by reducing HDL levels (good cholesterol), and increasing LDL levels (bad cholesterol). Putting you at even greater risk of a heart attack.  

In women, the adverse side-effects of steroid use range from an enlarged clitoris, a reduction in breast size, voice deepening, increased facial hair, irregular cycles, and a high risk of infertility. 

Steroid Infection, Illegality, and Addiction

Another pitfall that you could potentially face when taking steroids is a high risk of infection. The reason for this is that steroid production is unregulated and often produced in illegal/underground laboratories.

This means there is no definitive way to determine the quality of a steroid product, versus using steroids produced in a commercial lab. Steroids are often injected. This makes for a higher risk of infection and contamination, too. 

If you’re buying steroids off the black market, you may also encounter mislabeling and counterfeit products which only increases the risk of taking this substance. 

To add to this, you’re also putting yourself at risk of huge legal consequences. In the United States, steroids fall under a schedule III drug classification. The penalty for using steroids illegally includes a one-year prison sentence and a major fine for your first offense.

In order to use steroids legally, you’ll need a certified prescription from a medical professional, outlining your condition. As previously mentioned, steroids could also be addictive to many people who use them on a long-term basis. 

While they are not physically addictive because they are a synthetic hormone, their use could cause a mental addiction. This in itself is just as difficult to overcome as a physical addiction.

The psychological side-effects of steroid use could lead to body dysmorphia and an obsessive compulsion with maintaining a certain physique.  

What Exactly Are SARMs? 

You may or may not have heard of selective androgen receptor modulators — also known as SARMs. While they are similar to steroids in the way that they react in the body, they are also very different. 

Both SARMs and steroids bind to androgen receptors in the body. This triggers a change in DNA and the way in which our muscles grow and respond to certain types of exercise, especially resistance training. 

In comparison, steroids act as a blunt tool in the body — they may be effective but can also cause harm. SARMs, on the other hand, work like a sharp, highly precise tool.

They are selective about the tissue they target, without causing a chain reaction of damage. In more scientific terms, SARMs bind with receptors at a cellular level.

You also don’t have to inject SARMs, they are most commonly taken in pill or powder form. They may be a far safer alternative to steroids but bear in mind that they are not yet approved for human consumption. Nor is the production of SARMs regulated. 

Are SARMs legal, though? The short answer to this is yes, but they are not approved by the FDA for use as yet. However, it is illegal to sell or market SARMs as a dietary supplement in the U.S.

If a SARM is sold as a dietary supplement, this is cause for concern. This is because dietary supplements do not undergo pre-market studies before hitting the shelves, leaving major concern over the actual ingredients in many SARMs products. 

What Are the Different Types of SARMs? 

As the acronym suggests, there is more than one type of this ”safe” steroid for public use. Some of the most popular today include: 

  1. Ibutamoren 

This is more commonly known as MK-667. It is a compound often mislabeled as a SARM, although it is technically a growth hormone called secretagogue. 

  1. Ostarine 

This compound is sold as MK-2866 and is best-known for its testosterone-stimulating effects. It is best used for those looking to build lean muscle mass. 

  1. Cardarine

This SARM is called GW501516 and is ideal for those looking to enhance their performance by building muscle strength and endurance. But bear in mind that Cardarine does not actually classify as a SARM. 

  1. Testolone 

This SARM is called RAD-140 and is ideal for those looking to build bulk muscle. It was originally made for cancer patients in order to combat the effects of muscle wasting. It’s a highly potent SARM and will help you build muscle fast. 

What Are the Benefits of SARMS? 

If you’re looking for specific results in terms of muscle building and physique enhancement, then SARMs are your friend. They are also beneficial for those looking to burn fat and shed unwanted weight. 

SARMs are best used when they are stacked together, delivering quicker results. There really is no way to use SARMs incorrectly, unless you are abusing them, of course. Some of the top reasons SARMs are so popular today include: 

  • They help with muscle recovery and assist in bouncing back from injuries 
  • They are great for building lean muscle mass 
  • They help you to shed weight, without losing too much muscle mass 
  • SARMs help to prevent muscle wastage during your workouts
  • They improve your exercise endurance and strength 

And most importantly, SARMs do not carry many of the negative side-effects related to steroid use. Especially those related to androgenic side-effects. This being said, certain SARM products are thought to have their own adverse side-effects when used in the long-term. 

Potentially Harmful Side Effects

It’s quite simple — SARMs have a similar benefit to steroids in terms of building muscle growth and endurance. This means that some of the adverse side-effects associated with this, also come with SARMs use. 

However, this does depend on your dosage, how you stack your SARMs and how long you use these substances. If taken at the right dosage, the risk of experiencing any negative side-effects is pretty low. 

There are certain SARMs products to be aware of, such as Andarine which is associated with vision issues and night-blindness. But once again, the risk of these side-effects depends on the dose you take. 

Certain SARMs may also be associated with reduced levels of natural testosterone production. 

In Summary: How Do SARMs and Steroids Differ?

First thing’s first, the most important difference between the two is that steroids are illegal, and SARMs are not. But, it’s important to note that SARMs fall into a ”gray area” of drug type and regulation because their use is not yet approved by the FDA. 

In short, SARMS may not be illegal, but it’s still very important to do your research when finding reputable products that do not leave behind any adverse side-effects. 

SARMs do not need to be injected. Instead, they are taken orally in pill or powder form. This greatly reduces the risk of contamination and infection when compared to steroid use. 

Another significant difference is that SARMs are compounds, while steroids are synthetic. This means that SARMs can work far more specifically within the body, leaving behind far fewer side-effects. 

This is not to say that SARMs do not pose any risk of adverse side-effects. It’s just that the research on SARMs use is limited and anecdotal. This is why it’s best to do your own research on the feedback about a specific SARM you intend on using. 

Grow, Learn, and Spread Knowledge 

The more you know about SARMs vs steroids, the better equipped you are to make the best decision for your health. While SARMs may be the better choice over steroids, they are not free from side-effects.

Make sure you always purchase your SARMs products from a reputable company and do your due diligence about each product. If you’re interested in growing, learning, and sharing knowledge, be sure to explore this site for more. We offer blogs on a range of topics to suit all tastes!  

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