SARMs vs Steroids: 7 Key Differences

SARMs vs Steroids

Whether you’re trying to build muscle mass or define your physique, gym and weights alone don’t always do the trick.

Fortunately, various supplements can aid you in your goal of a stronger, defined body. Two that are common among bodybuilders are steroids and SARMs.

But in the comparison between SARMs vs. Steroids, there are 7 key differences. We examined what they are to help you make the best choice for your specific fitness routine.

How Quickly Do They Start to Work?

Top-quality SARMs products are available in both capsule and liquid form, but the liquid form is the most common.

In liquid form, used sublingually (under the tongue), and it usually gets to work in the human body within 48 to 72 hours.

Anabolic steroids, on the other hand, can often take between 5 to 10 days before showing noticeable effects.

Although also available in pill form, many users choose to inject anabolic steroids into the muscles such as the deltoids.

Pecs, thighs, or even the gluteus medius (buttocks). These injections are always intramuscular.

SARMs usually get to work faster than anabolic steroids. However, a lot depends on the method of delivery into the human body.

How Long Do They Stay in the System?

SARMs will stay in your system

Much like steroids, SARMs are used in cycles, with off-cycle periods in between. Most SARM cycles take 8-12 weeks, which means that SARMs will stay in your system for 2 to 3 months.

Steroid cycles usually last 6 to 12 weeks. But the type you use will affect how long it stays in your system.

The average lifespan is 30 days, but traces can be found several months later.

SARMs generally stay in the system for longer than steroids. However, certain steroids can leave trace amounts for close to a year.

What’s the Legality of SARMs vs. Steroid Use?

The use of SARMs for personal muscle-building and fitness is not prohibited by law. Only in Australia, is their sale and use limited to people with a legal prescription for them.

That said, they are banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for professional athletes.

Anabolic steroids are illegal without a prescription in most countries around the world. Users sometimes obtain them without a prescription in Columbia, Costa Rica, the Bahamas, and the Dominican Republic.

Their use is also banned by major professional sports bodies across the world.

It is possible to purchase steroids without a prescription in a handful of countries and with a prescription in others. SARMs are available legally without a prescription everywhere except Australia.

How Do They Work In The Human Body?

The acronym SARMs stands for selective androgen receptor modulators. They are synthetic drugs that, like anabolic steroids, can help to increase muscle mass and enhance physical performance.

While chemically similar to anabolic steroids, SARMs only bind to specific cellular androgen receptors.

Meanwhile, anabolic steroids bind to the receptors in your body’s organs, bones, and muscle cells. They increase the production of proteins within these cells.

This facilitates muscle growth and bulk, as well as repair post-workout. Anabolic steroids are synthetic substances that mimic the effects of testosterone.

SARMs are more selective in how they work in the body, whereas steroids affect the whole body.

SARMs may, indirectly, raise testosterone levels. Steroids increase testosterone levels, which itself is a key factor in strength and fitness.

The Effects on Organs Like the Heart and Liver

SARMs do not affect every cell in the body the way that steroids do. However, it can have side effects that you need to be aware of.

SARMs use has been cited in research into drug-induced liver injury. It must be stated, though, that liver enzymes were found to normalize within 3 to 12 months of product discontinuation.

Anabolic steroids can affect the entire body, and their excessive use may cause long-term abnormalities in the chief organs.

According to medical experts and researchers, the use of anabolic steroids can contribute to heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, and even liver problems.

In the comparison of SARMs vs. steroids, both can have side effects that negatively impact your health.

The risk seems to be less with SARMs than with steroids. SARMs have been shown, in some cases, to cause damaging effects on the liver, although this was rectified through discontinued use.

How Safe is SARMs Use vs. Steroid Use For Women?


SARMs are generally considered more suitable for women to use than steroids. The reason for this is that the tissue selectivity of SARMs reduces the level of androgenicity.

Androgenicity is a state that can cause issues with female menstrual cycles and could even cause excess hair growth and reduction in breast tissue.

While there are exceptions to the rule, steroids typically promote androgenicity. They are thus unsuitable for female users in general.

For women seeking to increase muscle definition, SARMs are, it seems, the slightly better choice.

Although both substances can increase testosterone-related male characteristics, the effect is less pronounced in SARMs than it is in anabolic steroids. This is of particular importance for female users.

How Much Research Has Been Done into Long-Term Effects?

SARMs and anabolic steroids work in different ways in the human body, but both work towards a common aim.

  • SARMs mimic the effects of testosterone and can increase strength, muscle mass, and muscle definition. However, it is in the area of long-term effects and research that SARMs may fall short. There just is not enough anecdotal evidence or research into SARMs (only about 2 decades) long-term effects.
  • Anabolic steroids, on the other hand, have been around for a very long time. Their effects on the human body are well known.

There are also many decades of research studies and anecdotes to base a conclusion on regarding the long-term effects of steroid use.

When it comes to the body of evidence about long-term effects, anabolic steroid research far outweighs that of SARMs. More research is needed to make a true comparison of their use over extended periods.

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