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Ostarine (MK-2866) vs. Anabolic Steroids

MK-2866 Ostarine bottleBy now most of you will have heard of SARMS, or selective androgen receptor modulators, these new and pioneering supplements bind to the androgen receptor in pretty much the same way anabolic steroids such as Testosterone would, but in a novel and selective way.  They exert many of the same anabolic effects that steroids do, but without many of the sides associated with other androgens.  The Androgen Receptor plays a vital and significant role in the development and function of sexual organs, skeletal muscle, and bone, as well as other human organs.  When Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators bind to the receptor, they demonstrate powerful anabolic activity in both muscle and bone.  (1) This is because they bind to the receptor and change its action in a novel way that is significantly different than typical androgen receptors stimulators, such as synthetic androgens and non-synthetic androgens (Steroids).  Therefore, they are able to alter the gene-transcription process in a manner that is tissue specific, in this particular case we are interested in its effects on bone and muscle.

Ostarine exerts its effects in a very anabolic way, comparisons have been made with the Anabolic steroid primobolan.  Generally, a user will see increased muscle mass, very positive effect on joints and bones, as well as as boost in nitrogen retention.

In comparison, most steroidal androgens (steroids) convert to DHT or Estrogen so you have the increased chance of DHT related side effects: enlarged prostate for one, and hair loss if your prone, as well as a whole list of other potential DHT related side effects.  Estrogen causes a whole host of problems too: Water retention (Edema), Hypertension (High blood pressure) and the unwelcomed and, often hard to treat, enlargement of the male breast tissue (gynecomastia - gyno)(2). You also get your own testosterone production shutdown on cycle, so a Post cycle therapy protocol is essential to restore correct testosterone levels. If proper pct is not followed after a cycle, the ongoing effects of impotence can be seen for many months without full testosterone recovery.  However, those problems along with many others, if the steroid of choice is a progestin, can, to some degree, be eradicated through science, and the development of these new SARMS.

Ostarine (MK-2866) doesn't convert to DHT or display any of the side effects by Dihydrotestosterone. In blood tests, a slight raise in estrogen levels can be seen, and that might be one of the key factors in its tremendous potential for treating tendon, ligament, and bone injuries or illnesses. It also displays a very anabolic effect on muscle tissue, causing considerable and easy to maintain gains in muscle over 4-6 weeks, with little to no sides and no real PCT is needed afterwards, just a mild test booster like HCGenerate.

ostarine (mk-2866) chemical structure

Fig 1. Ostarine (MK-2866) Chemical Structure

Another interesting aspect, as opposed to your typical steroid, is that SARMS remain very hard to detect for anti-doping agencies.  Since SARMS bypass the well known 4 ring steroid structure, they are not steroids.  However, SARMS exert many of the same performance enhancing effects that steroids do, without the side effects (3)

Ostarine: Unleashing its power

The big question is, how do you get the most bang for your buck from Ostarine (MK-2866)?
First, we need to get some facts straight on what it is exactly, its half life and best dose. Ostarine has a half life of 23.8 hours, so a once a day dose is the most effective to get your biggest peak of blood plasma serum levels. Depending on your goals though, there are a couple of dosage protocols I personally recommend.

Anabolic dosing

Dosing at 25mg-36mg a day gave me my biggest gains in muscle and the best muscle pumps over a 4 week period.  Dosages higher than 36mg did not increase the gains in lbm or strength over the same period; for someone weighing 200lbs 25mg is enough to elicit very good anabolism.  However, in experiments I carried, for someone weighing above 210-20lbs, 36mg out seemed to be a much better dose and offer better general lbm gain.  With this dose muscle hardness can be seen to increase after about 6 days.

I suggest front loading Ostarine the first week, close to 50% your intended dose, this will speed up the saturation of ostarine in the system and its affect on the androgen receptor.

These very same doses can be used on a cut and maintain muscle mass, with decreased calories.  I highly recommend the use of Ostarine in cutting (dieting), as even in a calorie surplus diet fat loss can seen at quite a high rate of 1-2lb a week.  On a cut, with added help of Cardarine (GW-501516), the loss of visceral fat can be increased exponential.  Muscle tone and hardness will also increase at a rapid rate revealing a ripped and cut physique.  You'll also be in a lot better state, health wise, than if steroids were used to increase muscle retention during the same period of time.

Bone and tendon repair dosing

One of the outstanding facets of Ostarine (MK-2866) is that it doesn’t just build muscle, it increases tendon strength, improves the health of the ligaments, increases bone density and increases the rate at which collagen is turned over.  To achieve this, a dose of 12mg ed is adequate.  In addition, this dose promotes improvement in joint movement that can be seen after just 6-8 days.  This dose is very effective for treating injuries like shin splints, and can be used post operation to help maintain muscle and speed up the recovery of the limb, (Bone/Tendon) that has been operated on.

Supplementation while using SARMS

My favorite supplements which seem to increase the effectiveness of Ostarine is Creatine.  By itself, Creatine increases igf-1 levels, bone density, lean body mass, and prevents the release of homocysteine, thus preventing cardiovascular problems. Zinc and magnesium are a must as both are vital for increase in testosterone levels, androgen receptor sensitivity, and igf-1 levels to remain at a maximal level.

Ostarine in PCT summary

Remember that you will not fully recover while using Ostarine even at the suggested dose of 25mg/day a day.  This dose is enough to provide much needed anabolism while allowing recovery.  Therefore, it's best to use Ostarine and your pct protocol (clomid/nolvadex/aromasin etc) together for a couple of weeks to ensure total recovery from your steroid cycle.


1.Selective androgen receptor modulators in preclinical and clinical development.
Narayanan R, Mohler ML, Bohl CE, Miller DD, Dalton JT.
Preclinical Research and Development, GTx, Inc., Memphis, Tennessee, USA

2.J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2006 Dec;102(1-5):261-6.Prostate cancer risk in testosterone-treated men. Raynaud JP. Université Pierre & Marie Curie, 51 bvd Suchet, Paris 75016, France.

3.Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2008 Oct 15;18(20):5567-70. Epub 2008 Sep 5.Effect of B-ring substitution pattern on binding mode of propionamide selective androgen receptor modulators.
Bohl CE, Wu Z, Chen J, Mohler ML, Yang J, Hwang DJ, Mustafa S, Miller DD, Bell CE, Dalton JT.
Division of Pharmaceutics, College of Pharmacy, The Ohio State University, 500 West 12th Avenue, 242 L.M. Parks Hall, Columbus, OH 43210, USA


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Written by
Albert Wolfgang is a professional medical writer with over 20 years of experience. He hold multiple personal training certifications, including the coveted NASM and AFAA certificates. He graduated with honors with a B.S. and M.S. in biochemistry with a minor in physical studies. Albert and his team have trained over 100 IFBB professional bodybuilders, including Hollywood stars and many up and coming fitness stars.

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