Ligandrol, also known by its development code, LGD 4033, is a SARM, or ‘selective androgen receptor modulator’ created in 2009. It was found in clinical trials to increase muscle mass in participants without also increasing their levels of fat.
The drug was created with the intention of treating cancer patients, and people suffering from diseases where muscle wastage is a symptom.
It has also been tested as a means to help elderly people suffering from injuries, who need to rebuild muscle to keep their joints secure. However, much like many other tempting bodybuilding drugs, many Ligandrol side effects are emerging.
What is Ligandrol 4033?
After the drug began trials in 2013, it wasn’t long before athletes and bodybuilders began to experiment with the substance. Its use in this way is unsafe and not recommended, since the drug is unapproved for use due to an incomplete safety profile.
For this reason, we want to make it clear that you shouldn’t be taking this drug, for the sake of your own health.
In the interest of making sure you’re well informed, however, we’ll discuss the Ligandrol side effects, uses and dosage further in this article.
How an LGD dosage works
Taken orally as a tablet, Ligandrol (LGD 4033) binds to specific sites on skeletal muscles. Shown to increase muscle mass, it’s a popular go-to in bodybuilding circles, with some users reporting huge gains with few LGD 4033 side effects.
Although this drug is currently being investigated as a pharmaceutical treatment for muscle wasting and muscle weakness, it currently doesn’t have approval for clinical use in humans.
SARMs work similarly to steroids, however, they are not quite the same thing. Both work by binding to your androgen receptors, triggering changes in your DNA which boost muscle growth.
Steroid users are always on the lookout for an alternative that can provide similar benefits to steroids without the costs. Ligandrol, usually taken at a dosage somewhere between 0.5 and 2 milligrams, is a selective androgen receptor modulator (SARM).
But what does this mean?
A SARM acts to bind at certain areas on skeletal muscles. Once there, SARMs kickstart several processes which meddle with the DNA in your muscle cells, causing a boost to muscle growth and repair. This is similar to the impact of both testosterone and anabolic steroids.
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There are several LGD side effects that have been discovered so far, however.
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LGD 4033 side effects: what you need to know
Ligandrol is a SARM, which some bodybuilders believe are safer than steroids, but with similar effects. However, this is an urban myth, as there is no statistical data to suggest that unapproved SARMs are in any way safer.
Common side effects of steroids include:
- Short-term aggression
- Liver damage
- Kidney damage
- High blood pressure
Ligandrol effects: positive or negative?
Below, we’ll take a look at what recent clinical trials have found. It’s important to note that these are small sample sizes, and are therefore considered somewhat unreliable.
So far, the most common side effects have been found to be:
- Muscle pain
- Respiratory tract infections
- Dry mouth
No extreme negative reactions were recorded.
However, the sample size was tiny, at just 76 healthy adult males, and their dosage was low, at 0.1, 0.3 and 1.0 mg per day. There was no difference in side effects caused at 0.1 and 1.0 mg.
What the study did suggest, however, is that even at a low LGD 4033 dosage of 1mg per day, it suppresses the production of testosterone, sex hormone-binding globulin, and follicle-stimulating hormone. These returned to normal as treatment was discontinued.
Ligandrol effects: the bigger picture
What do these results tell us?
They indicate that Ligandrol causes many of the exact same issues as testosterone therapy. Given that many bodybuilders who take Ligandrol will be doing so to avoid the negative effects of testosterone therapy, it certainly negates the useful impact of Ligandrol.
Additional effects of Ligandrol include reducing HDL cholesterol levels (also known as ‘good’ cholesterol), and triglyceride levels. Again, these returned to normal post-termination of treatment.
LGD 4033 was found to increase lean body mass when taken at a low dosage, however much larger and more thorough trials are required to ensure the drug’s safety.
Accuracy of results
There are many caveats to the above. For one, the company carrying out the research was one Ligand Pharmaceuticals, who created the drug, and further studies are being carried out by Viking Therapeutics, who bought the rights to LGD 4033.
What medical trials are funded by companies with such vested interests, it’s safe to assume some level of bias, and a definite conflict of interest.
Users in said trials reported:
- Some growth of tissue in the breast area
- Repression of testosterone
- Mild water retention
- Gains that only mildly dropped off post-cycle
Detection of LGD 4033
If you’re an athlete considering the use of the drug and wondering about the correct LGD 4033 dosage, it’s important you know that it’s very detectible in urine samples.
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Athletes and sportspeople have been suspended previously when Ligandrol has been detected in their systems, and it’s very difficult to hide your usage of the drug.
How long does Ligandrol stay in your body?
The drug’s half-life (the time it takes for its levels in your body to decrease to 50% of their original level) is between 24 and 36 hours.
One case study shows a male taking a 10mg dose of LGD 4033 and it still being detectable in his urine 7 days later, and its metabolites were still observable 21 days after.
With higher doses and repeated usage, it’s safe to assume this window of detectability will be even longer. The World Anti-Doping Agency has placed Ligandrol on their list of prohibited substances.
During the one trial that LGD 4033 has undergone, users provided anecdotal evidence of what it’s like using the drug. Be aware, as the information is anecdotal, its accuracy can’t be proven. Again, we highly advise against the use of Ligandrol.
Reports from users of the illegal substance include:
- Gains in lean muscle
- Easy fat shedding
- Raised stamina
- Increased libido
- Fast recovery times
- Increased strength after several weeks
- No mood difference
- No difference in cholesterol
- No loss of hair
Of course, these anecdotal results are provided by the company that has spent a lot of money producing the drug, so let’s take them with a pinch of salt until much larger, more rigorous tests have been completed.
Bear in mind that LGD 4033 is illegal and largely untested, so despite optimistic anecdotal evidence, there’s still a very long way to go before anything can be confirmed. And again, in this study, even with the anecdotal evidence, the drug was found to suppress testosterone in users.
Additionally, its presence in the body compounded over time, raising levels in the blood as the weeks went by.
Is Ligandrol worth it?
For reckless athletes and bodybuilders looking for an easy way to a ripped body, it’s easy to see why Ligandrol is tempting.
However, it’s an illegal and largely untested substance, and there may be a huge amount of long term effects we simply don’t know about yet. There is still astonishingly little evidence to suggest LGD 4033 is side-effect free.
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