SARMs Side Effects: Risks You Should Know Before You Consume Them

Date
June
1
2022
Compiled By Louise Rodriguez
Medically Reviewed By Dr. P Stein, MD FACT CHECKED

Several people prefer taking supplements to build a solid and muscular body. These supplements may tremendously increase muscle mass and help individuals develop their bodies.

But, with positive effects, these supplements might come with a range of side effects.

SARMs or Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators are one such supplement people prefer to increase muscle mass.

SARMs are considered a great alternative to steroids as they have comparatively lesser side effects than the latter.

But, still, SARMs aren’t devoid of adverse effects, as they could cause several severe impacts on the human body. The data about these side effects and the information about SARMs has been ever-evolving [1]and needs to be discussed.

So, this article will list several potential side effects of SARM consumption.

What Are SARMs?

SARMs are a group of therapeutic compounds[2]that could have anabolic properties to increase muscle mass.

The supplement functions efficiently by selectively binding to the androgen receptors in the body. The binding to receptors allows for an increase in muscular growth and recovery.

SARMs are somewhat similar to the anabolic-androgenic steroids but differ in their selective approach. Different SARMs are known to target specific tissues for their action.

The SARMs usage could be beneficial in maintaining some desired effects of androgens like osteoporosis and muscle loss prevention, lowered risk of prostate cancer, etc.

The supplement could be considered a potential treatment for muscle-wasting caused by several underlying diseases like cancer, heart failure, etc.

Currently, all the SARMs are under investigational usage; hence, no clinical use is recommended.

Moreover, WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) has blacklisted SARMs usage for athletes in any level of sports. Also, the FDA has warned[3] against using the SARMs products in bodybuilding substances.

Side Effects Of SARMs

SARMs could be a beneficial supplement for many, but it comes with multiple side effects to consider.

Several clinical data and anecdotal experiences have mentioned numerous side effects of consuming SARMs for men[4] and women.

All the side effects faced by the consumers could be long-term or short-term based on the consumption pattern of the individual.

SARMs Side Effects On Men

  1. May Cause Liver Injury

    SARMs, like other anabolic steroids, may cause liver injury[5] in consumers. In some cases, it has been observed that SARMs could cause cholestatic liver injury in humans like the steroid.

    The liver injury could lead to some medical conditions like jaundice or elevated liver enzymes.

    But, the cases of liver injury due to SARMs consumption are rare and may occur if the supplement is consumed regularly.

    Hence, liver injury cases are more often observed due to regular and increased consumption in the athletic market.

  2. May Cause Hair Loss

    Every male starts losing hair after reaching a certain age. Hair loss might be due to genetics, pollution, etc. But, SARMs could play a role in the hair fall of males.

    Every SARM has a different role; hence, different SARMs reduce the level of different natural hormones in your body. This unhealthy and uneven level of natural hormones[6] may lead to hair loss.

    Moreover, the overdosage of SARM for a more extended period could also be a factor for hair loss in males.

    Hence, it would be best to consume SARMs in the prescribed dosage to avoid such side effects.

  3. May Cause Gynecomastia

    Isn’t it surprising that SARMs may lead to gynecomastia in males? But, this could be true due to the conversion of testosterone into estrogen and DTH.

    As you consume SARMs, the supplement occupies a maximum of your androgen receptors, hence, significantly fewer androgen receptors are available for testosterone to bind.

    This situation[7] may lead to the conversion of remaining testosterone to estrogen and DTH. Moreover, in the case of higher doses, more testosterone may remain unbound, leading to higher estrogen levels in males.

    The higher estrogen level may further lead to medical conditions like gynecomastia or breast development.

  4. May Suppress Natural Testosterone Production

    When you consume SARMs, your body gets filled with androgen, which kills the need for natural androgens in the body.

    Hence, with increased androgens, your body receives the command to reduce natural testosterone production in the body. Do you know why your body stops production?

    When the body is flooded with SARMs, the supplemental androgens bind to the androgen receptor, limiting the need for natural androgens.

    Moreover, with optimum androgens in the body, your body won’t waste additional energy in producing testosterone.

    Hence, in this way, your body could suppress the natural testosterone production and at the same time, your body might start exhibiting the symptoms of low testosterone.

    The safety and effects parameters are discussed here[8].

  5. May Start Acne Issues

    No one likes to have some irregularities like acne on their face. But, it has been found that SARMs could cause acne on your face; how?

    People with higher testosterone levels in the body may get acne frequently. Hence, with SARMs, the androgen level in the body gets elevated, leading to acne.

    The increased androgen levels increase the sebum concentration on the skin, which prevents the skin from drying.

    The oily skin obstructs the removal of dead cells, leading to cell clogging, hence forming acne on the face.

SARMs Side Effects On Women

  1. May Cause Disturbance In Menstrual Cycle

    Females consuming SARMs may experience a disturbed menstrual cycle. Due to excess androgen hormones in the body, women may get hormonal disorders like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

    In these conditions, women experience an early or delayed menstrual cycle causing an irregularity in the cycle. The irregular menstrual cycle[9] might be inconvenient, annoying, and painful for the women.

    Moreover, hormonal disorders like PCOS come with several other underlying health conditions for women.

  2. May Get Body Hairs Like Men

    SARMs consumption increases the level of androgens like testosterone in the body. In females, testosterone is present in lesser quantities compared to men.

    Hence, an increase in the level of androgens due to SARMs consumption may induce the growth of unwanted body hairs, specifically in the back, face, and chest areas in females.

  3. May Have Regular Mood Swings

    SARMs could be great for building muscles and increasing the strength of an individual, but they could negatively impact the mood.

    Females experiencing mood swings are scarce with regular and prescribed doses of SARMs. But, women taking SARMs excessively might experience a negative impact of the supplement.

    The excess dosage might cause irregularity in hormone levels; hence, they might experience sudden mood swings.

  4. May Experience Pain And Swelling

    Whoever consumes SARMs might experience pain at some point, irrespective of gender. But, women are more prone to pain and swelling after consuming SARMs.

    The pain and swelling in women are due to immediate water retention and rapid muscle build-up. But, the pain and swelling might not persist for long, as they get habituated to the growth with regular consumption.

  5. May Develop Male Characters

    The condition of developing male characters after consuming SARMs in females isn’t proven yet, but a few women might experience the condition.

    Some women might experience a reduction in breast size and deepened voice due to overconsumption of SARMs.

Conclusion

Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators could be a great alternative to anabolic steroids in building muscle.

Unlike steroids, SARMs consumption has shown lesser side effects in humans, making it an effective supplement for muscle gain.

The supplement isn’t completely devoid of side effects as people have some unwanted experiences with SARMs.

But, you could avoid such side effects by consulting a specialist before consuming SARMs.

+9 References/Sources

Working4Health prefers using primary and verified references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and our primary references include peer-reviewed researches, academic and medical institution studies. 

  1. Shalender Bhasin, MD and Ravi Jasuja, PhD. Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMs) as Function Promoting Therapies. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2009 May; 12(3): 232–240. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e32832a3d79
  2. Zachary J. Solomon,a Jorge Rivera Mirabal, M.D.,b Daniel J. Mazur, M.D.,b Taylor P. Kohn,a Larry I. Lipshultz, M.D.,b,c and Alexander W. Pastuszak, M.D. Ph.D.b,c. Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMs) – Current Knowledge and Clinical Applications. Sex Med Rev. 2019 Jan; 7(1): 84–94. Published online 2018 Nov 30. doi: 10.1016/j.sxmr.2018.09.006
  3. Lyndsay Meyer. FDA In Brief: FDA warns against using SARMs in body-building products. FDA In Brief. Oct. 31, 2017. Available from: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/fda-brief/fda-brief-fda-warns-against-using-sarms-body-building-products.
  4. Iakov V Efimenko , David Valancy , Justin M Dubin , Ranjith Ramasamy. Adverse effects and potential benefits among selective androgen receptor modulators users: a cross-sectional survey. Int J Impot Res. 2021 Sep 1. doi: 10.1038/s41443-021-00465-0.
  5. Iakov V Efimenko, David Valancy, Justin M Dubin, Ranjith Ramasamy. Adverse effects and potential benefits among selective androgen receptor modulators users: a cross-sectional survey. Int J Impot Res
    . 2021 Sep 1. doi: 10.1038/s41443-021-00465-0. Online ahead of print.
  6. C Bullmann, F Jockenhövel. [Gynecomastia in men]. Fortschr Med. 1998 Dec 20;116(35-36):18-22.
  7. L M Lucas, K L Kumar, D L Smith. Gynecomastia. A worrisome problem for the patient. Postgrad Med. 1987 Aug;82(2):73-6, 79-81. doi: 10.1080/00325481.1987.11699925.
  8. Shehzad Basaria, Lauren Collins, E. Lichar Dillon, et al. The Safety, Pharmacokinetics, and Effects of LGD-4033, a Novel Nonsteroidal Oral, Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator, in Healthy Young Men. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2013 Jan; 68(1): 87–95. Published online 2010 Mar 28. doi: 10.1093/gerona/gls078
  9. Bindu Kulshreshtha, Isha Pahuja, Deepak Kothari, et al. Menstrual Cycle Abnormalities in Patients with Prolactinoma and Drug-induced Hyperprolactinemia. Indian J Endocrinol Metab. 2017 Jul-Aug; 21(4): 545–550. doi: 10.4103/ijem.IJEM_515_16

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