SARM MK-2866 (Ostarine)
by Mike Arnold
S.A.R.M.S represent a new and exciting category of performance enhancing drugs which are unique to the PED marketplace. For those of you who are unfamiliar, we will begin with a brief introduction. The word SARM is short for “selective androgen receptor modulator” and as the term suggests, this class of compounds was created in order to provide the anabolic, muscle building effects of traditional steroids, without delivering the androgenic, estrogenic, or progestagenic side effects which typically accompany their use. In essence, the goal was to create a pure anabolic; a drug which could favorably impact muscle tissue hypertrophy, while remaining absent of the undesirable traits associated with AAS. Ostarine, also known as MK-2866, is the most recent addition to this class of drugs and at this juncture, it has proven to be the most successful in separating these positive and negative characteristics.
Ostarine was originally developed by GTX as a treatment for the conditions of muscle wasting and osteoporosis and has previously undergone multiple human clinical trials. In one 3 month study involving 120 non-weight training, elderly participants, it was revealed that Ostarine led to a dose dependent increase in lean body mass, with the largest dose group (3 mg/day) averaging an increase in lean mass of 3.1 lbs. At the conclusion of this study, the researcher’s consensus was that Ostarine had a favorable safety profile, with none of the subjects having experienced any serious adverse events. Although some might scoff at a 3.1 lb increase in lean mass over a 3 month period, it is important to remember that these were not weight training individuals, that the participants were at an age where the acquisition of muscle tissue is generally more difficult, and that the overall dose is considered low by BB’ing standards.
In order to further put these results into perspective, let us compare similar studies involving testosterone. In one university study conducted a few years back, researchers administered 600 mg of testosterone per week to non-weight training men aged 18-35, for a period of 20 weeks. At the completion of the trial, results showed that the participants gained an average of 7.04 lbs of lean mass. If we compare the variables between the Ostarine & Testosterone groups, we see that the testosterone trial lasted almost twice as long, that the participants were at a much more ideal age for gaining muscle tissue, and that the testosterone dose was considerably higher. When viewed in this light, the results witnessed in the Ostarine study are impressive.
When cycling Ostarine, individuals should not expect to gain 15-20 lbs of wet bulk within a few weeks of use. However, one can expect moderate, consistent gains in high quality muscle tissue, similar to what might be experienced with Primobolan. Gains will be lean and dry, with an increase in vascularity and a decrease in overall body fat. User reports show improvements in strength and increases in libido. Ostarine is administered orally and is non-toxic. It has no affect on the prostate, will not cause water retention, high blood pressure, oily skin, acne, or hair growth. It improves bone mineral density, has minimal impact on cholesterol levels, and does not lead to fluctuations in emotional state. Ostarine will stay active in the system for roughly 24 hours, necessitating once daily dosing.
Due to Ostarine’s unique characteristics, some of which are described below, there are several areas of application in which it finds itself most suitable. One of these is in the realm of PCT. For those users who cycle their AAS, the implementation of PCT (post cycle therapy) is both common and advisable. Such a practice allows for a more efficient recovery of the H.P.T.A and since testosterone is the primary endogenous hormone responsible for the maintenance of muscle tissue when off-cycle, this increase in recovery time will minimize the individual’s exposure to a sub-par anabolic environment, ultimately allowing the individual to experience a greater retention of lean body mass.
One of the long-standing arguments against the cycling of AAS is that during the post-cycle period, the individual is left with an anabolic environment which is greatly inferior to the hormonally super-charged one encountered while using AAS. The comparatively poor muscle building state experienced while off-cycle has often led to the loss of muscle tissue, despite one’s best efforts at quickly normalizing natural testosterone production. Now, while traditional PCT will assuredly help to minimize gains loss and is an important part of the overall picture, one cannot deny that relying on natural testosterone production alone is not ideal when attempting to maintain a steroid-induced level of muscle mass…and it certainly is not desirable for building further muscle tissue.
One of the primary benefits of this drug is that it does not lead to any significant suppression of the H.P.T.A when administered within the currently suggested dosing guidelines. This is a boon for the cycling BB’r, as we previously had no legitimate anabolics which were capable of substantially improving protein synthesis, while concurrently sustaining natural hormone production. In the real world, this means that the acquisition of steroid-like muscle gains and recovery/maintenance of the H.P.T.A is not mutually exclusive. This is a big deal because for the first time in history, many BB’rs will be able to maintain much, if not all of the muscle tissue they built while on-cycle. In many ways, the advent of Ostarine has afforded the modern day cycling BB’r the opportunity to experience the perpetual cycle, in which the individual never has to go “off”, while still achieving the goal of maintaining a healthy and well functioning H.P.T.A.
Due to this drug’s very weak androgenic component and lack of side effects, Ostarine is also an ideal drug for those entering the world of anabolics…or for those wishing to minimize the occurrence of side effects. In addition, due to its lack of toxicity, Ostarine makes an excellent stacker with other methylated compounds. For those who use injectables, this benefit may not be as relevant, but for those who desire to stay within the boundaries of legal PED use, Ostarine has significant applications in this arena. Previously, there were only a few legal & effective non-methylated products that an individual could stack with a methyl, in order to improve one’s results. Often, these other non-methylated products had side effects or just didn’t work very well. Ostarine is the 1st legal PED that has significant muscle building benefits and which is almost entirely free of side effects, making it a near perfect drug for this purpose.
The next area of application, in which Ostarine finds itself a perfect fit, is for use in women. For decades women have been limited in their selection of AAS, if they wanted to minimize androgenic side effects. For this reason, a significant number of ladies have chosen to either stick with mild methylated compounds, such as Anavar, or use nothing at all. If a woman decided she wanted to gain more muscle tissue than what could be achieved with the use of these mild anabolics, she needed to make a choice. She could either use more androgenic compounds and risk masculinizing side effects…or she could use larger dosages of the same methylated drugs for longer periods of time and risk damage to her lipids and/or liver. Now, while it is true that some women are willing to accept these masculinizing side effects, most women desire to maintain their full degree of femininity without blemish. This is where Ostarine comes in.
With Ostarine exhibiting such a mild androgenic profile and being non-toxic in nature, women now have the opportunity to use an anabolic substance capable of delivering significant gains in muscle tissue without having to worry about masculinization and/or organ stress. Side effects such as hair loss, hirsutism, acne, oily skin, voice changes, changes in facial structure, etc, are not a concern. In some cases Ostarine can cause the temporary cessation of a woman’s period, although it will resume upon discontinuance of the drug, much in the same way that a woman’s period will resume after discontinuing birth control. An increase in clitoral sensitivity can also occur, although I have not yet heard any reports from women claiming to experience enlargement of the clitoris.
For women who have been on the fence regarding the use of anabolics, this is the perfect product to get their feet wet…and for those who seek a level of muscular development on par with today’s figure, fitness, WPD, or bikini competitors, it will prove to be a relevant and effective addition to one’s program.
Overall, Ostarine is a very interesting compound, which maintains a unique place in the world of performance enhancing drugs. It is capable of filling several diverse roles, which up until this point had remained mostly unfilled by our current roster of PED’s. Whether it is used to maintain gains while in PCT, by a woman looking to maximize her muscular development while maintaining her femininity, by an AAS user during a cruise, or by a beginner looking to minimize side effects, Ostarine is an ideal drug for these purposes.