LGD-4033 is a SARM that is steroid like in its effects, and this makes it a desirable alternative for anyone wanting to use performance enhancing and bodybuilding substances outside the world of anabolic steroids.
Even though LGD-4033 works differently from steroids, as you will see it not only provides some similar benefits, but also some of the side effects that you would be familiar with if you’ve used steroids before.
How different are the side effects of LGD-4033 compared to anabolic steroids? Is there really a benefit to using this SARM, or are the adverse effects too harsh for most people? Read on to find out all about the side effects and risks involved with using Ligandrol.
Author’s Note: The following guide is based on my personal experience and does NOT promote the illegal use of SARMs.
- What is LGD-4033 (Ligandrol)?
- What does LGD-4033 do?
- Short-Term Side Effects
- Long-Term Side Effects
- Hepatotoxic Side Effects (Liver Toxicity)
- Testosterone Suppression
- Gynecomastia and Water Retention
- Hair Loss
- Women Specific Side Effects
- Is LGD-4033 Safe?
- Final Thoughts
What is LGD-4033 (Ligandrol)?
LGD-4033 is a non-steroidal SARM (selective androgen receptor modulator). This means it targets only selected receptors, especially those of muscle and bone.
This makes Ligandrol similar to anabolic steroids but with one advantage: without unnecessary androgen receptors being targeted as they are by steroids, less unwanted side effects can be expected.
Like all SARMs, LGD-4033 is still an investigational drug so it has no approval for any medical use. The research around this SARM, as far as medical applications go, include as a possible treatment for muscle wasting conditions. Its effects on bone strength and bone formation make LGD-4033 of interest to researchers as a potential osteoporosis treatment.
LGD-4033 is a popular SARM with bodybuilders thanks to its effects on muscle growth and strength. It is almost exclusively used as a bulking compound, and is considered one of (if not THE) best SARM for bulking purposes.
The combination of strength and muscle gaining ability of LGD-4033 have made it an attractive option for steroid users who are looking to try something different.
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What does LGD-4033 do?
Checking out the list of benefits of LGD-4033, you could easily be mistaken for thinking it’s an anabolic steroid. We see some very similar effects to steroids here, with the primary benefits of LGD-4033 making it ideal for bulking cycles.
Here are some of LGD-4033’s main benefits:
This is the big reason we all want to use LGD-4033. It’s no surprise that muscle gains are a major benefit of this SARM, with one of its primary areas of medical research being to treat muscle wasting.
LGD-4033 targets specifically the androgen receptors in muscle and bone, so it’s literally made to promote lean muscle growth and you can get some incredible gains in a single LGD-4033 cycle.
It’s possible to gain in the realm of 15lbs with LGD-4033, provided your diet and workout supports those gains. This is steroid territory, so it’s little wonder this SARM is known as the most powerful.
You don’t need to take high doses of LGD-4033 to get big muscle gains either. Studies have shown even very low doses of 2mg result in impressive gains, with little exercise. So you can see the potential of taking a slightly higher dose and combining that with your usual bulking diet and training.
Strength and Muscle Endurance
One of LGD-4033’s most valued benefits is the way it boosts strength, and does so significantly.
Put simply you will be able to lift heavier than you ever would be able to naturally, and you should see your capacity to increase weights become stronger as your cycle goes on.
This obviously leads to faster and bigger muscle gains. Users note that pumps improve significantly, and with that comes increased vascularity as a nice bonus.
LGD-4033 will drastically improve your recovery times after hard workouts. The faster you recover, the quicker you can get to your next workout without risking injury or overtraining.
Fitting in an extra workout or two every week means faster Ligandrol results. Every individual is different, but if you usually take 2-3 days to recover a muscle group, expect that to reduce to 24 hours or so when using LGD-4033.
LGD-4033 is not a powerful fat loss compound by any means, but through its lean muscle building effects you are able to lose some fat simply because of Ligandrol’s anabolic effects. But since most users on this SARM will be eating a lot of calories for bulking, noticeable fat loss is unlikely.
Ligandrol does help with increasing muscle definition and the less fat you’re carrying, the more pronounced this definition and increased vascularity will be.
Improved Bone strength
Preclinical studies showed that LGD-4033 can improve bone mineral density and bone strength, including increased bending strength. This makes the bones more resistant to fracturing and helps support extra lifting weight you’re likely to be undertaking while using LGD-4033.
Short-Term Side Effects
As far as SARMs go, LGD-4033 comes with a longer list of side effects than many others and some of these are as serious as you will experience with steroids. The two side effects that will bother most users is water retention and testosterone suppression (the latter for males only).
It can come as a surprise just how suppressive LGD-4033 can be for some users. While at the lowest doses you might get away with not having to do any PCT, most males will find that it’s necessary to avoid low testosterone. Trial have clearly found that LGD-4033 results in suppression even at low doses.
Water retention is an unfortunate side effect that steroid users will be familiar with and once again this is another side effect we see with LGD-4033. It can cause an alarming amount of fluid retention, especially early in the cycle.
This doesn’t come about as a result of aromatization or estrogen conversion, as is the case with steroids. It’s thought that LGD-4033 causes fluid retention due to testosterone binding to estrogen, indirectly raising estrogen levels and bringing about estrogenic-type side effects of water retention and gyno.
Some users will resort to using Nolvadex or an aromatase inhibitor like Aromasin to deal with bloating.
It’s well known that poor quality Ligandrol puts you at higher risk of water retention, and it’s a side effect that can have a drastically negative effect on your appearance so you should be sourcing the very best quality LGD-4033 to minimize the risk as much as possible.
Other short term and less serious side effects can include hair loss or shedding of the hair (this is not necessarily permanent), headaches, acne, joint pain and insomnia. Not everyone will experience all or any of these side effects. You can reduce your risk of these particular adverse effects by making sure you only purchase high purity LGD-4033.
Long-Term Side Effects
Just like all the possible short term effects, there’s still a lot to be discovered about any potential long term side effects of using LGD-4033.
Clinical studies are still needed to work out the safety profile of this drug, but even that won’t necessarily fully inform us bodybuilders of the risks involved at using LGD-4033 at higher doses, or for long periods of time. Or what happens when it’s stacked with other SARMs or anabolic steroids.
What is known is that LGD-4033 results in a decreased production of testosterone so there is some hormone signalling disruption going on. Whether this, or any other effects of LGD-4033 can result in longer term health complications is not something we will likely have an answer for any time soon, so using Ligandrol is entirely at your own health risk at this point in time.
Hepatotoxic Side Effects (Liver Toxicity)
There’s some conflicting data out there about LGD-4033’s impact on the liver. Once again a lot more research will be needed to discover the full effects on the liver, but this is an area we always want to be cautious about and if you’ve used any oral steroids that are liver toxic then you might already be experienced with introducing liver support protocols into your cycles.
There are two instances in studies where people developed liver conditions after taking LGD-4033, while another larger study produced no negative liver effects. So whether it is a dose dependent risk, or if some individuals are going to be more susceptible to LGD-4033’s activity on the liver is not known yet.
You don’t want to take any chances with liver health so if you have concerns, regular monitoring is important and consider the use of a liver support supplement as well.
It’s well known that Ligandrol causes testosterone suppression in men. As far as SARMs go, this is possible the most suppressive of all. Even at very low doses (down to 1mg daily), testosterone can drop a massive 50% from normal levels. Since we will be using Ligandrol at up to 10mg per day for bodybuilding, you can expect testosterone suppression to be even more pronounced the higher your dose.
Without any PCT after a LGD-4033 cycle you’ll be looking at around two months before your normal testosterone production is back on track. This is far too long to wait for and can result in serious low testosterone symptoms.
Post cycle therapy is highly recommended after a LGD-4033 cycle. Using Nolvadex or Clomid, the same PCT drugs use after steroid cycles, will speed up the return to normal testosterone production instead of waiting up to two months for it to normalize on its own (and potentially suffering severe low testosterone symptoms and loss of muscle gains). PCT will normally run for 30 days.
Gynecomastia and Water Retention
LGD-4033 is notorious for causing fluid retention. This is a dreaded side effect but one that you will need to prepare to deal with when using this SARM. The good news is that some users won’t suffer with this side effect much or at all, but on the flip side some users will get a lot of bloating.
It’s critical to source high quality LGD-4033 to minimize the severity of this side effect. Additionally, drinking adequate amounts of water can help reduce or even eliminate water retention, and lack of drinking water is a major cause of this side effect.
In some users the testosterone suppressive effects of LGD-4033 can lead to a hormone imbalance with testosterone and estrogen, and this can cause gynecomastia and bloating to develop.
In the worst cases, the tried and tested mitigation methods use with steroids such as aromatase inhibitors can help reduce this side effect.
But time and again, experienced LGD-4033 users will be adamant that it’s not so much LGD-4033 itself that causes bad water retention, but the use of low purity and potentially fake LGD-4033 that is the main culprit.
Those who can source top quality LGD-4033 will often do away with most or all fluid retention issues, so it pays to get the best quality LGD-4033 that you can find (even if it costs more).
LGD-4033 can indirectly lead to an increase in DHT levels, which can result in some hair loss or shedding of your head hair.
Hair loss is usually an androgenic effect when using steroids, but with LGD-4033 it happens due to similar effects that result in increased estrogen causing bloating; but in this case we have increased DHT causing hair to shed. Too much DHT causes hair follicles on the head to shrink.
One other cause of this side effect is the sudden changes that happen when you begin using LGD-4033, resulting in a process called telogen effluvium where the hair follicles suddenly quit actively growing as they normally do, and instead enter a rest phase where hair is shed.
Unlike with anabolic steroids, where male pattern baldness will often occur and it will be permanent, often the hair shedding side effect of LGD-4033 is reversible and most users will see the hair grow back normally a few weeks after your cycle ends.
One of the more worrying side effects of Ligandrol is its impact on cholesterol levels. This is a problem we see with many steroids, but SARMs are not immune from having a negative impact on cholesterol and with LGD-4033 it can be quite pronounced. This involves reducing the levels of HDL cholesterol – this is the good cholesterol type that support heart health.
Alarming HDL reductions of near 40% occurred in a study where people took only 1mg daily of Ligandrol for three weeks. This shows us just how serious this SARM can impact cholesterol. Firstly, you should think twice about stacking LGD-4033 with any other substance that affects cholesterol, and then reconsider using it altogether if you have existing cholesterol issues.
Women Specific Side Effects
Even though LGD-4033 is a very powerful SARM, many women do use it. In fact it is one of the more popular SARMs used by female bodybuilders.
Ligandrol can cause virilization effects in women when used at higher doses. 5mg is the highest recommended dose for women. While it’s not a certainty that all women will suffer with severe virilizing type side effects at doses higher than that, the risk increases.
In any case, females will find that even low doses of Ligandrol have a powerful anabolic effect when it comes to producing muscle gains so there’s little reason to raise the dose too much. There are reports of females using just 1-2mg of LGD-4033 and experiencing side effects like voice deepening, so it is considered an individual response.
Again, it must be stated that the quality of LGD-4033 could be contributing to these side effects but in any case, LGD-4033 is often considered by women to induce more side effects than a steroid like Anavar. Women should start at a very low dose of 1mg of LGD-4033 to assess your response before considering a higher dose.
Is LGD-4033 Safe?
No SARM can ever be considered safe, including LGD-4033. Even though it’s one of the more well researched SARMs, it still has not been put through all of the intensive and wide ranging trials that are required for a drug to be deemed safe and approved for medical use, so there’s no way of knowing whether LGD-4033 will cause any long term adverse health problems for people using it for bodybuilding purposes.
Also, since bodybuilders will often use LGD-4033 at doses or for periods of time that may be longer than those studied, it would be impossible to gauge the long term effects for every circumstance and type of use. In other words, using LGD-4033 for bodybuilding purposes is at your own risk and may come with unexpected long term health impacts.
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What does LGD-4033 do?
Ligandrol’s main benefit is to promote muscle mass gains and strength. LGD-4033 users can lift heavier weights and see notable muscle gains in a standard LGD-4033 cycle. It also speeds up your recovery process.
What are the side effects of LGD-4033?
LGD-4033 comes with several negative side effects including cholesterol and testosterone suppression. Some users can experience fluid retention or gynecomastia. Hair shedding is another reported side effect by some LGD-4033 users.
Is LGD-4033 liver toxic?
Some studies have resulted in liver problems in a low number of LGD-4033 users, while others have shown no effect on the liver. This means it is not yet known just what impact LGD-4033 has on your liver so it should be used with caution, especially if you have existing liver issues or plan to use it with any other known hepatotoxic compounds.
How quickly does LGD-4033 work?
LGD-4033’s performance effects kick in quickly and you should see noticeable strength gains within your first week. Muscle gains will take longer to become prominent, but expect noticeable gains by week 4-6 of your cycle.
Is Ligandrol legal?
Ligandrol is listed as a prohibited substance by WADA and can’t be used in any competitive sports. It also has no medical approval by the FDA or authorities in other countries. Ligandrol is still under investigation and research, and right now you can buy Ligandrol only a research chemical.
Part of the appeal of using SARMs is that they are thought of as a more mild alternative to anabolic steroids, but LGD-4033 doesn’t really fit that description at all. Its side effect profile is so similar to that of many steroids that you don’t reap any benefits of avoiding those dreaded steroid-type side effects with this SARM.
Yes, the muscle gains and strength increases you get with LGD-4033 can be incredible. But I spent too much time worrying about its effects on my liver, the testosterone suppression, and what it was doing to my cholesterol. Then there’s the fluid retention.
All those same things we worry about when using steroids (and some steroids aren’t even as harsh as LGD-4033). You end up spending so much time trying to mitigate the side effects that it takes away from where the real focus should be: on the results.