Advanced bodybuilders and athletes might turn to more 'hardcore' supplements to continue to progress in their given sport. People might take SARMs, prohormones or steroids for a number of reasons. The reason might be aesthetic, such as for increased lean muscle mass and fat loss, or to improve performance and recovery for sport.
Although all 3 claim to do very similar things, they work in totally different ways. When considering SARMs vs prohormones vs steroids it is important to understand the key differences between each, in terms of results, side effects, dangers and interactions.
What is the difference between SARMs, prohormones & steroids, are they the same?
Anabolic–Androgenic steroids (AAS), are steroidal androgens that include natural androgens like testosterone as well as synthetic androgens that are structurally related and provide varying anabolic:androgenic ratios and outcomes. So, what is a prohormone? Prohormones, on the other hand, are precursors to hormones. This means that they have to be converted in the body to the target substance (which might be nandrolone, for example). In this way, steroids are the more direct route. Selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs), on the other hand, target specific receptors in muscle, fat and bone to illicit an enhanced response.
Of course, a key difference is the availability and quality of each that we have access to. In most countries, the sale of anabolic steroids is prohibited. This has led to a black market full of products that are under or overdosed and might not be what they claim to be. Prohormones have also been subject to scrutiny with many old favorites such as superdrol now banned. There are however a number, such as Epistane, still available. SARMs are arguably the most 'up and coming' category with mounting research behind them, especially ostarine. Even so, always buy from a reputable brand and distributer.
SARMs vs prohormones vs steroids comparison of pros & cons
Benefits & Results
As you can see, the potential benefits to taking any one of the 3 are very similar and all are used in bodybuilding. While SARMs have shown great promise to protect against muscle wasting and increase bone density in trials, they have not yet been perfected. This is one of the reasons why, at this stage, they are not approved for human consumption. Until the perfect SARM which works exclusively on muscle tissue without androgenic effects is created, you can expect the most dramatic results in terms of muscle building from anabolic steroids. Prohormones are the next most 'potent' but come with increased risk as compared to SARMs, as we will go on to discuss.
Side effects & dangers
When used at a low-moderate dose and intelligently, SARMs should have the least side effects (outside of a replacement dose of testosterone which would mimic natural testosterone levels). However, it does seem that as dose escalates, so can the side effects. Prohormones have the highest risk of sides, although again this depends on dosage and how intelligently they are used.
Even if using a non-methylated compound (something which isn't processed through the liver), cycle support should always be used to maintain health markers from blood pressure to lipid panel and antioxidant protection. Your cycle support stack should be extensive and cover more than just your liver health! Some key ingredients you might want to look for include NAC, CoQ10 and TUDCA.
Use of all should be followed with some form of post-cycle therapy (PCT) to avoid side effects from suppressed testosterone and aromatization (the conversion of testosterone to estrogen). PCT for prohormones and SARMs can usually be conducted successfully with over the counter supplements such as Activate Xtreme and Alchemy to kickstart testosterone production. The process becomes more complex when running anabolic steroids.
The average cost of SARMs is generally quite low, around £30-50 per bottle. One bottle will generally provide enough for a 4-6 week cycle at the suggested dose.
Prohormones can vary in price. Some might be a similar cost to SARMs, but others can be upwards of £100 for a single bottle or vial.
Steroids can start at around £30 for a bottle or vial, with others around the £50-70 or more mark. We would argue that the different in cost is not significant enough to outweigh the other factors. Unlike something like growth hormone, which can be incredibly expensive for a legitimate product, all 3 are similarly priced.
Can you take SARMs and prohormones together?
When it comes to stacking prohormones with SARMs, this should be reserved for very advanced individuals who have experimented with both separately and have a full understanding of the safety precautions they need to take.
For the most part, we'd advise against mixing prohormones with SARMs with the exception of non-SARMs like cardarine or ibutamoren. Being non-hormonal, these can be added to any prohormone or steroid stack without interacting with anabolic hormones.
The best SARMs stack will depend on your goal, but there are plenty of options that will take results to the next level.
Are Steroids, SARMs or prohormones better?
Our conclusion For those who have not used steroids, SARMs or prohormones before, a SARMs cycle will often be the best option. They come with less risk than SARMs, are easier to source safely than steroids and provide the same anabolic effects (granted, not at the same rate as the others might). There are an many types of SARMs now on the market, but popular SARMs UK include rad140, ligandrol (lgd-4033) and andarine, all of which are available through Predator Nutrition. You can also find prohormones UK here.
There are plenty of ways to progress your way through these supplements over many years so that you can see benefits with as few issues as possible. For example, start with the lowest effective dose of a mild SARM, and run this for as many cycles as you are seeing results before you consider escalating the dose or adding another SARM to the stack. No supplement can promise muscle gains without adequate protein intake, progressive training and sufficient calories. Make sure these points are all nailed down first!
It is worth noting that, if you are a drug tested athlete, all are likely banned in your sport under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).