SARMs Vs. SERMs: Evaluating Effects, Uses & Considerations

Explore the distinctions between SARMs vs SERMs, uncovering their uses, benefits, and side effects. Dive into their applications in health and fitness.

Two classes of compounds that have recently garnered significant attention in the fitness and bodybuilding communities are Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMs) and Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERMs)

These compounds, although distinct in their mechanisms and applications, share the common goal of influencing hormonal pathways within the body to achieve specific health and performance objectives.

But which is best for you?

Well, why don’t you keep reading, and we’ll teach you everything there is to know about these bad boys!

Key Points

  • SARMs are used to increase lean muscle mass, reduce fat, and improve performance.
  • SERMs are used to manage estrogen levels that are too high.
  • Ideally, you should not need to use a SERM with SARM usage, but there are chances of such circumstances occuring.
  • SARMs are a class of therapeutic compounds designed to have more selective effects on the body.
  • SERMs are designed to interact with estrogen receptors in the body, acting as either agonists or antagonists depending on the tissue or organ.

Warning: The content on and the information included in this article is intended for entertainment and informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Prior to buying anything, check that it is compliant where you live with your current government laws. We frequently mention research chemicals that are not made for human consumption. Therefore, before purchasing any product for personal use, consult with your doctor or healthcare provider first.

Comparison of SARMs vs. SERMs

FeatureSARMs πŸ‹οΈβ€β™‚οΈSERMs 🚺
Target ReceptorsAndrogen ReceptorsEstrogen Receptors
Medical UseMuscle Wasting, OsteoporosisBreast Cancer, Osteoporosis
Athletic UseMuscle Building, Performance EnhancementSometimes used to combat gynecomastia
FormsLiquid, Powder, CapsuleTablet, Capsule
Legal StatusMostly unregulated, some are bannedPrescription only
Side EffectsLiver Toxicity, Potential for hormonal imbalancesHot flashes, Leg cramps, Potential for blood clots
Anabolic EffectsHigh πŸ“ˆLow πŸ“‰
Estrogenic EffectsLow πŸ“‰Variable βš–οΈ

What are SARMs? 

  • Forms Available In: Liquid, Powder, Capsule
  • Best SARMs to buy: Ostarine MK 2866
  • Price: $54.99 for 25ml
  • Benefits: Muscle Growth, Weight Loss, Strength Gain

SARMs, short for Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators, are a class of drugs known for their selective action on the androgen receptor, without impacting other parts of the body. 

They were first discovered in the 1940s and developed further until the 1990s when they became accessible to the public.

Unlike steroids or prohormones, SARMs do not convert to estrogen or affect the prostate, making them tissue-selective in their action (well, most don’t). 

Their remarkable feature lies in their high affinity for the androgen receptor, allowing them to be effective at low doses and delivering benefits like muscle growth, increased strength, and enhanced endurance.

SARMs were developed to replace Steroids in the medical world, but this has not taken place, and SARMs are still being researched – hence the name research chemical.

How to use SARMs? 

People use Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators (SARMs) for various purposes, primarily related to improving physical performance, body composition, and overall fitness

Here are some of the ways people use SARMs:

Muscle Growth

SARMs are widely used by athletes, bodybuilders, and fitness enthusiasts to promote lean muscle mass development. They can enhance protein synthesis and create an anabolic environment conducive to muscle growth.

Strength Gains

SARMs can help individuals increase their strength levels, allowing them to lift heavier weights and perform more intense workouts.

Fat Loss

Some SARMs have been reported to aid in fat loss by increasing metabolic rate and promoting fat oxidation. This makes them attractive for individuals aiming to reduce body fat while preserving muscle mass.

Improved Endurance

SARMs can enhance endurance and stamina, enabling users to engage in longer and more intense physical activities.

Body Recomposition

Some individuals use SARMs to achieve a balanced transformation of their physique, simultaneously gaining muscle and losing fat, resulting in a more aesthetic appearance.

Enhanced Athletic Performance

Athletes in various sports may use SARMs to gain a competitive edge by improving their strength, endurance, and recovery capabilities.

Muscle Preservation During Caloric Deficits

When in a calorie deficit for fat loss, SARMs can help users preserve muscle mass, preventing the loss of hard-earned gains.

Benefits of SARMS

Selective Muscle Development

SARMs specifically target muscles and other tissues involved in muscle development, providing a focused approach to muscle growth and strength gains, without undesirably impacting other tissues. 

This means users can experience muscle growth and strength enhancement without the broad systemic effects of other performance-enhancing compounds.

Minimized Androgenic Effects

SARMs’ selective nature means they do not exhibit the androgenic effects, like hair loss or acne, that are often associated with steroids and other muscle-building compounds. 

This makes SARMs suitable for individuals prone to these side effects.

Reduced Risk of Estrogenic Effects

SARMs do not convert to estrogen, meaning they don’t lead to estrogenic side effects such as water retention or gynecomastia, which are common concerns with some anabolic steroids and prohormones.

Improved Recovery

SARMs users often report experiencing enhanced recovery times post-workout, allowing them to maintain a more rigorous and frequent training schedule. 

This leads to accelerated progress in both muscle gain and fitness levels.

Lean Mass Preservation

Even during periods of reduced caloric intake or weight loss phases, SARMs can assist in preserving lean muscle mass. 

This is crucial for maintaining metabolic rate and ensuring that weight loss primarily originates from fat loss rather than muscle depletion.

Enhanced Athletic Performance

SARMs’ ability to promote lean mass, strength, and endurance without undue side effects makes them a favorite among athletes seeking to enhance their performance legally and safely.

Side Effects of SARMs 

As with anything on the planet, there are various side effects to SARMs, of course, depending on what you use, how you use it, and how long you use it. 

Hormonal Imbalance

SARMs can disrupt the body’s natural hormone production, particularly testosterone. This can lead to hormonal imbalances, which may result in mood swings, libido changes, and other androgen-related issues.

Liver Toxicity

Some SARMs have been linked to liver toxicity, though the extent varies depending on the specific compound and dosage. Elevated liver enzymes, jaundice, and liver damage are possible side effects.

Cardiovascular Effects

There is concern that SARMs may impact cardiovascular health by affecting lipid profiles and increasing the risk of heart-related issues such as hypertension (high blood pressure).

Suppression of Natural Testosterone

SARMs can suppress the body’s natural production of testosterone, leading to a decrease in endogenous (self-produced) testosterone levels. This can result in reduced fertility, testicular atrophy, and the need for post-cycle therapy (PCT) to restore hormonal balance.

Mood Swings and Psychological Effects

Some users have reported mood swings, anxiety, and depression as potential side effects of SARMs. These psychological effects can be attributed to hormonal disruptions caused by SARM use.

What are SERMs? 

  • Forms Available In: Tablet, Capsule
  • Best SERMs to buy: Tamoxifen
  • Price: $18 for 30 pills
  • Benefits: Breast Cancer Prevention, Osteoporosis Treatment, Infertility Treatment

A Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulator, commonly referred to as a SERM, is a class of compounds designed to interact with and modulate the activity of estrogen receptors in the body. 

These receptors are proteins found within cells that respond to the hormone estrogen. SERMs are engineered to selectively target and influence estrogen receptors in specific tissues and organs while having distinct effects in different contexts. 

This selective modulation of estrogen receptors distinguishes SERMs from other compounds that may have a broader impact on the endocrine system. 

SERMs are called “selective” because they can have different effects on estrogen receptors depending on the tissue or organ in which they are acting. 

They can act as either agonists (stimulators) or antagonists (inhibitors) of estrogen receptors, depending on the specific circumstances.

In certain tissues, such as bone and cardiovascular tissue, SERMs can function as estrogen agonists. This means they mimic the effects of estrogen, promoting beneficial outcomes like increased bone density and improved cardiovascular health.

In other tissues, such as breast tissue, SERMs act as estrogen antagonists. In this context, they block the effects of estrogen and can be used to treat or prevent estrogen-related conditions. 

For example, SERMs like tamoxifen are commonly prescribed to prevent breast cancer recurrence in women with estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer.

How to use SERMs? 

SERMs (outside of the medical world) are commonly used for one reason: High Estrogen. If your estrogen is too high due to other bodybuilding compounds, you might benefit from using a SERM to manage and control your estrogen. 

Benefits of SERMs

Estrogen Control

SERMs can effectively control estrogen levels in the body. Athletes using anabolic steroids that aromatize (convert to estrogen) may experience estrogen-related side effects. SERMs can help mitigate these issues.

Gynecomastia Prevention and Treatment

SERMs like tamoxifen and raloxifene are commonly used to prevent and treat gynecomastia in athletes using anabolic steroids. 

These medications can block estrogen receptors in breast tissue, reducing or reversing the development of breast tissue.

PCT (Post-Cycle Therapy)

Athletes who engage in steroid cycles often use SERMs as part of their post-cycle therapy to help restore natural testosterone production. 

Steroid use can suppress endogenous testosterone production, and SERMs can stimulate the hypothalamus and pituitary gland to release hormones that encourage the recovery of testosterone levels.

Reduced Estrogenic Side Effects

In addition to gynecomastia, high estrogen levels can contribute to other side effects such as mood swings, libido changes, and fluid retention. SERMs can help alleviate these symptoms by blocking estrogen receptors.

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Side Effects of SERMs

SERMs can actually be pretty impactful on your overall health, so you better not overdo it.

Mood Swings

SERMs may lead to mood swings, irritability, and changes in emotional well-being. Some individuals may experience depressive symptoms or anxiety while using SERMs.

Nausea and Digestive Issues

Nausea, vomiting, and digestive discomfort are possible side effects of certain SERMs. These symptoms can be bothersome but are generally not severe.


Some individuals may experience headaches or migraines while taking SERMs.

Leg Cramps

In some cases, users of SERMs may experience leg cramps, which can be painful and uncomfortable.

Increased Risk of Blood Clots

SERMs like tamoxifen have been associated with an increased risk of blood clots, which can be a serious medical concern. Users should be vigilant for symptoms such as swelling, pain, or redness in the legs.

Vision Changes

Rarely, SERMs can cause visual disturbances or changes. Individuals who experience any vision changes should seek immediate medical attention.

Should I use SERMs when using SARMs? 

Again, the only time you would ever need a SERM is when your Estrogen is too high! How do you know your Estrogen is too high? Well, symptoms of high estrogen include the following: 


Enlargement of breast tissue in males is one of the most noticeable and common symptoms of high estrogen levels. This can manifest as puffy or tender nipples and may lead to breast development resembling that of women.

Sexual Dysfunction

Elevated estrogen levels can interfere with testosterone function, leading to sexual problems such as erectile dysfunction, decreased libido (sex drive), and difficulty achieving or maintaining an erection.


High estrogen can negatively impact sperm production and quality, potentially leading to fertility issues.

Weight Gain

Estrogen dominance can contribute to increased body fat accumulation, particularly around the abdomen. This can result in weight gain and difficulty losing excess fat.


Men with high estrogen levels may experience fatigue, reduced energy levels, and a general sense of tiredness.

Mood Changes

Estrogen can influence mood, and elevated levels may lead to mood swings, irritability, anxiety, or even depression.

Water Retention

High estrogen can cause fluid retention, leading to swelling in the hands, feet, or other areas of the body.

Joint Pain

Some men with high estrogen levels may experience joint pain and stiffness.

Reduced Muscle Mass

Excess estrogen can interfere with muscle development and maintenance, potentially leading to reduced muscle mass and strength.

But the best way to know if you need a SERM is to have your blood tested. This way, you can see what is happening, how it’s happening, and what is causing what in your body. That said, no, you don’t β€˜need’ a SERM when using a SARM, but some people do. 


In the thrilling showdown between SARMs and SERMs, we’ve uncovered two distinct superheroes in the world of fitness and hormonal health. 

While SARMs flex their muscles for muscle growth and performance, SERMs swoop in to save the day with their estrogen-controlling prowess. It’s a dynamic duel of selective action and targeted results.

So, whether you’re donning your cape for lean muscle gains or armor to battle estrogen’s wrath, remember that the choice between SARMs and SERMs is like picking your favorite superhero – it depends on your unique mission and goals. 

In this epic saga of science and fitness, both SARMs and SERMs have their roles to play. Embrace the power of knowledge, consult with experts, and embark on your quest for peak performance and vitality. The adventure awaits!

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Daniel Louwrens BSc PT

Daniel Louwrens BSc PT | Writer

Daniel Louwrens is a well-rounded fitness professional with over 10 years of experience in bodybuilding and fitness. He holds a BSc in Chemistry from the University of Western Cape and is a certified International Personal Trainer and Nutritionist. He is also a skilled bodybuilder and head coach for Muscle and Brawn. With his knowledge and expertise, he provides personalized training, nutrition, and recovery guidance to help clients reach their fitness goals.

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