Cardarine (GW 501516): 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, Cardarine 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 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 Cardarine (GW 501516)?

what is cardarine?

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

It has both medical and performance enhancing applications.

Cardarine 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.

Cardarine 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, just a theorized mechanism of action.

Cardarine has been shown to improve running endurance in mice.

But that’s it.

The results of this one study, combined with what we know about PPARδ agonists in general, have created such a massive gray market demand for Cardarine 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 Cardarine Work?

Cardarine Burns Fat

Cardarine 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, Cardarine 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.

Cardarine definitely has at-burning potential!

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 You Expect With Cardarine?

Cardarine Results

Assuming you take it for at least several weeks, Cardarine 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 other popular fat-loss drugs 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, which are stimulants.

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

Not to mention, it hasn’t made it through 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 Cardarine?  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.

There’s also no reason for a PCT with Cardarine.

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 in the long-run.

If you Google around a little, you’ll find tons of encouraging information, but most of it is pure speculation based on the fact that Cardarine is a PPARδ agonist, not any real studies.

Anecdotal reports indicate that Cardarine can help chisel away at fat while boosting endurance and while I would certainly suggest taking an anecdotal evidence with a grain of salt, it makes sense to take these sort of subjective experiences into account when scientific evidence is scarce.

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.

Cardarine Dosage

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 and the risks become greater.

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 Cardarine having a relatively short half-life of roughly 12 hours.

One in the morning and one at night.  That’s the best way to go about.

Can Women Take Cardarine?

Cardarine For Girls

Yes, women can take Cardarine.

Cardarine is not a SARM and has no influence on sex hormones.

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

So, if you’re a female, 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 Cardarine than men, nor are they more likely to experience any sort of side effects.

In this respect, it’s similar to MK-677 (also doesn’t impact sex hormones)

Are There Any Side Effects With Cardarine?

Side Effects

Since Cardarine 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

Cardarine, on the other hand, has virtually no short-term 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 SARMs or stimulant fat-burners.

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

Still, Cardarine 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”.

This fear has been further amplified by the fact that GW 501516 was discontinued as a drug candidate based on data which indicated it caused cancerous growths in the organs of mice.

Is this fear really warranted, though?  Personally, I think it’s been overblown.

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

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

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

In the long-term, who knows?

Is Cardarine Legal?

Is Cardarine Legal?

Legally, Cardarine is in a bit of a grey area.

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

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

So, selling Cardarine 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 Cardarine 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 is not being actively pursued as a drug candidate.

As a consumer, you’re free to go ahead buy all the Cardarine you want!  You can’t get in trouble for buying a legal research chemical.  Don’t worry!

My Personal Take On Cardarine

Cardarine is no doubt one of the most intriguing compounds to come out of the whole SARM trend, even if it’s not technically a SARM.

It definitely has some potential and may end up being one of the most effective fat-loss drugs yet.  As it stands now, however, Cardarine is extremely speculative.

Not only is there very little research on this stuff, but most suppliers aren’t exactly going the extra mile to prove that their trust-worthy.  Even if you get your hands on some Cardarine, how do you really know it’s legit?

The Chinese chemical labs that cook these substances up aren’t exactly held to the same chemical testing standards that chemical manufacturers in this US would be.  That’s why most chemical manufacturing is done in China.

It’s on the US seller to determine the quality, and few vendors care enough to shell out the extra money to get their products tested.  So, make no mistake…

You’re rolling the dice when you purchase Cardarine from most vendors.

Where To Buy Cardarine

There are a lot of vendors selling Cardarine but not all of them are trustworthy.

I personally don’t trust any Cardarine that comes in liquid form because the reality is that most of the guys mixing these liquids are just pouring Cardarine powder in a vial of solution and shaking it up until it seems like it’s dissolved enough.

Depending on what kind of solution they’re using, the Cardarine may become degraded over time and the dosage could easily be less or more than what they claim.

I’ll take tablets over sketchy vials of liquid any day because the dosage tends to be more accurate.

As far as where to buy Cardarine, the only vendor I honestly trust is BlueKem Research.


Because I’ve purchased products from them before and they have consistently been high quality.  Their customer service is also pretty on point and that’s always a good sign.

I’m not saying there aren’t other reputable vendors out there, but BlueKem is the only one I can personally vouch for.

If you know of any other honest, trustworthy places to buy Cardarine, feel free to drop a comment below.

Natural (Safe) Alteratives To Cardarine

If you want to roll the dice on Cardarine, go right ahead.  It’s a free country!

But why gamble on a synthetic drug that MIGHT burn fat when there are safe, natural substances that have actually been proven to do so?

It just makes more sense to start with the basics.  There are a handful of supplements that can help facilitate fat-loss.  Alone, these supplements won’t do much.  When combined at the right doses, however, they can make a profound difference.

Let’s talk about a few of the very best.


Caffeine is a key ingredient in just about every stimulant-based fat-burning supplement, and for good reason…

Caffeine consumption triggers the release of a group of natural fat-burning hormones called Catecholamines.

Catecholamines (Dopamine, Noradrenaline, and Adrenaline) directly stimulate lipolysis (breakdown of fat).  So, by triggering the release of Catecholamines, Caffeine has been shown to promote fat oxidation and increase the metabolic rate (amount of calories you burn at rest).

The average person will find their ideal dose of Caffeine somewhere between 200-300mg, though some people may require higher doses (based on tolerance).


Synephrine is often compared to once extremely popular fat-burning drug, Ephedrine, because they share the same basic mechanism of action.

Like Ephedrine, Synephrine is a beta-receptor agonist.  This is simply an scientific way of saying it directly stimulates lipolysis.

You see, your body has 2 types of receptors that regulate lipolysis.

  1. Beta-receptors initiate lipolysis
  2. Alpha receptors stop lipolysis

Via beta-receptor activation, Synephrine has been shown to increase the metabolic rate, effectively makeing you burn more calories at rest.


Forskolin is the active component of the herb, Coleus Forskohlii.  Unlike most non-stimulant fat-burners, it actually has some sound science behind it.

Forskolin supplementation has been shown to result in significant weight-loss over the course of several weeks, in both men and women.

It works by stimulating cAMP, a signaling molecule which tells the body to burn fat (among other things).

In my opinion, no fat-burner is complete without a clinical (50mg) dose of Forskolin.  It takes time for the effects to manifest, but the research is pretty clear.  Forskolin works!

That’s why I included it, along with Synephrine and Caffeine, in my all natural fat-burner, Formula 56.

Formula 56

After spending the better part of the last decade researching supplements, I became frustrated with the lack of effective fat-burners.  Every fat-burner I came across suffered from 1 of 3 major flaws:

  1. Ineffective ingredients
  2. Under-dosed ingredients
  3. Nothing more than cocktail of dangerous stimulants

So, I decided to do something different…

I created a fat-burner that contains nothing but clinical doses of ingredients that have actually been proven to facilitate fat-loss.

Caffeine (300mg) – triggers the release of fat-burning hormones like Dopamine and Noradrenaline.

Synephrine (50mg) – a mild stimulant that increases the amount of calories you burn at rest.

Forskolin (50mg)increases cAMP which signals the body to breakdown stored fat.

Hordenine (50mg) – A mild MAOI which may amplify the effects of Caffeine (and other stimulants).

Theanine (200mg) – Enhances the effects of Caffeine while reducing the negatives (jitters, anxiety, etc).

Citicoline (250mg)supports optimal brain function (particularly important when dieting).

If you’re looking for a better balance between safety and efficacy in a fat-burner, you won’t find it.  When it comes to fat-burning supplements, Formula 56 is the cream of the crop.

Momentum Nutrition Formula 56


Now, I’m not telling you not to take Cardarine.  Im just saying why not start with a safe, natural supplement that you KNOW works before experimenting with some speculative drug that may or may not work?

If anything, since Cardarine is not a stimulant, you could combine it with a well-rounded fat-burner like Formula 56 for even more fat-loss.

You can learn more about Formula 56 here.

The Bottom Line On Cardarine (GW 501516)

The bottom line on Cardarine (GW 501516)

The truth about Cardarine (GW 501516) 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 Cardarine 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 Cardarine a shot, go ahead.  Let me know how it goes!

If you’d rather go with an all natural fat-burner that’s packed with clinical doses of ingredients that are perfectly safe and have actually been PROVEN to facilitate fat-loss, check out Formula 56.

If you really want to kick the fat-loss up a notch, consider stacking it with Rauwolscine.

And if you have any questions, I’m always down to talk supplements.  You can find me on Instagram and Twitter.

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

I’m Matt Theis, founder of SuppWithThat, Momentum Nutrition, and Singular Sport. I created SWT to separate the science from the hype and publish accurate, research-based information on supplements. If you like what I have to say here, feel free to check out my supplements at and

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