Low testosterone is generally an issue associated with men, as men produce more of the hormone naturally. Normal testosterone levels in men range from 350 ng/dL and 1,000 ng/dL. If you have been diagnosed with a testosterone deficiency, a medical professional has likely laid out your options. Most doctors recommend TRT, or testosterone replacement therapy, which comes in many forms and has proven benefits. But are there other, non-prescribed routes available out there?
The answer is yes, but all non-prescribed testosterone boosting treatments should be treated with caution. One “alternative” drug to TRT that is gaining traction is SARMs, otherwise known as selective androgen receptor modulators. But what do SARMS do?
SARMS are basically an anabolic compound that helps build muscle mass and speed recovery time, which is how they gained popularity. Many professional athletes and weight lifters use SARMS for bulking. This might make you wonder, are SARMS steroids? The answer is no, they are not. SARMS do have performance enhancing effects not so different from steroids (though less powerful). They also share some side effects, but they are not the same thing physiologically. SARMS are generally marketed as a safer alternative to TRT or recreational steroids, with less side effects, but unfortunately that is not necessarily true.
It should be made clear that there are most definitely side effects to taking SARMS. According to Dr. Rand McClain of Regenerative & Sports Medicine, just like with anabolic steroids, SARMS are going to lower the (HDL) good cholesterol and raise the bad cholesterol (LDL). Other reported side effects of SARMS include mood swings, decreased testicular size, and acne.
If you’re looking to buy SARMS, the drug is not regulated so it is available for purchase primarily online or at health stores. It is harder to come by than a lot of other health-related drugs, so make sure to stick to known brands. Some find it difficult to find good quality SARMS, and there are many scams out there promising positive, unproven effects. If you’re wondering, are SARMS safe? Are SARMS legal? Yes, SARMS are legal and generally safe. However, it should be again noted that they are not a regulated drug, and they are still largely experimental.
Do SARMS work? Are they worth the trouble? That depends on your goals. SARMS are not as powerful as normal steroids, nor are they an actual alternative to treat low testosterone. In a study done on mice, it was found using SARMS could potentially increase risk of developing certain cancers. Every person is different, as is every case of testosterone deficiency, but unregulated drugs should always be something to be cautious of. The risk is up to the individual.
If you are already taking some form of TRT but feel it’s not working fast enough, you may be tempted to add on a SARMS supplement. You’ve probably read some shining reviews of SARMS results and think, what could it hurt? It’s understandable you’d want to do everything you can to feel like yourself again, but you may want to think twice before making that choice.
Dr. Rand feels doing both TRT and SARMS together is unproductive. “The juice ain’t worth the squeeze,” he says.
“From a medical perspective, I think it’s kind of a no brainer to use what’s been around in the tried and true instead of the SARMS. And certainly, doing them together doesn’t make any sense to me.”
Essentially, Dr. Rand says adding SARMS to your TRT regimen is diluting it. He notes that trusted colleagues of his have yielded positive results, but it needs to be studied more before he feels comfortable ever recommending it. You get better gains overall when you’re not over suppressing estrogen.
If you have a choice between the two, a regenerative doctor is likely always going to recommend sticking with traditional TRT. In fact, most doctors in their right minds would never prescribe SARMS, nor tell you where to get SARMS. SARMs aren’t as beneficial as the marketing hype would have you believe. They are a decent drug for those who use it for muscle building, but TRT is typically always the better option.