Steroid Name: Nandrolone Decanoate – Deca Durabolin
Forms: Liquid injectable
Mostly Used For: Cutting Cycles
There are two popular esterified forms of Nandrolone: Decanoate and Phenylpropionate. The latter is faster acting but doesn’t last as long in the body.
Nandrolone Decanoate, which was marketed by Organon as Deca Durabolin in the early 60s, remains the most popular form.
As a mass building steroid, it is potent, but it is also widely used due to its therapeutic qualities with respect to joints and connective tissue – tendons and ligaments. This is something bodybuilders value highly, considering the strain they are putting these tissues under during training.
As side effects go, it is a bitter-sweet steroid. It does have low aromatization to estrogen, which reduces the risk of many unwanted effects.
However – like all Nandrolone variants – it is highly suppressive of endogenous testosterone. It is perhaps the most suppressive steroid there is.
Main Benefits to the Bodybuilder / Athlete
A lot of people use Deca for its recovery and therapeutic properties during the off-season, especially strength athletes, bodybuilders and other sports which entail repetitive damage to joints and connective tissue.
Beyond that, higher dosages will lead to lean muscle mass gains and reduction of fat storage. However, due to the long decanoate ester, the effects take a while to kick in.
Again, this makes it a useful off-season steroid as it offers both the healing benefits and a slower, high quality muscle gain.
It also takes a while to leave the body, so drug-tested athletes don’t tend to use it during the competitive season.
Bodybuilders sometimes use Deca during a cutting phase as it provides muscle endurance benefits and pain relief in relatively low doses. Cutting diets are tough on the body and energy levels so any performance enhancement and relief is useful.
Side Effects of Deca Durabolin
Endogenous Testosterone Suppression
Testosterone suppression is Deca Durabolin’s most powerful side effect. While every steroid suppresses natural testosterone production to varying degrees, the Nandrolone group is particularly strong.
The exact degree of suppression has varied between studies but some show a total suppression of endogenous testosterone after a single 100mg dose. Another study demonstrated significant reduction after a single 150mg dose.
Gårevik N(1), Börjesson A(1), Choong E(1), Ekström L(1), Lehtihet M(2) – Impact of single-dose nandrolone decanoate on gonadotropins, blood lipids and HMG CoA reductase in healthy men – Andrologia. 2016 Jun;48(5):595-600. doi: 10.1111/and.12488. Epub 2015 Sep 15 [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26370185]
On-cycle countermeasures usually involve exogenous testosterone supplementation. And once the cycle is finished a PCT (Post Cycle Therapy) plan should be followed so that normal natural testosterone production recovers. This may take months.
Gynecomastia (‘Man Boobs’)
Deca’s low conversion to estrogen compared to testosterone means that certain estrogenic effects are reduced.
However, gynecomastia (male breasts enlargement) is a risk due to the steroid’s affinity to the progesterone receptor. Imbalances between estrogen and progesterone are one of the root causes of gynecomastia, according to medical experts.
People often use Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators (SERMs) to reduce the side effects. Tamoxifen (e.g Nolvadex) is a popular choice and doesn’t have a negative impact on cholesterol levels like Aromatase Inhibitors (AIs) do.
Androgenic effects, such as hair loss, acne and body hair growth are quite dependent on genetic predispositions. Nandrolone converts to dihydronandrolone (DHN) as opposed to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which reduces its androgenicity.
The 5 alpha reductase enzyme is still the cause of this conversion but the use of 5-AR inhibitors such as Finasteride will actually increase the likelihood of androgenic side effects and so are not recommended.
Blood Lipid Profile – Cholesterol
Cholesterol levels will most likely be affected with Deca, as with nearly every steroid. HDL (aka good cholesterol) is reduced, while LDL (aka bad cholesterol) is increased.
These problems usual correct themselves post cycle, but long term and/or irresponsible steroid use can affect the cardio vascular system and increase the risk of heart disease.
Effects on Women – Virilization
For women, virilization effects can occur at much smaller doses than men tolerate. These include the deepening of the voice (due to vocal chord hypertrophy), body hair growth and possibly even acne and hair loss.
Dosage and Usage
Studies have found dosages of around 150mg once every 3 weeks (ranging from 2 to 4 based on the individual) to be suitable for therapeutic application (hip operation recovery etc.)
For bodybuilding and athletic purposes, therapeutic dosages are useful for recovery purposes and even performance enhancement, though they have been taken every 2 weeks instead.
Anabolic gains are usually found in the 300 to 400mg range on a per week basis. A lot of guys split the dose into two 150 to 200mg injections per week for ease of tolerance. A cycle length of 12 weeks has been reported as safe max, while below 8 weeks isn’t effective enough.
Women who are vulnerable to masculinizing effects of steroids should probably avoid Deca. Some female bodybuilders have found success with doses of 50mg per week for a max cycle of 4 to 5 weeks.
Availability – Legality – Purchase
Nandrolone is still in circulation as original Deca Durabolin, though Organon do not have US market presence for the steroid anymore. Nandrobolin from Alpha Pharma is another well known brand.
The US Anabolic Steroid laws are possibly the strictest, making it illegal to even possess them. Many countries have similar laws and steroids are generally only available via prescription.
Canada and the UK have decriminalized possession for personal use. Much of Europe is similar or somewhere between that and the USA law.
Few countries – Mexico and Portugal included – have decriminalized many drugs, and even legalized the sale in some circumstances.
Online purchase is the modern, and easiest method. However, caution must be taken because counterfeit product is out there. Also, the risk of buying steroids is not removed simply with the added distance of online sale.
Study the law and the customs procedures where you live before making any decision to purchase.
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