Do SARMs Shut Down Testosterone? – The Scientific Truth

Written by James C., M.S.(C), PT

| Published on

Fact Checked

Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMs) have gained popularity in the fitness and bodybuilding communities as a safer alternative to anabolic steroids. They were originally designed to help treat muscle wasting diseases by promoting muscle growth and prevent bone loss. However, many athletes and bodybuilders also use SARMs to enhance their performance, muscle mass, and strength. A common concern among users surrounds whether or not SARMs can shut down the body’s natural testosterone production.

Do SARMs Shut Down Testosterone

SARMs work by binding to androgen receptors in the body, which in turn, stimulates the growth of muscle tissue. Unlike anabolic steroids, SARMs have a more selective effect and do not lead to the same extensive range of adverse side effects, including suppression of natural testosterone production. However, it is essential to understand that while SARMs may not shut down testosterone production as profoundly as steroids, some degree of suppression can still occur, depending on the dosage, duration, and specific SARM used.

Key Takeaways

  • SARMs are a safer alternative to anabolic steroids, with fewer side effects on natural testosterone production.
  • Some degree of testosterone suppression may still occur when using SARMs, depending on various factors.
  • Individuals should be aware of potential risks and safety concerns before using SARMs for performance enhancement or muscle growth.

Understanding SARMs

Mechanism of Action

Selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) are a class of compounds that demonstrate tissue-selective activity at androgen receptors. This mechanism allows them to target specific tissues, such as muscle and bone, without affecting other tissues that respond to androgen hormones, like the prostate and the liver. By selectively binding to androgen receptors, SARMs can promote anabolic activity and muscle growth without causing the harmful side effects commonly associated with traditional anabolic steroids.

Types of SARMs

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There are several types of SARMs available, each with their own unique properties and effects. Some of the most popular ones include:

  • Ostarine (MK-2866): This SARM is primarily used for muscle growth and has been shown to enhance lean muscle mass, increase strength, and promote recovery.
  • Ligandrol (LGD-4033): Used mainly for bulking purposes, Ligandrol is known for its ability to increase muscle mass and strength without causing significant gains in fat or water retention.
  • Andarine (S4): Often used during cutting cycles, Andarine is known to be effective in promoting fat loss while preserving muscle mass, making it a popular choice among bodybuilders.
  • Testolone (RAD-140): With its potent anabolic effects, Testolone is mainly used to enhance lean muscle mass and strength while improving recovery times.

It is important to understand that while SARMs offer potential benefits, they are still investigational compounds and are yet to be approved for human use by regulatory agencies. Therefore, their long-term safety and efficacy are not completely understood. Always exercise caution and consult with a healthcare professional before considering the use of SARMs.

The Influence of SARMs on Testosterone

Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMs) are a class of compounds that selectively target and activate androgen receptors in specific tissues. As a result, SARMs can promote muscle growth, bone health, and overall physical performance while avoiding many of the adverse side effects often associated with traditional anabolic steroids.

Suppression of Testosterone

One of the effects of SARMs on the body is their potential to suppress natural testosterone production. While they can increase testosterone levels by activating androgen receptors, they can also have the opposite effect of causing suppression when the body detects elevated levels of androgens. The body’s natural response to this increase is to reduce its own production of testosterone, resulting in lower levels of the hormone in the body over time.

It’s important to note that the severity of testosterone suppression may vary depending on the specific SARM being used, the dosage, and the duration of use. Some SARMs have been shown to cause only mild suppression, while others can lead to a more significant decrease in testosterone levels. In some cases, users may experience temporary reductions in testosterone levels, which typically return to normal once the SARM use is discontinued.

Impact on Libido

Testosterone plays a crucial role in maintaining a healthy libido. As a result, any changes in testosterone levels caused by SARMs can potentially influence an individual’s sex drive.

While some SARMs users report an increase in libido due to their androgenic effects, others may experience a decrease in sexual desire because of testosterone suppression. The impact on libido can vary greatly depending on the specific SARM being used, the dosage, and the individual’s unique response to the compound. It’s worth mentioning that any changes in libido are usually temporary and tend to normalize once SARM usage is stopped and testosterone levels return to their natural state.

In conclusion, the influence of SARMs on testosterone levels can be both positive and negative. The specific effects depend on factors like the type of SARM being used, the dosage, and the user’s sensitivity to hormonal changes. By carefully considering these factors and monitoring their body’s response, SARMs users can minimize potential risks and maximize the benefits of these compounds.

Safety and Risks

can sarms stop testosterone

Side Effects

SARMs, or Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators, have gained popularity among fitness enthusiasts and athletes for their potential muscle-building and fat loss effects. However, the safety of these compounds is a matter of concern. In general, SARMs have fewer side effects as they selectively target androgen receptors in muscle and bone tissues. Some common side effects may include:

  • Suppression of natural testosterone production
  • Changes in cholesterol levels
  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Nausea and acne

It is worth noting that the side effects of individual SARMs may vary. At this point, no SARMs are clinically approved, and their long-term safety remains uncertain.

Potential Dangers

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued warnings about the use of SARMs due to reports of adverse events. These compounds are not FDA-approved, and obtaining them for personal use is illegal. The FDA has also noted instances of drug-induced liver injury (DILI) related to SARM usage. In addition, there have been reports of tendon ruptures among recreational users.

SARMs may also have potential negative impacts on the prostate and cardiovascular system. Moreover, the lack of regulation in the production of SARMs makes it challenging to ensure the quality and purity of the compounds, leading to potential unknown dangers.

In summary, the safety of SARMs users is a concern due to their unregulated nature and potential for adverse effects. It is crucial for individuals considering SARMs to understand the risks and consult with a medical professional before attempting to use these compounds.

Comparison with Steroids


SARMs and steroids share certain similarities, as both are targeted towards promoting muscle growth, strength, and fat loss. However, the major difference between the two lies in their composition and mode of action. Steroids are synthetic hormones, specifically anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS), which are derived from testosterone and have both anabolic (muscle-building) and androgenic (male sex characteristics) effects. On the other hand, SARMs are non-steroidal, selective androgen receptor modulators that work by selectively binding to androgen receptors in specific tissues such as muscles and bones.

Advantages and Disadvantages

There are some noteworthy advantages and disadvantages when comparing SARMs and steroids:

– Targeted action on muscles and bones, leading to fewer side effects– Greater potency per unit, which may result in more significant muscle gains and fat loss
– Lower potential for causing hormonal imbalances– Extensive research and history of use in bodybuilding and medicine
– Reduced risk of androgen-related side effects (e.g., acne, male pattern baldness) 
– Limited research on long-term safety and efficacy– Greater risk of side effects due to non-selective action on androgen receptors throughout the body
 – Higher potential for causing hormonal imbalances (endogenous testosterone suppression)
 – Increased risk of androgen-related side effects

While Ligandrol (a popular SARM) exhibits a higher anabolic ratio compared to testosterone (10:1 vs 1:1), it has not been shown to suppress endogenous testosterone levels. In contrast, exogenous testosterone administration, as found in anabolic steroids, typically results in suppression of natural testosterone production. This suggests that SARMs might have a lower potential for causing hormonal imbalances compared to anabolic steroids.

Impact on Muscle Mass and Strength

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Impact on Muscle Growth

Selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) have gained popularity among athletes and bodybuilders for their ability to promote muscle growth. They act by binding to the androgen receptors in muscle and bone tissues, selectively stimulating anabolic effects. More than 90% of men in a study reported increased muscle mass, and most users were satisfied with their results. However, it’s essential to understand that individual results may vary, and long-term effects are still under investigation.

Enhancement of Physical Performance

SARMs have the potential to enhance physical performance by increasing strength levels. Since they target specific androgen receptors, their impact on strength can be more focused than traditional anabolic steroids. This enables users to improve their overall performance in sports and physical activities. However, it is crucial to consider that SARMs may have adverse effects, such as mood swings, decreased testicular size, and acne, which should be monitored carefully.

Clinical Studies and FDA Regulations

SARMs in Clinical Trials

Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMs) are non-steroidal compounds with favorable oral bioavailability that were developed in the early 2000s. They were designed to overcome the pharmacologic and pharmacokinetic limitations of steroidal androgen receptor agonists, such as testosterone and DHT, which have known associations with liver and heart issues. As SARMs selectively bind to androgen receptors, they result in anabolic cellular activity while avoiding many of the side effects of currently available anabolic steroids.

Several clinical trials have been conducted to evaluate the safety and efficacy of SARMs. These trials have shown promising results, including increased lean body mass, bone mineral density, and physical function in patients with various health conditions. However, more research and long-term studies are needed to fully understand the safety profile and potential benefits of SARMs.

Regulatory Status of SARMs

SARMs are not currently approved by the FDA for medicinal use. While they show potential for therapeutic applications, the FDA has issued warnings about the use of SARMs due to potential risks, including liver toxicity, cardiovascular issues, and the potential for inhibiting natural testosterone production.

Online vendors and social media influencers have been promoting SARMs for their purported benefits as supplements, but these claims are not supported by scientific evidence. The FDA has taken action against companies selling these products illegally and has issued warnings to consumers about the risks associated with using SARMs.

In conclusion, although SARMs show potential for various therapeutic applications, more research and clinical trials are needed to fully understand their safety and efficacy. Until approved by regulatory authorities like the FDA, consumers should be cautious when considering the use of SARMs.

SARMs and Medical Conditions

SARMs and Cancer

SARMs (Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators) have shown potential in treating certain types of cancer, such as prostate and breast cancer. Their ability to selectively target androgen receptors helps minimize side effects compared to traditional therapies. In prostate cancer, SARMs can help reduce the growth and progression of cancer cells, while in breast cancer, they may inhibit the proliferation of cancerous cells.

Other Relevant Medical Conditions

SARMs have also demonstrated promise in treating other medical conditions that involve muscle wasting, sarcopenia, and osteoporosis:

  • Cachexia: This condition is characterized by severe weight loss and muscle atrophy, often seen in patients with chronic diseases like cancer, HIV, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). SARMs can help counteract muscle wasting by increasing lean body mass and muscle strength while minimizing side effects.
  • Muscle Wasting: Muscle wasting conditions, like sarcopenia (age-related muscle loss), may benefit from SARMs due to their targeted ability to enhance muscle growth, strength, and bone density. SARMs can provide a safer alternative to traditional anabolic steroids while minimizing negative impacts on hormone production.
  • Osteoporosis: SARMs’ ability to stimulate bone formation makes them an attractive treatment option for osteoporosis, a condition characterized by weak and brittle bones. By increasing bone density, SARMs may help reduce the risk of fractures and improve overall bone health.

In conclusion, SARMs possess significant therapeutic potential for various medical conditions, including cancer and muscle wasting disorders. While further research is necessary, their selective nature and reduced side effects make them a promising treatment option for individuals suffering from these conditions.

Use in Sports and Athletics


Selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) are often used in sports and athletics for their anabolic effects, which can enhance muscle growth and boost physical performance. However, the use of SARMs has been met with controversy and backlash from athletic organizations, as they are often considered a form of doping. Many sports regulatory bodies and drug testing affiliates have banned the use of SARMs among athletes due to their potential performance-enhancing properties.

Effect on Athletic Performance

SARMs have been found to increase muscle mass, strength, and endurance in some users, making them attractive to athletes looking for a competitive edge. However, the long-term effects of SARM usage on athletic performance are still not well-known, and there is insufficient data on the precise outcomes in users who take them recreationally. However, it’s important to consider the potential health risks and ethical implications of using SARMs in sports. Athletes should prioritize safety and adhere to the rules and regulations set forth by their respective sports organizations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do SARMs affect natural testosterone production?

Yes, SARMs can affect natural testosterone production. SARMs work by binding to androgen receptors, which can lead to an increase in free testosterone levels. This can result in a temporary decrease in natural testosterone production as the body tries to maintain a hormonal balance.

Can long-term use of SARMs lead to testosterone suppression?

Long-term use of SARMs can potentially lead to testosterone suppression. This is because over time, the increase in free testosterone levels can cause the hypothalamus to downregulate the release of gonadal hormones, which can affect overall testosterone production.

Are there any side effects of SARMs on testosterone levels?

While SARMs are generally considered to be less invasive than steroids, they can still cause side effects related to testosterone levels. Some common side effects include a temporary decrease in libido, changes in mood, and increased estrogen levels.

Do specific SARMs like RAD140 and Ostarine cause testosterone decrease?

Some SARMs, such as RAD140 and Ostarine, may cause a decrease in testosterone levels. However, the extent of this suppression can vary depending on the specific SARM and the dosage used. It is essential to use SARMs responsibly and follow recommended guidelines for dosage and cycle length to minimize any potential negative effects on testosterone levels.

What is the impact of SARMs on hormone levels in men?

SARMs can have varying impacts on hormone levels in men. While they can increase free testosterone levels, they can also cause a temporary decrease in natural testosterone production and increased estrogen levels. It is important to monitor these hormone levels closely during and after a SARMs cycle to ensure proper hormonal balance is maintained.

How does SARMs use compare to steroids in terms of testosterone suppression?

SARMs use is generally considered to be less invasive and less suppressive than steroids in terms of testosterone suppression. However, this does not mean that they are without side effects. SARMs users should still exercise caution and follow proper usage guidelines to minimize any potential impacts on testosterone levels.

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