Introduction to Cardarine
If you are well familiarized with the bodybuilding industry, then you’ve undoubtedly heard of a compound known as Cardarine. You might also be more familiar with its other names Endurobol, or GW501516. This performance enhancing drug is popular for so many reasons. The compound is linked to a wide variety of health and bodybuilding benefits. According to multiple reports, GW501516 does not just help with building muscles and cutting fat, but it can also boost one’s cardiovascular health. But, do any of these benefits have any solid scientific basis? Should you invest your money on this compound and most importantly, is it safe for your consumption?
Cardarine was first developed back in the 1990s by two pharmaceutical companies; GlaxoSmithKline and Ligand. The objective behind the development of this chemical was to come up with a compound that can prevent the growth of breast, prostate and colon tumors.
After the initial development of Cardarine, the compound underwent several trials in which the scientists made unexpected discoveries. GW-501516 disrupted the body’s lipid levels. This explains why Cardarine was initially marketed as a control measure for bad cholesterol (LDL). By reducing the levels of LDL, Cardarine became very effective in reducing the risk of contracting life-threatening cardiovascular issues.
The discovery from these studies was also an eye-opener for fitness experts. Since the supplements increased endurance and acid metabolism, fitness enthusiasts started experimenting on the compound, and this is how Cardarine began building a name for itself in the bodybuilding industry.
You know how sometimes it gets tough to go an extra half or even quarter of an hour during your workout sessions? Like you try really hard to push yourself, but your muscles won’t budge? Well, this is precisely where Cardarine becomes very useful. Athletes on GW-501516 found it much easier to push their bodies beyond their typical limitations. Not only did they manage to train harder and for longer periods but the recovery period was also reduced significantly.
As time went by, Cardarine became even more popular as more people started using it without reporting any severe adverse reactions. In less than 5 years, Cardarine was already a powerful globally recognized supplement with a massive fan base.
Cardarine also made headlines in 2008 for some not-so-good reasons. Due to the performance-enhancing properties of this substance, some professional athletes started using this. As you can already guess, the compound gave them an advantage over their competitors. Several athletes taking part in the 2008 Olympics tested positive for the substance. In 2009, GW-501516 was banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency and other sports commissions. Different drug tests have been developed to detect the presence of the substance in various body fluids.
Benefits of Cardarine
A lot of people mistake Cardarine for a SARM, but it actually isn’t. Selective androgen receptor modulators work by binding to the androgen receptors located in the muscle tissues. The working mechanism of Cardarine is entirely different even though it delivers the same bodybuilding effects. The truth is that Cardarine is a PPAR, i.e. Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor beta agonist. As a PPAR, GW-501516 binds onto the PPAR-delta and activates it to achieve numerous benefits as discussed below:
- Boosts cardiovascular health
Cardarine protects your heart in various ways. We already pointed out that GW-501516 reduces the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) while increasing the levels of good cholesterol (HDL). This will have an impressive effect on your heart. The risk of heart attack, stroke and many other heart-related conditions will reduce drastically.
Numerous trials done on mice also showed that Cardarine promotes heart health by preventing oxidative damage in the blood vessels. The compound inhibits the buildup of plaque in the arteries by increasing the levels of nitric oxide which protects blood vessels while also keeping them relaxed for efficient performance.
The trials showed that GW-501516 can also be used at low doses to prevent tissue damage and inflammation in the arteries. In doing so, the compound reduces the risk of heart disease and complications even further.
Another exciting finding reported that Cardarine increased VEGF which basically means that there is an increase in the growth of new blood vessels in the heart. This comes as both a good and bad thing. In a healthy adult, an increase in VEGF could lead to a healthier heart. On the flip side, excessive VEGF can become really problematic especially in cancer patients. A rise in the growth of blood vessels could feed the cancer cells escalating the conditions further. It’s for this reason that Cancer patients are advised to stay clear of this substance.
- Reduces kidney inflammation
Inflammation is your body’s way of protecting itself against harmful invaders, but it can become hazardous. In certain situations, your body may stimulate excessive inflammation which ends up fighting healthy cells in the body. It’s also possible for your body to initiate an inflammatory response against chemicals that are actually helpful to the body. Both of these are harmful to the body, and they can result in severe complications.
Animal trials show that Cardarine can suppress the inflammation of interstitium and renal tubules. GW-501516 achieves this by blocking counterproductive immune responses thus reducing the expression of MCP-1 (the gene linked to kidney diseases).
- Prevents liver damage
Cardarine also tends to target the liver where it promotes the use of fatty acid as an energy source instead of glucose. Studies have also shown GW-501516 can prevent insulin resistance which occurs when the substance reduces the levels of IL-6 in the body.
Unfortunately, some studies also showed that Cardarine can also encourage the death of liver cells and it may also result in fibrosis or liver damage. This was reported in mice that already had liver disease. It is vital that you consult your physician first before using this substance if you have a history of liver damage.
- Anti-inflammation and antioxidant properties
The anti-inflammatory properties of Cardarine benefit more than just the Kidney. Scientists believe that GW-501516’s ability to activate PPAR-delta helps to reduce the expression of inflammatory genes such as MCP-1, IL-6, TNF-alpha, and NFkB. This protects different body organs including the liver from harmful inflammation. So far, only animal trials have been done to confirm this, and they have all reported positive outcomes. Some of these trials even reported that Cardarine reduced inflammation and enhanced the healing of diabetic wounds.
Oxidants are free radicals that attack healthy cells damaging the cell structure which consequently disrupts the functioning of the tissue. The antioxidant properties of Cardarine allow it to protect the cells from oxidants by promoting the production of different antioxidant enzymes such as catalase and SOD1. This is based on numerous animal studies.
- Boosts muscle growth
Laboratory studies involving mice reported that the use of Cardarine increased the development of muscle fibers. It is believed that the boost in endurance, improved the physical performance of the mice which consequently led to the increase in muscle fibers.
- Increased stamina
Mice that were treated with Cardarine ran for longer durations than the ones in the control group. Cardarine enhances protein expression that stimulates the growth of muscle fiber (type 1). In turn, type 1 muscle fiber improves stamina and metabolism.
Cardarine’s effectiveness in boosting stamina is one of the reasons behind its popularity in the bodybuilding industry.
- Promotes fat-burning
The fat-burning abilities of Cardarine are not just backed by animal studies, but there are actually various human trials that have confirmed the same. In one double-blind, randomized controlled trial, 13 men with bad cholesterol profile and belly fat were treated with 2.5 mg per day of Cardarine for over six weeks. The scientists recorded a decrease in VLDL proteins, fatty acids, and triglycerides.
In another study involving 305 patients with low good cholesterol (HDL), the subjects were given either 5 or 10 mg per day for 12 weeks. This trial also reported a decrease in VLDL proteins, LDL and triglycerides.
Cardarine’s ability in burning fat stems from its activation of PPAR-delta which stimulates different fat –burning genes such as ABCA1. The expression of these genes triggers your body to utilize fats as a source of energy. Your body will hence break down more adipose to fuel you. This provides you with the energy and stamina you need while reducing body fat.
GW-501516 has also been investigated for its ability to fight obesity. One double-blind, randomized controlled trial used six overweight volunteers. Some of the volunteers were given 2.5 mg/day while others were given 10mg/day for 2 weeks. At the end of the study period, the scientists recorded a 20% and 11% decrease in liver fat and insulin respectively. There was also a decrease in triglycerides 30%, VLDL APOB 26%, and LDL 23%. According to the researchers, GW-501516 achieved all this by improving fat burning and carnitine in the muscles.
In other trials, Cardarine reduced the release of too much glucose in the liver while increasing insulin sensitivity. This hints to the possibility of the compound being a treatment for both obesity and type II diabetes. These studies were done on mice though.
- Treatment of Skin Diseases
Studies involving human skin cell show that Cardarine can help to prevent inflammation caused by the counterproductive immune response in the skin. This helps in reducing the effects of various skin conditions including psoriasis. With more studies, the skin care industry could very soon see a spike in Cardarine products.
Side Effects of Cardarine
Cardarine is a reasonably safe supplement, but it is associated with cancer growth. There is not enough evidence to conclusively say that Cardarine can cause cancer. Unfortunately, the effects of this substance in the body do suggest that it can help existing cancer to spread. How so? Well, like we had pointed out earlier on, Cardarine enhances the growth of blood vessels, and it can suppress immune responses (inflammation in specific). In addition to that, new evidence shows that GW-501516 can also suppress cell apoptosis, i.e. your body attempts to control or kill harmful cells by using metazoans. Through these three actions, Cardarine might encourage cancer cells in the body to grow and spread to nearby tissues. Therefore, it goes without saying that cancer patients should stay away from Cardarine.
It is still unclear whether the three actions can cause cancer by themselves. Some reports say that excess doses increase the risk of cancer. We still need extensive trials to confirm this.
Cardarine can also kill liver cells and may even lead to liver damage. In one of the studies involving mice with liver damage, using Cardarine increased cell death and worsened the liver damage condition. It’s, therefore, possible that Cardarine can be very harmful to the liver. If indeed the substance can damage the liver, users will be left at serious risk of contracting different kinds of infections. Sadly, there aren’t any human trials to show the effects of GW-501516 in the liver.
Other than cancer and liver damage issues, there aren’t many other serious health complications linked to Cardarine.
Women who are planning on getting a baby in the future, pregnant ladies and breastfeeding mothers are discouraged from using the compound as it can disrupt placental and fetal development. GlaxoSmithKline was even forced to abandon one of their research of the chemical as a maintenance medicine when they discovered the effects of the compound on pregnant mice.
The good thing here is that Cardarine is not a hormone. The compound will not lead to HPTA suppression, and hence you never have to worry about post cycle therapy. This gives it an upper hand over most of the other SARMs it’s usually categorized with.
Just because Cardarine does not cause, HPTA suppression doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be cycled. Any chemical as powerful as Cardarine can be very harmful if it is used for a prolonged period. It is for this reason that we usually recommend cycling Cardarine for 8-12 weeks. If you are a new user, it’s best if you keep the cycle very short. You can even start with just 6-weeks long cycles, take a break and then start another relatively more extended period.
As is the case with any other performance-enhancing substance, you are bound to see people extend their cycles beyond the 12-weeks limit. This is a very common habit, especially among the experienced bodybuilders. Some of them will report that they’ve successfully taken GW-501516 for 10 weeks or more but don’t let it get into your head. Personally, I would never take Cardarine for more than 12 weeks and neither should you. The risks are just too high.
After completing your cycle, be sure to take some time off. Let your body take a break from the substance to allow for the resumption of normal operations before you start the new cycle. A break of around 6 weeks should be enough.
Most people find Cardarine extremely effective when taken in doses of between 10-20 mg per day for 12 weeks max. Women are encouraged to take just 10mg per day.
The general rule here is to start small and top the dosage gradually. If you’ve used Cardarine in the past and you already know the tolerable dose for you, then there is no point in starting small.
GW-501516 has a half-life of 16-24 hours. Therefore, you can take the dose just once per day, or you can split it into two and take one in the morning and the other in the evening. Both of them have pretty much the same impact.
Cardarine can also be stacked with other SARMs to achieve better results. The doses of GW-501516 you take in a stack may vary depending on which substances you are stacking with and the duration of your cycle.
Is it Legal?
In the U.S, Cardarine is available as a research chemical. It basically means that the substance should not be sold for human consumption. However, this hasn’t stopped the black market from distributing the compound for personal use. Taking this path may lead you on the wrong side of the law. Even worse, you may end up taking a contaminated substance since the black market is unregulated. This will expose you to serious health issues. If you have to use the substance, make sure that you are getting it from a reputable vendor where quality is guaranteed.
The laws governing the distribution and use of Cardarine vary depending on state laws and the specific country you are in. Take your time and do your research before purchasing this substance.
We’d also like to remind you that Cardarine is banned in professional sports. Don’t let yourself make the headlines for all the wrong reasons and jeopardize your career by using this substance. The World-Anti-Doping Agency has engineered various lab tests that will detect the presence of the compound in your system.
Bodybuilding Uses of Cardarine
The fat burning capabilities of Cardarine make it an excellent choice in cutting cycles. It will help you to cut down on the excess fat while preserving your lean muscle mass.
The best way to utilize Cardarine in cutting is by combining it with some other SARMs that will also boost strength levels, recovery, and endurance. Such a stack should have Cardarine, Ostarine, and Andarine.
In such a stack, the user should take 20mg/day of Cardarine, 25mg/day of Ostarine (MK2866) and 50mg/day of Andarine (S4). The Andarine dosage should be split into two taken twice per day. This cycle should go for 8 weeks.
Due to the presence of the SARMs Andarine and Ostarine, the user must run PCT. After the 8 weeks, the user should start taking 5 tablets of HCGenerate ES per day and 25 mg per day of Clomid.
With the above Cardarine stack, you should get the best of everything, i.e. endurance, fat loss, recovery, strength, muscle gain.
- Post Cycle Therapy (PCT)
Cardarine can also be included in a PCT stack. The substance blends really well here because it is not a hormone and hence using it won’t affect hormonal levels in the body. In PCT, GW-501516 prevents fat gain as you try to regain normal hormone levels.
Take note that using Cardarine in PCT isn’t wise if you were already stacking it in the cycle you’ve just concluded.
An example of PCT involving Cardarine can include other substances such as Aromasin, HCGenerate ES, N2guard and Ostarine which helps to keep your lean muscle mass in place. In this PCT plan, the user should take 12.5mg of Aromasin every other day, 5 tablets of HCGenerate ES every day, 7 capsules of N2guard every day, 25 mg/day of Ostarine and 20 mg of Cardarine every day.
There is an excellent reason why Cardarine is a popular supplement in the bodybuilding industry. This substance has helped a lot of bodybuilders around the world to burn down the excess fat and get that perfectly chiseled physique that every fitness enthusiast desires.
And yes, the substance does come with a few limitations. We cannot ignore the numerous reports suggesting that it causes cancer. The lack of scientific evidence to either support or discard the rumors doesn’t make things any better either. Therefore, if you are planning on using Cardarine, we’d advise you to tread carefully and make sure that you are mindful of the doses you are taking and the length of your cycles.
It’s best to stay away from GW-501516 if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning to have a child. Cancer patients and guys with a history of liver damage should also avoid Cardarine.