SARMs VS Steroids – Are SARMs a Safer Alternative To Steroids?

I honestly didn’t think that the day would come where I would be comparing SARMs and steroids.

These two compounds are so vastly different from each other, yet so many uninformed people lump them under the same umbrella.

The fact that institutions like the FDA continually spread misinformation about SARMs, labeling them as something dangerous and unexplored, doesn’t help either.

Due to such a sordid state of affairs, I’ve decided to pen this article to show people the huge difference between SARMs and steroids.

I’m not necessarily going to demonize steroids in this article, they serve their purpose quite well and are sometimes even prescribed by doctors to patients that need them.

No, my goal is to show that SARMs are a novel class of drugs that are poorly understood and that there is a clear difference between them and steroids.


SARMs have entered the market in the 1990s and have since then become very popular in the bodybuilding community as they are presented as a safe and effective alternative to steroids.

SARMs bind to the androgen receptor with a very high affinity, for example, Testosterone itself exhibits an anabolic to androgenic ratio of 2 to 1, while something like Ligandrol dunks on that number by boasting a 500 to 1 anabolic to androgenic ratio.

The biggest difference between SARMs and steroids is the fact that SARMs are tissue-selective in their mechanism of action, while steroids affect other organs in the body, such as the prostate. That’s one of the reasons why prostate cancer is such a serious concern while taking steroids.


Steroids were synthesized in the early 1930s, meaning that they’ve been around for longer than SARMs and are therefore more studied and explored.

Unfortunately, due to lack of proper funding, we know more about steroids than we do about SARMs, but the knowledge we have about SARMs, including anecdotal evidence is enough to make an informed decision about them.

Steroids, better known as AAS (anabolic-androgenic steroids) are basically artificial Testosterone which acts in the same way as the Testosterone in your body does.

They are sex hormones that increase anabolic activity in the body, promote protein synthesis and induce virilization in users.

Steroids are especially dangerous to women as they can start exhibiting a lot of male characteristics through the effects of virilization.

SARMs VS Steroids Legality

It’s very important to note that steroids are illegal to purchase, even as research chemicals. They are completely banned for human consumption, except in rare cases where they are prescribed by doctors.

On the other hand, you can freely buy SARMs as research chemicals and as of now, they are not approved by the FDA for human consumption, although studies are on the way that might soon change that.

SARMs VS Steroids Route of Administration (RoA)

SARMs offer a lot more flexibility when it comes to their RoA. You can inject them, take them orally and sublingually.

Steroids are usually injected and although there are oral versions available, they are so liver toxic that not even liver support can help prevent liver damage.

If you really have to do steroids, I recommend that you don’t take the oral version of steroids since you would be doing your liver a huge disgrace.

SARMs VS Steroids Cycle Length

This is where SARMs and steroids share some common ground.

Steroid cycles usually last between six to twelve weeks (on-cycle) and have a cooldown period of around the same time frame (off-cycle).

Coincidentally, a usual SARM cycle lasts about eight weeks and the recommended off period should at least be eight to sixteen weeks, to let your body recover properly.

SARMs VS Steroids Benefits

I’m not going to be doing a comparison chart since steroids outperform SARMs in every facet.

SARMs simply cannot compete against the muscle building properties of steroids, the strength you gain with them, endurance, decreased recovery times, fat loss and all the other traits bodybuilders are so inundated with.

Even if you took one of the strongest SARMs out there, like YK11, that coincidentally shares a steroidal structure, it still wouldn’t hold a candle to Winstrol or Nandrolone. 

To conclude, steroids are simply better and quicker at providing results in comparison to SARMs, but the question you should be asking yourself is whether they are worth the drawbacks.

Steroids might work in the short-term, but what about their negative long-term effects on the body?

SARMs VS Steroids Side Effects

Although SARMs do have their own share of side effects, it’s nothing compared to steroids. Even the side effects shared by SARMs and steroids are very different in nature.

For example, with something like RAD 140, you might experience increased aggression, but it will never devolve into actual ‘roid rage’.

I’ve read numerous accounts of men on steroids beating on their loved ones since they simply couldn’t contain the beast within them. There are zero accounts of SARMs ever causing something like that.

On that same note, many men are concerned with their hair. While SARMs might cause some minor hair shedding, it’s nothing compared to what steroids will do with your hair.

It’s not uncommon to lose 5 to 10% of your total hair count in just one steroid cycle, since so much excess DHT is produced in the body.

We already know some of the side effects of SARMs, such as Testosterone suppression, headaches and nausea, joint pain, water retention, testicle pain, irritability, acne and hyperthermia, but once you put steroids into the fray, you realize just how benign SARMs are.

Take a look at the following side effects of steroids:

  • Mood Swings
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Insomnia
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Heart Problems
  • Swelling
  • Water Retention
  • Glaucoma
  • Acne
  • Blurred Vision
  • Pain And Discomfort At The Injection Area
  • Hair Loss
  • Depression
  • Loss Of Libido
  • Suicidal Ideation
  • Liver Failure
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Brain Tumor
  • Gynecomastia 
  • Testicle Shrinkage
  • Testosterone Suppression

I could list a few more, but I believe that you get the point. Steroids are not only illegal, but in the ways they are used by bodybuilders, they are quite dangerous as well.

You obviously won’t develop prostate cancer from one steroid cycle, that’s stupid to assume. Just as one cigarette won’t give you lung cancer but considering the fact that steroid cycles can and do become addictive, since you fear losing all of your amazing gains, it isn’t entirely out of the question.

SARMs VS Steroids Results

I’ve used the word insane to describe the results you get on some SARMs quite sparingly, but when steroid use is at stake, the results are beyond insane.

If you have ever seen some before and after pictures of steroid users, you would see what I mean.

For example, steroids enable you to body recomp in just one cycle, which is unheard of with SARMs.

Gains of 20 to 25 pounds of muscle mass in one cycle are not uncommon and that’s something SARMs simply cannot accomplish. 

Steroids make your body go into overdrive, you work at 150% of your maximum capability (it sounds illogical, but it’s true) and you don’t ever tire.

There are barely any recovery times and you can go to the gym every day, experience full on pumps, have a raging boner while lifting weights and simultaneously break a few of your plateaus.

I mean, it sounds like I’m glamorizing steroids, but I have to be honest and tell you the truth – they simply bring about better results than SARMs and they make you feel awesome in the process.

But while the highs are really high, the lows are quite disastrous. Take them for longer periods of time and they will destroy your body. Even if you adhere to optimal cycle lengths and dosages, steroids will still wreck you.

I would personally never use them; they remind me of the drug heroin, and I don’t want to get hooked on anything.

The biggest problem with steroids is that they are psychologically addictive. Who wants to lift weights as a natty, when you can double or triple your results in just one cycle?

This is where the problems start to mount up and where people get hooked.

SARMs VS Steroids Pricing

Steroids are way more expensive than SARMs since they are illegal and ‘vendors’ risk jail time if caught. 

You have to have a large budget to get on and maintain a steroid cycle. Also, you risk getting bunk products every time you’re buying them, since they are unregulated, and you won’t be seeing any CoA (Certificate of Analysis) from your seller.

I don’t know where to buy them and even if I knew, I wouldn’t be telling you.

I would never want to see anyone taking steroids, when there is a much better and safer alternative available in the form of SARMs, which you can buy at one of my recommended vendors.


The main thing to takeaway from this article is to avoid using steroids at all costs. Some people have gone ahead and called SARMs the gateway drug to steroids, which is absolute bull.

I’ve been on SARMs for years and have never had the urge to burden my body with steroids, nor will I ever do such a thing during my lifetime.

SARMs might not bestow you with the amazing results steroids bring to the table, but they do help out and support you in your fitness journey and you can accomplish a lot while on them.

I’ve personally broken the 1000-pound club with the help of SARMs, something which I could have never done without them.

All in all, don’t take steroids, choose SARMs instead as they are the better, safer and more affordable option.

more insights

Want to learn more about SARMs and other research chemicals?​

Join our community to get a free SARMs handbook!