Cardarine looks to be the perfect performance enhancing compound. No side effects? Awesome performance boost? Fat loss? What’s the catch?
Every rose has its thorn, as they say. And Cardarine has a pretty big thorn. For a lot of us, this will be a deal breaker. But countless people still continue to use it today and are happy with the Cardarine results they’re getting.
This is a compound that has some interesting effects that will interest people well outside of bodybuilding circles.
In fact Cardarine is what you could call a true performance enhancer, as opposed to a muscle builder or fat burner. It’s the performance enhancing effects of Cardarine that ultimately lead to the results you can get.
So is Cardarine something you really should consider using? What are the biggest risks, and are there are other options out there? Keep reading to find out all this and more about Cardarine.
Author’s Note: The following guide is based on my personal experience and does NOT promote the illegal use of SARMs.
Cardarine History and Overview
Cardarine had some promising medical uses early on in its research. The focus was on potentially using Cardarine as an obesity treatment, as well as for diabetes, heart problems, and metabolic diseases.
The reason for this particular focus of research is due to Cardarine’s potential to stimulate fatty acid oxidation so that abnormal metabolic activity could be reversed in overweight people and people who are pre-diabetic.
Unfortunately, very concerning studies on rats (which used high doses and one year of continual use) resulted in the formation of many types of cancers. This essentially lead to large pharmaceutical companies withdrawing support and interest in Cardarine as a possible medical treatment.
Whether or not this cancer risk would translate to humans using Cardarine is unknown, and is not likely to be discovered via any official scientific study due to the fact no pharmaceutical company will be prepared to go forward with a compound that has shown serious cancer causing activity.
Cardarine has a range of other names you might come across: GW-501516, GW1516, and GSK-516. All refer to the same chemical we call Cardarine.
Since 2009, Cardarine has been listed as a banned performance enhancing substance by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), and tests exist to detect the drug in athletes.
Chemical Characteristics and Properties
You will find people talking about Cardarine in the context of SARMs, but this one isn’t a SARM. It’s a type of drug called a PPAR receptor agonist. This means it doesn’t target androgen receptors like SARMs do.
This is good in some ways, mainly that you don’t get any dreaded androgenic side effects and women can use Cardarine without any concerns. Cardarine is not a mass building compound. This is usually well understood by anyone considering its use, as Cardarine’s benefits exist in other important areas.
Through complex chemical processes, Cardarine can alter metabolic activity and the way the body uses and expends energy. Cardarine can lower LDL cholesterol, while raising HDL cholesterol even when no exercise is performed.
This tell us that Cardarine has powerful benefits for the cardiovascular system and what this translates to for the athlete user is quite incredible boosts to cardiovascular endurance.
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Effects of Cardarine (Cardarine Benefits)
The “accidental” discovery of Cardarine being an amazing endurance enhancer just so happens to be its biggest benefit and most important effect for athletes. This is one of the few compounds that has much more benefit for the athlete and cardio junkie than it does for most bodybuilders.
While its fat burning abilities do exist, there are better compounds out there for bodybuilders looking exclusively for a fat loss agent. With that said, Cardarine has its uses in a cutting cycle when stacked with other fat burning compounds. Let’s look at the main benefits and effects of Cardarine:
Endurance and stamina
There’s a good reason why Cardarine is favored by long distance and high intensity cardio enthusiasts, whether it be runners, cyclists and even those into martial arts where stamina and endurance can make or break your performance.
People involved in these pursuits often note their times and distances are vastly improved on a Cardarine cycle and the benefits start showing right at the start of the cycle. In other words, Cardarine can have you beating your personal best times in a wide range of activities and sports.
A nice bonus is the way Cardarine improves your cholesterol profile. HDL cholesterol levels can rise, while LDL cholesterol will decrease. This is the opposite effect to what usually occurs with most SARMs and steroids which can have dangerous cholesterol effects. This makes Cardarine a compound that you can include in a SARM or steroid cycle purely for its cholesterol protective benefit.
Some people will claim that Cardarine is not worth using for fat loss at all, but it has to be remembered that while you will see endurance benefits as soon as you start taking Cardarine, you need to wait weeks to start noticing visual body changes.
Consider a 4-6 week period as a minimum before you can start noticing fat loss. This is going to be slower than a lot of other compounds, but it can be improved upon by stacking Cardarine with certain SARMs and other compounds as detailed below.
There’s no pretending that Cardarine is a bulking compound. But it can help preserve lean muscle, and can bring about some small gains if your diet supports muscle growth.
Since most users want to use Cardarine for performance effects or fat loss, a high calorie diet is rarely consumed unless Cardarine is being used as a supportive compound with powerful bulking compounds like Trenbolone.
No hormone effects
Without causing any effect on testosterone or DHT, Cardarine doesn’t cause hormone suppression and it doesn’t cause virilization in women.
The lack of these types of side effects are considered a Cardarine benefit simply because you don’t waste any time on trying to mitigate these debilitating side effects, women can freely use Cardarine, and there’s no need to do post cycle therapy after a Cardarine cycle when using it as a sole compound.
Cardarine Cycles and Stacks
Cardarine is versatile enough to be used in different types of stacks. In fact it can be slotted into stacks that have just about any goal in mind, from bulking to cutting, to pure performance, and body recomposition.
Cardarine’s role in these stacks will vary, from a support compound to aid in cholesterol health and muscle retention, to a primary compound that provides significant performance gains. You can of course also just use Cardarine on its own and enjoy the range of benefits it has to offer.
Beginner Cardarine Cycle
If you’re a first time user of Cardarine then a good place to start is at 10mg per day. You’ll be introduced to Cardarine at this low dose, can quickly evaluate your response (endurance benefits should come on within the first day or two), and adjust your dose if desired.
Because Cardarine starts working right away, you can do a cycle as short as 4 weeks and see substantial results. If your main goal is fat loss, you will need a longer cycle but if performance is your top priority then 4 weeks provides an excellent introduction to Cardarine. A 10mg per day cycle for 4-6 weeks is the ideal beginner Cardarine cycle.
Intermediate Cardarine Cycle
Once you’ve used Cardarine once or twice for a full cycle and enjoyed your results, you might consider increasing the dosage. Cardarine’s effects on endurance are exceptionally good even at 10-15mg so it’s important not to expect a doubling of the effect if you double your dose from 10mg to 20mg for this cycle.
Intermediate users will rarely want to exceed 20mg, and there’s little benefit in doing so. If you require more powerful effects, especially for fat loss, this is the time to consider adding one other compound to your cycle. You would only need 10mg of Cardarine in this case, while 15mg of Ostarine will make this a potent fat burning and muscle maintenance 8 week cycle.
Advanced Cardarine Cycle
Most advanced Cardarine users will be at the stage where stacking it with other powerful compounds will be the only option to take performance and results to another level.
Since increasing Cardarine’s dosage beyond 20mg or 25mg holds no notable benefits, but only potential downsides, stacks like the examples noted below are the best option for all advanced users.
Very few advanced or experienced users will choose to use Cardarine on its own, but rather take advantage of some of its unique effects to compliment SARMs and steroids. In these stacking cycles, advanced users will actually almost always use a lower dose of Cardarine in the 10-15mg range.
Female Cardarine Cycle
Cardarine has no effects on hormones or androgen receptors, and this means women can freely use it similarly to men. No virilizing side effects can occur in women using Cardarine. The recommended dosage range is also the same as male users.
First time female users will often start at 10mg to evaluate the response and effects. Women who want more pronounced effects can also use the same higher doses as men, with 20mg often considered the optimal dose.
When stacking Cardarine, it’s often used in a supportive role or to compliment the effects of one or more other compounds.
Cardarine is regularly stacked with SARMs and similar compounds, but may also be used with some anabolic steroids where it can be useful to support cholesterol health. Whether you want a bulking, cutting, or body recomposition stack, Cardarine has a place in just about any type of stack.
SR9009 (Stenabolic) is a great cutting compound, more so than Cardarine on its own. So what happens when you combine the two into a stack? As you would expect, fat loss will just become faster and more effective.
With Cardarine providing most of the endurance boost and SR9009 actively working to burn fat, this is going to get you down to a low body fat percentage and will appeal to those who want a powerful cutting cycle without steroids.
There’s one catch: to get any useful bioavailability from SR9009 it needs to be injected, otherwise it’s not worth using. Your dosage of SR9009 can range from 10mg to 30mg, and Cardarine from 10mg to 20mg for an 8 week cycle.
This popular stack is all about fat burning and maintaining existing muscle. Cardarine contributes that critical endurance and stamina you need to really push your training beyond normal limits for faster fat loss. You’ll need to be on a quality calorie deficit diet combined with both cardiovascular and weights training to see satisfactory fat loss results.
But when done right, you can achieve a 10% body fat loss with this stack (unless of course you’re already very trim in which case it can help you lose those final stubborn few percent). All this fat can be lost while retaining almost all your existing muscle. In terms of hard numbers you could be looking at a weight loss of up to 15 pounds with this one stack.
The downside is that Ostarine will cause testosterone suppression unless you use a very low dose of 7.5mg. Anything higher and men will likely see some suppression and require PCT afterwards.
Ostarine is also notorious for causing bad headaches at the start of the cycle ad this could hamper your results. But all in all this is a great fat burning stack that can transform your body in a few months.
Cardarine at 15mg and Ostarine at 7.5-15mg is a good starting point, then adjust your dose as required.
Cardarine / RAD-140 / MK-677 stack
This is an advanced stack that focuses on getting ripped. You will build muscle and burn fat, with Cardarine contributing awesome performance benefits that will boost stamina and endurance during your workouts.
MK-677 promotes muscle growth through the release of growth hormone, with RAD-140 contributing powerful mass gaining benefits. You could consider Cardarine playing a more supportive role in this hardcore stack.
Its main goal is to provide the huge endurance effects that will provide the base you need for the other two compounds to do their job in enhancing muscle growth from your more intense, heavier workouts.
This isn’t a stack for someone who just wants to run faster and further on the treadmill. It is a legitimate bulking stack that can rival the results you’d get with steroids. Dosages should be kept at the lower end of each compound with Cardarine at 10-15mg, RAD-140 at 10mg, and MK-677 at no more than 20mg daily.
This triple stack is also for more advanced users. Ideally you have used each of these compounds on their own for at least one cycle, before combining them.
This is a powerful cutting stack and Cardarine plays a central role both with its own fat burning effects but especially its ability to take your cardiovascular physical activity to new levels.
Harder, longer workouts will have you burning fat so much faster, especially when this is combined with Ostarine that has its own fat loss effects while helping maintain (and even build) muscle.
Andarine provides a bonus benefit of increased bone density and strength. It’s also a powerful fat loss agent, meaning all three compounds tackle fat burning head on.
Andarine boosts strength as well which will aid your workouts, especially if you want to include resistance training. On a calorie deficit diet, loss of strength can be a big problem and Andarine will help prevent that.
Your dosage can be adjusted according to your desired results, but a good starting point is Andarine at 50mg, Cardarine at 10mg, and Ostarine at 15mg.
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Cardarine Dosages and Administration
Dosage range and cycle lengths will for most people fall within a fairly narrow field simply because Cardarine users have, over time, found that raising the dose to extra high levels heightens concerns about cancer risks. Importantly, lower doses are very effective at bringing on incredible performance benefits so you simply don’t require excessive doses.
Your Cardarine cycle length can range from 4 to 12 weeks as a standard procedure. There are people who will take their chances and use it for longer, but it’s not ideal. Since positive effects come on literally within the first day or so, many will find a short and sharp 4 week cycle to be highly effective.
Others will extend this to 8 weeks to give Cardarine more time to encourage fat loss which does tend to take at least three to four weeks to start becoming noticeable.
Bodybuilding Cardarine Dosage
Cardarine is not going to support the building of any substantial muscle mass. It can definitely help preserve muscle on a calorie deficit diet, but hardcore bodybuilders won’t be turning to Cardarine for big gains.
Despite this, it can certainly have its uses in a bodybuilding cycle where the increased endurance or stamina is going to contribute to more intense and longer workouts.
Cardarine is also very useful when combined with some powerful bodybuilding steroids, such as Trenbolone, which themselves have negative effects on cholesterol. Cardarine can help offset this with its positive cholesterol benefits.
The dosage for using Cardarine in any type of bodybuilding cycle is almost identical to that used for any other purpose. 10-20mg per day will provide the maximum benefits that Cardarine has to offer.
Female Cardarine Dosage
Because Cardarine is not a steroid or any type of hormone, and because it has no androgenic activity, females are able to take similar or the same dosages as men.
10mg is the recommended starting point. There’s no need to increase your dosage throughout the cycle, unless you feel you aren’t getting the expected effects – but this is unlikely.
While women can also use the same 20mg or even 25mg as men do, few will see the need because Cardarine’s endurance enhancing effects are impressive even at 10-15mg per day.
Proper Administration and Timing
It’s personal preference for whether you take your entire daily Cardarine dose in one go, or split it into two. If taking once per day, morning is often the preferred time. For those who suffer with sleep difficulty side effects, morning administration is highly recommended.
Because Cardarine isn’t a stimulant and doesn’t result in a burst of energy followed by a come down, the timing of your dose is not critical because the drug’s effects are experienced evenly and smoothly.
If your dose is below 20mg, once daily is convenient. If your dose is 20mg or more then many users will choose to take half in then morning and the other half later in the day.
Cardarine Risks and Side Effects
Cardarine has a remarkably small set of side effects reported from users. Many people will use Cardarine without any side effects at all, provided low to moderate doses are taken.
When side effects are reported they are usually mild, including fatigue, stomach pains and headaches. These sorts of Cardarine side effects are often experienced when you start to use any substance. Often they’ll subside after a few days after starting your cycle.
Technically, fatigue shouldn’t be a side effect of Cardarine because its primary benefit is to increase endurance, energy and stamina. And it works quickly, so you should see positive changes in your energy within the first day or two, rather than feeling fatigued.
One cause of the onset of fatigue and other unusual side effects is because poor quality or even fake Cardarine has been purchased. Unfortunately it’s not unusual for some suppliers to sell low quality products and this will make or break your results and your experiences with Cardarine.
Another side effect reported by some users is insomnia. This is the difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Cardarine isn’t a stimulant, but in some people it may be causing some impact on the central nervous system.
Not everyone will suffer with this side effect and it is likely to be a minority of users. One possible way to alleviate insomnia is to take your dose in the morning and avoid dosing in the evening.
The biggest risk of Cardarine of course is the possibility of cancer development. It’s true that there’s still no black and white answer to whether Cardarine is certain to cause cancer in humans at certain doses, and we may never know this because it’s not likely to be tested given the results seen in rodents.
Cardarine vs. Anavar
Anavar is an anabolic steroid, so it works very differently to Cardarine. Anavar is popular as a cutting steroid among women in particular and it is actually thought of as the best steroid for females to use. Many women are able to use it at a low dose and have no virilizing side effects.
Anavar is not an overly popular choice among male steroid users. It is considered quite a weak steroid for men and many men prefer to avoid oral steroids altogether.
While Cardarine increases endurance and energy, Anavar can make some users feel tired. It can also cause some joint pain. In comparison, Cardarine generally causes no side effects in most users. Anavar will result in more fat loss and more muscle gains than Cardarine. Both should increase your endurance and performance.
Anavar may cause stress to the liver and kidneys in some users, while Cardarine isn’t thought to cause these issues. However, Anavar doesn’t come with the big question about cancer risk like Cardarine does.
Other downsides of Anavar relate to buying it: it’s one of the most expensive steroids to buy, and as a result there are countless fakes or counterfeit products out there being sold as Anavar.
This means getting a phony Anavar is common and this will bring about undesirable effects. While Cardarine fakes are also sometimes sold, it seems to be a less common occurrence than with Anavar.
Cardarine vs. SR9009
SR9009, or Stenabolic, have some very similar benefits. In particular both are beneficial to the cardiovascular system and result in significant boosts to endurance. Both compounds also improve cholesterol health and can promote fat loss. Stenabolic has a unique effect in that it may reduce inflammation, and this can help with recovery.
Neither Cardarine or Stenabolic can produce any substantial muscle gains. SR9009 is known to boost the mood and decrease anxiety, while also improving sleep. These benefits generally don’t appear with Cardarine. Neither one should produce any notable side effects.
Many will prefer Stenabolic over Cardarine, if not for the only reason that SR9009 does not have the shadow of possible cancer development hovering over it.
Cardarine vs. Ostarine
Stacking Ostarine and Cardarine results in an effective fat loss combination. But what if you wanted to choose between them and only use one?
Ostarine increases the metabolism which can have you burning fat faster. Cardarine also promotes fat burning by encouraging the use of fat for energy, but also relies more on increasing endurance so you can work out harder to lose fat.
Ostarine will make it easier to maintain your lean muscle mass while burning fat and is specially thought of as more of a fat burning compound, compared to Cardarine which is more of a performance compound. Importantly, Ostarine helps maintain muscle strength on a calorie deficit diet.
A downside of Ostarine for men is that any doses anywhere above the minimum, testosterone suppression is very likely. Suppression can be quite severe at higher doses. This will require PCT. Cardarine is not a suppressive compound at all and requires no post cycle therapy.
Ostarine has also shown to have some liver toxicity risk, and Cardarine does not cause stress to the liver. Another downside of Ostarine is that it can decrease HDL cholesterol levels, while Cardarine has the opposite effect of increasing these good HDL cholesterol levels.
For most users, the numerous side effects of Ostarine will make Cardarine a better option between these two compounds.
Cardarine for Sale
Since Cardarine has no approval for any type of medical use, the only way you can get hold of it is through underground sources and research chemical labs.
These labs are technically only meant to sell chemicals like Cardarine for research purposes only, but it is little regulated or enforced.
Despite Cardarine being a relatively popular performance enhancing substance, it can be hard to find and not all research companies will have it available.
Underground Lab Cardarine for Sale
Buying Cardarine from underground labs usually means purchasing from chemical research labs.
These labs operate in a gray area of sorts because technically the chemicals should be sold only for scientific research purposes. However it’s almost impossible to verify whether a buyer will be using it for research or personal use.
When you buy from a research lab, there is a risk of purchasing low quality and even fake Cardarine. Many people who experience unexpected or severe side effects with Cardarine are often suffering because they’ve bought contaminated or low purity formulas being sold as genuine Cardarine.
In some cases, Cardarine is replaced with cheaper ingredients which have no positive effects and terrible side effects.
These are the risks you run when purchasing Cardarine from underground and research labs. Many sellers will advertise 99% purity, but it’s near impossible to verify these claims.
Cardarine is not a low priced compound if you want a high quality formula (and there’s no point in buying poor quality). Unfortunately cost is not an indicator of quality most of the time, as sellers can easily raise prices without raising the quality.
Cardarine is sold in liquid form from research labs, usually in 30ml bottles. Expect to pay anywhere from $50 to $140 for a 20mg/ml concentration. This large range in pricing simply reflects the fact that heavy scrutiny needs to be placed on any supplier you’re considering purchasing from.
Word of mouth recommendations from experienced SARMs users can go a long way in finding a reliable source, and every Cardarine user will confidently say that it’s well worth paying more if you’re getting high purity Cardarine.
Buy Cardarine Online
Buying Cardarine online does come with a lot of risks. Cardarine itself is risky at the best of times, even if you do get high quality genuine stuff. But if you’re unlucky enough to get caught out with low purity Cardarine it’s not only poor results and wasted money that are at risk, but any number of unexpected side effects can pop up.
In fact a lot of the reports of strange side effects from Cardarine users do often come about as a result of low quality purchases and you can’t do anything about it once you’ve handed your money over.
What I use instead is C-DINE 501516, and this one can be bought online (legally and not from the underground). The difference is you know exactly what you’re getting every single time. Same ingredients, same concentration, same quality. No unexpected side effects.
Buying C-DINE 501516 doesn’t require finding blackmarket sellers or research labs, just buy it over the counter and experience very similar benefits to Cardarine (no cancer risks either which is great for peace of mind).
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What is Cardarine used for?
Cardarine is used to boost your endurance and cardio performance. This can lead to faster fat loss, or just significantly enhanced long distance physical activity. Cardarine users can train for longer and at a higher intensity without tiring. Cardarine also helps preserve muscle mass while you burn fat.
How effective is Cardarine for fat loss?
Cardarine is moderately useful for fat loss. The increased endurance and training capacity can lead to faster fat burning, while muscle is retained. Cardarine boosts nutrient efficiency and encourages fat to be used as your primary energy source rather than glucose.
How long does it take for Cardarine to work?
Cardarine starts working almost right away. You will start seeing positive endurance effects within hours of taking your first dose.
Fat loss takes longer – you should be prepared to wait three weeks or more until you start seeing noticeable loss of fat, depending on the quality of your diet and training.
What kind of drug is Cardarine?
Cardarine is a PPARD (Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-delta) receptor agonist. This is different from a SARM, which some people wrongly assume Cardarine is. PPARD plays an important role in energy balance maintenance through regulating metabolic functions at the cellular level.
Does Cardarine help with running?
Yes, many people use Cardarine to boost running performance. Lots of Cardarine users will find their distance and times can be substantially improved by using Cardarine, with the endurance benefits becoming noticeable within hours of taking your first dose.
How long does Cardarine stay in your system?
Cardarine’s half life is somewhere between 16 and 24 hours, but it can stay in your system for much longer and continue having effects up to 6 days after your last dose. Traces of Cardarine can be detected in urine tests during that time frame as well.
What time of day should I take Cardarine?
If you’re taking less than 20mg, the recommendation is to take your entire dose in the morning. Those taking 20mg or more will often split the dose and take half in the morning and half in the evening.
Users who experience sleep issues or insomnia prefer to take the entire dose of any amount only in the morning, although it has not been proven that doing this will eliminate any issues of insomnia.
Do you need a PCT with Cardarine?
Cardarine does not cause any testosterone suppression like steroids and some SARMs do, so male Cardarine won’t need to do any PCT if using Cardarine on its own. PCT may be required if you stack Cardarine with any suppressive SARMs or anabolic steroids.
Where do you get Cardarine?
Cardarine is a research only chemical with no approval for any medical use, so it’s not available from pharmaceutical sources. The only way to buy Cardarine is through research labs and through the underground market.
My Conclusion and Recommendation
For all of Cardarine’s benefits and amazing effects, the risk versus the rewards of this compound are as wide apart as you can get.
The rewards are excellent: fantastic endurance and some nice fat loss if you work at it, along with all important muscle retention. Its benefits for cholesterol are a nice unique effect that we rarely see with other compounds.
Cardarine’s appeal to women is clear, with zero risk of virilizing side effects. Men also don’t have to worry about testosterone suppression. These are all attractive benefits of Cardarine.
The risks are downright scary though with the cancer word not going away and we know by the fact that even pharmaceutical companies aren’t keen on pursuing Cardarine that the risks are real. While this is pretty much the only negative about Cardarine, it doesn’t get much bigger than this.
Cardarine is attractive because of the lack of immediate side effects. I and many others can use it with basically no noticeable negative effects and this is something you can’t really say about any other compound, whether they be SARMs or steroids.
But is it worth the risk of cancer? I wasn’t willing to gamble with my life just to run faster, workout longer, and burn some fat. There are plenty of other safer ways to do all those things.