There’s often some confusion around peptides and SARMs, both in terms of what they are, and which is better to use for muscle growth.
The answer is actually more clear-cut than you would realize. SARMs are androgen receptor ligands (although some work differently and aren’t really SARMs at all), while peptides are short-chain amino acids which are the use of dietary supplements.
There are similarities in the effects they have on the body and differences. So what we’re going to do here is tell you what the similarities and differences are, and how each works.
Plus, we will compare the two, and talk about the side effects, as you can see whether SARMs or peptides (or using both together) could be best for your bodybuilding benefits.
What Are SARMs?
SARMs stands for Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators. This literally means they selectively modulate androgen receptors. They selectively modulate messages to androgen receptors in bone and muscle tissue, which is why you get strong androgenic effects in SARMs, but they don’t affect things like the prostate and other areas in the way that anabolic steroids do.
So they are very potent and because they selectively bind the androgen receptors, they are highly targeted as well. By mimicking the action of testosterone, they produce the effects of testosterone, SARMs use can lead to the body lowering its own production, which is why PCT (post cycle therapy) is needed to stop estrogen causing problems.
However, that’s not the whole story with SARMs. Only some SARMs are androgenic and truly focus on building muscle tissue. RAD-140 Testolone, S-23, and Andarine are good examples of those. Although, some recent studies have found that although S-23 is androgenic, it’s closer to an anabolic steroid in potency than a SARM.
But other SARMs like Ostarine and Ligandrol are anabolic, so they do at least maintain muscle, but not very strongly. They target the body is telling it to burn fat and protect muscle. So in a calorie deficit when you are cutting, where the body would normally burn muscle to protect its fat reserves, some SARMs that are anabolic protect the muscle gains.
Also, some SARMs aren’t androgenic in nature at all. Cardarine, YK-11, and MK-677 Ibutamoren are good examples of non-androgenic SARMs. They use other mechanisms of action in the body to produce strength and endurance gains and helping to fuel muscle growth.
On the downside, androgenic SARMs can have side effects. They can dramatically drop your testosterone levels, meaning you need a PCT supplement to stop estrogen effects taking hold. Man breasts can be a thing with aggressive SARMs users, and they are only reversible to surgery. But it is rare and as long as you use lower doses with sensible breaks between SARMs cycles where you use a PCT supplement, then you shouldn’t really ever have problems.
What Are Peptides?
Peptides are not androgenic at all, so they have no anabolic effects in the body, and they don’t have other effects like producing gains and endurance and strength, nor can they tell the body to burn fat in a way that SARMs do.
Peptides basically fall into two classes. There are synthetic forms of GHRH (growth hormone-releasing hormone), and GHRP (growth hormone-releasing peptides).
Peptides are polypeptide chains that consist of less than 50 amino acids in total length. This is different to polypeptides which can be anything between 10 and 100 amino acids in length. Polypeptides longer than 50 amino acids in length are proteins. However, peptides are better than proteins for muscle building.
Although they don’t have an anabolic effect, they do provoke production and release of increasing levels of HGH, human growth hormone. HGH is crucial to muscle development.
Elevated levels of HGH also provoke higher levels of testosterone, but only slightly. They also provoke more production of IGF-1, another key hormone in muscle building
On the downside, peptides can have side effects. Water retention, elevated blood sugar, joint pain, numbness and tingling in extremities, and in rare cases carpal tunnel syndrome. This is alongside sleepiness and hunger.
But as with SARMs, this is with persistent use a higher dose over long cycles without enough breaks. If you use them sensibly, peptides are no more risky in terms of side effects than SARMs.
SARMs Vs Peptides
So which is the better choice to use, SARMs, or peptides?
SARMs are potent compared to peptides. Good doses of the anabolic SARMs will produce larger muscle mass more quickly than you will get with peptides. If you SARMs strength, or cutting, they will work in ways that peptides can’t at all. So SARMs are more flexible, and you can stack different types of SARMs together to get a range of benefits.
But if you’re looking for a low-risk way of getting bigger muscles, and you have a little bit more patience, then peptides are brilliant. They will raise levels of the hormones required to build muscles and backed up by other supplements, they can produce results significantly above what you could achieve naturally.
SARMs are slightly more targeted than peptides. They target androgen receptors in bone and muscle tissue with a high degree of efficiency.
Peptides raise levels of HGH, which can have general effects around the body, but generally, it is going to target muscle tissue.
Can You Use SARMs And Peptides Together For Better Effects?
I want to finish here by saying that it’s not a case of choosing which is better between SARMs and peptides, that it’s not really a battle between SARMs and peptides at all. There’s no reason why you can’t use them both together.
You can stack SARMs to build strength, endurance, cut fat, and build muscle at the same time. There’s literally no reason why you can’t stack SARMs with peptides. This will raise levels of HGH and IGF-1, the key building blocks to muscle growth.
Put those together, and you get an even more enhanced effect. All you have to do is be really sensible, and keep the doses low so that you minimize the chances of damaging side effects.
Both are muscle building agents, both have fewer side effects than anabolic steroids, and they can be used together if you are sensible.