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Disclaimer: This post is currently being reviewed because it does not fit our standards for quality.

Cardarine is a chemical with many purported health benefits. It can protect the brain and heart and improve muscle growth. However, it also has its negative effects. Read more below to learn about this chemical.

Note: By writing this post, we are not recommending this drug. Some of our readers who were already taking the drug requested that we commission a post on it, and we are simply providing information that is available in the scientific literature. Please discuss your medications with your doctor. Cardarine is specifically a drug that we at SelfHacked would recommend against.


GW501516 is a chemical that binds to and activates the peroxisome proliferator activator receptor delta (PPAR delta). PPARẟ is a transcription factor, which is a protein that increases the expression of many genes (R).

The activation of PPARẟ has significant implication in improving cardiovascular health, metabolism, and as an anti-inflammatory agent. However, there are some negative effects to GW as well.

Uses of Cardarine/GW501516

1) Cardarine Protects the Brain

In animals, GW 501516 protects brain vessels when they are under oxidative stress (R).

Activation of PPARẟ by GW 501516 could drive the development of nerve cells (R).

Additionally, it prevents blood vessel dysfunction, especially in brain vessels (R).

2) Cardarine Benefits the Heart

GW 501516 prevents oxidative damage in the heart (R).

It decreases the risk and severity of atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in the arteries) through a number of mechanisms. GW 501516 increased levels of nitric oxide, which protects against atherosclerosis (R).

It also reduces lesions and inflammation associated with atherosclerosis in mice (R).

GW 501516 increases VEGF production from human blood vessel cells, which triggers cell and blood vessel formation (R).

GW 501516 results in an increase of HDL cholesterol and a decrease in triglycerides in animal studies, potentially decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease in patients (R).

3) Cardarine Increases Metabolism and Prevents Obesity

GW 501516 activates PPARẟ, which may increase the breakdown of fatty acids and increase energy expenditure in muscle. This could help treat obesity (R).

PPARẟ activates the expression of a number of genes involved in reducing cholesterol and increasing energy expenditure (R).

This treatment could protect against weight gain due to diet (R).

Also, GW 501516 decreases glucose output by the liver and increases insulin sensitivity in mice (R).

By driving muscle fiber development in mice, GW 501516 creates a resistance to obesity (R).

4) Cardarine May Protect the Kidneys

In mice, it was shown to inhibit inflammation in kidney cells, and may protect against kidney disease. It does this by lowering MCP-1 expression that is generally increased in such kidney diseases (R).

5) Cardarine Helps the Immune System

GW 501516 is associated with the suppression of inflammation (R).

Activated PPARẟ suppresses inflammation in the liver in animals by inhibiting molecules that contribute to inflammatory responses (R).

GW 501516 can activate PPARẟ which protects specific skin cells from undergoing spontaneous cell death during the wound healing process (R).

It was also shown to accelerate diabetic wound closure (R).

6) Cardarine and Liver Damage

PPARẟ activation by GW 501516 causes the liver to switch its energy source from glucose to fatty acids, thus reducing blood sugar (R).

In mice, GW 501516 inhibited IL-6, which may help prevent insulin resistance in liver cells (R).

Short-term use can reverse the liver damage that was due to a high fructose diet (R).

Also, it can improve nonalcoholic liver disorder in mice (R).

However, GW 501516 increased cell death in liver cells and may cause fibrosis in mice with liver disease (R).

7) Cardarine Improves Muscle Growth and Stamina

Activation of PPARẟ via GW501516 drives the development of muscle fibers in mice. These muscle fibers are associated with increased physical performance. They were able to run almost twice as long as other mice, indicating improved endurance (R).

8) Cardarine May Help Heal Skin Diseases

Activation of PPARẟ could improve the inflammation caused by psoriasis (a skin disorder) (R).

9) Cardarine May Improve Blood Flow and Wound Healing

By activating PPARẟ, Cardarine may increase the synthesis of BH4, which increases nitric oxide production in blood vessels (eNOS) (R, R).

Increasing nitric oxide helps improve blood flow.

It also helps during wound healing (R).

10) Cardarine Has Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Potential

Cardarine increases the production of the antioxidant enzymes SOD1 and catalase (R).

It also inhibits the production of inflammatory molecules such as MCP-1, TNF-alphaIL-6, and NFκB (R).

The anti-inflammatory effects can improve fibrosis caused by inflammation in rats (R).

Potential Risks/Side Effects

GW 501516 increases cell death in liver cells and may cause fibrosis in mice with liver disease (R).

In animals, there is a potential risk to placental and fetal development with prolonged are large exposure to GW 501516 (R).

In rats, GW 501516 can cause cancer. There are not enough studies done on humans to show the same effect (R).

GSK abandoned further development of the drug in 2007 because animal testing showed that the drug caused cancer to develop rapidly in several organs (R).

Because GW 501516 has a vast amount of influence in a number of places in the body, you should consider its side effects before pursuing it as a treatment (R).


A normal dosage is 2mg/kg per day to selectively activate PPARẟ (R).

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  • SelfHacked VIP – an area where you can ask me (Joe) questions about health topics

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  • Agostoso pika das galáxias

    excellent article, and comments helped a lot to clear my doubts !!

  • Tim

    I’ve struggled with major distension and bloating for 5 years and I have noticed that Within one day of taking this my bloating disappeared. I have tried this on 6 different occasions as a test to see if it was the GW and it seems to be so.. what I want to know is 1: if others have noticed this ? 2: this isn’t fat loss but distension and bloating actually disappearing. So what mechanism is causing the bloating to go away that quick when nothing else has worked for 5 years and I mean nothing .
    Any insight would be appreciated

  • Dino

    I took 3 x 7.5mg on Thursday before running and been ill since friday lunch time, I’ve had servere headaches and the backs of my eyes are hurting and my vision has been impaired. I am currently in hospital. I wish i read all your comments before i bought them i hope my eye sight is not permanently damaged

  • Baydoll

    How are you taking it?

  • Baydoll

    I felt great on day one..the workout was amazing. I had so much energy and every workout after .I couldn’t notice on myself until ppl started asking me what I was doing to lose weight.thats when I started looking and trying on old clothes I couldnt fit before I started. I’m not a body builder but I gained muscle and did burn alot of fat.i started in February and it’s April and I’m happy still have more to do. This is my off cycle now I’mma start back in May for my final cycle.i have before pictures I want to post in July so I can show before and after…just to show a 6mnth progress…but once again I didn’t stack it with anything else not even a energy drink..just water…well I hope this helps you.

  • Martin

    Hello, the eye side effects seems very concerning, what is happening seems similar to age related macular degeneration (AMD). Not point in looking good if you get blind.

    I found these studies that perhaps could help as they help with AMD, as the problem there also is neovascularization growth of new blood vessels.

    Just for your information to perhaps discuss with your doctors,

    Atorvastatin (perhaps easier, cheaper and better than getting injection into the eyes)
    (Statins also lowers one factor involved in AMD, that is called VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor).

    And a blood pressure medicine, telmerisartan, as it seems to reduce many of the mediators involved in AMD as well (including VEGF and other factors)

    Hypertension is a potential link between cardiovascular pathologies and eye diseases. A large amount of information has demonstrated the presence of a RAS (refers to how blod pressure is regulated) in the retina which is greatly spread in the vasculature. To date, findings from epidemiological studies indicate an association between AMD and hypertension. Moreover, studies in vitro and in vivo show that Ang II contributes to sub-RPE deposit formation and CNV development and that these events can be improved by Ang II receptor blockers (ARBs). However, the utility of ARBs for the treatment of eye AMD is still to be determined. In terms of DR (diabetic retinopathy), there is documented evidence showing a clear contribution of Ang II to the development of this disease. Therefore, the use of ARBs (including telmerisartan) can confer retinoprotection and arrest the progression of DR.

    Study with atorvastatin with aspirin (just aspirin for ARMD)

    A animal disease model that shows telmerisartan and aspirin could work for a similar condtion that happends in the kidneys

    1. Shea

      Thanks for you detailed and informative response, Martin! 🙂

  • Chris

    How did u feel when you started? And when did you start seeing it work?

  • Baydoll

    Hi! No I didn’t personally c it until 3wks but other ppl noticed.. I didn’t stack with anything else..I jus use gw 20mg 30 min before I workout..I hope this helps you.

  • Baydoll

    I didn’t start to c it until wk 3…but other ppl would tell me I look like I lost weight…I didn’t stack it with anything else..all I did was take 20mg 30 min before I workout drink plenty of water and eat right…to me it’s like it takes away the stubborn fat like on ur sides and under ur arms first…I c my thighs looking better..I don’t have much inner thigh ordered my other cycle of gw so I can start another cycle after I wait 5wks…well I hope this helps you..

  • Lisa Marie Bunsco

    I have not seen any results yet.

  • Sally

    Did you start to see some results after week one
    How did you take it ?

  • Baydoll

    I’m taking 20mg a day.. I’m almost done with my second bottle which would put me at 8wks of taking it..i feel awesome..I look great I’m gonna take the 5 maybe 6 wks off and start another cycle for 8wks…I’m 5″4 I started at 190…I’m 160 but I look like I’m 140…it takes away the stored fat .. from what u noticed on myself…any questions feel free to ask…I hope this helps..

  • danny

    What dosage were you taking?

  • Lisa

    I am a 5’2 female and I weigh 155 pounds. I just purchased GW from the lab suggested. I received a bottle and I was wondering how much I should take and how I should take it for weight lose.

  • Baydoll

    I’m currently on it (gw501516)it’s been 5wks and I haven’t had any side effects..I used to take meds for hbp after day 4 my BP regulated and I don’t take no more meds I just take the gw501516 30min before I workout and I’m at my best with it so I don’t have no negative things to say about it. I was nervous at first but I really wanted to get fit so I took a chance and it’s done me well. If it’s not good for you I think you would know by day 3. Well I hope this helps .

  • Terry

    Christopher, I was right on the verge of purchasing the liquid from a US lab when I stumbled upon your response. I’m not a bodybuilder or a competitive athlete but I am slightly overweight, borderline diabetic and my cholesterol levels are relatively high…. It’s been a few months since your post and wondered about your results and if you experienced any negative side effects?Did you track your HDL levels before or after? I’m 6’2 – 245lbs and wondering how to determine the right dosage for a male my size?

  • Tripp

    Markus, actually no I have never touched S4 and never will because of that side effect. My original cycle was 12 weeks of LGD4033 and RAD140. After 12 weeks I started a PCT protocol which included Clomid and Cardarine. I also added in MK677 at this time. After about 7 days my vision started to go. Now almost a year later I still have vision problems caused by macualr edema (swelling in the back of the eye caused by leaking blood vessels).

  • Markus


    I strongly assume your stacks contains also Andarine (S4)? One of the side effetcs of that is a slight tainted /yellowish vision.

  • Tripp

    Hey man, just curious was Cardarine the only drug you were taking? I ran Cardarine along with a few other performance enhancing drugs for about a month. My vision started having trouble after about a week. I figured it was just a side effect and would subside once I finished the cycle. Unfortunately it’s now almost a year later and I still have peoblems. I have to get injections in both of my eyes on a biweekly basis. Only slight improvements so fatlr after about 15 injections. The injections they do are Anti-VEGF drugs, and seem to help a bit, so the growth-factor thing people are talking about makes sense. Were you taking anything else at the time?

  • John

    Has anyone had experience with a reputable brand?

  • Noel

    Would it help extreme ultra endurance challenge 400km 80 hrs race?… Need back to back consume?

  • woofah

    This supplement is amazing. I am a former golden gloves champion and now body builder and alls I can says is WOW

  • Coco

    I took GW for 4 days and suddenly I got floaters in my left eye. Stopped it.
    Floaters still there but less.

  • Brian

    Excellent article on GW501516 in the Nov. 6, ’17 New Yorker.

  • Evan Walters

    Hey SelfHacked, big fan of your articles but you need to change the optimum dose of cardarine to 5-15mg per day. Thanks, Evan

  • Bill Sardi

    A 2 mg/kilogram human equivalent dose for a 154-lb. person (70 kilograms) would be 70 X 2 = 140 mg.

    This is a synthetically made molecule that inexplicably carries an FDA disclaimer as if it is a dietary supplement (which it is not).

    As a PPAR agonist it would promote growth factors which would facilitate the outcropping of new blood vessels if circulation in heart muscle (or any muscle) were impaired. It would enhance muscle building. However, it might also cause new abnormal blood vessels to outcrop at the back of the eyes (macula) and impair vision. This is why it promoted cancer growth (but did not initiate cancer). Cancer growth is driven by growth factors. For comparison, the red wine molecule resveratrol activates new blood vessels in a damaged heart to produce collateral circulation but simultaneously inhibits new blood vessel formation at the back of the eyes.

    Many of the scientific references provide inferred evidence from studies involving PPAR agonists (activators) but not GW 501516 itself.

    The author of this article discloses a financial interest.

  • Nick

    Can somebody link the incidents reported of anxiety to PPAR in the brain. The technical stuff in studies I can’t make sense of. GW users have clearly stated anxiety as a side effect. I have experienced this twice. No stimulants in the supplement. People would know if they are stimulated to anxiety.

  • Levi Mitchell


    Would GW come up on an military urine test ?

  • Markus


    the dose was not 10 000 as high as the human equivalence dose (HED), Is was comparable to a daily HED of about just 20 mg for a 80kg/185lb human being.

    Those rats were given 2 mg/kg body weight. As rats have a higher skin area/kg plus a much higher metabolism (J/kg) one has to adjust this rate for humans. As BEZ has already stated this would be a factor. Even with negelecting those metabolic differences, just for the sake of YOUR argument, one would have to take 2mg/kg*80 kg =160 mg. That’s about 10 your proposed dosage, not the 10,000 you have mentioned. That a fu**ing difference and still damn near to the 15 mg daily you are proposing!

    BTW, there are also humans being with 50 kg body weight so that margin of error shrinks down further to your disadvantage….

  • Christopher

    Markus, The rat study actually used outrageous levels of Cardarine, not normal amounts. I believe the amount was around 10,000 times the normal dosage. The equivalent amount of aspirin to a human would probably be deadly. The rat study was way off and men have now used Cardarine every day for over a decade without side effects and unreal benefits.
    10mg Cardarine and 25 MG of Testosterone a day can prevent the average male from needing a series of cardiovascular meds, ED meds, Cholesterol Meds, etc etc. This is the reason they are suppressed by the FDA. Big pharma knows the results.

  • australopithicus

    Chris, what exactly are your qualifications to assess scientific studies and determine their validity? In the first paragraph alone you have multiple spelling errors. First line in 2nd paragraph you have spelled their when it is clearly not the place for a possessive pronoun. The spelling would be there. The first sentence in the next paragraph you are most certainly putting the previous post down and in a very condescending, arrogant, and pseudo-intellectual way. You state also that the physiology of certain animals is superior to chimps with their(note the possessive pronoun). How about a reference. Next time, how about a useful post you smug pseudo-intellectual. If we are lucky, there will not be a next time.

  • Tommix

    If this drug sooo super and cancer only in rats – so why GSK dumped this wonderful gold mine?

  • An Actual Scientist

    As far as the cancer link goes, not only is the dose high, but PPAR agonists are known to cause cancer in rats and not humans. If you give a rat one of the fibrate drugs like lopid, their livers fill with cancerous too.

    This doesn’t happen in humans because PPAR agonism doesn’t actually cause proliferation of peroxisomes. That only happens in some lower life forms like rats. Their number of peroxisomes shoots up, causing vastly increased oxidative stress which fries their dna and causes cancer.

  • Bez

    Mg/kg assumes 60kg for humans typically as it’s not actually concerned with weight but with skin area (weight is used as a simpler approximation). Anyway, 2mg/kg is still way too high of a dose and honestly it’s incredibly irresponsible that they’ve left that up. 3mg/kg was where rats in one study developed some cancers after 104 weeks. Like Markus posted then, I also assume that’s where 2mg/kg came from. Using a loose HED standard for human conversions, you multiply a rat mg/kg dose by 0.16 (an average ratio of rat size to human size) and then multiply by 60, which would be 19.2mg as equivalent to a rat sized 2mg/kg.

  • Blake

    what is the proper or best use in administering this particular chemical, cream, oral, injection? I’ve read various articles, and there hasn’t been a clear consistent understanding or explanation for that matter on the way to administer this. How should one research the best way tp purchase, maybe you can share how you are able to order and find a distributor?

  • greg

    Would be interesting to follow up the endurance athletes that have taken Gw-501516. The drug has been around since the 1990’s. A number of cyclists have taken the drug (a test was established for the drug). Would be interesting to find out if they had any long term issues. This isn’t proper science as proper cause and effect cannot be correlated definitively. However if users all had side effects there would be cause for concern.

  • Mark

    Umm, Markus, 2mg/kg would be about 160mg in the average male.

  • Inspector More-Anonymous

    2mg/kg would be an insanely high dosage in humans, humans shouldnt exceed 20mg per day. Also, it should be noted that the study that showed to cause cancer in mice is a known flawed study where the mice receive way to much GW per/kg of weight and if that were to be recreated in humans with the same ratio the levels of GW would also be extremely high, and I have a feeling thats where the 2mg/kg is coming from here

    1. Chris

      The study isn’t flawed. To a laymen it might appeared flawed but if you know how different types of animal physiology are closely related to humans in specific areas there are types of studies and research which while seemingly given in excess to the uninformed these studies are perfectly valid. Some human systems of the body more closely resemble a mouse than a chimpanzee or some other animal you ignt thing would be more relevant. Rats and rabbits also are better candidates for certain biological processes.

      So the most important lesson to learn is their was no flaw in the study. In fact that’s common for studies. There are too many variables to keep track of for experts let alone someone who only knows what they’ve read on Wikipedia when it comes to biology. Rats, mice, and rabbits are generally given larger doses because in whatever area of the body being studied one must take into account these still are not humans. They are the best analogies to humans biologists to work with (assuming human ethical standards are adhered to). So these animals have a very largely scaled down length of life and scaled up level (higher) metabolism. So it’s complete ignorance to state the study was/is flawed simply because you have a something you think is logical (the high doses given to rats) but doesn’t fit any logical processes. One, unless you have your doctorate in biology and can state the similarities in the areas that rats have with humans where increased cancer rates were seen than you may as well defend your point of view by stating anthrax vaccines have no unusual long term effects on cattle so would not on humans.

      I’m not trying to put you down or saying your statement is even wrong but I am saying your statement is without merit at best and damaging worse. Maybe in 30 years of use of this substance would have the same effect on a person when it comes to the liver as the rats in this study. And other areas where it’s detrimental (or beneficial) effects on rats in 2 years doesn’t equate into any effects on humans in 50 years.

      In fact small scale human studies in limited early phases showed some promise. But you have to remember that the studies done on rats are not at all flawed and should be taken seriously before talking about using it on the human population in general. It may prove to not show negatige effects, of at least the same negative effects at the same level.

      The last thing to keep in mind is this drug is not being designed for the athletic community. All statements made by the athletic community are usually libelous at worst or uninformed (even if well meaning) at best. If I had to chose between the athletic community or researchers at a university (who would have a vested interest in stating the drug has no drawbacks) my bet would be on the medical community. My guess is the chemical will be refined into separate drugs to do a better job at targeting specific sites in the body. Which would reduce the unnecessary risks involved with a single drug that acts at all sites in people whether they are healthy or not. So target the liver for instance instead of everything in the body. Or the brain in people showing signs of dementia. Or arteries in people with heart conditions.

      Anyway believe what you want or not about the drug’s potential side effects (I use it myself but I don’t plan to take it long term only during periods of injury or when I take too long of a break from working out). But the study is not flawed for any reason I’ve heard anyone come up with that I would consider valid. I’ve only heard severely flawed logical arguments heavily embedded in bias to keep the drug in stock because it works for athletes, again not why these drugs are developed. However after 7 hears my best bet is the study was far from flawed but the company realizes it wouldn’t make it to market as it currently is so needs to refined into separate drugs that target specific sites or simply abandoned. If the study were as flawed as you think it wouldn’t stop a pharmaceutical company from making a block buster drug (even a 1 to 2 billion dollar fine on these drugs arely makes a dent in their total profits). So no the study wasn’t flawed. Nor was it even questionable that it would translate into human cancer if a huge pharmaceutical conglomerate would simply moth ball the project.

      Again believe what you want about it causing cancer but its fact that the study was done with well established and accepted methodologies.

  • Markus

    Regarding the “normal dosage”, the 2mg/kg mentioned should refer to rat studies, so a human equi. dosage would be about 15 mg which is a dosage that is typically used by many of it’s human users-

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