Cardarine (GW-501516): The Complete Guide

Everyone wishes to reach a level of fitness where every time you look into the mirror, you come face to face with your personal body goal.

But even after following a strict diet plan, going to the gym dedicatedly and emptying your wallet over the expensive gym membership, you still might not achieve the body that you have been dreaming of.

a picture of a man's muscular back

This is because our body often declines to push itself beyond a certain level. This is also the reason why bodybuilders and athletes intake additional supplements such as Cardarine.

What Is Cardarine?

This comes in many multiple names and numerical markings in the market, but the best-known names are GW-501516 and Cardarine.

While many may confuse it to be a SARMs compound, Cardarine is actually a PPAR-delta agonist. This means that it doesn’t modulate the work of the receptors in bones and muscles to increase muscle mass as most SARMs substances do. Now, what does that mean?

PPAR-delta Agonist

PPAR stands for Peroxisome Proliferator-Activator Receptor agonists which influence the body’s cells in a similar manner as SARMs. To put its meaning in an easier manner, PPAR receptors are like the messengers between the PPAR agonist and the cell.

PPAR agonists are considered to be nuclear receptors as they are inside the cells and influence what happens within the nucleus, resulting in specific changes within the cell and throughout the body as well.

PPAR-delta is a sensor for fatty acids. This means that once they enter your body, they help to enhance the fat burning capacity of your body, and that is exactly what Cardarine does!

History Of Cardarine

In 1992, Cardarine was developed by the conjoint research of Ligand Pharmaceuticals and GlaxoSmithKline. The original purpose of this research was to study it as a drug that would reverse the growth of tumours.

In the first trial of the research, it was found that this substance helped to reverse poor health of the heart. Meanwhile, in the next trials that followed, it was discovered that Cardarine also helped overcome obesity and treat type 2 diabetes patients. [1,2]

Soon enough in the 2000s, the word about Cardarine being a drug that helps to burn your body fat and increase your endurance with minimal side effects spread and entered into the fitness world, later being used by bodybuilders and athletes to enhance their physical performance.

a picture of a big muscled body

It comes without surprise that this miraculous drug soon entered into the Olympics’ circle. It was estimated that some competitors participating in the 2008 China Olympics were using Cardarine to enrich their performance in a variety of activities like basketball, swimming, boxing, soccer, weightlifting, and more.

Seeing the medical risks of the drug, Cardarine was banned from the competition a year later. Following this, most sports federations prohibited the use of Cardarine. [3, 4]

How Does Cardarine Work?

Cardarine is an interesting compound by the way it works. Its mechanism helps to burn your body fat, enhance your metabolism, build your muscles, enrich your energy level and so much more.

Cardarine works in two ways. First, it binds to and activates PPAR-delta in your cells, particularly in your muscles, and second, it stimulates the genes that are responsible for energy use in your body. [5]

How Cardarine Works For Fat Loss

Cardarine increases the level of glucose uptake. This is done by changing the way your body reacts to nutrients, reducing how fat is stored in one’s body.

This helps to keep your body fat at a lower level, regardless of whether you are on a diet plan or not. Though, it is always a better idea to follow a proper dietary routine to get more pronounced results of the supplement.

Cardarine even blocks the formation of fatty acid chains which stimulates your body to use existing fat as energy. This is what makes this a great option to burn your fat as it doesn’t attack your muscle but rather burns your pre-existing fat to provide your body with the energy it requires.

a picture of chiseled abs

How Does It Work For Endurance

Even after following a healthy diet and working out for hours in the gym, sometimes we just can’t push ourselves beyond a certain limit. This is why people make use of supplements like GW-501516, as it gives them the push to endure the toughest of exercises without feeling out of breath.

To make this happen, Cardarine binds to the PPAR agonist receptors and changes the energy output. This helps you in carrying out any physical activity without tiring yourself too much, aiding to reach your fitness goals faster.

How Long Does It Take To Start Working?

If you take about 20 mg of Cardarine daily for a period of 6 weeks, you will notice a significant enhancement in your endurance level. You will also witness yourself achieving the fitness goals that you weren’t able to pull off earlier.

You will start noticing that your exercise sessions would get much easier to get through. In about 6 weeks of use, you will burn a significant amount of your body fat and increase your muscle mass.

Recommended Cardarine Dosages

Dosage For Bulking

Bulking is when you keep yourself above your maintenance calories. This is the period where you build your muscle so that when you actually plan on losing some weight, you get to see the muscles you built.

a picture of a shredded male that has used SARMs to cut weight

Cardarine is considered to be a great option for creating clean bulking and maintain a muscle gain that lasts longer. It is advised to take up to 20 mg of Cardarine per day.

Dosage For Recomping

Recomping is a process in which the aim is to add more muscle mass to your body and work to reduce your body fat. It is adopted when one seeks to look lean while maintaining their muscle mass.

While recomping can be a difficult process to pull off, Cardarine can help you reach your goals as its high endurance effects in combination with its fat loss ability helps achieve lean muscle gains in a much easier manner.

The ideal recommended dosage for both men and women who are practising recomping is 20mg per day for a period of 8 weeks.

Dosage For Cutting

When you reduce your calories below your maintenance level all the while lifting weight, you need to practise the process of cutting. This is a process of dropping body fat while attempting to preserve as much muscle mass as possible.

While taking Cardarine for cutting, one can stack it with supplements like Masteron, Anavar, Trenbolone or Turinabol to encourage better results. The advised dose of Cardarine for cutting is 10 to 20mg per day.

Dosages For Men and Women

Everyone’s body reacts to foreign substances in a different manner. You know your body the best so the correct GW-501516 dosage to start off as a newbie is 10mg a day.

The half-life is said to be around 24 hours so it becomes an ideal supplement to be taken on a daily basis. If you have just started taking Cardarine, then it is better to set your dosage cycle for no more than 6 weeks.

It is always advised to start off with a lower amount than the amount of Cardarine used by experienced users to let your body adjust to the supplement.

a picture of a man curling dumbells

If you are currently ingesting 10mg of Candarine per day and wish to increase the amount of dose, you can take it up to 20mg a day. This dosage quantity is the same for both male and female users as Cardarine is non-hormonal.

Muscle Building Effects Of Cardarine

Due to Cardarine’s high endurance effect that acts fast on the human body, it becomes a great option for bodybuilders to build their muscles.

Cardarine works great when it is used as the base of a SARMs cycle, the recommended dosage for such a cycle being 10 to 20mg. The reason why people tend to intake Cardarine after a steroid cycle ends is that it prevents any fat rebound from the main cycle.

Muscle Hardening Effects

Since Cardarine is a supplement that is taken with the purpose to enhance one’s muscle gain while maintaining a lean physique and enhanced endurance, the main focus of the supplement is to increase your body’s muscle gain rather than hardening the existing muscles.

Unlike steroids, Cardarine doesn’t cause any impact on your testosterone level so the muscle hardening effect is limited.

Strength Gaining Effects

One of the biggest benefits that come with taking Cardarine is gaining a high level of endurance and strength.

Cardarine activates PPAR-delta pathways in your body and this can also enhance your strength. The intake of this supplement helps your body to keep up with your intense workout routine and push yourself to reach your fitness goals without feeling fatigued or out of breath.

Recomping Effects

As mentioned before, recomping can be a tough task to ace without a little help from supplements like this. Cardarine offers your body a higher level of endurance and the ability to lose your fat much quicker. This is turn allows you to achieve your fitness goals faster.

With the recommended dose of 20mg per day, both males and females will face no issue in shedding their body fat while gaining muscle mass. Taking Cardarine with a protein-filled diet and proper exercise will help gain the benefits more quickly.

a picture of a man in a gym cable curling

Cutting Effects Of Cardarine

Cardarine becomes a great option to achieve your fitness goals due to its flexibility. It can help you enhance your muscle mass and at the same time, help you lose weight. Users of this supplement, especially female users, have found it to be an excellent tool to lose their body fat.

A dosage of about 20mg per day will benefit both genders to lose weight faster.

Benefits Of Cardarine

Benefits The Heart

In a study done on mice, it was found that Cardarine prevents oxidative damage to blood vessels. It has the ability to enhance the level of protective and blood vessel relaxing nitric oxide, which may help in reducing the risk of plaque generation in your arteries. [6]

In another test conducted on mice, GW-501516 proved to reduce inflammation tissue damage in the arteries. It can reduce the risk of heart disease as it helps clear up the blood vessels, facilitating a clearer flow of blood throughout the body. [7]

Through studies, Cardarine was found to increase the levels of High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, also known as the good cholesterol and lower down the level of Low-Density Cholesterol (LDL), known as the bad cholesterol. [8]

Protection Of The Brain

In one animal study, it was found that Cardarine protects the brain vessels from oxidative stress. [9]

a picture of a bodybuilder doing some cable crossover exercises

The activation of PPAR-delta by the use of Cardarine can initiate the development of new nerve cells and it can help your brain recover when it’s under oxidative stress.

GW-501516 assists the brain blood vessels of the user as well, reducing the chances of vessel dysfunction.

When a test was conducted on rats, it was discovered that Cardarine reduced some inflammatory substances and at the same time, increased other inflammatory substances such as IL-6.  A high level of IL-6 can lead to brain cell damage as well. [10, 11]

Helps With Obesity

Cardarine reverses the symptoms of metabolic syndrome by enhancing the speed in which fat burns. It can lower insulin by 11%, liver fat by 20% and blood fats among other benefits. [12]

Since Cardarine is beneficial for enhancing the state of the heart, it decreases the risk of heart diseases caused due to obesity. It does so by increasing HDL cholesterol, decreasing LDL cholesterol and insulin. [13]

Helps In Fat-Burning

A study was conducted with 13 men who had belly fat and a bad level of cholesterol. With the use of Cardarine, their triglycerides, fatty acids and VLDL proteins level decreased, helping them lose weight faster. [14]

In another study done with 12 inactive volunteers, it was found that Cardarine was able to boost the use of fat as an energy source by activating the fat-burning genes and carnitine genes in the volunteers. [15]

Increased Endurance and Stamina

The activation of PPAR-delta through GW-501516 in mice helped in the development of muscle fibres which are associated with enhanced physical performance. [16]

The high endurance level that Cardarine provides helps to push one to a greater extent and reach their fitness goals.

Half-Life of GW-501516

The half-life of a substance denotes the time required for the amount of the substance to be reduced by one half in the body.

As far as GW-501516 is concerned, it has a half-life of 24 hours, which means users take their dosage once a day to gain the benefits of Cardarine.

Some users even split their daily dosage into AM and PM dosage or take them 3-4 hours before their exercise session but that’s completely a personal choice.

When To Take?

Since Cardarine has a half-life of roughly 24 hours, you will have to take it once a day. Many users prefer to split there daily dosage. They take their dosage once in the morning and the other half in the evening to keep their bodies stable.

a picture of a man in a gym doing incline bench press

As mentioned, some users like to take their dosage a few hours before their everyday workout routine to get that extra dash of energy.

You should think about taking Cardarine if you:

  • Wish to gain muscle mass quickly.
  • Are a female and wish to achieve a strong physique without the side effects of testosterone that come with most steroids.
  • Want to lose weight without sacrificing your muscle mass.

Is Cardarine Safe For Women To Use?

Cardarine is a PPAR-delta activator, which means that it has much fewer side effects than the usual steroids. This is a great choice for females to use as it is a non-hormonal supplement, which means it carries minimal risks of developing emasculating side effects.

GW-501516 does not have any androgenic action and thus, the risk of virilization is not present. In simpler terms, this means that the menstrual cycle is kept undisturbed and masculine features are not expected to develop due to the intake of the dosage. This feature makes it a great supplement option for women.

It is advised that women take a full 10mg daily dose of GW-501516 to enhance the quality of their physical performance at the gym. It is also suggested that female users of Cardarine carry out a dose cycle of a maximum of 12 weeks.

It comes without saying that pregnant women or women who are planning to conceive shouldn’t take Cardarine as high doses over an extended period of time can pose development risks. [17]

Cycle Length Of Cardarine

No matter how minimal the risks that are associated with Cardarine, it is still a foreign substance entering into your body, and thus, should be taken with care and on a proper schedule.

In clinical studies, it has been advised that a user taking doses of 2.5 mg/day to 10 mg/day should continue their dose for up to 12 weeks. This is a safe length of a cycle.

Many suggest that one should practice PCT, which is Post Cycle Therapy, of around 4 weeks to let their body settle once the cycle has ended.

What Stacks Well With Cardarine?

Stacking means taking other supplements along with a particular substance to create an effect that is X times more potent than one alone. It enhances the performance of the substance and gives you quicker benefits.

a picture of a Cardarine user

However, stacking can’t be done with any random supplement. There’s a proper way to carry it out to avoid any possible side effects.

As for GW-501516, there are a number of supplements you can stack it with for better results:

Anabolic Steroids

Stacking Cardarine with strong anabolic steroids like Trenbolone will prove to be beneficial for your performance.

Other anabolic steroids like Winstrol, Masteron, Anavar and Turinabol are used by many users to stack Cardarine with their cutting cycles. These type of cycles are more suited for male users.

Other SARMs

Not everyone opts for anabolic steroids as they are much stronger than SARMs. If you wish to run a mild fat burning stack, then you can try stacking Cardarine with other SARMs supplements.

Other SARMs like RAD140 or S4 Andarine can be used for the purpose of losing fat. You can also stack it with compounds like Ostarine and LGD4033 to burn your fat and gain endurance benefits.

Is PCT Needed After Using This?

PCT stands for Post Cycle Therapy and is a method of trying to stabilize and restore your body’s hormones back to normal after carrying out a dose cycle of a supplement.

GW-501516 doesn’t require Post Cycle Therapy (PCT). The user can simply discontinue the cycle after completion for a while to help the body restore its state. Unlike RAD140, GW-501516 will not have any impact on your testosterone levels, so you won’t be required to take a set period of post cycle therapy.

a picture of a large bicep

Some claim that discontinuing Cardarine completely during post cycle therapy can reduce the quality of your performance. People are turning towards using Cardarine even during PCT to avoid fat rebound. Thus, it is advised to keep the dosage low and the cycle length relatively shorter during your PCT.

Side Effects Of Cardarine

Studies have been going on for the last two decades on Cardarine and yet, no direct or indirect side effects have been confirmed. This drug is non-hormonal and non-suppressive, which makes it much safer to use for individuals, regardless of their gender, shape or size.

In 2008, The American Association of Cancer Research showed through their study that GW-501516 can reduce the growth of cancer-inducing cells in humans.

Another study was conducted in the country of Australia where men experienced no side effects even after 6 months of Cardarine intake. [18, 19]

However, no supplement comes with a white flag approval. Some studies showed that Cardarine can cause liver damage, but such tests were done on mice with pre-existing liver diseases.

The majority of the safety tests have been done on mice and rats and no human testing has been conducted so far, so the reported side effects showed their presence on the said animals.

However, pregnant women and the females who are planning to conceive shouldn’t intake Cardarine as its use may generate development risks. [20]

It was also found in studies that Cardarine generated cancer in the animals that were being tested. As for that effect on humans, no such research has been done so far.  [21, 22]

Is It Legal?

No matter how minimal the risk a supplement carries, ensuring the legality of the substance is the first and foremost issue to be sorted out.

Due to its low level of side effects as compared to steroids, GW-501516 has gained a name for itself in the bodybuilding and athlete communities. This popularity has also led to a rise in the sales in the black market as well.

It is important to note that in 2009, the World Anti-Doping Agency included Cardarine to their list of prohibited drugs on the grounds of health risks that are associated with it. [23]

It is also illegal to sell GW-501516 as a food component or dietary supplements. Engagement with the business of selling Cardarine illegally can lead to some serious legal actions to be taken against you.

While taking Cardarine as a performance-enhancing drug is an illegal practice, selling it as a research chemical formula is considered to be legal.