In the last few years, we’ve seen a massive increase in the use of SARMs. One of the most popular of them all is none other than LGD 4033, also known as:
Like other SARMs, LGD 4033 is capable of helping you build muscle without some of the negative side effects of steroids.
It tends to be used people who are looking for as much of an extra edge in the gym as they can get without actually going all out and juicing up (steroids).
I’m not passing judgement on steroid use by the way. It’s your body. Do what you want with it.
I’m simply saying that the reason SARMs like LGD 4033 have become so popular is because they’re basically perceived as “the next best thing” to steroids.
Most people will take a pill that helps them build muscle, but many of us draw the line at the needle.
That’s why LGD has become so popular and probably the reason you’re reading this very article.
Perhaps that’s because, as far as SARMs go, it actually has a little research behind it.
After all, we’re talking about a drug that’s currently in development, so there’s at least one or two well funded companies that have a vested interest in gathering as much data on LGD 4033 (or Ligandrol, as they call it) as possible.
In this article, we’ll go over absolutely everything you need to know about this unique muscle-building compound, including:
- What It Is
- How It Works
- 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 have all the facts you need 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 help you make a more informed decision in the end.
So, if you’re ready to level up your knowledge of LGD 4033–based on actual scientific evidence, as opposed to anecdotal, subjective nonsense–then read on!
What Is LGD 4033?
LGD 4033 is a synthetic drug which belongs to a class known as Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMs for short).
SARMs are supposedly capable of of exerting some of the same anabolic effects as steroids such as increasing 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 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.
In fact, 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 as a potential treatment for muscle-wasting diseases and osteoporosis.
This has made it by far the most popular SARM for muscle-building and improving body composition because if professional athletes–whose careers depend solely on their performance–are using it…
LGD actually works!
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 LGD 4033 is such an attractive alternative to steroids.
It increases androgenic activity where you do want it increased (muscle) and doesn’t increase it much where you don’t want it increased (such as the prostate).
The chart below illustrates androgenic activity in prostate versus muscle tissue. This particular study was conducted by Viking Therapeutics, the company which has taken over development of Ligandrol.
One chart is Testosterone. The other is LGD 4033 (now known as VK-5211).
As you can see, the androgenic activity of LGD 4033 is significantly less in the prostate than in muscle tissue, while Testosterone is roughly the same in each.
Another thing that makes LGD 4033 especially useful is that, unlike many steroids, it’s orally bio-available.
It can be swallowed rather than injected.
This is a huge selling point for most athletes and aspiring bodybuilders.
But is there anymore research on LGD? Perhaps something that actually demonstrates some muscle-building capabilities?
The Research On LGD 4033
An important thing to keep about LGD 4033 is that, like most SARMs, it hasn’t been studied too extensively.
This is simply because most of these drugs are still in the early stages of development. A few rodent studies here and there and maybe a human trial or two if you’re lucky.
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. Only one of them is actually 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, albeit a fairly promising one.
We’ll know more as it progresses through more clinical trials, but so far there’s enough evidence to determine the degree of results you can hope to obtain from LGD 4033
What Kind Of Results Can You Expect With LGD 4033?
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 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.
Yet another selling point over steroids.
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.
Assuming you eat right, sleep right, and train right, you can expect to gain at least a few solid pounds of muscle with LGD-4033.
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 over-dose on LGD anyway.
Taking way too much for too long won’t kill you on the spot but could potentially do some real damage that you won’t even find out about for a while.
So don’t go crazy.
If you’re going to give LGD 4033 a shot, start with a low dose (like 1-5mg) at first.
More isn’t always better. We just don’t know enough about it yet…
Does LGD 4033 Have Any Side Effects?
One of the most fundamental misunderstandings about LGD 4033 is that it is 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 like LGD 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. And that occurs at a pretty low dose, so what about higher doses?
It’s possible that much higher doses of LGD cause even greater suppression of Testosterone.
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.
It’s not that harsh of a compound in terms of Testosterone suppression…
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 harmless 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) and could easily get sued at some point.
For whatever reason though, no pharmaceutical companies that are developing SARMs have stepped in to put a stop to all 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 potential products.
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 anyway.
But there’s also another reason for the lack of legal action against SARMs like LGD 4033.
While the whole SARMs craze is still going on, they get a bunch of free test subjects, using all types of different doses.
If you’re a pharma company, what better way to test the safety and efficacy of SARMs than to let millions of willing people take it at no cost to you?!
So if you’re wondering about the legality of LGD 4033 from the consumer point of view, you have absolutely nothing to worry about. If you can find a trustworthy seller, you can buy as much LGD 4033 as you want.
Legally though, LGD 4033 can only be sold as a research chemical with a label that says something like “not for human consumption” or “research purposes only”.
This is something of a legal gray area that theoretically applies to any unscheduled drug (which is what SARMs are legally considered).
As long is it’s for research purposes, LGD 4033 is legal to buy, sell, and purchase.
The Bottom Line On LGD 4033
There isn’t much research on LGD 4033, but the research that does exist is pretty encouraging.
The muscle-building benefits 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 in a relatively short period of time.
It won’t produce gains like most steroids, but it also appears safer and prone to less side effects.
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.
Feel free to check out our Best Muscle Builders list for some compounds that will pack on a significant amount of muscle in short period of time, some of which are quite effective for burning fat as well.