The Definitive Ranking: 5 Safest SARMs That Provide Optimal Gains with Minimal Risks

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Safest SARMs, or selective androgen receptor modulators, have gained popularity in bodybuilding communities as a perceived safer alternative to anabolic steroids. However, it’s important to note that, much like steroids, not all SARMs carry the same level of safety. Below, we delve into the least risky SARMs based on clinical studies and our own evaluations.

Are SARMs Truly Safe?

While some may argue that SARMs are a safer option than anabolic steroids, it’s imperative to recognize that they do carry potential risks. Limited scientific research on their effects means the safety of SARMs isn’t fully understood. In our observations, individuals using SARMs have shown significant fluctuations in ALT/AST levels, blood lipids, serum testosterone levels, and other associated symptoms.

It would be naïve to expect no side effects from using SARMs, and we cannot claim that they are entirely risk-free.

Safest SARMs to Consider

Safest Sarms picks - Ostarine, Andarine, Stenabolic, Cardarine, Ibutamoren.

The following are the mildest SARMs currently available in the market. While the last 3 compounds listed are not technically SARMs, they are commonly referred to as such within the bodybuilding community.

  1. Ostarine
  2. Andarine
  3. Stenabolic
  4. Cardarine
  5. Ibutamoren

1. Ostarine (MK-2866)

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Ostarine, also known as MK-2866, is often the initial choice for beginners due to its mild nature and moderate potency. Novices may experience gains of up to 10lbs of lean muscle, along with reduced subcutaneous fat stores and significant increases in strength. However, it’s important to note that Ostarine can cause liver enzyme values to rise, indicating potential hepatic stress, and it may affect HDL/LDL cholesterol, leading to a temporary and modest increase in blood pressure. Our SHBG tests have shown Ostarine to be suppressive, but not all users experience low testosterone symptoms. This may be due to Ostarine lowering total testosterone but not free testosterone. Considering these factors, a post-cycle therapy (PCT) is optional.

Ostarine Dosage

The following dosages are tailored for beginners. 

  • Men: 15mg/day for 8 weeks
  • Women: 10mg/day for 8 weeks

2. Andarine (S4)

Similar to Ostarine, Andarine is considered a mild SARM with fewer cardiac, hepatic, and HPTA-related side effects. Users of Andarine may notice significant improvements in vascularity, pumps, and strength gains, with reports of gains ranging from 5-10lbs. However, it’s important to note that Andarine has been associated with temporary vision issues, potentially causing yellow/green rings to appear when looking at light sources. This side effect is typically temporary and vision returns to normal upon cessation of the cycle.

Andarine Dosage

  • Men: 25-50mg/day for 8 weeks
  • Women: 12.5-25mg/day for 8 weeks

3. Stenabolic (SR9009)

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Stenabolic, often labeled as a SARM but actually a Rev-ErbA agonist, is known for its potent fat-burning properties and improvements in athletic performance. Our experience has shown that it may aid significant fat loss, particularly when combined with physical training. Stenabolic does not suppress the HPTA and has shown positive effects on cholesterol and liver values. While it does not necessarily need to be cycled like a SARM, it may still be advisable to take it in 4-8 week cycles until its long-term effects are more thoroughly established.

In our experience, Stenabolic has not shown notable side effects and appears to be safe, at least in the short term.

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Stenabolic Dosage

  • For Men: Take 50mg per day for 4 to 8 weeks.
  • For Women: Take 30mg per day for 4 to 8 weeks.

4. Cardarine (GW501516)

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Cardarine, also known as GW501516, is a PPARD (Peroxisome Proliferator Activated Receptor Delta) receptor agonist and functions as a potent fat burner.

Patients have reported significant improvements in muscle endurance while using Cardarine, attributed to PPARδ’s regulation of muscle metabolism and the reprogramming of muscle fibers (2).

Cardarine has been shown to lower cholesterol and improve insulin resistance. Studies have suggested potential hepatotoxicity in mice (3), but most human users do not seem to encounter such issues.

The primary concern for users is the potential carcinogenic risk associated with Cardarine, as it has caused tumors in mice. It is important to note that the rodents were given very high dosages (5mg/kg per day) continuously for 2 years, while Cardarine is typically cycled at a fraction of that dosage (0.3mg/kg per day). Further research is needed to fully understand the connection between Cardarine and cancer, but many users have reported using Cardarine without experiencing proliferation or obvious side effects.

Cardarine Dosage

  • For Men: Take 10-20mg per day for 8 weeks.
  • For Women: Take 7.5-15mg per day for 8 weeks.

5. Ibutamoren (MK-677)

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Ibutamoren (MK-677) is a growth hormone secretagogue often categorized as part of the ‘SARM’ family, promoting muscle growth and subcutaneous fat reduction.

While some individuals in the bodybuilding community believe that Ibutamoren does not impact endogenous testosterone and is free from side effects, our tests have shown that it can lead to HPTA (Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Testicular Axis) complications in many users.

Ibutamoren is included here because it is common for users to experience no side effects from a cycle, while gaining approximately 7lbs of muscle and reducing their body fat percentage.

However, we have observed that some individuals have experienced mild forms of gynecomastia due to elevated prolactin levels. Ibutamoren can also elevate blood sugar levels, leading to increased blood pressure and visceral fat storage. While it burns subcutaneous fat stores, it may increase visceral fat mass.

Interestingly, our tests indicate that Ibutamoren suppresses testosterone levels by affecting SHBG (Sex Hormone Binding Globulin) levels. This appears to be an indirect effect related to prolactin, as Ibutamoren does not directly impact androgen levels. Ibutamoren may also cause water retention, given that GH-stimulating compounds can increase sodium retention (4).

Ibutamoren Dosage

  • For Men: Take 25mg per day for 16 weeks.
  • For Women: Take 15mg per day for 16 weeks.

Most Potent SARMs

  • YK-11
  • S23
  • RAD 150

YK-11 is technically a myostatin inhibitor rather than a SARM and has been associated with harsh side effects comparable to anabolic steroids, rather than SARMs. Patients have reported testosterone suppression, increased liver enzymes, elevated cholesterol, acne, and joint pain from YK-11.

S23 may be an exceptional SARM for muscle strength and pumps, but it also poses harsh side effects, particularly severe testosterone suppression.

RAD 150 is more potent and harsher than its predecessor, RAD 140. In contrast, we consider RAD 140 and LGD 4033 to be moderate SARMs in terms of side effects. These two are popular choices for users after their first cycle (likely to involve Ostarine).

Safest SARM Stacks

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The safest SARM combinations are those that involve 1 SARM with either Cardarine or Stenabolic. This approach allows for enhanced results by combining a SARM with another compound that does not exacerbate testosterone levels, cholesterol, or liver values.

Combining two or three SARMs together can lead to harsher side effects on the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Testicular Axis (HPTA), ALT/AST enzymes, and LDL/HDL cholesterol, as compared to using just one SARM.

Some of the safest SARM stacks we have observed are (in order from mildest to strongest):

  • Stenabolic/Cardarine (cutting)
  • Ostarine/Andarine (lean bulk)
  • RAD 140/Ostarine (bulking)






General Practitioner at | Website | + posts

Dr. Grant Fourie, a specialist in male hormones, is based in Cape Town, South Africa. He provides comprehensive treatments for conditions related to low testosterone, such as erectile dysfunction, fatigue, and mood changes. His methods include hormone replacement therapy and other modern treatment options.
Contact me via email or phone to book personal appointment in my clinic: The Village Square, Cape Town - South Africa


About Dr. Grant Fourie

Dr. Grant Fourie, a specialist in male hormones, is based in Cape Town, South Africa. He provides comprehensive treatments for conditions related to low testosterone, such as erectile dysfunction, fatigue, and mood changes. His methods include hormone replacement therapy and other modern treatment options. Contact me via email or phone to book personal appointment in my clinic: The Village Square, Cape Town - South Africa

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