LGD 4033 (Ligandrol): Side Effects, Dosage & Before and After Pictures

Dr George TouliatosDisclaimer: The following article is for educational purposes only and NOT to promote the use of illegal substances. If you have any questions or concerns, Dr. Touliatos is currently available for consultations.


LGD 4033 (Ligandrol) is a potent SARM, typically used by weightlifters for bulking purposes; due to its positive effects on muscle strength and hypertrophy.

Ligandrol and other selective androgen receptor modulators show promise for the potential treatment of cachexia, due to its anabolic effects and tissue selectivity. LGD 4033 strongly binds to the androgen receptor, similar to steroids, however it is a weak agonist in the prostate.

Therefore, the androgenic effects of testosterone and other anabolic steroids, will not occur with LGD 4033, preventing prostate hyperplasia.

LGD 4033 was described in 2007, being synthesized by Ligand Pharmaceuticals (hence its name ‘ligandrol’) — an American biotechnology company. Due to its recent formulation, the long-term effects of LGD 4033 are currently unknown, with it being classed as a ‘research compound’ and yet to receive FDA approval.

Thus, LGD 4033 is not legal for cosmetic purposes (building muscle), however it is legal for research purposes i.e. administering it to your rat.

Although LGD 4033’s side effects are not yet fully known, WADA have decided that its positive effects on athletic performance are already obvious; hence its ban on ligandrol and other SARMs in professional sports (1).

Ligandrol Benefits

Muscle Mass

In phase I clinical trials, LGD 4033 has produced notable increases in lean muscle mass (2). One group of healthy young men were given 1mg/day for 3 weeks and gained 1.21kg (2.67lbs). Considering the short cycle, small dosage and there being no training stimulus to maximize muscle gains — these are very positive results.

Muscular Strength

In the above cited study, the men also recorded increased leg press strength and power on the stair-climber, before and after the 3 week cycle. This is despite not regularly performing these specific exercises throughout the trial.

Weightlifters often report making exceptional strength gains on LGD 4033, even when in a calorie deficit.

Adding 30+lbs to a squat or bench press 1RM is relatively common after a cycle of LGD 4033, with its effects on strength being superior to its ability to add lean muscle.

LGD 4033 does not produce any notable fat loss, unlike ostarine or cardarine; making more optimal for bulking than cutting.

Ligandrol Side Effects

Two mild side effects associated with LGD 4033 are headaches and dry mouth. However, more troublesome side effects can also occur (as detailed below).

Cholesterol

LGD 4033 has a significantly negative effect on HDL cholesterol, with scientists observing an almost 40% reduction in just 3 weeks, on the dosage of 1mg/day.

Generous levels of HDL cholesterol reduce the risk of arteriosclerosis, improving heart health. Thus, such sizeable reductions increases the risk of myocardial infarction, similar to the extent of oral anabolic steroids.

Such elevations in blood pressure may be attributed to LGD 4033 being administered orally and thus having to pass through the liver. This can stimulate the enzyme, hepatic lipase, which causes such alterations in HDL cholesterol.

The same research recorded LDL levels remaining stable, however serum triglycerides decreased by almost 15%, potentially decreasing some cardiovascular strain.

Testosterone Suppression

SARMs, despite being non-steroidal, can still suppress natural testosterone levels, due to aggressive binding to the androgen receptor. This consequently decreases LH (luteinizing hormone) and FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone).

LGD 4033 is the most potent SARM on the market, thus it is considered the most suppressive.

In the previously cited trial that administered 1mg/day of ligandrol; participants’ total testosterone declined by 50%. Free testosterone also experienced a similar 40% drop.

It took 56 days of drug cessation for user’s endogenous testosterone to return back to normal levels.

Thus, considering user’s commonly take 5mg/day of LGD 4033 and upwards, testosterone suppression in this case is likely to be more severe, indicating significant (yet temporary) damage to the HPTA (hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis).

Liver Toxicity

In a randomized clinical trial LGD 4033 was given to 76 healthy men, producing no notable changes in serum aminotransferases, in dosages of 0.1, 0.3 and 1mg/day, over 21 days (3).

However, one research paper recorded a man developing jaundice after administering 10mg/day of LGD 4033 for 2 weeks. Thus, the hepatotoxicity of LGD 4033 is likely to be intrinsic (dose-dependent).

Further research shows that another man (24 years old), developed hepatocellular liver injury following LGD 4033-use (4). The dosage being utilized was not stated, thus caution should be used when taking this SARM; with further research needed to establish the exact dosage causing such hepatotoxic effects.

Water Retention & Gynecomastia

In theory, LGD 4033 should not produce estrogenic side effects, as it does not aromatize or directly stimulate estrogen receptors.

However, ligandrol will compete with the body’s natural testosterone for binding to the androgen receptor. LGD 4033’s higher affinity means that the body’s natural testosterone loses this battle and instead becomes more available for binding to other receptors — such as estrogen.

Thus, LGD 4033 can indirectly cause higher estrogen levels, increasing the risk of potential bloating or/and gynecomastia.

Hair Loss

Some LGD 4033 users report shedding or recession of hair on the scalp, similar to anabolic steroids. There are two reasons for why such hair loss is possible, despite LGD 4033’s weak androgenicity.

Similar to how estrogen levels can indirectly rise, from more natural testosterone binding to other receptors — this is also how LGD 4033 can increase DHT levels (increasing the body’s natural level of 5-alpha reductase).

DHT (Dihydrotestosterone) is the hormone responsible for follicle miniaturization on the scalp, with excessive levels causing androgenic alopecia

Another possible cause of LGD 4033-induced hair loss is — telogen effluvium. Up to 90% of hair follicles are actively growing on the scalp and 10% are resting. When hair follicles are in the growing (anagen) phase, average hair loss naturally is 100 hairs a day.

However, in the event of telogen effluvium i.e. sudden shocks or changes to the body, this can result in 30% of hair follicles entering the rest (telogen) phase — in which case 300 hairs are lost each day.

Introducing SARMs into the body can stimulate telogen effluvium, essentially tripling the level of hair loss; however such shedding is typically reversible post-cycle. Users often report hair thickening after just 1-2 weeks of cycle cessation, after hormones regulate back to normal and hair follicles return to the anagen (growing) phase.

LGD 4033 Dosage

A dosage has not been established by medical experts at this time, with LGD 4033 yet to be FDA approved. However, in trials, 0.1, 0.3 and 1mg dosages have been commonly used; with higher dosages yielding more pronounced results.

Male weightlifters taking LGD 4033 for physique-enhancing purposes will typically take 2-10mg/day. Females will opt for the lower dosages in this range (2mg/day), to prevent the risk of virilization side effects occurring.

LGD 4033 is administered once per day. Dosages may be tapered, ensuring user’s continue making gains for the duration of their cycle. Thus, 1-2mg/day may be a starting dosage, with increases of 1-2mg each week, until a desired maximum dosage is achieved. Some users may not choose to taper cycles out of convenience.

Note: Although men can take up to 10mg/day of LGD 4033, dosages in excess of 6mg/day often produce minimal additional gains.

LGD 4033 Cycle

For Men (Non-Tapered Cycle)

  • LGD 4033: 6mg/day for 8 weeks.

For Men (Tapered Cycle)

  • Week 1: 4mg/day
  • Week 2: 4mg/day
  • Week 3: 5mg/day
  • Week 4: 5mg/day
  • Week 5: 6mg/day
  • Week 6: 6mg/day
  • Week 7: 6mg/day
  • Week 8: 6mg/day

For Women

  • Week 1: 1mg/day
  • Week 2: 1mg/day
  • Week 3: 2mg/day
  • Week 4: 2mg/day

Note: the higher the dosage and cycle duration, the more pronounced side effects will be for users. 

LGD 4033 Results – Before and After Pictures

LGD 4033 before and after

This user performed an 8 week LGD 4033 cycle, administering 5mg/day. He initially gained 13lbs, which dropped to 10lbs when water weight subsided post-cycle.

He admitted to eating in an aggressive calorie surplus, thus some of this weight can be attributed to increased subcutaneous body fat.

lgd 4033 results

He mentioned that friends and family commented on his bigger arm size 3 weeks into his cycle (of whom were unaware of his SARM-use).

Considering his high calorie intake, his results in terms of muscle hypertrophy from LGD 4033 are mild.

However, there was a dramatic difference in muscular strength, with a before and after log of his lifts below:

Bench Press

  • Before: 185lbs x 5 reps
  • After: 205lbs x 8 reps

Overhead Press

  • Before: 110lbs x 5 reps
  • After: 125lbs x 6 reps

Squat 

  • Before: 230lbs x 5 reps
  • After: 255lbs x 8 reps

Deadlift 

  • Before: 285lbs x 5 reps
  • After: 315lbs x 8 reps

He also reported maintaining the above improvements in strength post-cycle.

In terms of how LGD 4033 affected him, he mentioned that it made him feel the happiest he’s been in a long time. This, combined with other anecdotal reports, suggests ligandrol may be a highly efficacious SARM for mental well-being.

The main side effect he experienced was lethargy, occurring at week 5 onwards. This is relatively common on LGD 4033 and may be a self-defence mechanism by the body, attempting to force rest; due to increases in water retention and blood pressure.

LGD 4033 Before and After #2

lgd 4033 before and after

This user performed an 8 week cycle at an unknown dosage. He had not lifted weights for 6 months prior to his LGD 4033 cycle, thus his results are a combination of previous muscle mass being restored (via muscle memory) and ligandrol-use.

Weight gain of 20lbs can be expected when transitioning from sedentary to weight training. He looks to have gained 25-30lbs, thus the majority of his results are the byproduct of natural training (with 5-10lbs potentially being attributed to LGD 4033).

LGD 4033 Stacks

LGD 4033/RAD 140 stack

A common stack is to combine LGD 4033 with RAD 140, with them being two of the most potent SARMs; similarly promoting muscular strength and hypertrophy (with minimal fat burning). Although stacking LGD 4033 with RAD 140 may enhance results, it will also exacerbate side effects; particularly: liver values, cholesterol and testosterone suppression.

Sample Cycle:

  • RAD 140 (Testolone): 10mg/day for 8 weeks
  • LGD 4033 (Ligandrol): 6mg/day for 8 weeks.

Tapering the dosage as outlined previously in our LGD 4033 cycle section can also be performed with this stack for LGD 4033, although some users may opt against doing so out of convenience.

If tapering, LGD 4033 can begin on 4mg/day for the first 2 weeks, then increase to 6mg/day from the 3rd week onwards. Higher dosages may be utilized, however this is not recommended (to avoid excessive side effects).

LGD 4033/MK 677 stack

LGD 4033 may also be stacked with MK-677 (Ibutamoren), a growth hormone secretagogue. MK-677 increases muscle size and subcutaneous fat loss; without exacerbating liver enzymes or cholesterol levels.

This may be a desirable stack for users wanting to experience notable fat loss when bulking, thus enhancing muscle definition — as well as size.

However, MK-677 will also increase water retention (temporary) and visceral fat (permanent), creating a more bloated and protruding look to the midsection. Higher levels of visceral fat storage are the result of MK-677’s  negative effect on insulin resistance.

Sample Cycle:

  • MK 677: 15mg/day for 16 weeks.
  • LGD 4033: 6mg/day for 8 weeks.

MK 677 is slow-acting and thus requires ample time to peak GH (growth hormone) levels and affect body composition. A further benefit with this cycle is that MK 677 exceeds LGD 4033’s duration by 8 weeks, thus acting as a form of PCT, in the sense that it will keep the body in an anabolic state upon ligandrol cessation; helping to cement gains.

LGD 4033/RAD 140/MK 677 Stack – Before and After Pictures

rad 140 before and after

This user stacked LGD 4033, RAD 140 and MK 677 together simultaneously.

He experienced a notable increase in muscle hypertrophy (≤10lbs), although at the expense of a higher visceral body fat percentage (due to the addition of MK-677) — signified by a larger waist.

Water retention and subcutaneous body fat levels also appear to have increased slightly; potentially caused by higher amounts of natural testosterone converting to estrogen. This is the byproduct of natural testosterone ceasing its binding to the androgen receptor.

PCT for LGD 4033

As LGD 403 damages the HPTA (hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis), users can utilize a PCT (post cycle therapy), similar to steroid-users; helping to accelerate the recovery of endogenous testosterone.

Research has shown that it can take almost 2 months for testosterone levels to regulate back to normal, from a small LGD 4033 dosage of 1mg/day; thus running nolvadex or clomid post-cycle may be able to cut this time in half.

Depending on the level of suppression, if users want an aggressive PCT, Nolvadex is the more potent medication compared to clomid.

20mg/day of nolvadex, taken for 30 days is a common protocol. 

If opting for clomid, 25mg/day is an effective dosage — also taken for 30 days. 

If you are not experiencing adverse fluctuations in: libido, sexual performance, energy and mood — then a PCT may not be deemed necessary.

LGD 4033 Half Life

LGD 4033’s half life is 24-36 hours, thus a PCT should begin approximately 2-3 days after the last dosage.

How to Take LGD 4033 (Liquid)?

There are two ways to administer LGD 4033 orally. Simply place it in your mouth, using a syringe to measure out the dosage; and then proceed to swallow.

Alternatively, it can be taken sublingually, improving absorption and thus amplifying its effects. This involves placing the liquid underneath the tongue and letting it sit for 10-15 seconds prior to swallowing. Such placement enables contact with the mucus membrane, thus providing a more direct route of entry into the bloodstream. 

One dosage of LGD 4033 is suffice each day. Taking it on a full or empty stomach will not affect its biological availability. 

Summary

LGD 4033 (ligandrol) mg for mg is the most potent SARM on the market. Its effects on muscle mass are generally underwhelming in comparison to anabolic steroids. However, its effects on muscular strength are exceptional —  without producing excessive weight gain.

Despite limited research on LGD 4033, due to its recent formulation in 2007, there is already enough evidence to suggest it induces steroid-like side effects. Specifically being: testosterone suppression, cholesterol alterations and potential liver toxicity.