In this article, we’ll discuss SARMs vs. steroids and how they compare to one another. People use SARMs and steroids for different reasons. For some, it improves their physique and supplements their workout.
For others, it is for fat loss and increasing lean muscle mass. On the other hand, sportsmen use SARMs or steroids to boost their performance and promote recovery from injuries.
While they might both aim to achieve similar things, they function quite differently. This reflects in their effectiveness, side effects, and dangers.
This article compares SARMs vs. steroids to know which is better in terms of effectiveness and safety.
What Are SARMs?
SARMs are Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators which are a class of substances related to anabolic steroids. They, however, have fewer androgenic effects. This means they are less capable of producing male features.
SARMs bind to androgen receptors in certain parts of the body that are most committed to muscle mass growth. This is why they are called “selective”.
For over five years now, there has been an increase in the online searches for SARMS, with growing interest among advanced bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts. Andarine and Ostarine are also commonly searched for.
SARMs were discovered by accident. In the 90s, Professor James T Dalton was researching a possible treatment for prostate cancer. He was the first to identify Andarine, which we now know as the first SARM. While it was not so useful in treating prostate cancer, he discovered it caused increased muscle growth.
What Are Steroids?
Steroids are a very broad class of drugs. However, the ones relevant in bodybuilding are anabolic steroids or anabolic-androgenic steroids. This is used for increasing muscle mass and strength.
The human body naturally produces steroids, and testosterone is the most prominent. Testosterone has anabolic effects on the body, which stimulates muscle growth. We are more familiar with the androgenic effects which are implicated in the male traits seen at puberty.
Some bodybuilders and athletes take steroids as a performance-enhancing drug. This drug is often a synthetic modification of the natural testosterone the body produces.
SARMs vs. steroids: The Differences
There are major differences when comparing SARMs vs. steroids that might influence which is better.
Performance-enhancing substances are regulated across countries and states and by various sports bodies. Anabolic steroids, most especially, are controlled and illegal in many countries.
On the other hand, SARMs are emerging bodybuilding substances that still have a lot of restrictions in all parts of the world. While they are not illegal, they are not permitted for human use in most countries, including the United States.
This is because the FDA does not have enough information on its safety for use in humans. They are, however, available for research purposes and for animals.
Mechanism of action (how they work)
Both steroids and SARMs bind to androgen receptors. The difference is that SARMs are selective and would only bind to those in the muscles and bones. Androgen receptors are present all over the body and steroids can bind to any of them. This makes the action less tailored but also effective in stimulating muscle growth.
There is no significant difference in the prices for SARMs vs. steroids. The mean price of SARMs is still low. It costs about $20-60 per bottle. A bottle of SARMs should last up to six weeks. The average cost for a bottle or vial of steroids starts from £30 but could be as high as $50-100 or even more.
SARMs and steroids have similar uses. They are both used for bodybuilding and fat reduction. SARMs have been found to prevent muscle wasting and increase bone density. There are still efforts to make the function restricted to just the muscles, which is why it is still not legally permitted for use.
SARMs are being proposed for use in various medical conditions like breast cancer and osteoporosis. It is also useful in people with muscle-wasting conditions like muscular dystrophy.
SARMs and steroids both have some safety concerns. Like every other drug, both substances have their side effects.
Steroids also lead to acne breakouts and derange lipid profiles. Other adverse effects include liver damage, heart disease, and the risks associated with self-injecting. In women, steroid use can lead to virilization, which effectively means they could start having masculine features like hirsutism.
Since SARMs has fewer androgenic effects, it is less likely to cause virilization in women. However, a study found that 50 percent of people who used SARMs had acne breakouts and mood swings. Other adverse effects associated with the use include elevated levels of bad cholesterol, increasingly oily skin.
Based on studies so far, SARMs are considered safer than steroids and are even being considered for other clinical uses. However, more studies are needed to guarantee long-term safety before FDA approval.
Route of administration
SARMs are swallowed while anabolic steroids are injected. Self-administration of injected drugs comes with some concern as it predisposes to infections, pain, and other complications can ensure.
A study showed that 90% of people who use SARMs got delightful results. Steroids can produce less desirable results. The muscles can grow in a disproportionate manner. Although it is not its intended use, SARMs increase bone density which could help manage osteoporosis.
Summary: Differences between SARMs and Steroids
|Availability||Not regulated||Mostly illegal|
|Mechanism of action||Selectively binds androgen receptors in the muscles and bones||Non-selective|
|Use||Bodybuilding, fat reduction||Bodybuilding, fat reduction|
|Route of administration||Orally||Injected|
SARMs vs. steroids: The Verdict
Steroids and SARMs are both effective substances in bodybuilding and fat reduction. While steroids are illegal for use in many countries, SARMs are not illegal but unapproved for human use in many countries.
They are, however, marketed as research substances. SARMs are theoretically safer than steroids with fewer adverse effects because they are selective and have fewer androgenic properties. This makes it suitable for women.
If steroids or SARMs are legal or not illegal where you are, ensure you buy from a reputable company. Also, pay attention to note changes. Stop the product and visit your physician if you notice any adverse effects.