SARMs are experimental compounds which have shown to have great potential benefit for humans particularly for conditions relating to the bones and muscle where they can act in an anabolic way but with less androgenic properties due to the way androgen receptors can be specifically selected and targeted.
Andarine has become a compound of interest among athletes and bodybuilders for these very reasons. Athletes choose to use Andarine for potential performance benefits including lean muscle growth, increased strength and bone density, fat loss, better endurance and more efficient use of nutrients.
These positive effects come with the benefit of minimal androgenic effects which appeals especially to women who can suffer severe masculinizing side effects with anabolic steroids which have much higher androgenic properties than SARMs like Andarine do.
Author’s Note: The following guide is based on my personal experience and does NOT promote the illegal use of SARMs.
What is Andarine?
Andarine was originally created for medical use to treat conditions like osteoporosis, benign prostatic hypertrophy (prostate enlargement), and muscle wasting conditions through the improvement and increasing of muscle mass and bone density. However clinical trials are no longer being undertaken with this drug and, like all SARMs, it currently has no approval for use in humans.
Andarine can bring about such substantial benefits for athletes that some professionals have gone so far as to risk their careers in using it. Some of these athletes were caught through drug testing so any Andarine user who is a competitor must be mindful of testing.
Like all SARMs, Andarine is not an anabolic steroid and because it is an experimental drug without any long term human trials, it can come with some unknown health risks. Like anabolic steroids, Andarine and all SARMs are not legal to purchase or use and are prohibited in professional sports.
The best uses of Andarine concern its excellent ability to promote muscle mass and strength gains, fat loss and its excellent muscle hardening properties; in fact it is considered to be one of the best hardening compounds you can use.
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Andarine is popular because it can bring many positive benefits with minimal downsides, especially when compared with steroids but even if compared with other SARMs.
S4 will deliver in multiple areas which makes it useful for a range of purposes – from bulking, to cutting to general performance enhancement. It is therefore useful for different people whether you’re a bodybuilder or elite athlete.
Here are the main benefits and effects that Andarine S4 can offer:
- Andarine provides benefits in strengthening bones by improving bone density which is an advantage for weight lifting athletes where the musculoskeletal system needs to be of sufficient strength to support the growth in muscle mass you’re trying to achieve.
- Endurance, stamina, strength and agility can all be improved with Andarine, so this makes it a versatile SARM suited for a range of athletic and fitness goals.
- A benefit you’ll often hear about with S4 is that it causes less side effects than other SARMs and is useful for both bulking and cutting, but is particularly useful for cutting and helps retain existing muscle during this time. It can harden the muscles and increase vascularity, boost strength and potentially help burn fat by encouraging the burning of stored fat for energy. Muscle gains can be impressive with S4, as far as SARMs go, but naturally will not rival that which you can achieve with steroids.
- Andarine basically puts the body into a quality anabolic state where you’ll find that gaining some muscle and burning fat will come quicker, but not as quick as steroids and the slower results can lead some to think that S4 isn’t working. Therefore it’s important to finish an entire cycle before evaluating results. Another benefit of course is the lack of water retention that you won’t see with any gains made with S4, so you know your gains are quality muscle tissue.
- S4 will help you achieve a harder, tighter and leaner body with greater vascularity thanks to its excellent fat burning ability. The lack of water retention makes Andarine an excellent option if you want the the most chiseled possible physique, making it appealing for physique competitors.
- Because Andarine is powerfully anabolic, the body remains in a stable anabolic state which prevents the loss of muscle tissue while you’re burning fat. Compared with some of the best cutting steroids like Winstrol, Andarine won’t cause muscular cramps or the joint pain many Winstrol users experience.
- Andarine has high anabolic activity so encourages muscular growth. While this growth won’t be at the same level that you can achieve with steroids, for most users of Andarine who are not the most hardcore of bodybuilders, this lean muscle growth will be welcomed and even at low doses can result in up to 8 pounds of lean muscle gains over an 8 week cycle period.
Overall, Andarine is one of the most versatile compounds you can use and provides an excellent alternative to steroids where you reduce the side effect profile considerably but still retain some superb benefits.
If building moderate amounts of muscle mass, enhancing bone strength, decreasing body fat and achieving a nice toned and cut physique appeal to you, then Andarine S4 covers all these bases very well.
Andarine has a very short half life measured in just three to four hours. This will require you to take this SARM multiple times per day with three times daily being the standard and usually this will be taken at mealtimes. This regular dosing can make Andarine a SARM that is mostly appealing to the most serious users who are dedicated to not missing a dose.
Dosage varies wildly with experience and goals and can range from just 25mg daily up to 75mg as the maximum. Higher doses increase your risk of side effects so new users should always start low and evaluate your body’s reaction to Andarine before increasing the dosage. Hormone suppression is also more likely at higher doses.
The right dosage for you is a really important consideration that should be carefully planned and evaluated as you go not only to ensure the best performance benefits and overall results, but also to balance out the side effects against these benefits.
In particular you will be wanting to take the optimal dose for best results while minimizing testosterone suppression and risk of eyesight related side effects.
If you’re a first time Andarine user you will be looking at a trial and error approach initially by starting out with a low dose and evaluating both your results and any development of side effects.
Andarine is actually very beneficial at low doses, so there’s no need to raise the dose to dangerous levels under the assumption it will boost results. It is powerfully anabolic and will provide impressive benefits at sensible doses, usually starting low at the beginning of the cycle and slowly raising it as you progress.
An initial dose of 25mg daily will provide great benefit for most users and this can be increased over time to a maximum of 50mg per day, as long as vision issues don’t present themselves. 50mg per day should be the maximum anyone takes of Andarine.
Importantly, because Andarine has a very short half life of as little as four hours, whatever dose you are taking will need to be split up during the day. Most people will stick to either two or three doses throughout the day. This strategy ensures that your blood concentration levels of Andarine remain at peak level.
The maximum length of an Andarine cycle should always be no longer than 8 weeks, regardless of your dosage. This is to mostly minimize the risk of serious vision impairment issues developing.
Andarine only cycle
Starting Andarine at 25mg in this 8 week cycle making use solely of this SARM will allow you to evaluate its effects. If all is going well and vision related issues are minimal or non-existent then the dose can be increased to 50mg daily – but you should not exceed that dosage as the maximum.
Andarine bulking cycle
Testolone (RAD 140) works well in combination with Andarine in a bulking cycle stack. Starting Andarine at 25mg daily at the start and increasing it to 50mg daily, while using Testolone at just 10mg per day will provide excellent mass gains. Testolone can be increased to 20mg daily for more advanced users.
Andarine cutting cycle
A popular cutting stack involves the addition of Cardarine. Again limiting Andarine to between 25mg and 50mg daily provides best results, and starting low then increasing it through the cycle is a common strategy.
Cardarine is effective at 20mg daily in this stack. This stack will result in increased endurance, fat burning, muscle hardening and muscle retention.
Remember: Andarine’s short half life will require you to split your desired dose into two to three doses daily to maintain optimal blood levels. All cycles should be limited to no longer than 8 weeks.
Andarine Post Cycle Therapy
Post cycle therapy is a critical aspect of anabolic steroid use due to the way that most steroids greatly suppress normal production of testosterone. When it comes to Andarine, some suppression of testosterone is a possibility despite it not being a steroid and not acting as a testosterone replacement in the body.
Even though this suppression will not be anywhere near the level that we experience with steroids, Andarine is thought to have a more suppressive effect than most other SARMs, however the extent of testosterone suppression is going to greatly depend on your dosage of Andarine and how long you’re using it for.
So will you need to do PCT after using Andarine in the same way that you do with steroids? Some guys will, and some won’t. If you’re stacking Andarine with other suppressive compounds then it’s a good idea to do some basic Nolvadex PCT.
Others who are only doing moderate, short term cycles of Andarine can find that testosterone is not affected to the point where PCT is needed to give it a boost, and regular testosterone production quickly goes back to normal. In any case Andarine will not cause a total crash of testosterone like steroids do.
Andarine vs. Other SARMs vs. Steroids
One of the reasons Andarine is one of the more popular SARMs is because it has a lower risk of side effects compared with other well known SARMs such as Ligandrol or RAD 140 (Testolone).
All SARMs are experimental drugs and as a result, their benefits and effects are not always totally understood. Some SARMs are widely used, and others are used by only a small number of people.
Andarine is considered one of the best SARMs and is often compared with Ostarine (another very popular SARM) which is also excellent for building mass and cutting. Of the two, Andarine has superior hardening and vascularity benefits so is likely to be the preferred choice if these are your priorities.
RAD-140 is another SARM which is also often compared with Andarine and has similar effects. RAD 140 is considered a more powerful SARM, making Andarine the better choice for beginners to these compounds.
How do SARMs including Andarine compare with anabolic steroids? As the name indicates, SARMs work selectively on particular androgen receptors.
While SARMs cycles come with a lot of the same benefits as steroids cycles like encouraging muscle growth and increasing strength, they can mostly do so without some of the worst steroids side effects we experience.
Because an anabolic steroid is just a synthetic form of or slight modification of testosterone or hormones similar to testosterone, they affect your entire body. SARMs are targeted at the bone and muscle and and may only have mild impacts elsewhere in the body.
As an excellent cutting SARM, Andarine is often compared with the steroid Winstrol which is a powerful cutting steroid. We can almost consider Andarine to be a milder version of Winstrol, with similar effects but not to the same extreme, but without the side effects as well.
All in all, Andarine is a legitimate alternative to anabolic steroids, particularly those which are known for their cutting effects like Anavar and Winstrol.
Your results are going to greatly depend on your goals and the associated workouts and diet plan you’ll be on.
If you’re using Andarine for cutting or physique shaping then your calorie restricted diet is unlikely to help you in the mass gaining department, but you can expect to see excellent results with fat loss, and hardening as well as retaining your existing muscle.
Regardless of your specific goal, most users of Andarine are going to notice exceptional hardening of the muscles and this can start becoming noticeable within as little as the first week of use. This makes it excellent for using for contest preparation, and works well when used as part of a larger stack where Andarine is included in the last 6 or 8 weeks of the stack to bring on that hard and vascular appearance.
Strength is another area you can expect to see noticeable results. Expect to be improving your best lifting records by the second half of your cycle, but also an increase in endurance will have you lasting longer no matter what form of fitness you’re focused on.
Keeping your gains and progress after your Andarine cycle ends is a challenge that you will face, just as all steroid users do. Andarine does not come with the massive muscle gains you can achieve with powerful anabolic steroids such as Dianabol.
The more modest gains are going to be easier to hold on to for most people as long as you are maintaining a sensible diet and exercise routine; and if you’re a serious athlete, bodybuilder or competitor then you are likely to be doing just that.
Andarine Side Effects
When considering the potential side effects of Andarine, they will be similar to those that are associated with virtually all SARMs.
Although one of the great appeal of SARMs like Andarine is their relatively lack of side effects when compared with steroids, Andarine still comes with some possible serious risks.
The most important possible negative effects to be aware of when you use Andarine are:
- Changes to Eye Sight – Discomfort in the eyes and vision impairment are potentially the most concerning possible side effects of Andarine. This can include several abnormal eyesight problems like the development of blurred vision, or a yellowish tinge to your vision especially in low light or at night.
- Testosterone Suppression – Anabolic steroid users will be used to dealing with hormone suppression but this can be an issue with some SARMs as well, and Andarine S4 is the SARM that can have the most suppressive qualities out of all SARMs. Still, this will not rival the suppression power of steroids but can still become enough of an issue that you will want to do post cycle therapy following your Andarine cycle.
- Mood Changes – Some users have reported depression related feelings when using Andarine. There is little to no research to indicate how widespread this side effect is and whether or not it is directly caused by Andarine, and how widely it varies between individuals.
- Cancer – Some SARMs have shown in animal trials to bring about development of some cancers. This has led all SARMs being linked to possible cancer growth, but once again evidence is lacking either way when it comes to Andarine’s link to cancer.
- Liver Damage (Toxicity) – Liver damage or liver toxicity has been warned of as a potential risk with SARMs in general, according to the FDA, but there are no specific known cases of liver damage with Andarine so this particular effect is still unknown. As with any substance, very high doses or continual long term use will always prove a risk to the liver which makes it paramount that Andarine is used at moderate doses for short periods of time and adequate breaks in between cycles.
- Heart Issues – Chest pain, high blood pressure, stroke or heart attack are often listed as potential complications of SARMs in general, however once again there are no specific indications that these issues have occurred with Andarine. Anyone using the compound at extremely high, unsafe doses can expect risks in all aspects of health, but those using S4 at sensible doses are unlikely to experience any heart related complications.
All of the side effects are considered temporary and should disappear within a week or two after stopping Andarine.
Is Andarine a steroid?
SARMs like Andarine are not steroids. Andarine has anabolic properties but it only selectively targets some specific androgen receptors, especially those in the bone and muscle which is what makes Andarine so popular with athletes and bodybuilders.
Anabolic steroids are based on hormones like testosterone but SARMs are chemically created to provide the desired effects and since they are experimental and developed in a lab, SARMs like Andarine can have very different anabolic to androgenic properties compared to steroids like Testosterone.
Is Andarine legal?
Andarine is not legal. It is a banned substance in professional sports and is listed as prohibited by WADA since 2008. Despite this it is still often used by professional athletes who take the risk of testing positive to drug tests.
Some athletes, such as those in track and field, have suffered the consequences of testing positive to Andarine as a performance enhancing drug.
Because Andarine is approved for use in humans, it is only sold for research purposes and this is how it is obtained by those wanting to use it for performance enhancement; however buying and using Andarine for anything other than legitimate research is not legal.
How quickly does Andarine work?
Most users will start noticing positive benefits within two weeks of starting Andarine. Muscle hardening and increased vascularity is often noticed as quickly as one week into a cycle. This is because Andarine has a high bioavailability in the body so it acts fast.
Does Andarine suppress testosterone?
Even though it’s not a steroid it is possible for Andarine to bring about a slight suppression of testosterone production. This is temporary and will start reversing itself once you stop using the compound, but this can be a slow process so PCT can be useful for any male users who suspect they are experiencing symptoms of low testosterone. Some men will not require any PCT, with normal testosterone function returning quickly after ending an Andarine cycle.
Do you need PCT for Andarine?
While Andarine will not suppress hormone function anywhere near the level of steroids, some male users will still want to implement post cycle therapy to get your testosterone function back on track again so you can avoid a state of low testosterone.
Is S4 dangerous?
Clinical trials on humans began but were ultimately abandoned because of safety concerns. This may be another reason, besides its only partial agonist property, that Andarine does not have the more widespread positive thoughts around it compared with many other SARMs.
Despite this, some athletes still do use this SARM at their own risk and often so without knowledge of the potential dangers and unknowns as it is often easy to lump all SARMs into the one category, despite the fact they can be very different.
While Andarine targets androgen receptors in the bones and muscles, it is not perfect and some other parts of the body can be affected and the eyes are one of these.
It is thought that the main reason clinical trials of Andarine were eventually abandoned was due to these eyesight related side effects, therefore long term impacts are still not fully understood. The higher your dosage the more severe these side effects can become.
Side effects relating to vision are potentially what caused human trials of S4 to be stopped and this area should be of the greatest concern to anyone considering the use of this SARM, although all SARMs can potentially cause some visual disturbance and risks to eyesight.
Some of the receptor binding that occurs with S4 is in the eyes and concerning effects of this can include changes to your peripheral vision, a yellow hue to what you’re seeing particularly indoors and less adaptability when you move from dark to light places where the pupil needs to react to the changing light intensity.
It’s thought that these visual effects are not a risk of being permanent and should stop happening within a week of you stopping use of S4, but for many people this is seen as too high a risk for using this particular SARM.
My Conclusion and Recommendation
Andarine is used by athletes and bodybuilders to improve performance, encourage muscle growth and to burn fat. Andarine is particularly useful for body toning and cutting as it promotes fat burning without water retention, making it ideal for hardening, toning and improving body composition.
If your goals involve lean gains, fat loss and muscle hardening then Andarine is hard to beat as a SARM and a milder alternative to steroids with minimal to no side effects.
It is unfortunate that development of S4 was stopped, and for this reason many people will turn to Ostarine instead which has taken a higher priority in research work.
If you are still keen on giving Andarine a go, keep on top of any visual problems that might occur and stop use if it does and remember that there really is little information about long term side effects of this compound, so it does come with a higher risk than the majority of other SARMs we have available.