butamoren, also known as MK-677, is a non-peptide agonist of the ghrelin receptors and a growth hormone secretagogue. In simple terms, this means that Ibutamoren mimics the growth-hormone stimulating effects of the hormone ghrelin.
The Ibutamoren molecule (C27H36N4O5S)
Although Ibutamoren is not a SARM, it is commonly used in SARM stacks and its effects are similar to those of SARMs; namely, muscle growth and increased bone density, as well as other potentially beneficial effects, which we’ll examine below. Despite this, like most SARMs, Ibutamoren is not currently approved to be marketed for human consumption. Ibutamoren and SARMs can, however, be sold as research chemicals – ‘not for consumption’ – and so this allows users loophole access to them.
At present, there are only a handful of clinical studies of growth hormone secretagogues like Ibutamoren. We will consider the clinical evidence for its effects and benefits.
How it Works
Ibutamoren works by promoting the secretion of growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), both of which, broadly considered, stimulate processes of growth within the body, including muscle mass and strength increases, as well as reductions in body fat [R] [R]. Ibutamoren does this by mimicking the effects of ghrelin and binding to the ghrelin receptors in the brain, which are found in regions of the brain that control appetite, mood, the ‘biological clock’, memory and cognition.
Ghrelin, produced in the gut, is often referred to as the ‘hunger hormone’ because it regulates appetite, signalling your brain to eat. Its levels increase when you are dieting, increasing your feelings of appetite. Although ghrelin’s main effect is to make you consume more calories and store fat, it has a variety of other effects including regulating sleep patterns, reward-seeking behaviour, taste and metabolism of carbohydrates.
As you would expect, like ghrelin Ibutamoren stimulates appetite. It also increases growth hormone levels with little to no increase in other hormones such as cortisol, the body’s ‘stress hormone’ [R] [R]. Elevated cortisol levels, especially chronically elevated levels, are usually a bad thing and are linked, among other things, to fat gain, cognitive impairment and reduced immune function.
Why It’s Used
Ibutamoren is used by atheletes and physique competitors to stimulate muscle growth, as a result of increased growth hormone and IGF-1 levels, which we have already seen are responsible for growth processes in the body, including muscle growth.
At least one study has already confirmed that Ibutamoren is a powerful way of increasing lean muscle mass and stimulating metabolic processes. In a study of 24 obese young men, the 12 who were administered Ibutamoren for two months experienced significant increases in fat-free mass and an increase in basal metabolic rate. [R]
Other studies have shown that Ibutamoren could help reduce muscle wastage as a result of food deprivation, and, in a study of over 100 elderly subjects who had experienced hip fractures, Ibutamoren increased muscular power and strength, as well as helping to reduce the number of falls the subjects experienced [R] [R].
As with SARMs like Ostarine, Ibutamoren also increases bone density; however, the effect seems to take longer to manifest itself, mainly because Ibutamoren increases bone turnover. [R] [R] At first, Ibutamoren may actually decrease bone density, but over a longer period of time, at least 12 months, the drug increases bone density. Ibutamoren has been shown to increase bone density in obese young men (the study mentioned above) and in elderly adults and post-menopausal women. [R] [R]
In time, with further clinical trials, these effects should be substantiated in greater detail. In addition, like a number of SARMs, Ibutamoren appears to have a range of beneficial effects beyond muscular and bone development.
A Potential Nootropic?
One of the other beneficial effects of Ibutamoren, as you might expect of a drug that simulates the effects of ghrelin, is improved sleep quality. A small study showed that Ibutamoren improved sleep quality and duration of REM sleep in both young and elderly subjects. [R] There is significant anecdotal evidence for Ibutamoren’s beneficial effects for sleep.
‘All i can say is WOW from the first night i slept the deep sleep normally you get only on Z-drugs or hynotic Benzo’s (which i have been prescribed in the past due to sleep problems) but unlike those there is no suppresion of REM and no morning grogginess. This is shown on the sleep tracker results, unfortunately i did not do a control period before (more later) so can’t give an exact figure.’ [R].
Other potential beneficial effects include nootropic – i.e. cognitive – effects, both because of improved sleep quality and because IGF-1 has important roles to play in cognition and memory, and effects related to general longevity. Both growth hormone and IGF-1 levels are associated with longevity. [R]
Whether Ibutamoren has the potential to treat chronic illnesses or even fatal illnesses, as some SARMs appear to do, remains fully to be seen. Growth hormone deficiency, also known as dwarfism or pituitary dwarfism, results in abnormally short stature, albeit with normal body proportions. One study has already shown that Ibutamoren had beneficial effects on children with growth hormone deficiency, without negative effects on other hormones or blood glucose. [R]
Beyond treatment for growth hormone deficiency, it is unclear whether the range of potential applications will be as great as for SARMs. The broader range of potential applications for SARMs in the treatment of disease is an exciting development of recent years. The SARM RAD 140, or Testolone, which was developed specifically as an alternative to TRT for men with hypogonadism, is now being investigated for its potential applications in the treatment of certain forms of breast cancer. [R]