PED Use » SARMs » Cardarine (GW-501516)

Cardarine (GW-501516) SARM 101: The Bodybuilder’s Guide

Discover the benefits and side effects of using Cardarine (GW-501516), including dosing and cycle recommendations, stacking info and buying options.
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Disclaimer: The following guide is based on my personal experience and does NOT promote the illegal use of PEDs.

When it comes to controversial PEDs, Cardarine has to be near the top of the list. If you don’t already know why, I’ll be talking more about that in this guide.

Did you think Cardarine is just another SARM? A lot of people think that. After all, it’s talked about alongside all the other PEDs, which are SARMs. But Cardarine is a little bit different. Of all PEDs, this is one I hesitated the most about using. Undoubtedly, it comes with significant benefits, and anyone using it usually finds it an incredible PED.

Want to know more about Cardarine and what it can do? Let’s dive in!

A Note About PEDs

The off-label use of PEDs is not regulated by the FDA and may or may not be suitable for you. Before taking any PEDs, consult your physician for a thorough evaluation. The reality is that PEDs are potentially dangerous, and studies and reports clearly show some severe and life-threatening side effects. The risks are not worth it, mainly when very effective alternatives exist. Without further ado, here are my top picks:

What is Cardarine?

GW-501516 (Cardarine) is in a category of its own when it comes to PEDs, although it’s often thought of and used alongside SARMs.

Cardarine PPAR Agonist
Cardarine PPAR Agonist

Cardarine is particularly popular with runners and other high-intensity athletes. This can be purely for athletic purposes (breaking personal records, for example) or for combined calorie-burning and fat-loss goals. Some bodybuilders also appreciate Cardarine’s ability to maintain muscle mass and promote fat loss on cutting cycles.

History and Overview

Cardarine was showing so much promise as a possible medical treatment that it was being researched by one of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), way back in the 90s (alongside a smaller company called Ligand Pharmaceuticals). However, after an alarming cancer result in animal studies in 2007, GSK swiftly ended its research on this chemical.

Even though there was no way of knowing whether these cancer results would have posed a risk to humans, no large pharmaceutical company wants to be involved in even a slightly risky product like this… So that left Cardarine as a discontinued chemical that would never yield investment by a major company again.

A biologist in the US took on some Cardarine experimentation himself and found it to be of benefit to the physical performance of mice. And that is how we came to see Cardarine as a very effective performance-enhancing compound – even though this had nothing to do with the original research goals of GW501516.

Mechanism of Action

Cardarine is a PPAR receptor agonist, so it works differently from the SARMs that you might be familiar with. In short, this receptor (PPAR) plays a critical role in processes that are thought to be connected with a whole range of diseases:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Cancer

Testing on rodents showed that when Cardarine binds to the PPAR receptor, it changes processes involved in how energy is expended, increases metabolism of fatty acids in the muscle, protects against type 2 diabetes, and protects against obesity that was caused by diet.

So, while we won’t ever know if these events could have been replicated in human trials (because official research has been discontinued), it doesn’t take much imagination to see why Cardarine has got the attention of the performance and bodybuilding community, especially when it comes to fat loss and athletic performance goals.

Effects of Cardarine (Benefits)

Cardarine’s main desirable benefits (for athletes and bodybuilders) revolve around fat loss and endurance. These are the two primary reasons that the vast majority of athletes and/or bodybuilders will look at running a Cardarine cycle.

Let’s look at the top effects and benefits of Cardarine as it relates to performance use:

Fat Loss and Muscle Preservation

Cardarine’s ability to speed up fat loss is one of the two big reasons anyone wants to use this PED.

Although the mechanisms are complex and include reducing insulin sensitivity and boosting insulin resistance, Cardarine can make your body more efficient at using stored body fat as an energy source. This has the dual benefit of preventing catabolic muscle breakdown, as muscle won’t be used as energy and lost forever.

My favorite thing about Cardarine’s fat loss effects is that it can burn both subcutaneous and visceral fat. Visceral fat is responsible for a lot of that unwanted abdominal and waist bulge, which is usually one of the most challenging areas to get lean.

And get this:

Animal studies also found that Cardarine can effectively reverse the metabolic issues resulting in diet-induced obesity. This makes Cardarine a PED valid for hardcore cutting cycles if you’re already lean and for anyone carrying extra pounds and needing a fat loss aid. You still need to exercise regularly and intensively to achieve body fat loss with Cardarine.

The results aren’t going to be as drastic as with something like Clenbuterol, but I’ve seen and experienced enough fat-burning results with Cardarine to know that it holds its own as a PED to include in a cutting cycle.

Muscular Endurance

A leading reason why Cardarine is still so popular with athletes is its potent effects on stamina and endurance. You will be able to train at a higher intensity and for much longer within just the first few days of starting a Cardarine cycle.

Cardarine has been found to have a powerful effect on muscle fibers, and this action contributes significantly to its endurance-enhancing effects: By converting fast-twitch muscle fibers into short-twitch fibers, Cardarine reduces muscular fatigue during intensive exercise[1].

This is what makes Cardarine very popular in the running community! But any intensive cardio activity can benefit. Naturally, with this increased capacity to exercise at a higher level of intensity, you’re going to burn more calories and body fat.

Muscle Gains

Cardarine isn’t a PED that will be at the top of your list for bulking, but past studies have shown that it CAN contribute a small amount of lean mass growth[2]. This essentially means Cardarine can simultaneously promote fat loss and muscle growth.

Lean gains won’t be pronounced in men requiring a more potent anabolic. But women can gain a very nice amount of lean mass with the proper diet on a Cardarine cycle.

Cholesterol Support

Cardarine is capable of improving your HDL (good) cholesterol levels while reducing LDL (bad) cholesterol. I know some cases where people will include it in a cycle purely for this effect only to offset the adverse cholesterol effects of some SARMs or steroids.

While I’d still strongly recommend monitoring cholesterol levels in those cases through bloodwork and not relying solely on Cardarine for support, this benefit can only be seen as a positive no matter what type of cycle you plan to use Cardarine for.

No Testosterone Suppression

While it’s not a direct benefit, the lack of suppression with Cardarine is very appealing to men. Rarely can we use any PED without at least some risk of suppression and having to do PCT. You can do a whole Cardarine cycle with no concern about low testosterone and no post-cycle therapy!

Cardarine Dosing and Administration

I’ve already talked about how Cardarine is a controversial PED. There’s nothing wrong with not wanting to use Cardarine at all, but those who do will almost always (wisely) say that by keeping the dosage moderate and the cycle length short, we’re reducing our risk to as low as possible regarding those cancer fears. Quite simply, we still don’t even know if there’s ANY risk in humans, let alone at doses significantly below what was used in animal testing.

This is something you’ll hear a lot about Cardarine: that there’s no noticeable difference between taking 10mg daily and 20mg daily. That doesn’t mean that will be YOUR own experience, but I indeed found it to be the case, and so do lots of other people.

I will say this: If you can get excellent results from 10mg, then stick with that. We still do not know the future health risks associated with Cardarine and with taking higher doses.

Doses

The most talked about Cardarine studies were those done on rodents, where cancer development marked the end of the road for this research chemical.

But it’s worth noting: the dosages given to the rodents that induced cancer growth were an order of magnitude higher (on a body weight basis) than we humans would ever take. When it comes to human clinical trials, Cardarine was only studied a few times, where it was considered well tolerated at doses between 2.5mg and 10mg.

As a general rule, bodybuilding doses are typically within the 10-20mg daily range. Most of us like to play it safe (considering that cancer word in the back of our minds) and not go wild on the dosage. Cardarine works amazingly well at these doses, so there’s rarely a good reason to take it much higher, regardless of your experience level.

Below, I’ve provided a simple guide to dosing for beginner to advanced users, as well as female Cardarine users:

Beginner

New to Cardarine? You can’t go wrong on 10mg daily for eight weeks. Some users won’t ever even exceed this dose. You’ll also know how well you tolerate Cardarine if you’re prepared to take a higher dose in your next cycle.

Intermediate

15mg is an intermediate dose and should improve cardiovascular endurance and potentially increase fat loss. An 8-10 week cycle is ideal to get optimal results if you’re using Cardarine as the sold compound.

Advanced

Most advanced users will look at stacking Cardarine rather than raising the dosage higher than 20mg. I always say that there’s little point in taking more than 20mg of Cardarine – it becomes a case of diminishing returns, AND we don’t know all the possible risks. See below for my suggestions on the best Cardarine stacks!

Female

Cardarine is particularly suited for female users because it lacks hormonal activity. A dosage range of 10-20mg is suitable for women. No virilization risk exists for women who use Cardarine, but that doesn’t mean taking an excessive dose (females also need to equally keep in mind the other possible risks involved with Cardarine).

Bioavailability, Half-life, and Cycle Length

Cardarine has a half-life of anywhere between 12 and 24 hours. The exact half-life will always vary between you, me, and every other person. Why? Metabolism and other factors play a role in the precise elimination of half-life. Still, a once-daily administration is all you will need to maintain a peak level of Cardarine.

One question I see asked often is what time of day is best to take Cardarine? Also, should you take it on an empty stomach or with/after food? First, it’s not thought that food or lack of it will alter the bioavailability or absorption of Cardarine. So, taking it on a full or empty stomach shouldn’t make a difference. The most common strategy is to take your daily Cardarine dose 15-30 minutes before training.

Let me say this: Whichever time you find is best for taking Cardarine, make it consistent! Take it at the same time every day so you don’t experience a drop in levels.

How long should your Cardarine cycle be?

As a priority, we limit the use of this PED to the shortest cycle possible (because of that cancer issue again). Luckily, Cardarine works fast, so you don’t waste any time waiting for it to kick in at the start of the cycle.

A typical Cardarine cycle will be eight weeks long. Shorter cycles of 4-6 weeks are also standard. Some people will run it for up to 12 weeks if you don’t mind the unknown risks.

Dosing Schedule and Administration Methods

Cardarine can be taken once daily; it’s generally best to take it in the morning and/or just before training. Administration is typically done orally with a liquid solution.

Some suppliers also sell Cardarine in powder and capsule forms (10mg tablets, for example). I always like to go with liquid for maximum bioavailability and the ease of measuring out an accurate dosage.

Morning administration always works well, but some people swear by taking their daily dose a short time (about 15 minutes) before training or running. Experimenting with different times of day for your dose will yield the best results for your schedule, but aim to take it at the same time each day whenever possible.

Cardarine Cycles

With Cardarine being equally beneficial for both men and women, this is one PED where cycles and doses can be very similar (or even the same) for both sexes. Where things will diverge more considerably is once you start to stack Cardarine with other PEDs – more on that in the next section.

Cardarine Cycle for Men

A standard 8- to 12-week Cardarine cycle at 15mg-20mg will provide excellent fat loss and body composition results. Endurance will be noticeably improved, starting within just the first few days. Expect to be able to run/swim/cycle at a much higher intensity and for longer.

Yes, this impressive boost to endurance and performance will mostly subside once you stop a Cardarine cycle; in other words, you’re not likely to be able to work out at the same level once Cardarine leaves your system.

However:

I and many other users have found that at least SOME of this improved endurance does indeed get retained. But you’ll need to keep up that same level of exercise to see the ongoing improvement (keeping in mind that the heart is a muscle). This is the lowdown of results that male Cardarine users experience: A noticeable improvement in endurance, which starts very quickly.

Some of the most positive comments inevitably talk about how fast Cardarine starts working. There is no need to start waiting weeks for the effects to kick in. Thanks to its short half-life, virtually all Cardarine users start noticing improvements within the first two days.

Increased vascularity is something you’ll read a lot of guys raving about as well. Expect some notable vein popping within two weeks or so; just how much of it can be attributed to the massive increase in exercise intensity vs. becoming leaner will depend on you as an individual – but everyone loves looking more vascular! Even with only a mild calorie deficit diet, guys are noting fat loss results of up to 10 lbs in the first three weeks.

Some negative reviews or comments about Cardarine include headaches, but this is likely only in susceptible individuals. It’s to be expected that a lot of the negative commentary about Cardarine – including those who’ve never used it – tends to focus on the cancer risks I’ve talked about here.

Cardarine Cycle for Women

Women can use Cardarine virtually identically to how men use it, as there are no hormonal effects to be concerned about. That means no virilization side effects for females!

Still, doses should be kept moderate to minimize other potential side effects. 10-15mg daily is more than sufficient to provide women with exceptional body recomposition results. A cycle of 8 weeks in length is adequate for most females. If you prefer a longer cycle, it’s recommended not to extend past 12 weeks maximum.

Women will be able to make significant gains in lean mass on a Cardarine cycle. Naturally, your diet and training regime are going to contribute to your outcomes here, but you can expect results such as:

  • Simultaneous loss of fat and muscle growth
  • Existing muscle will be preserved if you’re using Cardarine for cutting
  • Endurance will be boosted – longer, more intense workouts
  • Positive changes to cholesterol (increased HDL)

Female runners who use Cardarine note that, similarly to men, the endurance and stamina changes come on quickly and are significant. Cardiovascular exercise is said to feel easier to do at a much higher intensity than usual.

As far as loss of body fat goes, expect anywhere from 5% to 15% body fat reduction (depending greatly on your current weight plus your diet). Once the fat drops off, females note an exceptional improvement in muscular definition (especially around the abdominals).

Few females have negative experiences with Cardarine simply because it’s so side-effect-friendly. The only negative will be those women wanting more hardcore results – in which case they can use something like Anavar instead or a more potent fat burner like Clenbuterol.

Cardarine vs. Other PEDs

It’s always a good idea to keep an open mind and consider all your options, especially when you’re new to this.

Haven’t tried all or any other PEDs yet? Then, without that personal experience, you won’t know whether a different SARM, steroid, or other type of compound could be a better option for YOUR goals than Cardarine is – no matter how much you’ve read about other people’s experiences.

The list of PEDs I could try and compare to Cardarine is long, but I’ve chosen three of the closest and most usable other PEDs that you might also consider if Cardarine is on the table for you.

Anavar, Ostarine, and Stenabolic are worth looking at very closely to compare the good and bad of each one alongside Cardarine.

Cardarine vs. Anavar

If there’s one anabolic steroid to compare Cardarine with, it’s Anavar. This very “female-friendly” steroid is one of the milder AAS in terms of side effects, but it’s still a steroid, so it works very differently from Cardarine.

Anavar AAS
Anavar AAS

Anavar can help you put on some solid lean mass if you’re female. Cardarine won’t have that sort of muscle-building effect. Most men find Anavar not strong enough to use, particularly for muscle growth.

Anavar will be far more powerful compared to Cardarine in certain areas (especially for females), like:

  • Strength
  • Muscle gains
  • Fat loss

Cardarine will improve endurance at a higher level (for most users) than Anavar can. Some people find that Anavar worsens cardiovascular performance.

And side effects?

Females are at risk of virilization when using Anavar. Not so with Cardarine. And with Cardarine not being suppressive at all, men don’t have to bother with PCT.

There’s no right or wrong decision here: when choosing between Cardarine or Anavar, you need to have a perfect idea of what specific goals and effects you’re trying to achieve.

Cardarine vs. Ostarine

A Cardarine and Ostarine stack is what you might call the perfect stack (see my thoughts on that in the next section).

Ostarine SARM
Ostarine SARM

But what if you want to compare these two PEDs with the view of using one on its own in a cycle? Both are thought of as excellent fat loss PEDs, although both Ostarine and Cardarine work more indirectly to achieve body fat loss!

Ostarine can boost the metabolic rate while preserving lean muscle. Cardarine mainly helps you achieve fat loss through the exceptional increase in stamina and endurance (more intensive exercise = faster fat burning).

As a pure fat loss cycle, there are better options than either one of these. But for a performance cycle with fat loss being just one goal, both will deliver results. If I had to choose one as a sole compound, it’d be Cardarine. It’s just the more potent performance enhancer.

But you know what?

I would instead stack Cardarine and Ostarine and do a proper cycle, allowing Ostarine to protect lean muscle while Cardarine does its thing.

Cardarine vs. SR-9009

Stenabolic (SR-9009) is the most obvious PED to compare Cardarine to because they are so similar in their effects.

Stenabolic Rev-ErbA agonist
Stenabolic Rev-ErbA agonist

Like Cardarine, Stenabolic is also not a SARM (it’s a REV-ERBa agonist). Still, both are exceptionally good at boosting cardiovascular performance, as well as improving cholesterol and promoting body fat loss.

Although they achieve this in different ways, to you as the athlete, BOTH these PEDs are going to boost endurance and stamina, among other benefits, substantially.

So, if your choice comes down to using either Stenabolic or Cardarine, which do you choose?

Stenabolic is a first choice if the cancer concerns of Cardarine are a big worry for you. But Stenabolic does have a downside when it comes to administration: SR-9009 has low bioavailability and a short half-life that requires it to be taken 2-4 times daily. Compare that to Cardarine’s convenient once-per-day dosage, and it’s clear which is the easier compound to take.

The good news is that immediate side effects are minimal with both Cardarine and Stenabolic.

As a newbie, I’d recommend Cardarine at a low dose simply because it’s less of a hassle to take than Stenabolic. But results will be similar, and ultimately, the only way to know which one you respond to the best is to run separate cycles with both.

Stacking Cardarine

Cardarine is quite effective on its own, but you will always want to stack it with at least one other PED for higher-level results (either for cutting, muscle gains, or performance). As I mentioned earlier, this is far more ideal than raising your Cardarine dose. Below are some suggested stacks you can try with Cardarine:

Cutting and Endurance Stacks

Cardarine can be used in any cutting cycle, with even a low dose of 10mg vastly adding to your capacity to boost endurance and cardiovascular performance and burn fat. A nice bonus is the protection it gives to cholesterol levels, which can offset the adverse cholesterol effects of some other PEDs.

Cardarine + Ostarine

One of the simplest (yet powerful) cutting or fat loss stacks you can do is Cardarine and Ostarine. Men doing this stack will be almost exclusively focused on fat burning, as minimal muscle can be gained. But females are going to be more reactive to the anabolic effects of Ostarine, with impressive lean gains possible if your diet supports it.

The real value of a Cardarine and Ostarine stack is in the simultaneous fat burning and muscle growth and/or preservation – resulting in awe-inspiring body recomposition results.

Benefits

  • Significant body fat loss – 8% or more
  • High level of muscle retention on a cutting diet
  • Increased muscular endurance
  • Energy and strength are maintained while on a calorie-deficit diet

Dosing

  • Ostarine: 20mg/day for eight weeks
  • Cardarine: 10mg/day for eight weeks

Possible side effects

Ostarine does come with some side effects to watch out for, including reducing HDL cholesterol levels, some liver toxicity, and testosterone suppression. Both of these PEDs can elevate your liver enzymes. Headaches are commonly reported, but usually short-lived side effects at the beginning of the cycle, which are more than likely caused by Ostarine.

Results

Just how much fat you could lose on this stack will depend on:

  • Your current weight and body composition
  • Your training regime
  • The quality and quantity of your calorie intake

It’s entirely doable to shed up to 10% of body fat if you put in the work on this cycle.

Men are not likely to gain much or any muscle at all. Still, the existing muscle will be preserved well, and this will become more noticeable as fat reduces – increased muscular definition with the loss of the fat that was previously hiding your muscle tone.

Women can see significant muscle gains, with 10-20lbs more than possible if you’re not on a calorie deficit diet. This is at the same time fat loss is taking place, resulting in very impressive improvements to overall body composition.

PCT

Countless times, I’ve heard and read guys saying Ostarine doesn’t suppress. Well, it can, and it does! Sticking to my recommended dosage above (or reducing it) will minimize suppression, but you should still prepare for PCT, just in case.

A simple Nolvadex or Clomid PCT at 20mg/day for four weeks will do the trick. Can you get by without PCT? Some guys definitely can, but getting bloodwork done is the only surefire way of knowing what’s happening with your testosterone.

Naturally, women don’t require PCT with this or any other cycle.

Cardarine + Stenabolic

This stack is a performance powerhouse. With both Stenabolic and Cardarine having powerful effects on endurance and stamina, you won’t find a more impressive combination. Clearly, with significantly boosted performance capabilities, you’re going to be able to burn impressive amounts of fat if that’s your goal.

Benefits

  • Massive stamina and endurance boost, increased intensity, and length of workouts.
  • Faster and more efficient fat-burning.
  • Preserve muscle mass while dieting and doing intensive cardio exercise.
  • Fast acting.

Dosing

  • 15mg/day Stenabolic
  • 15mg/day Cardarine
  • Cycle length: 8 weeks

Possible side effects

  • Cancer risks of Cardarine
  • Insomnia (rare side effect of Stenabolic)
  • Some liver stress

Results

Both compounds are going to boost your endurance and cardio performance to a very high level. This is a perfect fat loss and performance enhancement stack with minimal side effects. The downside is the need to administer Stenabolic 2-4 times per day because of its short half-life.

PCT

PCT is not required after this cycle since neither Cardarine nor Stenabolic are suppressive.

Cardarine + RAD-140

This can be either a bulking or cutting stack. Low doses of each PED here will still give excellent results while minimizing side effects. Your diet and training should be the primary driver of your desired results with this stack.

Benefits

  • Fat loss on a calorie deficit diet
  • Muscle gains, including while burning fat
  • Endurance, strength, and energy boost
  • Faster muscle recovery

Dosing

  • Cardarine: 10mg daily for eight weeks
  • RAD-140: 5mg daily for eight weeks

Possible side effects

  • Testosterone suppression
  • Some liver stress
  • Aggression or irritability

Results

If muscle gains are your primary goal here, it’s possible to gain 10 lbs. While cutting, even a few pounds of lean muscle can be gained. If your body fat is currently at the high end (around 20%), this stack can see you drop 10% body fat.

PCT

Depending on how suppressed RAD-140 makes you, you may get away with no PCT on this cycle. However, if you raise your RAD-140 dose above the recommended 5mg, PCT will almost always be required using a standard SERM protocol.

Bulking Stacks

Cardarine is rarely thought of as a bulking PED, but it can have its uses in a bulking cycle where your goal is for some very lean gains with minimal fat.

When stacked with an anabolic steroid, Cardarine is often used as a supportive compound. I like how it provides support for cholesterol levels when using an AAS that kills your cholesterol, like Trenbolone.

Other bulking stacks you can consider with Cardarine without diving into the world of anabolic steroids include YK-11 or even the RAD-140 stack I listed above with a higher dose of RAD to facilitate muscle growth (just be aware that suppression will be more severe).

Non-suppressive Stack (Cardarine + Ibutamoren)

If avoiding testosterone suppression is a priority as a male, you can look at stacking Cardarine with MK677 (Ibutamoren). Ibutamoren is a Growth Hormone Secretagogue. It is not a suppressive PED (even if you’ve read that it is – this is false!). So, this is an excellent non-suppressive stack that can deliver surprisingly powerful results.

Benefits

  • Muscle gains and muscle retention
  • Faster recovery and improved sleep
  • Endurance and energy are retained in a calorie deficit
  • Increased bone density
  • Appetite increase (you might see this as a negative if you’re cutting)

Dosing

  • Ibutamoren: 10-20mg daily
  • Cardarine: 10-20mg daily
  • Cycle length: 8-12 weeks

This stack can be either used for bulking or cutting. If muscle gains are your primary goal, you’ll look at the higher end of the dosage range for each PED.

Possible side effects

  • Joint stiffness
  • Water retention
  • An increase in appetite can make it hard to diet

Results

If you’re in a calorie deficit, you’ll notice how these PEDs work to preserve muscle. The increased appetite caused by MK677 can make it a challenge to stick with a strict diet, and some users find reducing the dose can help control this.

Strength and endurance improvements are expected results here with the combined effects of both PEDs. Some users comment how niggling pains subside; this is thanks to MK677 and the effects of HGH speeding up muscle healing and strengthening bones and joints.

You will look bigger after this cycle, and a lot of this is, unfortunately, water retention. This will fade after the cycle, potentially resulting in a drop of 10 lbs or more of total body weight.

PCT

No PCT is required as neither Cardarine nor Ibutamoren will suppress testosterone levels.

Cardarine PCT

Cardarine is one of the few PEDs where males don’t even have to think about doing PCT. That’s right, no post-cycle therapy! It doesn’t cause any testosterone suppression, so if you’ve done a Cardarine-only cycle, you can skip PCT altogether.

Men won’t experience any reduction in testosterone levels during or after a Cardarine cycle. It has no hormonal effects at all.

Naturally, you will need to consider PCT if you’re stacking Cardarine with just about any other PED because not many others have zero suppressive qualities like this one.

Females never have to think about PCT, regardless of what PED is used. The same applies to Cardarine.

For a more detailed overview of PCT after using SARMs and SARM-like PEDs, make sure you take a look at my in-depth PCT article here.

Cardarine Side Effects

Usually, I’d want to talk separately about the side effects of any PED as it relates to females and males because, as you’d certainly know, adverse effects can be very different for men and women.

But this isn’t the case at all with Cardarine! Mainly due to the complete lack of hormonal effects, men and women will have similar experiences regarding the downsides of Cardarine.

The good news?

Cardarine is one of the most “side effect friendly” PEDs you can use, at least in the immediate term. While using it, I experienced no side effects at all, and I know plenty of other men and women with the same experience.

However, there are some known adverse effects that some Cardarine users have reported. Plus, we have the more unknown potential long-term effects that we don’t have solid data on yet (and may never have). Here’s what to look out for:

  • Enlargement of the heart: It is unknown what, if any, harm this may cause.
  • Liver fibrosis (impaired liver function): a study on rats discovered some potential adverse effects on the liver; however, we have no information on whether this may apply to humans using low-dose Cardarine[3].
  • Cancer risk: Cardarine was discontinued from further trials due to the development of cancer in animal studies.

Some of the minor and usually temporary side effects occasionally reported by sensitive individuals include nausea, diarrhea, or headaches.

Where to Buy Cardarine?

Despite its known risks, Cardarine remains one of the more popular PEDs you can buy through research labs. But its availability (and legal status) is going to depend on where in the world you’re located.

Cardarine is easily found and bought online in the US and most major countries. And yes, you can technically legally buy it through reputable online research chemical suppliers.

Cardarine is sold for research purposes only, but with little to no scrutiny (for now) of who is purchasing Cardarine and how it’s being used. Your main concern will be finding a high-quality, trustworthy supplier.

You will want to avoid buying from anywhere that doesn’t have a good reputation because:

  • The quality of the Cardarine can be very low or even contaminated, resulting in unexpected side effects and poor results.
  • Scams exist; you may pay a supplier and never receive your Cardarine in the mail.
  • Despite what the label says, there may be no actual Cardarine at all in the product.

I can not stress this enough: do your research and only buy from trusted sources if you want the best and most pure quality Cardarine.

So, where to buy it? Here are my top picks:

Author’s Note: The effects of PEDs vary from person to person and depend on many variables, including type, dosage, frequency of use, and interactions with current medications. Please speak with a healthcare provider or pharmacist before starting any PEDs.

Best Overall: Brutal Force Cardalean Cardarine

Brutal Force Cardalean Cardarine

Why I Like It: It completely eliminates the famous cancer risk of Cardarine without compromising on my results.

It’s Worth Noting: You’ll get the best ripped and vascular aesthetics from Brutal Force Cardalean if you’re already at a low body fat percentage.

I really, really wanted to like and use Cardarine because I know how good it is. But there’s a BIG but: the cancer risk identified in rat studies just put a big red flag over Cardarine for me. Finally, we have an excellent and SAFE alternative to Cardarine in Cardalean. Like Cardarine, Cardalean is about achieving maximum endurance and stamina, plus fat-burning without losing lean muscle. This is a formula for the athlete and the cardio enthusiast; expect incredible endurance and stamina that you can use either to break your athletic records or to supercharge the loss of stubborn fat.

Cardalean covers all the primary benefits of Cardarine with the peace of mind that not only is the cancer risk gone, but those other Cardarine sides won’t weigh on your mind either (heart enlargement, liver stress, and brain cell damage, to name a few possibilities). And while Cardarine’s fat-burning effects are respectable, I find Cardalean to be even better – and Cardalean, hands down, promotes vascularity and muscle hardness much more than Cardarine ever could. Finally, let’s talk about cycle length: burning fat and keeping it off is a long-term goal, and I never felt comfortable using Cardarine longer than 8-10 weeks max, but Cardalean is safe to use for as long as you want without damaging your health.

Product Details:

  • Form: Capsule
  • Serving Size: 3 capsules daily (before first meal)
  • Servings per Container: 30
  • Active Ingredients: Wild Yam powder, Ginseng extract, L-Arginine Alpha-Ketoglutarate, Acetyl-L-Carnitine, L-Citrulline, Puncture Vine extract
  • Dietary Considerations: Organic, vegan
  • Third-party Tested: Yes

Best Overall (Runner-Up): Crazy Bulk C-Dine 501516 Cardarine

Crazy Bulk C-Dine 501516 Cardarine

Why I Like It: C-Dine reduces my appetite, so I’m no longer craving calories I don’t need, which speeds up fat loss to the maximum potential.

It’s Worth Noting: Crazy Bulk C-Dine is not a weight loss magic pill, so if you’re eating excess calories or low-quality food, your results might not be what you expected.

Endurance and fat burning are the two reasons people will use Cardarine and do so while putting the potential risk of cancer development to the back of the mind. I like to remove that risk altogether, so I turned to Crazy Bulk’s Cardarine alternative: C-Dine 501516. Just like Cardarine, C-Dine excels at boosting your endurance and optimizing fat loss. Just make sure you’re on a well-planned calorie-deficit diet if you want maximum fat burning. While Cardarine’s fat loss results are impressive enough, C-Dine is even more effective at burning your stored fat, and with its effects on decreasing your appetite, I find it much easier to stick with my planned diet on C-Dine 501516.

The stamina and endurance effects of Cardarine are legendary, and even if you’re not primarily aiming for a lot of fat loss, C-Dine holds significant benefits for athletes in terms of performance. Cardio performance with C-Dine is on par with Cardarine: if you struggled to run 3 miles before, it’s realistic to expect to be able to run twice that distance or more and have it feel like you could go even further. Whether it’s for fat burning or increased exercise capacity and performance, C-Dine’s side-effect-free formula has been carefully put together into a once-daily pill that can be safely used for three months or longer with no adverse effects.

Product Details:

  • Form: Capsule
  • Serving Size: 4 capsules daily (before first meal)
  • Servings per Container: 30
  • Active Ingredients: Vitamin C, Iron, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, Vitamin A, Iodine, Chromium, Southern Ginseng, Choline, InnoSlim, Capsimax
  • Dietary Considerations: Organic
  • Third-party Tested: Yes

Best for Strength: Brutal Force Goliath SARMs Strength Stack

Brutal Force Goliath SARMs Stack (Strength Stack)

Why I Like It: I can focus purely on raw size gains with this stack or change my diet and aim for a leaner and ripped aesthetic for a recomp.

It’s Worth Noting: You’ll need to eat enough of the right foods daily to maintain the tremendous strength gains this stack can deliver.

Bulking and cutting stacks might be the most popular, but have you ever considered the benefits of a stack focused on strength? A powerful strength stack like the Goliath Stack gives you a tool to use as a base for any goal: to bulk up, lose fat, or as a recomposition cycle. Most of us will still use this powerful combo for bulking, and the Brutal Force Goliath Strength Stack has covered you for powering massive workouts with incredible strength gains. I expected to break through frustrating plateaus with this stack and wasn’t disappointed. More strength means heavier lifts, more reps, smashing personal records, and ultimately, faster and more significant muscle gains.

It’s not all about strength, though. Very early on, the rapid recovery and increased vascularity become prominent. Each of the three formulas in the Goliath stack mimics the effects of powerful SARMs without any associated side effects. You don’t need PCT (zero testosterone suppression), and YKbulk eliminates the low bioavailability problems of YK-11. Adding Cardalean to mimic the effects of Cardarine gives you an immense endurance and stamina edge. That’s made all the difference in smashing plateaus and almost doubling the time I can work out before feeling fatigued.

Stack Details:

  • Form: Capsules
  • Stack Contents: Cardalean, Ostabulk, YKbulk
  • Servings per Stack: 30
  • Dietary Considerations: Organic, vegan
  • Third-party Tested: Yes

Availability of Cardarine

Cardarine is widely available through research chemical suppliers. If you’re in the US, you’ll find a plethora of online research chemical sellers who stock Cardarine as one of their most popular products.

I prefer Cardarine in liquid form, as it’s easier to take, measure the dose, and get an accurate dosage each time. But powder and pills are also available from some suppliers. Again, the quality of any of these products can vary drastically between sellers.

With its well-known ability to significantly enhance performance and body composition, Cardarine is listed as a prohibited substance by all the major world sporting anti-doping organizations, much like anabolic steroids. So, if you’re a competitor of any sort and are likely to undergo drug testing, Cardarine would not be a legal substance for you.

As for the average amateur bodybuilder, athlete, or fitness enthusiast? Cardarine won’t present legal problems as SARMs or other non-anabolic steroid products will.

Typical Pricing

Liquid Cardarine typically comes in 30ml bottles of 20mg/ml concentration, which can be bought for around $60 from online US-based suppliers. I have seen products with half that concentration – just 10mg/ml – for the same price from other labs.

The variations are down to the lack of regulation around selling these research chemicals. In short, no one is checking the quality or manufacturing process, and sellers can effectively charge whatever people are willing to pay.

It all comes down to shopping around, finding suitable suppliers through word of mouth, and not necessarily going for the lowest price you can find. Ordering bulk vials will usually yield a nice discount compared to a one-off purchase.

Final Thoughts

Cardarine is a PED that you’ll either take or leave. Opinions are typically all or none when it comes to the big C word – cancer.

I feel it’s no more of a risk than all the other things we’re exposed to daily – but that’s MY opinion. Yours might vary, and I’m not here to recommend using Cardarine. After all, there are plenty of other potentially safer options.

From everything I’ve gathered and personally seen, 99% of people use Cardarine without issues or concerns. The results are exceptional, and if this is a road you choose to go down, I still haven’t met anyone disappointed with Cardarine’s benefits and results!

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— Furious Joe

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Joe Robles a.k.a Furious Joe

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Furious Joe

What I talk about here is something I've done. From anabolic steroids to SARMs to peptides and ancillary drugs, I've done it at some point in my life, and I can relate.

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