Depending on which compound(s) you decide to run, SARMs lower testosterone levels to one degree or another. However, some SARMs are more suppressive than others.

Over the past couple of months we’ve endeavoured to provide the best lowdown on SARMs (selective androgen receptor modulators) on the internet. One of the most frequently asked questions about SARMs concerns their side effects, and in particular their effects on testosterone levels: Do SARMs lower your testosterone? Let’s find out.

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The simple answer is, yes, SARMs lower testosterone. However, some SARMs are more ‘suppressive’ – i.e. lower testosterone more – than others, and it’s also worth noting that SARMs, by comparison with other androgenic compounds like steroids, have much milder side effects, and that includes testosterone suppression.

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Do SARMs Lower Testosterone Levels: What are SARMs?

SARMs lower testosterone
SARMs lower testosterone. A PCT is advisable.

What are SARMs?

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The chemical structure of ligandrol, a commonly used SARM

SARMs caused anabolic activity – that is, growth – by directly stimulating the body’s androgen receptors. The androgen receptors are specific sites within the body to which androgenic (i.e. male) hormones, including testosterone and androsterone, bind. 

The activity of these androgen receptors is essential to the proper expression of male characteristics, including muscle growth and reproductive function. First, in the womb, androgens are responsible for sexual differentiation. Later, during puberty they regulate the development and function of the penis, prostate and other sexual organs, as well as inducing growth spurts, larynx development and growth of skeletal muscle. 

For adults, androgens regulate behaviour, the production of sperm, muscle growth, bone function and aspects of the cardiovascular system. Androgens also regulate sexual function and are responsible, in part, for aggressive behaviour in men. As a result, dysregulation or blocking of the androgen receptors can lead to all sorts of conditions. 

SARMs mimic the effects of testosterone by binding to the androgen receptors. By doing so they increase protein synthesis and therefore muscle growth. This is also what steroids do, but SARMs generally have an advantage over steroids, because they only bind to receptors in skeletal muscle tissue – this is where the S in SARMs comes from: ‘selective’.

The great Icelandic strongman Jón Páll SigmarssonSee the source image

died from complications of an enlarged heart due to steroid use

Steroids, by contrast, work on other tissues in the body and have, as a result, been linked to all sorts of side effects, including enlargement of the prostate and heart, which can have serious or even fatal consequences. 

SARMs are also non-aromatising, meaning that they aren’t converted to estrogen by the body in an attempt to maintain the body’s testosterone-to-estrogen balance. By contrast, aromatisation can occur when using steroids or testosterone injections, which upset that balance, leading to problems such as gynecomastia (formation of breast tissue).

Do SARMs Lower Testosterone Levels: SARMs and Testosterone

SARMs lower testosterone — what if you already have low T?

Because SARMs compete with testosterone for access to the body’s androgen receptors, testosterone levels will naturally decrease as a result of SARM use. As a result, after using SARMs, most will want to begin a round of post-cycle therapy (PCT), which we’ve discussed in depth in a separate article.

Generally, though, in the normal dosage ranges SARMs will prove much less suppressive than steroids or other androgenic compounds. 

Among all the SARMs, Ostarine is generally considered to be the least suppressive, and is one of the only SARMs that is likely to require no PCT after use. (It’s worth noting in passing that cardarine and MK-677 (Ibutamoren) will not require PCT after use either, because they aren’t actually SARMs at all; you’ll only need PCT with these compounds if you’re using them in a stack with SARMs proper.)

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A bad experience on Ostarine. Note the individual’s previous history of use.

Having said this, you should be aware that individual experiences will vary, as even a cursory glance at r/sarmssourcetalk will show. While some may experience little to no suppression on ostarine, others may; similarly, compounds such as ligandrol, which is generally acknowledged as among the most suppressive, will not always cause obvious suppression. It’s a complex matter, because individual physiology is always, in some sense, unique; an individual’s history of use is another factor that will also come into play, as demonstrated in the testimony above.

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SARMs Lower Testosterone: What To Do about Suppression?

  1. PCT for SARMS – YouTube
SARMs lower testosterone levels

Assuming you decide to take SARMs, here’s the ideal scenario with regard to suppression. You’d have blood work done before you take the SARMs to gain a baseline reading of your body’s hormone levels, and then towards the end of your cycle, you’d then have more blood work done to see the effects of the cycle. Depending on the results, you would then decide whether or not to undertake PCT.

At the same time, if you did suffer from suppression, you’d be likely to know about it even if you didn’t have blood work done. You’d suffer from some or all of the symptoms traditionally associated with low testosterone, such as lethargy, gynecomastia, depression and loss of libido. For more information of the symptoms of low testosterone, see our article on the subject.

Our main advice, then, is to play it by ear: unless you are using a low dose of Ostarine (say, 15-20mg), perhaps in conjunction with Cardarine or Ibutamoren, you should expect to have to undergo PCT. Remember too, the higher the SARM dosage, the more severe the suppression is likely to be, and you can expect it to be worst if you are using S-23, Ligandrol or RAD-140. Just because somebody on Reddit said they didn’t experience suppression with these SARMs, doesn’t mean that you won’t either.

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Note: This publication does not condemn or condone the use of SARMS or any other performance enhancing drug. Please note, SARMS are yet to be formally approved for human consumption and the long-term side effects are still not fully ascertained.