In this article, as part of our Ultimate Series on SARMs, we will consider RAD 140, including its uses and effects. Like Ostarine and Ligandrol, RAD 140 is a powerful anabolic substance that was first developed to combat muscle wastage and is now being put to muscle-building purposes by a variety of different groups, including bodybuilders, weightlifters and athletes. RAD 140 has a number of positive benefits for women too.
What is RAD 140 (Testolone)?
RAD 140, otherwise known as Testolone, is a selective androgen receptor modulator (SARM) that was initially developed as a substitute for exogenous testosterone replacement therapy (TRT). TRT is given mainly to men who are suffering from hypogonadism, a condition resulting in extremely low testosterone levels.
TRT has become notorious in combat sports, especially MMA, through therapeutic use exemptions given to fighters such as Vitor Belfort who have fallen under suspicion of being steroid users in the past. Steroid use can be one reason for chronically low testosterone in otherwise fit and healthy men.
For a discussion of the causes and dangers of low testosterone in men, see our recent article.
The main symptoms include:
- Reduced libido
- Erectile dysfunction
- Fertility problems (inability to conceive)
- Fatigue/Low Energy
- Depression/Lowered Mood
- Weight Gain
- Muscle Loss
Boys with low testosterone may develop slower, with little or no body hair, under-developed muscles and smaller penises; and men with low T will have difficulty building muscle, no matter how hard they try.
In extreme cases of low testosterone, usually referred to as hypogonadism, men may also develop breast tissue (gynecomastia) and osteoporosis (reduced bone density).
RAD 140 was initially developed by Radius Health and has since been licensed to Ellipses Pharmaceuticals. Like Ostarine and Ligandrol, its effects on muscle wastage and osteoporosis have been investigated. RAD 140 has also been investigated for its effects on certain kinds of breast cancer. RAD 140 has some benefits for women in particular that we will discuss below.
In the two previous articles on Ostarine and Ligandrol, while touting the anabolic potential of these new compounds, we have also been at pains to ensure you understand that they have specific uses that will some suit individuals and contexts more than others.
That caveat applies here too. If you put RAD 140 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.
RAD 140 is another anabolic SARM, like Ostarine and Ligandrol, 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 RAD 140 are:
- Increased lean muscle mass (including during a calorie deficit) and therefore strength
- Increased energy levels
- Increased bone strength
RAD 140, as a SARM with performance-enhancing effects, is listed as an S1 Anabolic Agent on WADA’s prohibited list.
In the other two articles, on Ostarine and Ligandrol, we have used lists of athletes who have been banned for using those substances, in order to illustrate their respective properties. In the case of RAD 140, which seems to be less well known than Ostarine or Ligandrol, fewer professional athletes have been banned for using it.
Crossfit competitor Ricky Garard
Perhaps the most prominent case of sanction for RAD 140 use is Australian Crossfit Games medallist Ricky Garard, who received a ban and was stripped of his medal for testing positive for RAD 140.
A Crossfit competitor like Garard is certainly somebody who would benefit from increased muscle mass and strength, without the side effects of steroids or testosterone.
Powerlifters and cyclists have also received bans from their sports for testing positive.
Generally, it is said that RAD 140 is as ‘selective’ a SARM as there is, meaning that it has anabolic effects in all the right places, with a minimum of unwanted side effects.
Steroids, in particular, bind to receptors in unwanted places, which can lead to conditions like an enlarged prostate and heart and even aggravate or provoke cancers.
For women, the selectivity of RAD 140 means that they can take it for muscle growth – or indeed other purposes, because it has been shown to suppress certain kinds of breast cancer – and suffer minimal androgenic side effects, such as hair growth.
Ladies, no need to worry about looking like this on RAD 140
One effect we won’t discuss in detail here, but which may interest you, is the apparent neuro-protective effects of RAD 140. Basically, RAD 140, in rats at least, appears to protect against the degeneration of neural tissue.
Potential applications in humans may include protection against Alzheimer’s disease and other similar neural conditions. If you’re interested in this subject, see the following paper, published in the journal Endocrinology [R].
How RAD 140 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.
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.
RAD 140 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 RAD 140 can significantly enhance lean muscle mass growth [R].
A study has also confirmed its enhanced selectivity and the corresponding lack of androgenic side effects such as hair growth in women [R].
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.
In a rather bizarre testimonial from Reddit, one user (u/sjswander94) bemoaned the fact that he gained only 10lbs of lean mass on RAD 140 over a period of 8 weeks. Other users were quick to challenge him for claiming that RAD 140 must be ‘overhyped’.
Seriously? What was he expecting – especially as somebody who, by his own admission, had been lifting for six years already and wasn’t really eating much more than his maintenance calories?
SARMs aren’t steroids, and are used at lower doses, generally, than steroids; indeed, considering the low doses that are used, SARMs pack a serious punch, milligram for milligram. u/sjswander94 noted that the ‘side effects were minimal’.
Another user, who was running a stack of SARMs including RAD 140, noted that ‘he reliably put on a pound of muscle each week with a 500 calorie daily surplus and 8 hours in the gym each week.’
He reported significant gains – in his opinion greater than with Ligandrol – over a period of six weeks, despite by his own admission eating a bad diet. He also claimed that RAD 140 was the only SARM of the three to give him significant strength gains as well.
RAD 140 vs Ligandrol
Although RAD 140 is often hyped up to be the most powerful SARM on the market, other users have spoken highly of other SARMs, such as ligandrol.
According to one user report:
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
RAD 140 vs Ostarine
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.
How to use RAD 140
RAD 140, 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 RAD 140 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 the clinical studies have reported significant effects as a result of even small doses– even below a single milligram – the more you take, the greater the effects.
The general dosage favoured seems to be 10 to 15mg a day.
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.
Potential Side Effects
As we’ve already noted, the side effects of SARMs in general are much milder compared to those of traditional androgenic agents including steroids. It has been noted in a clinical setting, at least in the case of rats, that RAD 140 is safer – has fewer side effects – than TRT [R].
One study has reported potential liver damage in two cases as a result of RAD 140 use [R].
RAD-140 users warn of nausea for first-time users. Other side effects may include insomnia or lethargy. Experiences seem to vary depending on the dosage and cycle length.
The side effects, generally, seem to be the same as for Ostarine and Ligandrol, including mood swings, acne, small amounts of hair loss and reduced libido. Some report experiencing more or less no side effects whatsoever – including he of the impossibly high standards, u/sjswander94 (see above).
Some of the reported symptoms are clearly associated with reduced natural testosterone levels. As with steroids, the use of RAD 140 will reduce natural testosterone levels. The reduction will correspond with the amount you take and for how long. You may notice some visible shrinkage of the testicles.
As a result, after a SARM cycle, 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.
Is RAD 140 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 RAD 140.
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, for example, 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.
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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