Ligandrol, also known by its development code, LGD 4033, is a SARM, or ‘selective androgen receptor modulator’ created in 2009 by Ligand Pharmaceuticals. It is licenced to and distributed by Viking Therapeutics.
It was found in clinical trials that participants were gaining muscle mass without also increasing their levels of body fat. It is for this reason that it is now used mainly by bodybuilders and athletes looking for a dietary supplement to improve athletic performance.
The drug was created with the intention of treating cancer patients, and people suffering from diseases where muscle wastage and muscle loss was a concern.
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 novel bodybuilding drugs, the Ligandrol side effects are only slowly emerging.
In this article, we are going to look at what Ligandrol is, the benefits of taking it, its uses, dosage, and the potential side effects of this SARM.
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.
It is, like all other SARMs, banned for use in professional sports by the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA), and is not licenced for human consumption by the FDA. The clinical studies that have been done are only small in scope and long term side effects have not been established.
We want to make it clear that you shouldn’t be taking this drug, for the sake of your own health. The reasons will become apparent as you start to understand its effects on the vital organs, even at a lower dose.
But we think it is only fair to give you all the information, both good and bad, and at least you can come to an informed decision on the value of this selective androgen receptor modulator.
In the interest of making sure you’re well informed, we’ll discuss the Ligandrol side effects, uses and dosage further in this article.
How a Ligandrol LGD 4033 dosage works
Taken as a tablet (oral administration), Ligandrol binds to specific sites on skeletal muscles. Shown to increase lean muscle mass, it’s become very popular in bodybuilding circles. Some users have reported huge gains, with few adverse effects compared to anabolic-androgenic steroids.
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 (selective androgen receptor modulators) like Ligandrol work similarly to steroids, but they are not quite the same thing. Both have anabolic effects. Both work by binding to your androgen receptors, triggering changes in your DNA which stimulate muscle growth, resulting in increased lean body mass.
But SARMs work by doing this selectively, which means they target specific androgen receptors around muscle and bone tissue, rather than every receptor in the body. It is for this reason that users report fewer, or milder, side effects.
You already know that the body produces the testosterone hormone naturally. When taking Ligandrol, the body will see a significant upsurge in testosterone and this starts to quite quickly alter body composition. Positive effects will include higher rates of protein synthesis and this results in the desired increased muscle mass, while you can also expect to lose fat.
But the flip side is that, like anabolic steroids, there is an increased risk of breast and prostate cancer, liver infection, hair loss, or decreased sex drive. We’ll look at all of this in a bit more detail later.
Benefits of Ligandrol LGD 4033
There’s a lot to be said for SARMs, and Ligandrol is no exception.
Muscle Growth and Muscle Mass
The biggest factor that draws bodybuilders to LGD is the super quick muscle growth. The increase in muscle mass when the androgen receptor is selectively targeted is, quite frankly, impressive. Not just muscle mass, but an increase in lean muscle mass.
Also Read: The newbie’s guide to hypertrophy
A selective androgen receptor modulator like Ligandrol results in weight gain by piling on muscle mass. That’s indisputable. When it binds to an androgen receptor in the body, the resulting protein synthesis spurs on muscle growth well beyond what the body can normally do.
It isn’t natural growth, so it takes a little time to adjust to the body gain. The increase in muscle strength is noticed in the gym when pushing that 1-rep max.
What you don’t notice straight away would be things like liver toxicity at higher doses. The increase in harmful liver enzymes, even in healthy young men, can start to bear down on any positive effects.
As well as adding muscle, Ligandrol – like many other SARMs – can actually help to reduce body fat. There are few other supplements that are so effective at cutting fat.
What is more, there are claims that Ligandrol can have a positive impact on cholesterol levels by increasing HDL cholesterol at the cost of LDL. That’s going to be good for heart health if it’s true.
Again, there can be some drawbacks. Some users report an increase in water weight, which can affect your definition and vascularity. And there is the real risk that you can develop a hepatic lipase deficiency, which causes elevated levels of plasma cholesterol and triglycerides. Not great.
As it was developed to treat osteoporosis, you can expect an improvement in bone mineral density. Osteoporosis is responsible for a wide variety of bone ailments in older people, such as a hip fracture.
By binding to specific androgen receptors in the body, Ligandrol helps in strengthening the bones, as well as growing muscle mass. This translates into more power at the gym as the bones are strong enough to support the muscles as they grow.
Is Ligandrol LGD 4033 Legal?
Not such a straightforward answer for this, I’m afraid.
So it is legal to buy and sell, but only for ‘research purposes’ It is not licenced for human consumption, as the medical sciences haven’t had a chance to test it properly.
It is illegal, however, to buy and sell it as a tablet for human consumption. And there are many countries that have deemed it completely illegal even for possession, so be careful if you want to take this on your next holiday.
To establish safety, you need thorough and transparent human trials. This hasn’t happened yet with Ligandrol. There definitely hasn’t been a clinical trial looking at how athletes can use it to increase muscle mass.
Ligandrol LGD 4033 Dosage
Steroid users have always been on the lookout for a better alternative that can provide similar benefits to steroids without the costs.
Ligandrol is usually taken at a daily dose of somewhere between 0.5 and 2 milligrams. To reduce the risk, most novice users will start on a lower dose and adjust upwards. You can see how your body reacts and, if all is well, you can start to increase the dose.
You should notice an uptick in muscle strength and a loss in body fat really quite quickly. If you notice your blood pressure rising, lower the dose. If you start to experience hair loss, stop using it. The best thing is to err on the side of caution with these novel drugs.
With a half-life of 24 hours, you only need to take one dose a day instead of multiple throughout the day. That makes it easier to get into a solid routine as you can set the same time every day and that’ll be it.
Beginners would do well to enter a phase of post cycle therapy (PCT) following a 6-8 week cycle of Ligandrol. This can involve taking a dietary supplement, or even complete drug cessation. Other supplements might be helpful as testosterone suppression is going to be a factor following a cycle and to reap maximum benefits you want your body to rebalance its hormones as quickly as possible.
The length and intensity of a PCT will be dose-dependent. The more Ligandrol you have taken, and the longer you have taken it for, the more careful you need to be with the PCT. Muscle size might be on the up, but what you don’t want is something like prostate enlargement too.
Once in the body, Ligandrol binds to an androgen receptor. It kickstarts 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.
There are several LGD side effects that have been discovered so far, all of which you need to familiarise yourself with. It doesn’t just stop at lean muscle mass or a reduction in body fat.
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
- Hair loss
These can all happen with Ligandrol. The biggest thing to be aware of – aside from the serious risk of heart failure or stroke – is the testosterone suppression you will experience during a cycle. This will happen in all cases, and it is vital you go through post cycle therapy (PCT) to counter this. You need to rebalance your hormones.
Not least estrogen hormones. What some users have noticed is actually a surge in estrogen as a result of taking Ligandrol. That does the exact opposite of what they were looking to achieve. If this happens, you can say goodbye to that lean muscle mass!
The problem is that the time spent in a PCT treatment will start to eat away any gains you did make in reducing body fat or improving muscle mass.
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. Great.
But 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.
The study did not go back to these adults to try and track the medium or long term effects, so there is nothing to be said about this through the lens of the biological sciences.
Ligandrol effects: the bigger picture
What do these results tell us?
It’s that Ligandrol causes many of the exact same issues as testosterone therapy. Bodybuilders who take Ligandrol will be doing so in order to avoid the negative effects of testosterone therapy. The fact that they will face the same issues negates any 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.
Ligandrol 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 far too many caveats to the above benefits. For one, the company that created the drug was Ligand Pharmaceuticals, but further studies are being carried out by Viking Therapeutics, who bought the rights to distribute LGD 4033.
When 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 dropped off post-cycle
Independent research has yet to determine how good these trials were. They are selling the stuff and you are the guinea pig.
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.
Professional athletes have been suspended previously when Ligandrol had been detected in their systems, and it’s very difficult to hide your usage of the drug. WADA has now developed tests specifically for Ligandrol and other SARMs to keep those using it from competing.
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 only trial that Ligandrol has undergone, users provided anecdotal evidence of what it’s like to use the drug. As the information is anecdotal, its accuracy can’t be proven one way or another. Again, we highly advise against the use of Ligandrol.
Reports from users of the drug 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 results have to be taken with a pinch of salt as they are provided by the company that has spent a lot of money producing the drug. Until much larger, more rigorous tests have been completed by independent clinicians, we don’t know how good or bad Ligandrol really is.
Bear in mind that Ligandrol is illegal to consume and largely untested, so despite the optimistic-sounding evidence, there’s still a way to go before anything can be confirmed. And again, even in this study, even with the anecdotal evidence, the drug was still found to suppress testosterone in users.
Additionally, its presence in the body compounded over time, raising levels in the blood as more time 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. It promises fast results and no side effects.
But that simply isn’t true. The results might be quick, but they don’t come cost-free. The side effects range from mild to catastrophic, but there definitely are side effects.
Not to mention it is illegal to buy it to consume and is largely untested. And there may be huge long term effects we simply don’t know about yet. We know there are short term side effects for sure. You can only guess what it does to your body in the long term.
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