Considering how different they actually are, a lot of people still get confused around the differences and similarities between SARMs and prohormones. As well as that, there’s the decision to make around SARMs Vs prohormones if you want to kick your bodybuilding up to a level you simply can’t naturally.
So what I’m going to do here is quickly talk you through everything you need to know in easy to understand terms. You’ll learn about what SARMs are, and what prohormones are. You’ll learn about the legality, safety, and you’ll see some comparisons from my own experiences on the pros and cons of each.
Which means in the next five minutes you’ll know everything you need to make a great decision on which are the best choice for you to use it to accentuate your bodybuilding between SARMs and prohormones.
Let’s Explain What SARMs Are First
SARMs are Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators. This means they selectively activate androgen receptors in muscle and bone tissue only. This makes them highly targeted, and it strengthens bone and muscle to tissue without interfering with androgen receptors in other parts of the body.
That’s not the whole story about SARMs though. Some research chemicals that can aid bodybuilding, that are classed as SARMs, actually aren’t. But for marketing and simplicity terms they are talked about and sold in the same bracket.
The SARMs which I genuinely anabolic, and that do work as agonists of the androgen receptors are Ligandrol, Ostarine (in a very minor way), Andarine, Testolone, and S-23.
But then there are the following SARMs which are not agonists of the androgen receptors at all, and these supplements work in the following ways:
- GW-501516 Cardarine is a PPARd receptor agonist which produces bursts of energy through affecting glucose utilization and metabolism. It also interacts with oxidization of fatty acids. The net result of this is considerably more energy and fat burning.
- YK-11 is actually closer to a steroid than a SARM. It does bind to the androgen receptors, and acts in the way that an anabolic steroid does. But it actually produces an increase in the release of follistatin, which is a protein that directly relates to muscle growth. So even though it’s a partial agonist of the androgen receptors, it does not mimic the results of increased testosterone, and the way builds muscle tissue is different to anabolic SARMs.
- MK-677 Ibutamoren is a growth hormone secretagogue. It mimics the activity of something called Ghrelin, which has several knock-on effects in the body. It can increase fat expenditure, the amount of energy that can be spent through fat burning rather than glucose burning, and it can significantly elevate levels of both HGH and IGF-1, key muscle building hormones.
- SR-9009 Stenabolic is a REV-ERbA agonist that increases energy capacity, improves strength and energy in muscle tissue.
So What Exactly Are Prohormones?
Prohormones are exactly as the name suggests, precursors to hormones themselves, predominantly testosterone. So by taking the prohormone, you are giving the body something that it metabolizes through the liver to provoke an increase in the hormone it’s designed to.
So what you’re getting with most prohormones is something which helps the body to create more testosterone. This makes it pretty much like an anabolic steroid, but not as potent because anabolic steroids don’t have to be processed, they are not prodrugs. It’s this process of being metabolized into something that can be used to increase hormone levels that makes them weaker and more tolerable.
Prohormones had been sold under many brand names in supplement shops for years, until they were pretty much banned worldwide. Some of the names are still recognized in the bodybuilding community is, including Superdrol and Epistane.
When they were produced properly, prohormones were pretty potent, not as aggressive and dangerous steroids, but well on the way. They can produce significant increases in lean muscle mass, with all the positive traits of the alpha male as well.
Some prohormones are still available on the black market, primarily the compounds 1-DHEA and 4-DHEA. They can help with bodybuilding, and do increase strength and size, but not in the same way as the original powerful prohormones, despite the marketing claims made by the sites that still sell them. So, in reality, they aren’t actually usually any stronger than good doses of anabolic SARMs.
SARMs Vs Prohormones
So now you understand what SARMs and prohormones are, let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of them.
In terms of SARMs, there are a lot of pros:
- SARMs are still legal to buy
- SARMs are affordable
- SARMs can be guaranteed for purity
- They produce significant results in bulking and cutting
On the downside, you’re still running the risk of getting poor quality SARMs, and results do take longer to manifest themselves. It will take several cycles of eight or more weeks with a similar length break between cycles to build maximum bulk and cut maximum fat. They are not a quick fix.
In terms of the pros of using prohormones:
- Prohormones are more anabolic than SARMs at typical doses
- Prohormones are more aggressive for bodybuilding results and SARMs
- They can produce other alpha male traits including strength and aggression
But in terms of the cons of prohormones, those alpha male traits are general, so the aggression can be bad, and you can get problems with the prostate and other areas where there are androgen receptors, in the same way as you can with anabolic steroids.
Also, prohormones a far more difficult to get your hands on nowadays. There are rarely purity guarantees, and several research projects have found that nearly all the supplements advertised as prohormones on websites actually don’t contain much of the prohormone advertised, are pumped up with anabolic steroids, or don’t contain anything of value at all. Basically, prohormones are a bigger gamble in terms of quality because you just can’t guarantee it at all.
How Legal Are SARMs & Prohormones
Let me be upfront here by saying that prohormones are banned. They are a scheduled substance in the USA, and you cannot legitimately buy them or sell them. That doesn’t mean you can’t find them for sale online, but it’s really shady grey market stuff, usually ordered from overseas.
Prohormones aren’t really legal anywhere in the world, and they have been banned for sporting events for years as well. Basically, prohormones nowadays are pretty dodgy things to put in your body.
In terms of SARMs, they aren’t safe in terms of that they haven’t been researched on humans for use as a bodybuilding supplement. Many of them have had human trials for other things. However, more than 10 years of them being widely used has not seen any signs of significant side effects to date, pointing to them being well-tolerated and not causing problems.
You can buy SARMs legitimately. But they must not be sold for human consumption, and you’re not meant to take them.
So at the time of writing this, SARMs are legal to buy, and legal to sell. However, that could change.
The SARMs control act is currently going through Congress in the USA, although at a snail’s pace which has already lasted two years, and is set to continue for much longer because of the current pandemic crisis.
Also, at the end of 2019, China banned the sale and manufacture of SARMs. So you can’t now export SARMs from China legitimately, although there are still black-market SARMs being made.
Are SARMs Stronger And Better Than Prohormones?
In terms of the effects of SARMs and prohormones, from what is available right now, SARMs are just simply far better and safer to use.
They aren’t as potent as the old prohormones that used to be available, but that’s kind of irrelevant now because you can’t buy them anyway.
The only prohormones you can buy are poor quality, and there’s no legitimate guarantees of purity.
SARMs can be stronger than the prohormones available as long as you stack them and use them for several cycles. As long as you get 100% pure SARMs, then you will get fantastic results for bulking and cutting.
Also, with SARMs, in my experience you are safer because you get purity guarantees. If you buy them from reputable sellers then they are independently third-party lab tested for purity, and those purity reports are published on the product pages for your peace of mind.
You simply cannot get those guarantees with prohormones. I tried prohormones in the old days when they were legitimately available, and they were almost as powerful as anabolic steroids, and far more power than SARMs are now.
I wouldn’t try prohormones now, even if they were available easily. SARMs are just safer to use, more targeted, and produce a really great results for bulking if you work hard.
Plus, for cutting, they are incomparable. Cardarine, Ostarine, and Ligandrol are all brilliant for cutting and maintaining muscle mass, while Cardarine also produces significant increases in energy which helps you to burn fat even more.
So the conclusion of this SARMs Vs prohormones debate as far as I’m concerned has to be that SARMs are legitimately available, safer and guaranteed, and still produce incredible results that you simply can’t achieve naturally, whereas prohormones are dodgy as hell to buy and use nowadays.