Ostarine is a selective androgen receptor modulator (SARM) originally developed for the treatment of chronic diseases such as muscle wasting and osteoporosis. It has been sold under the names Enbosarm, MK-2866, or GTx-024, mainly nowadays by supplement companies. Ostarine has not been approved for human consumption or use of any kind in any country. Nevertheless, it is frequently illicitly obtained and used by performance athletes and bodybuilders due to its androgenic modulative properties. Ostarine and other SARMs are popular because, although they mimic anabolic steroids and their positive effects, they are believed to have significantly fewer negative side effects. Due to the fact that it has not received approval in any country, its side effects are still under investigation and are not listed. However, similar SARMs have serious side effects such as cardiovascular diseases including heart attack or stroke, and liver failure.
How does Ostarine Work?
As a selective androgen receptor modulator, Ostarine works by binding certain receptor sites within the body. Once bound, the receptor site sends a signal to the brain. Ostarine and other SARMs bind to androgenic sites, meaning the sites that deal with hormone signaling. When Ostarine binds to this site (it is more selective for muscle and bone tissue), it signals the body to assist in the development of new tissue. Thus, bodybuilders are especially drawn to Ostarine for obvious reasons.
The effects of Ostarine are similar to anabolic steroids as its chemical structure mimics them in many ways. However, SARMs are more selective than anabolic steroids, which means that they theoretically could be used more safely, in higher doses, and for longer periods of time (again, Ostarine has not been found safe to use). Additionally, Ostarine will not convert to estrogen over time, unlike other steroids and compounds mimicking them. Despite its lack of clinical evidence and its current illegal status, Ostarine is a popular black-market supplement in the United States and other countries among professional athletes and bodybuilders alike. It is generally viewed as safer than anabolic steroids, as its selectivity for muscle and bone tissue allows the drug to create more targeted growth and less unwanted damage. Unfortunately, no SARM is one hundred percent specifically targeted for one desired type of tissue, meaning that unwanted effects can still occur.
Benefits and Results
Ostarine is increasing in popularity due to its muscle growth effects. In fact, the World Anti-Doping Agency has noted an increase in Ostarine detections over the past few years. Despite being prohibited since 2008, athletes continue to use this drug in order to gain muscle more quickly and with less side effects that traditionally used anabolic steroids. As previously mentioned, Ostarine and other SARMs are generally viewed as much safer than anabolic steroids. They are more targeted toward muscle and bone receptor sites, allowing them to more efficiently promote growth and regeneration without the development of more serious side effects in other parts of the body.
A study done on patients with chronic muscle wasting as a result of cancer found that patients treated with Enbosarm (Ostarine by a different name) had clinically significant increases in lean body mass over the course of the study. No life threatening side effects noted during the study were found to be a result of the drug itself. Unfortunately, later phases of this study found that Enbosarm failed to produce any increase in muscle functionality and strength in these patients. It is for this reason that failed to be granted FDA approval so that it could be legally sold in the United States.
Anecdotally, reviewers online give extremely positive feedback on Ostarine. There are plentiful before and after photos showing significant muscle gain over relatively short amounts of time. Forums are ripe with information on dosing, regimens, schedules, and results to expect. Reviews on unsponsored websites such as forums or discussion boards can help potential buyers feel more confident in their purchase due to an increased sense of trust.
Another benefit that draws athletes to Ostarine is that most experienced consumers agree that no PCT (post cycle therapy) is necessary in order to preserve results. Users can feel confident that their muscle gains will be more permanent that with other enhancing drugs, which can sometimes require weeks of PCT followed by another round of use, trapping athletes in an endless cycle. Of course, this advice is anecdotal. Based on experiences with other SARMs and various other steroid-mimicking compounds, PCT should be incorporated into a regimen in order to safeguard muscle gains and prevent rapid loss. If consumers do opt to do post cycle therapy, Nolvadex or Clomid are often used in cases where an Ostarine cycle is ending.
Studies in which Ostarine was being used as a medical treatment found doses at both 1 mg and 3 mg once per day orally were effective at increasing lean muscle mass over 80-100 days by up to 4%. Additionally, at these doses Ostarine was found to actually decrease body fat as well, meaning consumers get two positive effects rather than just one!
In discussion boards and similar articles, people using Ostarine for bodybuilding purposes use the drug at significantly higher doses. Advice for dosages ranges anywhere from 10 mg per day to 30 mg per day.
As there is little clinical research on Ostarine, and no clinical research on it specifically for the purpose of bodybuilding, it is impossible to give a correct dosage. Like all supplements, it is better to start small and work your way up. Of course, the clinically safest way would be to start at 1 mg to 3 mg per day, as those are the only dosages that have been studied in a controlled research setting. At these dosages, no life threatening side effects were reported that could be traced specifically back to the drug itself. However, other non-serious side effects were reported. As previously mentioned, since the drug is not approved in any country for any human uses, no official dosage guidelines are available.
At the clinically studied dosages of 1 mg per day and 3 mg per day, non-life threatening side effects were reported. These included nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, influenza-like illness, headache, and back pain. The drug has not been studied in a clinical setting at the higher dosages often recommended by people who use it for bodybuilding. These dosages range from 10 mg per day to 30 mg per day. Other comparable SARMs can have life threatening side effects, however. These include cardiovascular effects such as heart attack, high blood pressure, uncontrolled high cholesterol, and stroke. Liver failure is another serious side effect linked to using SARMs.
As mentioned before, many athletes prefer the use of SARMs over the use of anabolic steroids due to the perception of them being a safer alternative. While it is generally agreed (even by clinical analysts) that they are safer for long term use than traditional anabolic steroids, their long-term effects at high dosages has not been studied thoroughly enough to be conclusive.
My Opinion about Ostarine (MK-2866)
In my opinion, Ostarine does seem to be a safer alternative to both anabolic steroids and several other SARMs. It does not cause serious side effects at the studied dosages, and it does not degenerate into other hormones such as estrogen over time in the body. Additionally, it is a targeted androgen receptor modulator. Unlike anabolic steroids or testosterone supplements, it is aimed at promoting muscle growth and regeneration. It does not affect the liver or gonads as strongly as anabolic steroids or testosterone either, making it an attractive choice for someone looking to gain muscle extremely efficiently.
Unfortunately, a few things about Ostarine raise some red flags for me. First and foremost, it is not approved for human consumption or use in any form in any country in the world. It is completely illegal in the United States. Supplement manufacturers are not permitted to sell anything with Ostarine on the label, so it is occasionally listed under another name or not at all. This makes procuring it quite difficult and forces consumers to rely on shady dealers or online avenues in order to purchase it. When relying on these types if sources, it is impossible to tell if you are truly getting what you paid for. Not only can dosages or concentrations listed on the label be incorrect, the supplement you purchase may not even contain Ostarine. This can lead to ingestion of something that is not medicine at all, or worse, something extremely toxic and harmful to the body. Obviously, these things do not help athletes reach their fitness goals and can even prove to be dangerous or life threatening in some cases.
Second, Ostarine has not been studied at the dosages that most bodybuilders consume. Most websites recommend between 10 mg per day to 30 mg per day. There are no guidelines based on weight, age, fitness, beginner or professional status, and so on. This forces consumers to make their own guess at what dose is right for them. It has been studied at a much smaller dose, between 1 mg and 3 mg per day, equivalent to just 10% of the most popular dosage advice for athletes. Fortunately, it was found to have no life-threatening side effects at these small doses, but this may not be (and most likely is not) the case at higher levels. Additionally, the main reason that Ostarine failed to receive FDA approval is that the manufacturer could not prove that patients treated with it actually experienced increased muscle strength and functionality. So, while muscle mass was increasing and body fat was decreasing, people were not actually getting stronger, just looking more muscular. For consumers with a legitimate interest in fitness and bettering their bodies, this would make Ostarine a complete waste of time and money.
Third, although Ostarine and other SARMs are marketed to consumers as having “no side effects” and “being the safest thing you can put in your body”, this is simply not accurate at all. Every medication or supplement has side effects. Often times these side effects are positive, and that is why people want to take that specific medication. Conversely, sometimes the side effects outweigh the positive effects of the medication. In my opinion, this would be the case with Ostarine at high levels. It is well documented that steroids should not be taken over long periods of time as they can wreak havoc on the body’s systems. SARMs mimic steroids in many ways and, although generally considered safer, are not completely safe themselves. They are, in many ways, simply a workaround to artificially raise hormone levels in the body, the same as anabolic steroids. In the short term, Ostarine may help users gain muscle mass and lose fat at a much faster rate than they could without it. Consumers must ask themselves which is more important, defined muscles now, or a healthy heart and liver later? This is particularly poignant if they intend to continue exercising long into the future because, as anyone will tell you, a without a healthy heart you certainly won’t get very far.
In conclusion, my thoughts on Ostarine are mixed. While certainly no supplement is perfect, and no medicine has zero side effects, Ostarine and other SARMs do not seem worth the risk to me. The clinical findings regarding muscle mass increases are promising, but if strength does not increase in correlation, why bother? Additionally, if a consumer were to try to purchase Ostarine, it would be incredibly difficult to find a source that they could be confident was providing them the product they asked for at a specific dose. The fact that it is not approved for human consumption for any reason anywhere in the world should give buyers pause. As always, exercise caution when trying new products and do as much research as possible.