For researchers seeking an in-depth analysis comparing peptides vs. SARMs based on clinical data, this is the right place.
This comprehensive guide presents the latest research findings on the advantages, drawbacks, and safety considerations of peptides and SARMs.
In this guide, we’ll concisely summarize the similarities and distinctions between research peptides and SARMs in three key areas:
- Weight loss
- Muscle building
- Bone health
We’ll also address the legal status of these substances and highlight potential risks that may arise during testing.
Drawing upon our team’s experience, we’ll also provide comprehensive information on reputable online vendors for qualified professionals interested in obtaining research peptides and SARMs.
Buy research peptides from our top-rated vendor...
Disclaimer: Peptides.org contains information about products that are intended for laboratory and research use only, unless otherwise explicitly stated. This information, including any referenced scientific or clinical research, is made available for educational purposes only. Likewise, any published information relative to the dosing and administration of reference materials is made available strictly for reference and shall not be construed to encourage the self-administration or any human use of said reference materials. Peptides.org makes every effort to ensure that any information it shares complies with national and international standards for clinical trial information and is committed to the timely disclosure of the design and results of all interventional clinical studies for innovative treatments publicly available or that may be made available. However, research is not considered conclusive. Peptides.org makes no claims that any products referenced can cure, treat or prevent any conditions, including any conditions referenced on its website or in print materials.
What are Peptides?
Peptides are naturally occurring molecules that share a common structure with proteins, as both are composed of amino acids linked together through peptide bonds. This results in the creation of intricate molecular structures with properties characterized by their distinctive amino acid sequences.
But unlike proteins, peptides are shorter in length and lack complex three-dimensional arrangements. Typically, peptides are composed of 2-50 amino acids with a typically linear configuration, although there are cyclic and other non-linear structures, as well .
Peptides play crucial roles in the body’s biological processes, including :
- Transmission of cellular signals
- Regulation of various processes
- Hormonal function
- Appetite regulation
- Immune function and regulation
- Stimulation of tissue hyperplasia and hypertrophy
- Regulation of cellular motility
Due to their ability to target various receptors and modulate biological functions, peptides have garnered significant attention in medical research for the development of novel drugs and therapies.
Examples of peptides that are noted for their substantial efficacy and relative safety include:
Presently, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved over 60 peptide-based medications for human use, including bioidentical and modified synthetic peptides. Hundreds of other research peptides are also under active investigation [2, 3].
What are SARMs?
SARMs stands for selective androgen receptor modulators. As the name suggests, these compounds selectively activate androgen receptors in various tissues and organs.
Selective androgen receptor modulators were developed to exert the benefits of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) and anabolic steroids (AAS) without some of their adverse consequences. They work by activating specific androgen receptors in tissue where their effects are desired. Example applications include stimulating muscle building, fat loss, and higher bone mineral density [4, 5].
Examples of SARMs that are currently under active research include:
Researchers should note that despite their selectivity, SARMs are not free of side effects, and many of these compounds possess similar side effects to AAS or other, completely different risks [4, 5].
Moreover, the FDA has yet to approve any SARM for therapeutic use, despite the fact that some SARMs have reached clinical trials. They are classified as research chemicals that cannot be sold legally for human or animal use. Like peptides, SARMs are generally legally available only for research purposes and in experimental settings.
Peptides vs. SARMs | Pros and Cons
Scientists may wonder how peptides compare to SARMs in research settings when investigating muscle growth, weight loss, and recovery.
SARMs are under active research for conditions like muscle wasting and osteoporosis. They were generally developed with the aim of selectively stimulating androgen receptors in muscle and bone tissue, without affecting other areas such as the prostate receptors [4, 5].
Some SARMs like ostarine and RAD140 have also been investigated for their potential to selectively suppress breast cancer cell growth, and the available preliminary research (both animal and human trials) appears promising [6, 7, 8].
Regardless of their potential, no SARM is currently FDA-approved for human use. Some are under active research, while the development of others has been discontinued following unsuccessful phase-2 and phase-3 studies .
Nevertheless, SARMs hold potential for improving muscle mass, strength, and athletic performance. They are generally classified as S1 substances by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). This class covers anabolic substances that can lead to an unfair advantage in competitive sports and are prohibited in and out of competition .
WADA has also prohibited the use of several peptides, under either class S0 (not approved for human use) or S2 (peptide hormones and growth factors) . Peptides covered by either category are likewise prohibited in and out of competition.
Overall, both SARMs and peptides possess advantages and disadvantages when used in research settings.
Here’s a summary of the primary benefits and drawbacks of SARMs…
- Advantages: Potential benefits for muscle building, strength, and fat loss; certain SARMs may also have benefits for bone mineral density; many lack side effects linked to AAS, such as prostate hypertrophy .
- Disadvantages: None are FDA-approved by FDA for human use; despite their selectivity, many SARMs have other side effects similar to oral AAS, such as liver toxicity.
On the other hand, the main benefits and drawbacks of peptides are as follows…
- Advantages: Wide range of benefits, including weight loss, anti-aging properties, enhanced recovery and healing, increased lean body mass, and improved bone mineral density. Most peptides are well-tolerated and do not cause significant side effects [11, 12].
- Disadvantages: Despite the existence of numerous FDA-approved peptides, many compounds have not undergone sufficient clinical trials and are still not approved for human use.
Clearly, both peptides and SARMs can offer advantages related to muscle growth, weight loss, and bone health. However, these compounds operate through distinct mechanisms and may exert varying magnitudes of effect.
Continue reading for a detailed comparison of their respective benefits in terms of muscle building, fat loss, and bone health.
Peptides vs. SARMs | Muscle Growth
SARMs are developed specifically for their muscle-building effects, and several clinical trials have confirmed their potential:
- A phase-2 clinical trial reports that the SARM ostarine can cause 2.9lb lean mass gain compared to placebo within 12 weeks. The trial involved 120 elderly subjects who took 3mg/daily .
- Based on the aforementioned phase-2 clinical trial results, the compound was included in phase-3 trials which investigated its potential to prevent muscle wasting in patients with advanced lung cancer. Ostarine was statistically more effective than placebo, but its overall effectiveness was less than expected, and it did not reach FDA approval [9, 10].
Research peptides have also demonstrated an ability to enhance lean body mass and muscle size:
- The peptide sermorelin, which works by mimicking growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) to stimulate endogenous growth hormone (GH) synthesis, has been shown to increase lean mass in healthy male subjects. In one study, subjects gained 2.8lb in lean mass after 16 weeks of 10 µg/kg daily sermorelin injections. This peptide was previously FDA-approved for treating growth failure in children .
- Clinical trials on tesamorelin, another GHRH mimetic, have observed noteworthy improvements in muscle density and size among HIV patients. The peptide is currently FDA-approved for treating lipodystrophy in HIV/AIDS .
Peptides vs. SARMs | Weight Loss
Both peptides and SARMs have been reported to cause statistically significant body fat reductions in research settings.
In fact, a class of peptides known as incretin mimetics can induce significant weight loss by replicating the functions of glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), which are naturally occurring hormones involved in glucose regulation and appetite modulation .
Here is a direct comparison between some of the most notable examples:
- The SARM ostarine was reported to cause -1.3lb fat loss relative to placebo within 12 weeks of 3mg/daily dosing according to a phase-2 trial in 120 elderly individuals. This weight loss was significant, considering that the volunteers’ mean BMI was 21.35kg/m2 and the mean weight was 148.8lb in the 3mg group . Longer trials may potentially lead to greater weight loss results.
- The peptide tirzepatide is a novel dual GIP/GLP-1 receptor agonist currently being investigated as a weight loss medication . In a phase-3 trial including over 2500 overweight and obese individuals (baseline weight 233lb on average), the subjects achieved up to a 20.9% (about 48lb) mean reduction in body weight after 72 weeks at the dose of 15mg/weekly .
GLP-1 receptor agonists semaglutide and liraglutide are already FDA-approved for chronic weight management in adults. They are also approved for other indications, including weight loss in adolescents (aged 12-17) and cardiovascular risk reduction in type 2 diabetics .
Peptides vs. SARMs | Bone Health
Neither SARMs nor peptides have been shown to reliably increase bone mass and bone mineral density (BMD) in human studies.
However, rat studies with SARMs suggest that several compounds may hold significant BMD-increasing potential:
- Ostarine can have a positive effect on early bone healing and leads to the improvement of several microstructural bone indices in rat osteoporosis models [18, 19].
- Andarine has also been reported to support whole body and trabecular BMD, cortical content, and increased bone strength in rats while simultaneously decreasing body fat in the test animals .
Peptides such as the growth hormone secretagogue ipamorelin have also been reported to improve bone markers in rats. For example:
- A rat experiment reported that ipamorelin therapy significantly increased bone mineral content after 12 weeks compared to placebo, as measured by DEXA (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) .
Are SARMs Actually Peptides?
Despite their similar benefits for weight loss and muscle building, SARMs actually have nothing to do with peptides, including in structure and mechanism. While peptides are chains of amino acids, SARMs are a class of compounds with a variety of structures.
Some SARMs have steroidal structures similar to testosterone and AAS, which means that they contain four fused carbon rings with various functional groups. However, the majority of recently developed SARMs have non-steroidal structures, which may be based on :
- Aryl-propionamide (andarine, ostarine, RAD140)
- Bicyclic hydantoin (BMS-564,929)
- Quinolinones and tetrahydroquinoline analogs
- Benizimidazole, imidazolopyrazole, indole, and pyrazoline derivaties
- Aniline, diaryl aniline, and bezoxazepinones derivatives
Regardless of structure, all SARMs work by interacting with the androgen receptors (ARs) in specific tissues, i.e., “selectively,” rather than activating ARs throughout the body.
By contrast, peptides function in a multitude of ways, and the potential of each depends on its specific amino acid sequence. Examples include:
- GHRH analogs, which stimulate the release of growth hormones to boost muscle growth, abdominal weight loss, and cellular proliferation .
- Incretin mimetics, which regulate blood sugar and appetite levels, with applications in diabetes and obesity management .
- Melanocortin agonists, which regulate melanin production, sexual function, and appetite .
These are just some of the numerous classes of peptide compounds actively used in research settings, with some peptides within each class holding FDA approval for specific uses. Many other research chemicals are under active study and may hold potential to provide a vast range of therapeutic benefits.
Peptides and SARMs | Side Effects and Safety?
When considering the safety of SARMs vs. peptides, it is essential to acknowledge that each carries distinct risks and side effects, which can differ significantly depending on factors like dosage, duration of study, and the research subject’s health status.
Despite the fact that SARMs tend to be selective, some of them may cause serious side effects. For example, research reports that ostarine may increase liver damage markers. For example, aspartate aminotransferase (ALT) rose by 20.8% in 24 participants taking 3mg/daily in a 12 week study. In that same study, there was a dose-dependent decrease in HDL and one discontinuation due to aspartate aminotransferase (AST) elevation .
Anecdotally, there have also been reports of unexpected SARMs side effects such as high blood pressure and blurred vision. Andarine in particular has been reported to interfere with test subjects' eyesight and their ability to adapt to different levels of brightness. The FDA has also warned that SARMs can have serious side effects including an increased risk of stroke .
On the other hand, different peptides can elicit various side effects based on their structure and functions. For instance, GHRH analogs like tesamorelin may cause water retention-related issues, including joint pain, limb edemas, and carpal tunnel syndrome .
The incretin mimetics like tirzepatide and semaglutide are associated with gastrointestinal disturbances like nausea and diarrhea. In rare cases, these peptides may lead to mild to moderate hepatobiliary disorders such as cholelithiasis and pancreatitis .
Lastly, both SARMs and peptides can give rise to side effects like allergic reactions and injection site irritation, when administered subcutaneously.
Where to Buy Peptides and SARMs Online?
Qualified researchers may legally obtain peptides and SARMs for scientific research without a prescription. However, it's essential to exercise caution to avoid acquiring low-quality compounds that may be unsafe or ineffective for research purposes.
For research-grade reference materials, we recommend the following reputable online vendors for peptides and SARMs.
Trusted Peptide Vendors
For the purchase of high-quality research peptides, we strongly endorse our top-rated vendor below.
This vendor is recognized for its unparalleled consistency in peptide purity and safety.
A reliable peptide supplier known for its broad selection of research peptides. Here are several compelling reasons why this vendor lived up to our expectations:
- US-Made Peptides. Core Peptides guarantees the reliability and security of their peptides, with all materials sourced from certified partners based in the United States.
- Superior Customer Support. The company places high value on client satisfaction, offering a committed support team that responds quickly to any inquiries or issues.
- Extensive Guidance. Detailed guidance, including how to handle, reconstitute, and administer peptides, is readily available on the vendor's website. This ensures users have access to vital instructions.
We strongly advise sourcing research peptides from this supplier.
Buy research peptides from Core Peptides today...
Trusted SARMs Vendor
When looking to source SARMs online, we recommend starting here:
This is our highest-rated online distributor of research-grade SARMs. This vendor is renowned for its exceptional consistency in SARMs purity and affordable pricing.
- Research-grade SARMs: All SARMs by Chemyo are third-party tested for identity, purity, and concentration.
- Quick & Affordable Shipping: Chemyo offers free shipping in the US on orders over $100 and on all international orders over $275.
- Superior Cost-Effectiveness: The compounds provided by Chemyo are at least 50ml per bottle, providing almost 70% more volume than the standard 30ml without additional costs.
For researchers looking to procure high-quality SARMs for educational and experimental purposes, Chemyo is the best option.
Buy research chemicals from Chemyo today...
SARMs and Peptides | FAQ
Keep reading to find answers to frequently asked questions regarding the comparison of peptides and SARMs.
Are SARMs or peptides better?
Whether SARMs or peptides are better will depend on the research objective. SARMs may be the better choice for research into muscle building and bone health. On the other hand, peptides have shown great promise for weight loss, recovery, and anti-aging research.
Are peptides better than steroids?
Peptides are superior to anabolic steroids in terms of safety during research. Peptide-based compounds have also shown great potency for weight loss and recovery. On the other hand, anabolic steroids are linked to substantially greater muscle-building potential.
Are peptides worth it for muscle growth?
Peptides such as sermorelin and tesamorelin may promote clinically significant muscle growth in research settings thanks to their mechanism of elevating the natural synthesis of growth hormone and, consequently, IGF-1.
Is it better to take SARMs or steroids?
SARMs may provide more selective effects toward the androgen receptors in target tissues such as muscle and bone. Yet, anabolic steroids are better researched regarding their benefits and side effects, and may offer greater anabolic potential.
Peptides vs. SARMs | Verdict
Peptides and SARMs are research compounds studied for their muscle-building, fat-burning, and bone density-promoting effects.
Yet, these two groups of compounds differ in their mechanisms of action, side effects, safety, and potential indications.
Researchers should carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages of both classes of research chemicals before incorporating either into their research.
For researchers looking for a reliable source of high-quality peptides, we highly recommend Core Peptides as our most trusted online vendor.
Qualified professionals interested in SARMs research should check out Chemyo as a reliable supplier.