Jump to

Farrinstitute is reader-supported. We may receive commissions on purchases made through links on our site.

Best Steroid Alternatives

Best Steroid Alternatives

By Kire Stojkovski M.D
Editor Jonathan Hoarau Published 25 May 2023
Time to read 6 min
Maybe you’re struggling to gain muscle mass while losing body fat. It’s possible your energy and T levels are also suffering. Are anabolic steroids the answer?
Scientific research has a lot to say on the topic and natural steroid alternatives exist for this reason. Make sure you understand the ingredients and options before you decide.

What Is the Best Alternative to Steroids?

There are loads of natural steroid supplements available that might provide you with the desirable effects you crave from anabolic steroids. You’ll find them grouped into two categories:

  • SARMs
  • Supplements


“SARMS” is short for Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators. They’re built to mimic the outcome anabolic steroids could offer you, without the dangerous risks associated with illegal steroids for testosterone, hair loss being the least of them.
They work in a similar way to steroids, where they bind to androgen receptors which then triggers muscle growth. However, SARMS don’t affect other parts of the body like an anabolic steroid does. You shouldn’t experience acne or prostate issues as a result. Instead, SARMS are “muscle tissue specific”, targeting muscle mass and nothing else.


Supplements, on another hand, are more widely varied and contain natural ingredients that may boost your testosterone levels and help with building muscle and burning fat.
Unlike standard legal steroids, the top supplements feature safe substances for most individuals, keeping in mind that there’s lacking evidence pointing to their efficacy. These products might still offer benefits, though.
Are SARMS or supplements better for supporting testosterone and muscle growth? The verdict is still out, but looking into the ingredients of each may help you decide which one you’d like to try.

Do Steroid Alternatives Work?

Will you get the same exact results with a natural steroid alternative that you’d find with a steroid itself? No, but that’s part of the package that comes with using safer substances.
That doesn’t mean they’re all completely useless. Some of the top alternatives still target your body’s muscle building processes, which could benefit you to some degree.
These alternatives aren’t created equal, though. This is why we delve into the ins and outs of these products, to help you distinguish one from the other before you decide on a supplement to build muscle.

What Are the Benefits of Steroid Alternatives?

The benefits of opting for a steroid alternative to support testosterone production, whether that’s a SARM or natural supplement, include:

  • Fewer side effects
  • Not illegal
  • No injections
  • Available online

Fewer side effects may be reason enough to opt for an alternative method to boost muscle growth. On top of that, these alternatives are convenient, perfectly legal and easy to get.

Supplements or SARMs?

We cover the top eight and see how they compare: the top four being supplements, while the last four qualify as SARMs.

D-Bal — Best Legal Steroids Alternative

D-Bal mirrors Dianabol, a well known illegal anabolic steroid. According to the Crazy Bulk company, this supplement increases muscle mass and strength and helps you lose fat, naturally. You may be on the road to quicker recovery post workout, too.

How Does It Work?

D-Bal contains the following:
Vitamin D3 is popular for its support of healthy muscle function. Deficiency can lead to muscle weakness and poor physical performance overall [1].
Magnesium helps your muscles relax and recover after a strenuous workout. Supplementing with this mineral could also support better sleep, too.
MSM, short for methylsulfonylmethane, is found naturally in the human body. It’s shown to reduce inflammation and joint pain [2]. MSM might lower oxidative stress levels, too, helping with workout recovery.
L-isoleucine is an amino acid that people use for endurance, energy and lean muscle mass. However, studies are inconclusive at this time.
Suma root concentrated extract is an “adaptogen”, which means it helps the body adapt to stress and change. Some claim it’s a libido and testosterone booster, as well.
Ashwagandha or Indian Ginseng is a common supplement for raising energy levels and lowering anxiety. It might raise T levels, too [3].
Tribulus terrestris is a common choice for boosting physical performance and sex drive, however, the evidence isn’t clear.
Sodium hyaluronate exists in the body’s connective tissues and is used for skin conditioning. It might improve muscle strength, among other benefits [4].
This supplement was created to boost hGH (human growth hormone) levels, naturally. This hormone is responsible for muscle growth. It might also decrease fat deposits and speed up metabolism, both of which become a challenge with age.

D-Bal Side Effects

As it stands, we can’t locate any negative side effects that come with taking D-Bal. All the ingredients are natural, however, we do recommend consulting a physician beforehand.

Check Best Price for D-Bal

HGH-X2 — Best Supplement for hGH

This supplement was created to boost hGH (human growth hormone) levels, naturally. This hormone is responsible for muscle growth. It might also decrease fat deposits and speed up metabolism, both of which become a challenge with age.

How Does It Work?

HGH-X2 features four active ingredients:
Hawthorne berry extract contains a variety of nutrients including B vitamins and beta-carotene, to name a few. Both of these might support the production and secretion of hGH [5]. This extract is also an antioxidant.
Maca root also features vitamins including C, potassium, manganese and iron. Vitamin C is an hGH supporter and your stamina, along with bone density, might improve here, too [5].
L Arginine is an amino acid that functions as a building block for protein. It positively affects blood circulation and might enhance hGH.
Mucuna pruriens extract contains iron and potassium, both of which might be linked to low hGH levels if one is deficient in either of them [6].

HGH-X2 Side Effects

Similar to the product above, there aren’t any known adverse effects with HGH-X2.

Check Best Price for HGH-X2

Testo Max — Best Supplement for Sustanon Alternative

Is another testosterone product brought to us by Crazy Bulk and functions as a safe alternative to sustanon, a common steroid supplement. It’s made to enhance your performance and help you bulk up legally.

How Does It Work?

Testo Max contains 11 active ingredients, the most substantial per capsule includes:
Vitamin D3 works in relation to posture, stability, muscle function and physical performance. Studies show that muscle strength may increase with supplementation [7].
Vitamin B6 comes with claims that it could support an increase in testosterone levels, though studies are inconclusive at this time. It might fuel better metabolism, though.
Zinc has long been linked to a hearty immune system and metabolic function. For those with a zinc deficiency, supplementation might help raise testosterone.
D-aspartic acid is an amino acid that plays a role in testosterone secretion [8]. It’s a popular ingredient in T boosters for this reason.
Nettle leaf extract has long been used as a diuretic and is often in dietary supplements. It might help treat sore muscles and have a positive impact on lean muscle mass.

Testo Max Side Effects

Effects of Testo Max may include an upset stomach, headache and low blood sugar. However, these are not common and most likely come in the event of misuse or individual conditions.

Check Best Price for Testomax

TestoGen — Best Supplement for Testosterone Boost

TestoGen is produced by its own company and claims to boost T levels naturally. It could increase stamina and strength, while reducing the fat around your waistline.

How Does It Work?

TestoGen features 11 active ingredients including zinc, vitamin B6, magnesium, and nettle leaf, all mentioned before in this review.
This supplement also features:
Vitamin K1 is useful for blood circulation and bone health. It might help those in the age range that could be affected by osteoporosis.
Korean red ginseng is an antioxidant touted as an immune system enhancer and it might help alleviate erectile dysfunction, as well [9]. The latter being an issue for those with low testosterone.
Fenugreek extract might promote lean body mass, increase in muscle and strength, and slightly boost testosterone [10].

TestoGen Side Effects

Effects with TestoGen on the body are rare, if any.
As noted, SARMS act differently than supplements and might be a better option for those looking to edge as close to real steroids as possible.

Check Best Price for Testogen

Ostarine MK-2866 — Best SARM for Physical Performance

This drug was originally created to help individuals avoid muscle waste while fighting chronic conditions. One of the biggest advantages with this product is that it mimics the effect of steroids, but is a safer alternative and it can be consumed in very low doses.
It’s worth noting that this substance is banned in most sports. If you compete professionally, you’ll want to confirm the legality of ostarine before consuming it.

How Does It Work?

Ostarine MK-2866 contains one ingredient: ostarine.
There is evidence pointing to its efficacy for improving lean muscle mass and physical performance all-around [11]. It might also increase bone density.

Ostarine MK-2866 Side Effects

If you have liver problems, consult a doctor before taking ostarine. Other possible effects include:

  • Stomach difficulties such as diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Headache


Check Best Price for Ostarine MK-2866

Testolone RAD-140 — Best SARM for Bulk

Testolone RAD-140 makes for a proven option where building muscle is concerned and is recommended for those looking to make substantial gains [12].
It’s commonly used for a bulking stack as well, which is when SARMS or other supplements are combined with one another for potency.
As with many other SARMs, Testolone is also banned from sports.

How Does It Work?

The exact ingredients in Testolone are unknown, though we suspect it only contains RAD-140 itself, which is the SARM this supplement is built upon.
This SARM might be suitable for those concerned about gaining fat when bulking up, as it could prevent that. In general, RAD-140 is shown to be an especially successful binder to androgen receptors, swaying its efficacy to the positive side.

Testolone RAD-140 Side Effects

While many say this supplement is safe and legal, it’s debatable.
Potential effects include:

  • Lethargy
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Liver damage or risk of cancer with overuse.
Check Best Price for D-Bal

Andarine — Best SARM for Excess Fat Loss

Andarine comes from the same company that brings us Ostarine MK-2866.

How Does It Work?

Using Andarine might trigger fat loss, even while you’re bulking up or looking for lean muscle mass. However, the studies are differing at this time and most rely on mice.
This includes research on the positive effect it could have on bone density, as well.

Andarine Side Effects

Effects on your body with this drug may include:

  • Altered vision
  • Nausea
  • Water retention
Check Best Price for D-Bal

Lingadrol LGD-4033 — Best SARM for Bone Density

This bulking stack is often advertised to women, who suffer more from osteoporosis than men do. It’s also one of the only SARMs with proven clinical trials on the human body, not just animals.

How Does It Work?

Lingadrol contains this SARM only, making the supplement straightforward where otherwise mysterious ingredients might be included.
Dosages are quite minor, which indicates it might work at a rapid pace without concern for overdoing it. Men can use Lingadrol, too and they may see results as soon as three weeks into a cycle [13].

Lingadrol LGD-4033 Side Effects

The only known effects of Lingadrol revolve around potential stomach troubles like bloatation or uneasiness. Keep in mind that this depends on the dose, length of cycle and the individual consuming it.

Check Best Price for D-Bal

How to Choose the Top Steroid Alternatives

It’s an overwhelming choice when trying to choose a safe option for your body in regards to increasing muscle mass, no doubt. The alternatives range from natural supplements with numerous ingredients to more direct SARMS.

Are Steroid Alternatives Legal?

All of the options on our list make for a legal alternative.
However, as you can see, most SARMS are not allowed by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) who prohibits them full-stop.
If you’re not a competing athlete, legality shouldn’t be a concern.

Are Steroid Alternatives Safe?

While you might note all natural ingredients as safe for your body, you should proceed with caution.
SARMS, in particular, aren’t FDA approved for recreational use, even though they are a legal alternative.
When you’re shopping for a steroid alternative, read the label carefully and do your research. Drugs that aren’t FDA approved indicate that there’s no regulation around them. This means the purported benefits could be misleading, as could the effects.

Do Steroid Alternatives Have Side Effects?

As previously mentioned, body effects differ from product to product and depend on the natural steroids dosage, cycle and individual.
Opposed to an anabolic steroid, a legal steroid alternative will be much safer. Most studies point to minor effects only. More dangerous effects are left to those who misuse or overuse the supplement.

How to Use Steroid Alternatives?

This depends on if you’re taking a natural steroid supplement or a SARM and what the manufacturer recommends per day, in their detailed instructions.
Typically, you take SARMs in two to three month cycles, with eight weeks being the average length of time.
Use caution when taking anything for the first time and start with the lowest dosage possible to see how your body reacts. After four to eight weeks, you can adjust your dosage to an appropriate level depending on how you feel.
As a general rule, you shouldn’t go beyond a 12-week cycle when trying to boost your testosterone levels, amp muscle gains or burn fat.
At the end of the day, even natural steroids can be detrimental. If you start seeing dangerous side effects, we recommend that you stop dosing and consult a physician.


If you’ve suffered a horrible side effect and want a safe alternative to anabolic steroids, a natural steroid may be the best option.
Muscle gains and a reduction in body fat might be possible with one of these products. It’s possible you can increase testosterone levels too, without hair loss and acne accompanying the process.
Legal steroid alternatives run the gamut from SARMS to supplements like Testo Max, that are full of nutrients and safe ingredients for your body. This includes B vitamins and the plant, tribulus terrestris.
One of the top options for fat burning and physical performance could be Ostarine. While it’s not an FDA approved legal steroid option, you’ll find a plethora of positive reviews online. You’ll need to take it alongside your workout sessions for a chance to increase muscle and experience better blood flow. The latter might amp your sex drive, too.
If SARMs aren’t your thing, opt for another supplement like D-Bal. It might support protein synthesis and help you reach the strength gains you’re after, and all from healthy substances like magnesium. Better recovery could be on the horizon here, too.


1. Gunton, Jenny E, and Christian M Girgis. “Vitamin D and Muscle.” Bone Reports, Elsevier, 18 Apr. 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6021354/.

2. Xu, Gang, et al. “Evaluation of the Effect of Mega MSM on Improving Joint Function in Populations Experiencing Joint Degeneration.” International Journal of Biomedical Science : IJBS, Master Publishing Group, June 2015, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4502733/.

3. Lopresti, Adrian L, et al. “A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Study Examining the Hormonal and Vitality Effects of Ashwagandha ( Withania Somnifera) in Aging, Overweight Males.” American Journal of Men’s Health, SAGE Publications, 2019, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6438434/.

4. V;, Bronstone A;Neary JT;Lambert TH;Dasa. “Supartz (Sodium Hyaluronate) for the Treatment of Knee Osteoarthritis: A Review of Efficacy and Safety.” Clinical Medicine Insights. Arthritis and Musculoskeletal Disorders, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31019370/.

5. Sesmilo G;Biller BM;Llevadot J;Hayden D;Hanson G;Rifai N;Klibanski A; “Effects of Growth Hormone (GH) Administration on Homocyst(e)Ine Levels in Men with GH Deficiency: a Randomized Controlled Trial.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11297577/.

6. Flyvbjerg, Allan, et al. “Evidence That Potassium Deficiency Induces Growth Retardation through Reduced Circulating Levels of Growth Hormone and Insulin-like Growth Factor I.” Metabolism, W.B. Saunders, 10 Apr. 2004,

7. Rejnmark, Lars. “Effects of Vitamin d on Muscle Function and Performance: a Review of Evidence from Randomized Controlled Trials.” Therapeutic Advances in Chronic Disease, SAGE Publications, Jan. 2011, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3513873/.

8. D’Aniello A;Di Fiore MM;Fisher GH;Milone A;Seleni A;D’Aniello S;Perna AF;Ingrosso D; “Occurrence of D-Aspartic Acid and N-Methyl-D-Aspartic Acid in Rat Neuroendocrine Tissues and Their Role in the Modulation of Luteinizing Hormone and Growth Hormone Release.” FASEB Journal : Official Publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10744627/.

9. de Andrade E;de Mesquita AA;Claro Jde A;de Andrade PM;Ortiz V;Paranhos M;Srougi M; “Study of the Efficacy of Korean Red Ginseng in the Treatment of Erectile Dysfunction.” Asian Journal of Andrology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16855773/.

10. Poole, Chris, et al. “The Effects of a Commercially Available Botanical Supplement on Strength, Body Composition, Power Output, and Hormonal Profiles in Resistance-Trained Males.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, BioMed Central, 27 Oct. 2010, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2978122/.

11. Dalton, James T, et al. “The Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator GTx-024 (Enobosarm) Improves Lean Body Mass and Physical Function in Healthy Elderly Men and Postmenopausal Women: Results of a Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Phase II Trial.” Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia and Muscle, Springer-Verlag, Sept. 2011, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3177038/.

12. “Testolone.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Compound Database, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Testolone.

13. Basaria, Shehzad, et al. “The Safety, Pharmacokinetics, and Effects of LGD-4033, a Novel Nonsteroidal Oral, Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator, in Healthy Young Men.” The Journals of Gerontology. Series A, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, Oxford University Press, Jan. 2013,