WHAT IS OSTARINE?
Ostarine – also known as Enobosarm or MK 2866 – is a selective androgen receptor modulator (SARM- an acronym that you will likely hear more and more in the fitness industry over the coming few years.) Like all SARMs, it was developed by pharmaceutical companies for medical use in treating conditions such as osteoporosis, obesity and muscle wasting.
SARMs are often used by athletes as performance enhancers and muscle builders, improving endurance and aiding in hypertrophy. They are often compared to anabolic steroids for this reason and are banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (as of 2008.) The sale of SARMs as a supplement is banned, so they are instead usually available for purchase as ‘research’ chemicals.
SARMS: A BRIEF OVERVIEW
SARMs are being increasingly talked about, with articles and YouTube videos addressing them for the wider fitness market, as there is a good deal of widespread confusion surrounding them. There are plenty of questions people want answering about them: are they steroids; do they have side effects; are they legal; are they safe; what can they do for me and my gains?
I’ll run through everything you need to know about Ostarine as a SARM in this article, so hopefully we should be able to clear up most of this confusion.
As I said above, SARMs is short for: Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators.
SARM compounds have been around for a few years now and were in widespread circulation throughout the nineties and early noughties, especially in bodybuilding culture. They are generally considered to be a good alternative to steroids and prohormones, without many of the drastic side effects associated with such performance enhancing drugs.
They are generally considered to be quite safe.
SARMs work quite differently to other classes of performance enhancing drugs. They selectively bind to the body’s androgen receptors. It is this selectivity that makes SARMs so much better than steroids or prohormones as you won’t have to expect any dodgy side effects- gyno, acne, low testosterone, and so forth- as they do not alter other parts of your body’s chemistry.
WHAT DOES OSTARINE DO?
Ostarine has a few benefits. Athletes and, in particular, bodybuilders, will use MK 2866 in both cutting and bulking phases. It can even help you with body recomposition- challenging at the least, if not impossible, without enhancement. Whether you’re trying to burn extra fat whilst retaining muscle, trying to gain lean muscle, or trying to firm up your existing physique, Ostarine will potentially be a great tool in your arsenal.
But what does it mean to bind to the body’s androgen receptors?
Androgen receptors are found in your bones and muscles. SARMs bind to these, and only these, which is why you will generally not experience any side effects. They only work the androgen receptors, leaving the body’s other natural processes alone.
Though Ostarine is often used in conjunction with a fat burning phase- the ‘cut’ in bodybuilding parlance- it was developed to combat muscle wasting. This means that it will trigger your androgen receptors into building large amounts of muscle whilst adding very little body fat.
Of course, it will be a less potent effect than you might expect from a more traditional steroid, but that’s the trade-off for the extra safety involved. Gains are often longer term, as well- the sudden post-cycle deflation apparent with steroid use does not happen.
Most SARMs will lead to greater gains than you would expect from training unassisted. Ostarine is no different. If you’re building, it will help you to gain more lean muscle than usual. Using MK 2866 in conjunction with a healthy, high protein diet in a modest caloric surplus and a solid training regime, you should expect to gain anything from 4-6lbs of lean muscle in one 4-8 week training cycle.
This isn’t as much as other SARMs might give you, but it is nonetheless impressive.
Ostarine will also boost your strength, and enable you to retain strength in a cut, making it popular with strength athletes like weightlifters, powerlifters and strongmen.
Ostarine is also often popularly combined with other SARMs into a triple SARMs stack. For both cutting and bulking, a combination of Ostarine, Cardarine and Andarine is incredibly effective.
FAT BURNING BENEFITS OF OSTARINE
This is where Ostarine really comes into its own: MK 2866 might as well be synonymous with fat burning, it’s so often used in this regard. More than this, however, is what it does for your muscle mass when you’re in a caloric deficit.
Caloric deficits generally bring about a degree of catabolism. Your body loses muscle mass as it digests it for energy. If you’ve been hard at work in the gym, building strength, size and power, you obviously don’t want this to happen. As a muscle preserver, Ostarine stops this from occurring.
This means that you will be able to hit a caloric deficit, dieting more efficiently, without having to worry about losing any of your hard-won gains. You will also retain a higher basal metabolic rate, as muscle mass is metabolically demanding, and you will hold on to much of your previous strength as you lose weight.
It is generally recommended that MK 2866 doses are between 15-20mg daily for cutting and 20-30 mg daily for bulking, split into two daily intakes. There isn’t much research on the subject however, and so this is relatively untested and relies more on anecdotal evidence than anything all that concrete. Realistically, it’s best to try out a couple of different ranges and see what works best for you.
In the 20-30 mg range, you should be able to experience all the benefits I have outlined above. If you’re stacking it with another SARM (or multiple other SARMs) you may want to reduce the dose by 5mg per day or so.
A typical Ostarine cycle will go from anything between four and twelve weeks. Any less and you won’t see many results, and much more than this and you will likely burn out, damage your natural hormonal output, increasing the chances of suppression, and/or build up something of a resistance to the SARM.
OSTARINE SIDE EFFECTS
A common and reasonable concern that many people have with SARMs are that there may be side effects. They are similar enough to steroids that people assume there must be the same kind of unwanted problems that steroids typically bring (gyno, acne etc, as mentioned above.) However, you shouldn’t experience any severe side effects from Ostarine.
During clinical studies, two common side effects noted by Ostarine use have been back- and head-aches. Some instances of lethargy have also been reported, though this is likely to be due to suppression in particularly high doses and on longer cycles (above the 30mg per day, 12-week threshold noted above.)
It is also highly unlikely that SARMs will cause gyno. Ostarine follows this trend, and where it does cause gyno it is usually due to excessive doses, as above, or if you’re particularly prone to gyno and have high natural oestrogen levels.
If, however, you stay within the doses I’ve outlined then you shouldn’t experience any negative effects.
If you do develop gyno on Ostarine, you should immediately begin taking an aromatise inhibitor, easily available from most supplement suppliers or pharmacists. This should lower your oestrogen levels sufficiently to correct any issues.
OSTARINE FOR WOMEN
Most of what I’ve laid out above is as relevant for women as for men, with most women finding SARMs to be nearly as effective as steroids (though, as ever, without the nasty side effects.)
The gains from Ostarine should be substantial, and the strength and muscle retention during a cut should be the same as for men. The one thing to worry about is dosage- women should keep to a much lower dose of Ostarine. 10mg every other day should be enough to give you good results without any side effects.
10mg daily would of course bring greater gains, and if this is what is wanted it then it should be looked into. However, it should be noted that women on this high a dose will increase the risk of running into a couple of minor side effects, including:
- Deeper voice
- Increased sex drive
If these symptoms get too bad or persist, rectifying hormone treatment will be needed. It’s simple enough to do at the end of a SARMs cycle.
OSTARINE VS LIGANDROL
Ligandrol, also known as LGD 4033, is another very popular SARM, known for its mass building properties. Its usage is associated with incredible upticks in levels of bone mineral density- not surprising, as part of its intended medical use is in treatment of disorders such as osteoporosis. It is also one of the most powerful SARMs available when it comes to providing added muscular strength, as well as increasing lean muscle gains. It will help you to enter drastic hypertrophy without incurring the usual associated fat gains.
For these reasons, LGD 4033 use has become incredibly popular in the bodybuilding community.
Where Ostarine fails against Ligandrol is in its scope- it is not as potent as a mass builder as its rival. However, it does give a great deal of benefit (see above) whilst being incredibly mild compared to other SARMs. It is also good for gaining lean mass and retaining muscle mass through a caloric deficit, alongside increasing bone mineral density: it just does so whilst being very safe.
If you’re serious about bulking in a big way, Ligandrol will be your best friend. For a safe and healthy cut, or a more modest, lean bulk, it may be worth looking to Ostarine.
You won’t usually require post-cycle therapy (PCT) following an Ostarine SARMs cycle as it has little to no impact on your natural testosterone production.
However, as mentioned above, higher doses or prolonged use can lead to side effects, including depressed testosterone production- knowns as suppression, as mentioned above. In these cases, obviously, PCT will be appropriate. A good testosterone booster in conjunction with this will be a good idea – Ashwagandha and other herbs will be of particular use, though most commercially available test-boosters will already contain these.
If you stack Ostarine with other, less benign SARMs, then you will need PCT for definite. SARMs known to be particularly potent and suppressive include LGD 4033, YK 11 and RAD 140.
WHERE TO BUY OSTARINE
It is VITAL to buy your Ostarine– and any and all SARMs- from a reputable source. SARMs will be readily available from quite a few different websites, though many of them are diluted, mislabelled, of very inconsistent quality or are downright fake!
Many testimonies attributing nasty side effects to SARMs are the result of faulty or tainted products messing with the body’s chemistry.
There are a couple of things to bear in mind when you’re buying your SARMs. First, stay away from any company that doesn’t offer third party testing and guarantee. This way, you will always know that you are getting the purity, quality and dosage that you want and need. Other than this, go for companies that DO NOT aggressively market their products as bodybuilding supplements. As they are research chemicals, companies should not be doing this by law- they should be selling them as research chemicals and may not be entirely kosher.
Proven Peptides are a good bet- they meet the criteria listed above. Proven Peptides’s products come highly rated and are well known for their potency and lack of side effects.