GW 501516 (Cardarine): Burn Fat, Boost Endurance?

GW 501516 (Cardarine)

In recent years, we’ve seen a new wave of performance and physique-enhancing substances hit the market.  One of the most unique and versatile of these substances is GW 501516, otherwise known as Cardarine.

Though often referred to as a SARM, GW 501516 actually isn’t one.  It doesn’t influence your sex hormones (Testosterone/Estrogen) whatsoever.

This makes it an attractive option for both male and female athletes who ordinarily wouldn’t take performance enhancing substances due to the stigma around steroids and SARMs.

But does Cardarine actually do what they people say it does?

Let’s find out…

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about GW 501516 (Cardarine), including:

Let’s take it from the top…

What Is GW 501516 (Cardarine)?

what is cardarine?

GW 501516, also known as Cardarine, is a drug which was originally developed by GlaxoSmithKline in collaboration with Ligand Pharmaceuticals, the latter of which also developed Ligandrol.

GW 501516 has both medical and performance enhancing applications.

It was originally developed as a potential treatment for dyslipidemia and metabolic syndrome.

Dyslipidemia is a medical term for elevated fatty acid and/or cholesterol levels in the blood.  If left untreated for too long, it can result in serious health issues.

Naturally, anything that can increase the amount of fat you burn can potentially treat these types of conditions.

GW 501516 has been shown to reduce fatty acid build-up in the liver and improve cholesterol status but since it’s primary mechanism of action is through up-regulating (increasing) fatty acid metabolism, it has also attracted the interest of athletes and bodybuilders looking to burn more fat and enhance phsyical performance.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much scientific evidence for these claims…

GW 505516 has been shown to improve running endurance in mice.

Yep, that’s it.

The results of this one study have created a massive gray market demand for GW 501516 that it’s actually been officially banned for Olympic athletes.

Is it really worth the hype though?  How does this stuff even work?

Let’s talk about that…

How Does GW 501516 Work?

Cardarine Burns Fat

GW 501516 is a Peroxisome Proliferator-Activator Receptor-delta (PPARδ) agonist.

PPARδ is a nuclear hormone receptor which regulates many of important bodily processes and functions, including fatty acid metabolism.

PPARδ agonists (substances that activate PPARδ) re-engineer the way our bodies expend energy by making fatty acids the preferred source of fuel, as opposed to glucose from carbohydrates.

You see, the human body has 3 options to meet its energy needs:

  1. Glucose (From Carbohydrates)
  2. Fatty Acids (From Stored Fat)
  3. Amino Acids (From Protein)

Under normal circumstances, glucose is the preferred source of energy because it’s much easier to derive energy from than fatty acids or amino acids.

The body really doesn’t want to use protein as an energy source and it only turns to fatty acids for energy when glycogen (stored glucose) is low, as is the case when you’re in a fasted state.

As a PPARδ agonist, GW 501516 is capable of essentially re-engineering the body to prefer fatty acids as a fuel source.

So, it’s pretty easy to see why it’s being used by bodybuilders and athletes everywhere.

GW 501516 definitely burns fat.

It may enhance endurance as well, but that claim is based in a lot less scientific evidence than the claim that it burns fat.

What Kind Of Results Can I Expect From GW 501516?

Cardarine Results

Assuming you take it for at least several weeks, GW 501516 should help you burn some additional fat.

It’s tough to say how much exactly because it hasn’t been studied directly for fat-loss like Ephedrine or Clenbuterol.

It’s mechanism of action (the way it works) is also entirely different than those types of traditional fat-burning drugs.

GW 501516 is not a stimulant; It literally changes the way your body utilizes energy.

Not to mention, it’s still in experimental trials so there isn’t much research on it at all, even for the medical purposes it’s intended for.

So, what kind of results can you expect with GW 501516?  Some degree of fat-loss…

How much fat-loss would likely be a function of:

  • the dose you take
  • how long you take it

Contrary to popular belief, Cardarine is NOT a SARM.  It has no impact on sex hormones like Testosterone and Estrogen and therefore doesn’t necessarily need to be cycled.

Still, most people appear to be cycling it for 3-4 months at a time.

That’s probably a good idea, given that we have literally no idea what kinds of side effects Cardarine can potentially cause.

If you Google around a little, you’ll find tons of encouraging information, but most of it is mere speculation based on the way GW 501516 works, not any real studies.

Still, anecdotal reports indicate that GW 501516 can chisel away at fat while boosting endurance.

People love this stuff, so even though there’s not much human research on it for fat-loss or endurance, there’s definitely something to it.

What’s An Effective Dosage Of GW 501516

Cardarine Dosage

Thankfully, there is enough research in humans (the one study referenced above), for us to know that Cardarine is orally active at doses as low as 2.5mg/day and even more effective at doses of 10mg/day.

For burning fat and enhancing endurance, people tend to take between 10 and 20mg/day, but it’s not clear if higher doses are more effective.

It could be that the more you take, the better the results.


Perhaps the effects taper off at a certain dose.

There’s also the matter of Cardarine being kind of expensive, so sticking with the 10-20mg/day is probably a good idea.

Splitting the dose is also probably a good idea due to it having a half-life of roughly 12 hours.

One in the morning and one at night.

Can Women Take GW 501516?

Cardarine For Girls


Again, it’s not a SARM and has no influence on sex hormones.

That’s usually the reason why women don’t take SARMs like LGD-4033 or Ostarine.

So, if you’re a woman, no need to worry about Cardarine making you bulky or manly in any way.

There’s no evidence that women are less likely to benefit from GW than men, nor are they more likely to experience any sort of side effects.

Are There Any Side Effects With GW 501516?

Side Effects

Since Cardarine (GW) isn’t a stimulant or a SARM, it avoids many of the side effects associated with those things.

  • Stimulants tend to make you jittery, irritated, and sweat a lot.
  • SARMs may suppress Testosterone (to some degree) like steroids

GW 501516, on the other hand, has virtually no side effects.  At least, not ones which are obvious (keeping in mind there’s limited research).

This has made it extremely popular as a fat-loss agent and it’s commonly stacked with steroids or stimulant fat-burners to burn additional fat.

It’s not clear at all though what the health implications of stacking it with those things are those.  There have been absolutely no studies in that area.

Still, GW 501516 looks pretty safe, at least in the short term…

Since PPARs in general play a role in cancer in regulation of cancer cell growth, fears have surfaced that “Cardarine causes cancer”.  In reality though,  nobody has any idea what the long-term health implications of it are.

For better or for worse.

In fact, there’s evidence that GW 501516 can actually treat certain types of cancer.

As with any experimental drug (that’s really what it is), we just don’t know enough yet to establish a clear safety profile on GW.

In the short-term, it’s definitely a lot safer than other fat-loss drugs.

In the long-term, who knows?

Is GW 501516 Legal?

Is Cardarine Legal?

Legally, GW 501516 is in a bit of a gray area.

It’s legal to sell as a research chemical, not as a supplement.

What’s more, it was developed by pharmaceutical companies which own the intellectual property (IP) relating to it.

So, selling GW 501516 as a supplement is illegal on 2 fronts:

  1. Selling an unscheduled drug as a supplement
  2. Violating another companies Intellectual Property (IP) rights

That’s why, these days, you’ll only find GW 501516 for sale as a research chemical, with a label that says something like:

“For research purposes only.” and/or “Not for human consumption.”

This allows companies that sell it to dodge government regulations (since it’s not a supplement if it’s not for human consumption) and the pharmaceutical companies don’t really care anymore since Cardarine has been abandoned as a drug candidate.

As a consumer, you’re free to go ahead buy all the GW 501516 you want!

The Bottom Line On GW 501516 (Cardarine)

The bottom line on Cardarine (GW 501516)

The truth about GW 501516 (Cardarine) is that it may:

  • increase the amount of fat you can burn
  • boost endurance
  • support cardiovascular health

But there is VERY little research on it as a practical fat-loss and performance enhancer for bodybuilders and athletes.

The claims that GW 501516 burns fat or boosts endurance are based on research in mice or subjective (often biased) experiences with the drug.

Only one study in humans has been published and it didn’t look at fat-loss or endurance, just certain parameters of cardiovascular health.

If you want to roll the dice and give GW 501516 a shot, go ahead.  Let me know how it goes!

If you want a fat-burner that’s safe, effective, and DEFINITELY works, though, check out our best fat burners list or simply make your own.

Have any experience with GW 501516 (Cardarine)?  Questions perhaps?  Comment below…

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