ligandrol - lg-4033

What is Ligandrol? Everything You Should Know About This SARM in 2021

In this article, as part of our Ultimate Series on SARMs, we will consider Ligandrol, including its uses and effects. Just like Ostarine, Ligandrol was originally developed to combat muscle wastage and osteoporosis. 

What is Ligandrol?

Ligandrol, otherwise known as VK5211 or LGD-4033, is a selective androgen receptor modulator (SARM) that was initially developed as a means to combat muscle wastage and osteoporosis.

As with Ostarine, it has been shown in clinical trials since its discovery by Ligand Pharmaceuticals to help significantly in the increase of lean muscle mass and strength.  

Ligandrol molecule
The Ligandrol molecule (C14H12F6N2O)

Again, as we cautioned in the Ostarine article, you must understand that ligandrol has specific uses that will suit some people and purposes more than others. If you put it to the right uses, you will see very positive results, with fewer of the side effects associated with the use of performance-enhancing substances like steroids. 

You must, however, be in no doubt of the potential risks and side effects, which we will discuss below.

The lowdown

Ligandrol is another anabolic SARM, like ostarine, and is generally sought out and used by the same groups: bodybuilders, strength athletes (powerlifters, Olympic lifters, strongmen), practitioners of contact sports, martial artists and gymbros. The benefits of ligandrol are more or less the same as those of ostarine.

  • Reduced body fat
  • Increased lean muscle mass (even in a caloric deficit) and therefore strength
  • Increased energy levels
  • Increased bone strength 

The anecdotal evidence seems to be that ligandrol may even help you put on more mass than ostarine, but some of that extra mass may be of a lesser quality, i.e. may be water weight due to mineral retention.

Jon Anthony SARMs results
Jon Anthony SARMs results in 2 months

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Ostarine appears to have better fat loss properties than ligandrol and can be used effectively to gain muscle during a caloric deficit.

Ligandrol may also have more potent side effects than ostarine; although, in both cases, the side effects are mild compared to steroids, unless you use the SARMs at much higher dosages than normal, and even then you won’t encounter problems like an enlarged prostate or gynecomastia.

Ligandrol, as a SARM with performance-enhancing effects, is listed as an S1 Anabolic Agent on WADA’s prohibited list.

A number of athletes have been given bans as a result of testing positive for Ligandrol, including: 

  • Florida Gators quarterback Will Grier (2015)
  • NBA player Joakim Noah (2017)
  • Australian swimmer Shayna Jack (2019)

Accused drug cheat Shayna Jack can return to the pool next year | Daily  Mail Online

Australian swimmer Shayna Jack

As with the other SARMs in our Ultimate Series, the list of athletes who have received bans for using ligandrol is a good illustration of its desired effects.

All are athletes who would benefit from increased muscle mass and strength, and reduced body fat.

How Ligandrol Works

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

The activity of these androgen receptors, and the binding of androgens to them, is crucial to the proper expression of male characteristics, including muscle growth and reproductive function.

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In the womb, androgens are responsible for sexual differentiation, and then 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 regulate sexual function and are responsible, in part, for aggressive behaviour in men. As a result, disregulation or blocking of the androgen receptors can lead to all sorts of conditions. 

Ligandrol binds to the androgen receptors and mimics the effects of testosterone, increasing 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.

Steroids, by contrast, work on other tissues in the body and have, as a result, been linked to all sorts of side effects, including prostate and heart problems.

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).

Although there is no certified research on the use of this SARM for bodybuilding purposes, research in other contexts indicates that Ligandrol can significantly enhance lean muscle mass for both men and women. 

A 21-day study on 76 healthy young men found that all the participants experienced increased lean muscle mass.

They also showed increased leg press strength and power climbing stairs.

Ligandrol, like Ostarine, has a very high potency, and doses ranging between 0.1 and 1mg yielded significant results [R].

Animal trials have shown similar results. Ligandrol may increase bone mass and strength, muscle mass and sexual function, without interfering with sensitive areas of the body like the prostate, as steroids do [R].

Total gains over the course of a cycle are generally in the same ballpark as with ostarine. After eight weeks, you can expect to gain 5-7lbs, or perhaps even 10lbs. 

In our piece on ostarine, we noted that, in the absence of clinical studies within a bodybuilding or weightlifting context, anecdotal evidence will have to suffice.

In fact, anecdotal evidence is in many ways the gold standard in such contexts, and should not be treated as inferior. 

Here are two testimonies, taken from Reddit, from users of Ligandrol.

‘I finally gained 3 pounds after only 2 weeks! Solid mass! All of my max weights have been upped by at least 20 to 30 pounds. I’m hitting weight I’ve never even touched before. My wife straight asked me if I was on roids and I said no but close, sarms.’

Another user wrote:

‘I am now a week into a cycle and have the gains of a month straight of me working my ass off… I’ve got my 6 pack back in a week and all the fat on my stomach that was my original problem is now almost non existent. I will post before after pictures so I may prove the effectiveness of this SARM but damn I’m… elated right now. I’ve recommended it to my skinny brothers as well as I know they will gain and bulk up with just 4 weeks of this supplement. Guys, I’ve taken oral gear before and had gyno [gynecomastia – growth of breast tissue] issues almost immediately. So far no side effects’ 

A user from the Anabolic Minds forum, who was almost certainly taking a higher dose than the usual dose most users of Ligandrol take, reported the following increases over a period of just a single month.

  • 12lbs increase in body weight
  • 60lbs increase in squat
  • 45lbs increase in bench press
  • 60lbs increase in deadlift
  • 35lbs increase in standing press

Finally, we have a Youtube video comparing a user’s personal experiences of both ostarine and ligandrol.

In this user’s experience, he believes that Ostarine puts on better quality mass than Ligandrol.

Ligandrol, in his terms, is better for bulking (sheer mass, including some water weight), whereas Ostarine gives you denser, better quality muscle gains, even when operating within a caloric deficit.

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How to Use Ligandrol

Ligandrol, like the other SARMs, is administered orally. There is no need to inject it, as you would steroids or other compounds like human growth hormone. 

The best way to use Ligandrol is in a cycle of six to eight weeks. This will give you significant gains and then allow your body, including your body’s testosterone levels, to recover.

It’s a bad idea to lengthen a cycle beyond 12 weeks, because of the hormonal side effects and because the long-term effects of taking SARMs are, at this stage unknown. 

While studies have reported significant effects as a result of even small doses of Ligandrol – even below a single milligram – the more you take, the greater the effects.

However, it should be noted that the more you take, the greater the side effects will be.

As is well known, this is also the case with steroids; although even at higher doses, SARMs will not have the same side effects as steroids. 

Side effects

The side effects of SARMs in general are much milder compared to those of traditional androgenic agents including steroids, and Ligandrol is no exception.

The study of 76 young men cited above noted no negative side effects associated directly with the use of Ligandrol [R].

Other studies, as with Ostarine, have associated potential liver damage with Ligandrol use, in both cases through elevated levels of liver enzymes[R1][R2].   

The FDA also flagged potential liver toxicity in its published letter to Infantry Labs, in 2017 (see above) [R]. 

This is consistent with the side effects of Ostarine, which also include changes to the user’s blood profile, including cholesterol levels.

Others have reported reduced sex drive, hair loss, acne and mood swings, but it’s not immediately clear whether these symptoms are a result of the SARMs themselves or of other ingredients included with them [R].

Some of these symptoms are clearly associated with reduced natural testosterone levels.

As with steroids, the use of Ligandrol will reduce natural testosterone levels. The reduction will correspond with the amount of Ligandrol you take and for how long. You may notice some visible shrinkage of the testicles.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the side effects of Ligandrol may be more potent than Ostarine.

The Youtuber in the video link above stated that, in his experience, Ligandrol is ‘more suppressive’ than Ostarine, meaning that you are likely to experience a greater reduction in natural testosterone and associated side effects.

As a result, after a cycle of ligandrol or ostarine, it may be wise to engage in a round of post-cycle therapy, as many steroid users do.

Note, though, that because the side effects, at least in the short term, appear to be much less serious than for steroids, the post-cycle therapy will almost certainly need to be less severe.

Post-cycle therapy helps to restore your natural testosterone levels, and may last up to six weeks.

Various supplements and medications are available, which we will discuss in a separate article on SARMs stacks.

You can begin post-cycle therapy as soon as you stop taking SARMs.

The longer term effects of SARM use are, at this stage, unknown and it’s worth reiterating that SARMs aren’t legally certified as a dietary supplement.

You are taking a risk if you use them; but you are also taking risks lifting heavy weights, running – or even just stepping outside your front door.

Ultimately, it is a decision for you to make, based on willingness to balance the risk against the potential rewards.

Compare it with the user experience we noted in our article on Ostarine:

It is important to note that anecdotal evidence is often the gold-standard, or the closest to it, that we can achieve in the world of fitness.

As Mark Rippetoe notes, there are no clinical peer-reviewed studies on the effectiveness of a particular dose of the steroid dianabol, but there is a wealth of anecdotal evidence that will tell you what you need to know.

Users report gains of around 5-7lbs of lean mass over a period of six weeks (you should cycle ostarine, see below), as well as increased strength and endurance. One experienced powerlifter on Reddit describes his experience with ostarine thus.

“The first week, I immediately noticed the effects of the drug. At first I thought it was a placebo effect. However, the effect continued- I was not getting sore after my training sessions and I was able to perform significantly more volume work during the training sessions.

“As an experienced lifter, I am not often “de-trained,” so I am seldom “sore” after lifting.

“However, the type of pain I usually feel is fatigue and deep soreness of your body being wrecked from very heavy weight. Sets of 5 at 85% of your 1RM will wreck you.

“With Ostarine, they didn’t wreck me. I really didn’t feel wrecked. I felt like I lifted the next day, sure, but I didn’t have the “hit by a truck” feeling. It was crazy. I couldn’t believe it.”

Although he only took ostarine for a short period, he noticed serious changes within a week.

Legendary YouTuber MorePlatesMoreDates covers LGD-4033

Compare it with the potential side effects of Ostarine:

The side effects of ostarine are much milder compared to those of traditional androgenic agents including steroids. One study of muscle wastage noted no negative side effects associated directly with the use of Ostarine [R].

Other studies, however, have suggested that there may be changes to the user’s blood profile, especially to cholesterol levels, and that levels of liver enzymes may increase, a sign of increased strain on the liver.

Others have reported reduced sex drive, hair loss, acne and mood swings, but it’s not immediately clear whether these symptoms are a result of the SARMs themselves or of other ingredients included with them [R].

Some of these symptoms are clearly associated with reduced natural testosterone levels.

As with steroids, the use of Ostarine will reduce natural testosterone levels. The reduction will correspond with the amount of Ostarine you take and for how long. You may notice some visible shrinkage of the testicles.

As a result, after a cycle of Ostarine, it may be wise to engage in a round of post-cycle therapy, as many steroid users do.

Note, though, that because the side effects, at least in the short term, appear to be much less serious than for steroids, the post-cycle therapy will almost certainly need to be less severe.

Post-cycle therapy helps to restore your natural testosterone levels, and may last up to six weeks.

Various supplements and medications are available, which we will discuss in a separate article on SARMs stacks. You can begin post-cycle therapy as soon as you stop taking SARMs.

The longer term effects of SARM use are, at this stage, unknown and it’s worth reiterating that SARMs aren’t legally certified as a dietary supplement.

Is Ligandrol Present in Other Supplements?

Generally, no. In large part, this is because SARMs are not approved for human consumption in the US or any other country. As a result, there are no legal medications or dietary supplements that contain SARMs, and that includes ligandrol. 

However, in certain cases it appears that some supplement manufacturers have put SARMs – illegally – into their supplements and labelled them as ‘legal steroids’ or chemicals for ‘research purposes only’.

In the US, companies have been warned for attempting to sell Ligandrol as a dietary supplement.

In 2017, Infantry Labs and Panther Sports Nutrition were both told by the FDA to cease distributing a dietary supplements that contained Ligandrol.

If you have any doubts about a supplement, first consult the label and then, if you are not convinced, check the USADA’s Supplement 411.

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Disclaimer: we are not medical professionals. If you wish to consume SARMs and/or other performance enhancing drugs, we urge that you take the appropriate channels and consult your physician. Please ensure that you request comprehensive bloodwork to protect your health, under the care of your physician.

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