What is Andarine?
Andarine, or S4 to use its shorthand name, is part of a fairly new family of medicines called SARMs. They were developed in the 1990s by James Dalton and Andarine was the first creation. As with most groups of drugs, whether legal or illegal, it is much easier to use the acronym than the full name. It is a bit like using your nickname rather than your full name; everyone knows who you are but it saves a lot of time.
Andarine is an investigational compound belonging to a new class of drugs known as Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators or SARMs for short. The drug is also known by other short names like S4, GTx-007, and S-40503.
Andarine was developed by GTx Inc., an innovative pharmaceutical company responsible for a few other popular SARMs like S23. This drug was developed to treat medical conditions like osteoporosis, muscle wasting, and benign prostatic hypertrophy or prostate enlargement. However, the drug is yet to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration due to insufficient clinical trials.
As a SARM, Andarine S4 targets the androgen receptors located in the muscle and bone tissues resulting in muscle and bone growth. Animal studies report that it not only reverses muscle wasting and bone degeneration but also boosts the growth of muscle tissues and increases bone mineral density so much that some bodybuilders are actually using it for muscle building.
Preclinical studies also show that it is potentially beneficial for prostate health. In studies involving intact male rats, dosages as low as 0.5mg were essential in reducing prostate health by up to 79.4%. When it was administered in castrated male rats, the drug restored prostate weight by 32.5%.
Like many drugs that have ended up in use by the general public, Andarine was first developed to help alleviate the symptoms of some long-term health conditions. SARMs are designed to quickly build muscle and bone density in patients without the hormonal interfering that using a steroid would result in. This means that in clinical trials Andarine was used in mainly elderly patients who had osteoporosis and muscle-wasting disorders. The results did show dramatic improvements in a relatively short time in terms of both strength and endurance. It was not long before this was picked up by the bodybuilding and athletic circles as a potential supplement!
The attraction to using Andarine mainly lies with the milder nature of the drug compared to steroids. Andarine will still give you noticeably more chiselled muscles in only a few weeks on quite a low dose, along with a drop in body fat that most athletes and non-athletes alike would find most welcome. The muscle you would build is higher density and means you’re your stamina also increases, allowing longer gym sessions which further boost results.
As it is ‘specific’ then it means much less damage to the liver and prostate, almost no ‘masculising of features’ at all (very good news for women who want to build muscle without growing a beard), plus the way it binds does not lead to oestrogen release so it does not lead to man-boobs or water retention either. Everyone wins. With a short half-life of around 3-6 hours the amount in the bloodstream lowers quickly, so if you get unwanted side effects they will not stick around for weeks.
A bonus beneficial ‘side effect’ is also that SARMs, like steroids, lower cortisol levels. Cortisol is the ‘stress hormone’ that you probably have too much of due to the crazy world we live in. Cortisol also breaks down muscle after strenuous exercise; precisely the opposite of what you want! By blocking cortisol the path to muscle growth is smoothed even further.
- It Boosts Muscle Growth
Andarine S4 was initially developed to combat muscle wasting disorder, but the formula proved so effective that it actually reversed the condition and stimulated further growth.
Today, Andarine S4 is widely used in the bodybuilding scene for its incredible muscle-building effects. Preclinical data also shows that S4 can boost muscle growth within a few weeks when combined with good training and the right diet plan. In some of these trials, scientists equated the effects of Andarine S4 to Dihydrotestosterone or (DHT). DHT is an endogenous androgen sex steroid known for boosting rapid muscle growth. Although the muscle-building effects of S4 were similar to DHT, the SARM did not increase the prostate size of the users. This basically makes DHT a safer muscle-building drug than steroids. Its highly selective nature safeguards the users from prostate complications and other adverse reactions.
On top of boosting muscle growth, Andarine S4 is also known for hardening the muscles. It makes it easier to achieve cosmetically satisfying results with a ripped physique.
- It Strengthens Bones
Low bone density or osteopenia is a fairly common condition. It can be a result of chemotherapy, eating disorders, and exposure to radiation. Aging also affects bone mineral density.
Osteoporosis is a severe form of this condition. It leaves your bones at a high risk of suffering fractures.
Studies demonstrate that selective androgen receptor modulators can strengthen the bones and reverse these conditions. The drugs are being investigated on their impact in treating bone mineral loss in postmenopausal women where the condition is rampant.
Like other SARMs, Andarine boosts bone density preventing fractures and other injuries. This is beneficial to everyone, especially bodybuilders and athletes whose lifestyles put them at higher risk of developing bone issues.
- It Enhances Vascularity
Great muscle definition with popping veins is not as easy to achieve as it may sound. You could spend endless hours in the gym adding pound after pound of muscle mass and still not witness any visible veins.
Andarine S4 is really good at boosting vascularity. Advanced bodybuilders use it for vivid superficial veins. The muscle pump effect it creates motivates most people to keep on training. The results are also really good for individuals who are taking part in a bodybuilding competition.
Most users experience enhanced vascularity within the first 2 to 3 weeks of taking S4, and the results can last for up to 8 weeks after completing the cycle.
- It Accelerates Fat Loss
Andarine S4 is common in SARMs cutting cycles. The drug increases fat breakdown burning even the stubborn adipose around the abdomen. S4 triggers your body to turn to stored fat for energy. This speeds up fatty acid metabolism leading to drastic fat loss and increased energy, strength, and endurance.
Low body fat percentage is vital in bodybuilding, but it can be very tricky to achieve. Most of the fat burners available today struggle with protecting muscle mass when burning fat. The supplements usually end up eating into lean mass hence reversing all the gains an athlete had made during the bulking phase.
S4 is one of the few SARMs that can promote fat loss without putting your muscle mass in danger. If anything, it helps you gain a few pounds of mass during a cutting cycle. Not even a calorie deficit plan will stop it from preserving your muscle tissues.
Another benefit of including Andarine in your cutting regimen is it’ll make sure you never run out of fuel. The selective androgen receptor modulator maintains high energy levels and endurance at all times, making it easier for you to sustain your highly demanding training sessions.
Other reported benefits of using S4 include:
- Enhanced athletic performance
- It doesn’t cause water retention
- It increases muscle strength
- It boosts self-esteem and confidence
- Boosts sexual stamina
- It is easily stacked with other SARMs
There is no doubt that Andarine can be highly beneficial in the medical field and the recreational scene. However, clinical data on the drug is still limited, and that’s why it is only available as a research chemical. So, although you can easily purchase this compound, it’s wise to use it correctly to avoid medical complications. If you’re thinking of adding it to your bodybuilding plan, keep in mind that in almost all the studies where the drug produced positive results, the subjects were also under a proper training routine and a healthy diet.
Andarine works by mimicking testosterone. The problem with this is that the body thinks it has loads of testosterone and so doesn’t think it needs to make more. If you use Andarine you will end up with lower levels of testosterone and that still leads to low sex drive, impotence, anxiety and low mood, however selectively the drug may act. Andarine is still better than anabolic steroids as the side effect is less severe, but it is still there. You have been warned.
The most common side effects reported are, surprisingly, issues with vision. This is because one of the substances that your body breaks Andarine down into has an annoying tendency to stick to the receptors in your eyes. It means that poor night vision, eye pain and a yellow tint that may make you think you are in an episode of ‘The Simpsons’ are all very real possibilities.
Finally, it is a really bad idea to consume any alcohol whilst taking Andarine. Your liver will already be working pretty hard to deal with the fall out from the drug without making it deal with breaking down alcohol too. If you mix the two then expect to suffer some liver damage.
If you want to take Andarine then the anecdotal evidence is to keep the dose low to avoid the worst of the side effects. It is oral and not injected, so if you aim for a daily dose of 25mg with five days on followed by 2 days off for an 8 week cycle you can still have noticeable muscle gain. It would be wise to consider following a cycle with ‘post cycle therapy’, or PCT, which are hormonal regulating drugs.
The reason that the dosage is a suggestion, however, is also the reason that you will struggle to find genuine reviews (although you can find plenty of positive reviews on the sites that are selling SARMs… you decide whether these are unbiased!). Andarine, along with all the other SARMs, were added to the banned substances list in 2008 for all competitive sports and have also not been cleared as legal food supplements. That means that if you decide to buy some it will be clearly marked as ‘not for human consumption’. This hasn’t stopped plenty of companies selling it and some even adding it to their supplements without advertising the fact it is in there.
Andarine is comfortably a safer option than anabolic steroids are with similar outcomes. There is unfortunately no getting away from the fact that it is still illegal to sell it if you know someone plans to put it in their mouth. It is not fully tested, has some unpleasant short-term side effects and unknown long-term ones. This said, a recent study found that there were higher levels of SARMs than cocaine present in London sewers (a great way to find out what people are actually taking). So, regardless of the legal status of Andarine, plenty of people are taking their chances in the quest for the elusive ‘perfect body’. It’s up to you what you want to do with yours and what price you are willing to pay for the results you dream of.