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).
We’ve talked about compounds which are mistakenly referred to as SARMs, such as MK-677, but one compound that legitimately fits the definition of a SARM–meaning it increases androgenic activity and can help you gain muscle–is LGD-4033.
In fact, LGD 4033–commonly referred to as Ligandrol–has become one of the most popular SARMs used by bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts alike.
Perhaps that’s because, as far as SARMs go, LGD 4033 has a decent amount of actual research behind it.
In this article, we’ll go over absolutely everything you need to know about LGD 4033, including:
- What Is LGD 4033?
- How Does LGD 4033 Work?
- What Are The Benefits?
- What Kind Of Results To Expect
- Side Effects And Safety
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.
If, after taking the time to understanding the facts about LGD 4033, you decide to give it a shot, that’s entirely up to you.
At least you’ll be making an informed decision, rather than taking the word of the people who sell it or some nut job ranting on a forum.
So, if you’re ready to level up your knowledge of LGD 4033–based on facts as opposed to anecdotal, subjective nonsense–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 for short).
That’s the pitch at least…
The reality is there are some side effects associated with LGD 4033 (which we’ll discuss in a little), but they’re 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.
LGD 4033 was originally developed and patented by Ligand Pharmaceuticals, hence the alternate name Ligandrol.
It is currently being investigated by Viking Therapeutics under the name VK-5211.
This has made it by far the most popular SARM for muscle-building and improving body composition.
How Does LGD 4033 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 many tissues.
SARMs increase androgen activity only in certain tissues.
One of the primary concerns with most steroids is that they increase the size of your Prostate which can potentially lead to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
BPH isn’t the most serious condition, but it can definitely have a negative impact on your health.
That’s why SARMs like LGD 4033 are such an attractive alternative to oral steroids.
It increases androgenic activity where you do want it increased and don’t increase it much where you don’t want it increased.
The chart below illustrates androgenic activity in prostate versus 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 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…
A Phase I clinical trial conducted by Ligand Pharmaceuticals investigated the the impact of LGD 4033 on muscle building (in actual humans).
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.
Any compound that increases Testosterone can potentially suppress your natural Testosterone levels, but more on that later.
All the buzz about LGD 4033 is from one study. As it progresses through more clinical trials, we’ll know more and more about how it can potentially help build muscle.
That said, the results so far 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 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 of the study.
Longer cycles may very well lead to more muscle growth, and it appears as though LGD 4033 is pretty fast acting.
Most steroids don’t kick in for a few weeks anyway, so even a small amount of muscle growth in 3 weeks is definitely significant.
LGD 4033 Dosage
Due to the fact that human studies are extremely lacking, not much is known about what the optimal dosage for LGD 4033 might be.
We know that doses as low as 1mg/day are effective but what about higher doses?
Some LGD 4033 products contain 5mg/capsule!
Is 5mg of LGD 4033 five times as effective as 1mg? Is it even safe?!
Unfortunately, we don’t know because we only have safety data on a 1mg dose.
It’s worth mentioning, however, that 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.
So higher doses are probably pretty safe, at least in the short-term.
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.
Does LGD 4033 Have Any Side Effects?
One of the most fundamental misunderstandings about SARMs like LGD 4033 is that they’re believed to cause no side effects.
While it’s certainly true that being selective for androgen receptors in muscle and bone tissue makes LGD 4033 less likely to cause some of the side effects caused by steroids, the claim that it is without side effects entirely isn’t exactly true.
A major drawback to steroids is that they suppress natural Testosterone production, and SARMs have been marketed as avoiding this pitfall.
Unfortunately, LGD 4033 has been shown to cause dose-dependent suppression of Testosterone.
The term “dose-dependent” simply means:
The more you take, the greater the Testosterone suppression.
So, while LGD 4033 is certainly prone to less side effects than the average steroid, you still need to worry about restoring your natural Testosterone production post cycle.
The good news is that you don’t need a heavy duty PCT like Nolvadex to reverse the suppression caused by LGD 4033. It’s not that severe.
Other than suppressing natural Testosterone to some degree, not much is known about the safety or potential side effects of LGD 4033.
It does appear to be pretty safe in the short-term, but there’s just not that much data at this time.
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 they’re actually selling the drug (assuming it gets FDA approval) and they’re 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 looks like LGD 4033 can help you pack on a few pounds of solid muscle.
It won’t produce gains like most steroids, but it’s also a lot safer.
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, so as those studies are published, we’ll know more and more about how this unique compound can potentially help build muscle and improve body composition.
In the meantime…
If you’re looking to pack on as much lean muscle mass as possible, check out our best muscle builders list.
Have anything to add about LGD 4033? Comment Below…