In the last few years, we’ve seen a massive increase in the use of Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators, otherwise known as SARMs.
SARMs are capable of increasing muscle growth without some of the health compromises that come with steroid use.
They tend to be used by those people who are looking for that extra edge in the gym without sticking a needle in their shoulder (or ass or wherever you put it).
One SARM that’s causing quite a stir among bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts alike is LGD 4033.
In this article, we’ll go over just about everything there is to know about LGD 4033, including:
- What It Is
- How It Works
- The Benefits
- What To Expect
And a whole lot more. If I’ve done my job correctly, by the end of this article you’ll be able to make an informed decision as to whether LGD 4033 is right for you.
I’m not going to preach to you about being all-natural or tell you not to put some chemical in your body. If you just google “SARMs” you’ll find plenty of so-called ‘experts’ doing that already.
My goal is simply to present the facts and, hopefully, help you make a more informed decision in the end.
So, if you’re ready to level up your knowledge of SARMs–specifically LGD 4033–then let’s get right to it…
What Is LGD 4033?
LGD 4033, also known as Ligandrol, is a synthetic drug which belongs to a class known as Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMs).
SARMs are capable of of exerting some of the very same anabolic effects as steroids such as increased muscle mass and bone density, but without many of the unwanted side effects or harm to the body.
That’s the pitch at least. The reality is there are some side effects (which we’ll discuss in a little), but the potential side effects are definitely not as severe as most steroids.
Although these drugs have now made their way into the supplement industry, they all originate from pharmaceutical company research.
Many SARMs are still in development. Some of them–like LGD-4033–are currently in clinical trials, on their way toward FDA approval.
There are many SARMs that can help build muscle, but LGD 4033 has been making headlines due to some high profile instances of athletes failing drug tests because of it.
This has made it by far the most popular SARM for muscle-building.
How Does It Work?
As a SARM, LGD 4033 works by selectively binding with Androgen Receptors in muscle tissue and bone, as opposed to elsewhere in the body.
This is the main difference between anabolic steroids and SARMS.
Steroids increase androgen activity in all tissues. SARMs increase androgen activity only in certain tissues.
The chart below illustrates androgenic activity in prostate and muscle tissue. One chart is Testosterone. The other is LGD-4033 (now known as VK-5211).
As you can see, the androgenic activity of LG 4033 is significantly less in the prostate than in muscle tissue, while Testosterone is roughly the same in each.
Another thing that makes SARMs like LGD 4033 especially useful is that, unlike Testosterone, they’re orally bio-available.
They can be swallowed rather than injected. This is a huge selling point for most athletes and aspiring bodybuilders.
The Research On LGD 4033
An important thing to keep about SARMs is that most of them haven’t been studied too extensively. A few rodent studies here and there and maybe a human trial or two if you’re lucky.
This is simply because most of these drugs are still in the early-ish stages of development.
Collectively, there’s a fair amount of research on SARMs, but not much on LGD 4033 specifically. In fact, only two human studies have been conducted so far specifically to test the muscle-building effects, but only one of them is published.
76 males (ages 21-50) received one of the following treatments:
- 0.1mg LGD-4033
- 0.3mg LGD-4033
- 1mg LGD-4033
After 21 days, measurements were taken for muscle mass, fat mass, strength, hormone levels, and a few other general health parameters.
Subjects receiving LGD 4033 experienced dose-dependent (more what better) increases in muscle mass. The results are shown in this chart:
Interestingly, this study actually found a slight decrease in Testosterone but Testosterone levels returned to normal a few weeks after subjects stopped taking the drug.
Suppression of Testosterone is normal with steroid use, but some people are under the impression that SARMs don’t cause it.
This is not true.
SARMs like LGD 4033 may suppress Testosterone less than most steroids, but it still happens to some degree. That’s a good reason not to run any kind of SARM for longer than a month or two.
So, yeah…All the buzz about LGD 4033 is from one study. That said, the study was well-designed and the results are pretty encouraging.
What Kind Of Results Can You Expect?
If you’re considering LGD 4033 because you heard it’s “just as powerful as steroids” but “without any of the side effects”, you’re going to be disappointed for two reasons.
- It’s not as powerful as most steroids
- There are some side effects
The good news is that LGD 4033 will definitely help you pack on some muscle, just not THAT much.
In the study referenced above, subjects taking 1mg of LGD 4033 averaged lean body mass increases of 1.2kg, or a little more than 2.5 lbs over the course of 21 days.
This may not seem very significant, but it’s actually not too shabby considering the short duration.
Most steroids don’t kick in for a few weeks anyway.
About the side effects…
LGD 4033 is definitely pretty safe in the short-term, but it does appear to suppress Testosterone levels. In the 21 day study, subjects returned to normal Test levels pretty quickly, but it’s not clear how much longer duration cycles can suppress Test.
It’s probably a good idea to take some kind of a PCT supplement after running a LGD 4033, even it’s just something light.
LGD 4033 Dosing
Due to the fact that human studies are extremely lacking, not much is known about dosing. We know that doses as low as 1mg/day are effective but what about higher doses?
Some LGD 4033 products contain 5mg/capsule!
The authors of the lone published study do reference an earlier study which noted no adverse effects with as much as 22mg for 2 weeks.
The thing is…
It’s not like you can OD on steroids or SARMs. Taking way too much for too long won’t kill you on the spot but it could do some real damage that you won’t even find out about for a while.
So don’t go crazy. Start at a relatively low dose and if you must experiment, work your way up.
Is LGD 4033 Legal?
As a dietary supplement? Not really.
LGD 4033 is currently an unapproved drug. That doesn’t mean it’s okay to use it in supplements. Contrary to what many supplement companies think (and do), it’s actually illegal to sell SARMs as dietary supplements.
Furthermore, the patent for LGD-4033 is owned by the pharmaceutical company that original developed it. Anyone who isn’t licensed to sell it is infringing on another company’s Intellectual Property (IP).
For whatever reason, no pharmaceutical companies have stepped in to put a stop to this, but it’s a safe bet that they will when their losing profits.
It actually makes sense for pharma companies to wait rather than act because there’s a good chance the FDA will step in and shut it down before it becomes their problem. But there’s also another reason…
While the whole SARMs craze is still going on, they get a bunch of free test subjects. What better way to test the safety and efficacy of SARMs than to let millions of willing people take it?!
The Bottom Line On LGD 4033
There isn’t much research on LGD 4033, but the research that does exist is pretty encouraging. The benefits of this particular SARM have definitely been exaggerated, mostly by companies who sell it, but it can probably help you pack on a few pounds of muscle.
It’s no steroid, but it’s also a lot safer than taking steroids. Muscle gains are decent and side effects appear pretty minimal, at least for short cycles.
LGD-4033 is now under the name VK-5211 and phase 2 trials are apparently under way.