SARMs vs. Prohormones: What's the Difference?

Both competitive athletes and bodybuilding enthusiasts rely on some sort of boost that help them increase muscle size faster. SARMs and prohormones are relatively new and popular bodybuilding supplements for achieving lean muscle mass gain. This review compares SARMs and prohormones, helping you determine what the differences are and which is better.

Losing fat and gaining well-defined muscles is a tough journey for most people. One can still achieve their bodybuilding goals with enough discipline, but performance still plateaus at a certain point.

Both SARMs and prohormones enhance performance, but their mechanisms of action are different.

This article will explain what SARMs bodybuilding dosages are, the differences between SARMs and prohormones, how each of them works in the body, and which one is best for your physique and goals. 

SARMs Overview

SARMs stands for Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators. They were initially designed to treat specific health conditions, notably muscle wasting and bone wasting diseases, HIV/AIDS, and other chronic diseases.(1)

sarms overview

Since SARMs were not developed specifically for athletes, they still remain investigational chemicals used by bodybuilding community.

Better hormone treatments were soon developed for the ailments SARMs were intended to treat. However, research formulas are still available, and it was only a matter of time before they were replicated for a different purpose.

While a prohormone goes through a two-step conversion to become a target hormone, a SARM has a more direct way of signaling and stimulating androgen receptors, which makes them similar to anabolic steroids. However, the potency of SARMs is noted to be weaker than that of prohormones.

Both prohormones and SARMs bind androgen receptors, but SARMs only bind to those located in muscles, bone tissue, and fat cells. This means more targeted action and potentially better results: massive muscle gain, increased bone density, and faster fat metabolism.

In the 90s, many, if not most, of the bodybuilders used anabolic steroids to build their muscles and cut as much fat as possible.

Using anabolic steroids comes with many negative side effects, like a higher risk of heart disease, liver damage, infertility, gynecomastia, and aggressive behavior. Anabolic steroid abuse is dangerous and can even lead to sudden death.

The steroids also work on androgen receptors in the body, as do SARMs, but, as mentioned above, SARMs are selective in targeting the body components they are intended for. Therefore, SARMs are less likely to harm your kidneys or liver.

So, you can get the benefits of building muscle without having to worry about the worst side effects of steroids.

RELATED: SR9011 Review: SARM Benefits, Dosage & Side Effects


Those who use SARMs will get the following results:

  • Get pounds of muscle
  • Increased lean body mass
  • Better body composition
  • Enhanced strength and power output
  • Faster recovery
  • Helps cut body fat
  • Unaffected natural testosterone production
  • Helps avoid gynecomastia

Side Effects

SARMs are popular for their mild but consistent action. Used appropriately, one can enjoy its great rewards without potential side effects.

sarms side effects

Some SARMs are quite potent, which can cause problems when abused. Some of them are RAD-140, LGD-4033, and S23. The most common side effects may include the following.

  • Acne breakout
  • Oily skin
  • Increased bad cholesterol
  • Suppression

Suppose you’re looking into stacking SARMs with prohormones for better results. In that case, you have to undergo Post Cycle Therapy or PCT for SARMs to avoid suppression of testosterone and overall hormonal mess.

Initially, you should take one supplement at a time. Further, you can add the lowest effective dose of another SARMs or prohormones after a few cycles to advance the stack.

5 Most Popular SARMs

There are a few popular types available, but the most popular ones are the following:

  • MK-677
  • LGD-4033 – Ligandrol
  • MK-2866 – Ostarine
  • GSX-007 – Andarine
  • GW-501516 – Cardarine


Prohormones are prodrugs, which means they change into other compounds when ingested in the body. More specifically, prohormones get converted into active hormones or compounds with hormonal action.

Think of a prohormone as a precursor to a steroid hormone. Prohormone needs to pass through the liver, where enzymes act on it, converting it into the active steroid hormone.

Users will notice anabolic effects in a shorter period of time as hormone levels rise. Effects include increased muscle mass, fat loss, an increase in strength, and increased stamina. This happens due to anabolic hormones speeding up the protein synthesis, muscle building, and fat metabolism.

An important thing with prohormones is that they show up on drug tests, which suggests anabolic steroid use. Due to this, athletes may come under scrutiny for using prohormones as a quick way to get in better shape.

Compared to SARMs, prohormones stay longer in the body and yield a greater effect.


  • Quickly increases muscle tissue mass
  • Powerful increase in strength
  • Muscle growth with less fat gain during bulking phase
  • Cutting body fat
  • Improved sleep
  • Faster recovery
  • Increased appetite
  • Improved motivation and to-do attitude in the gym

3 Most Popular Prohormones

  • 1-Androsterone
  • Epiandrosterone (Epi-Andro)
  • Arimistane

Side Effects

The side effects of prohormones are more varied because they target all androgen receptors in the body. Plus, they first need to be processed by the liver, which may pose additional liver toxicity. Also, prohormones are more likely to suppress natural testosterone levels.

The risk of experiencing the following side effects increases as the dosage increases. You are also more likely to experience unwanted side effects if you take prohormones longer than recommended.

  • Acne breakout
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Water retention
  • Low libido
  • Mood swings
  • Gynecomastia
  • High blood pressure
  • Liver toxicity

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Your questions answered.

Are SARMs and Prohormones Safe?

Since SARMs are only available as research compounds and are not recommended for human consumption, their long-term safety is unknown.
There have been some reports of liver toxicity associated with SARMs.(2) Until the regulating authorities perform thorough research of those compounds, it is still good to be mindful of the possibility of serious complications.
The prohormones available today can be considered safe as long as they are taken within the recommended guidelines.
1. Research and understand the compounds you are planning to use.
2. Seek professional assistance when using.
3. Use quality cycle support.
4. Run a proper PCT after a cycle.
5. Stay within the recommended cycle length.
6. Don’t exceed the recommended dosages.
7. Stay away from any alcohol.

are sarms and prohormones safe

Are SARMs and Prohormones Legal?

SARMs are not legal to buy for human consumption, but you can have them as research compounds in the US and most of Europe. Check the specific regulations before buying them in your country.
As for the prohormones, regulations were put in place to alleviate the use of the old prohormones. The Designer Steroid Control Act is one of those that ban powerful prohormones. As of now, they are banned as Schedule III Drugs.


Choosing between prohormones and SARMs and deciding which is best for your goals can be broken down into three key factors: how fast you want the results, the risks associated with the products, and how easy it is to buy the supplement of your choice.

Although prohormones can guarantee great muscle gains, they come with a risk of side effects like liver toxicity. It would also require a proper PCT, as it strongly suppresses your hormones.

If you are looking into building that solid lean muscle mass, some recent posts or reviews would recommend SARMs because of the lower risk of side effects.

If we only compare SARMs and prohormones in terms of side effects and overall user safety, SARMs are more likely to get you where you want to go.

SARMs have a shorter half-life, which means they are removed from the human body faster than prohormones. It may also take more time to achieve the same results with SARMs as with prohormones. It does not always require a PCT, depending on the SARM, dosage, and cycle length. There are barely any side effects unless you are on a high dosage. It can also be stacked with any other supplements, while prohormones would leave you with minimal options.

However, take note that neither SARMs nor prohormones are allowed in professional sports.

  1. Fonseca, Guilherme Wesley Peixoto Da, et al. "Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMs) as Pharmacological Treatment for Muscle Wasting in Ongoing Clinical Trials." Expert Opinion on Investigational Drugs, vol. 29, no. 8, Informa UK Limited, 18 June 2020, pp. 881–891. Crossref, doi:10.1080/13543784.2020.1777275.
  2. Koller, Tomas et al. “Liver injury associated with the use of selective androgen receptor modulators and post-cycle therapy: Two case reports and literature review.” World journal of clinical cases vol. 9,16 (2021): 4062-4071. doi:10.12998/wjcc.v9.i16.4062
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