Deca-Durabolin is the brand and trade name for the anabolic steroid Nandrolone. Specifically, Deca-Durabolin is the trade name for Nandrolone Decanoate – the decanoate ester variant of Nandrolone. “Deca”, as it is informally known as among bodybuilders, ranks among the top three anabolic steroids where it is the second most popular and widely utilized anabolic steroid in existence. First place is held by none other than Dianabol (Methandrostenolone), and third by Winstrol (Stanozolol). There is good reason for why Deca-Durabolin is so well liked by bodybuilders and athletes, and is even held in high regard by the medical establishment as well.
Nandrolone Decanoate was first introduced within the scientific community in 1960, making it among the first handful of pioneer anabolic steroids developed. It was developed by Organon, and not long afterwards in 1962 it was released onto the prescription drug market as Deca-Durabolin. Not many are aware, however, that Nandrolone did exist a few years prior in 1957, as the fast-acting Nandrolone Phenylpropionate ester variant. Nandrolone Phenylpropionate did gain significant popularity, but unfortunately its very short half-life imposed limitations on its use, requiring every-other-day injections at a minimum, and so Nandrolone was reinvented as Deca-Durabolin with the decanoate ester affixed to it. The decanoate ester grants Nanadrolone a much longer half-life of approximately 15 days as opposed to the phenylpropionate variant’s 4 days (approximate).
It enjoyed extensive application as a medicinal drug among the medical establishment over time and gained popularity among bodybuilders and athletes for its purportedly ‘mild’ nature. There is some truth to this, but much misunderstanding and myth as well, which will be explained shortly. Deca is only slightly stronger than Testosterone where anabolism is concerned, with a strength rating of 125. By comparison, Testosterone’s anabolic strength rating is 100. However, it possesses a very low androgenic rating of 37, making it favorable for those who are either sensitive to or with to avoid androgenic side effects. Additionally, Nandrolone possesses very low Estrogenic activity and binds very poorly with the aromatase enzyme, which is the enzyme responsible for the conversion of androgens into Estrogen.Only about 20% of Nandrolone is converted into Estrogen in comparison to Testosterone’s conversion rates. The fact that Deca is a Progestin (as all 19-nor compounds are) is what contributes to this low estrogenic activity. Looking further into this, we can also see that Nandrolone experiences aromatization into Estrogen in the liver, but in areas of the body where there is normally a high degree of Estrogen conversion (in fat tissue, for instance), Deca is considerably resistant here.
Deca is classified as a 19-no compound because it lacks the 19th carbon that Testosterone possesses, making it a Progestin and therefore express an affinity for the Progesterone receptor. This can present some potential side effects and issues that are unique to 19-nor compounds, and are unseen in most other anabolic steroids.
One particular point to address here is the common claim that Deca-Durabolin is good for the joints and bone tissue, which is indeed true. However, the proposed explanations that circulate among athletes and bodybuilders as to why this is the case are often incorrect myths and misconceptions. Deca does not “lube the joints”, “store water in connective tissue and joints”, or any other such preposterous nonsense. In actuality, Nandrolone promotes very significant increases in collagen synthesis, more so than most other anabolic steroids. Other studies have also demonstrated an ability for Deca to also promote vast increases in bone mineral content. What does all of this mean for the athlete? It means that bodybuilders and athletes can experience positive effects on connective and joint tissue, strengthening them during bulking, strength gaining, and mass gaining cycles. It grants them the ability to lift heaver weight with an enhanced recovery of bone and connective tissue, as well as a greater tolerance to the stressors on joints and bone that are produced by intense exercise and resistance training.
Deca-Durabolin Side Effects
As previously noted, Deca is often cited as an anabolic steroid that is very ‘mild’ by comparison to other compounds where side effects are concerned. Unfortunately, this is a mix of fact and fiction that needs to be addressed, and most of these ‘Deca is a mild steroid’ claims are from a bygone era where not much was yet known about these drugs, and today we know much more. Deca-Durabolin is by all accounts both a mild and harsh anabolic steroid, possessing both such properties.
The good news is that Deca-Durabolin experiences a very low aromatization rate into Estrogen, making estrogenic side effects less of an issue compared to other anabolic steroids. Although Estrogen related side effects are not totally and utterly eliminated with Deca, it is more manageable and users should therefore still be conscious of this fact. Estrogenic side effects can include bloating, water retention, blood pressure increases as a result of water retention, and gynecomastia.
As a Progestin, Deca can also increase Prolactin levels in the body. All of the Progesterone and Prolactin related issues can manifest in the form of side effects that are very similar to Estrogen – puffy nipples, gynecomastia, bloating, etc. Anti-estrogens and aromatase inhibitors are known for combating these side effects effectively even if they are attenuated through the Progesterone receptor. However, for Prolactin issues, the use of vitamin B6 in order to control Prolactin levels has been demonstrated in studies using 600mg daily. Anti-prolactin drugs such as Cabergoline and Bromocriptine are also very effective at reducing elevated Prolactin levels effectively, and are often the first line of treatment in Prolactin issues.
Nandrolone is not a C17-AA oral anabolic steroid, and therefore no effects on the liver exist with this compound. Deca does express a small degree of androgenic effects, and therefore much like its estrogenic properties, is less of a concern but should still be monitored and kept in mind. Androgenic side effects can include increased oily skin and acne, increased bodily and facial hair growth, increased risk of male pattern baldness (MPB), and an increased risk of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
Nandrolone does also express side effects that are common among all anabolic steroids: disruption and/or shutdown of the HPTA (Hypothalamic Pituitary Testicular Axis), and negative cardiovascular implications. For a long time, Deca was cited as an anabolic steroid that was mild on its impact on the HPTA and natural endogenous Testosterone levels. This is simply untrue as studies have demonstrated that at even as low as 100mg per week of Deca-Durabolin, suppression of endogenous Testosterone production rapidly reached close to 60%, and even higher (and faster) when larger dosages of Deca are used. This is common of any 19-nor compound, and the severe and rapid suppression is due to Deca Durabolin and other 19-nors being Progestins by nature.
Deca is quite concerning where impacts on the cardiovascular system are concerned, especially with recent discoveries that were not known several decades ago. First and foremost, Deca has shown to decrease HDL (“good” cholesterol) levels by 26% over 10 weeks of administration. And, when compared with Testosterone, Nandrolone tends to exhibit far worse negative cholesterol alterations on average. If these potential cardiovascular issues were not concerning enough, fairly recent data has demonstrated that Deca is 11 times more damaging to blood vessels than Testosterone.
Deca-Durabolin Cycles and Uses
Deca-Durabolin is naturally reserved by most athletes and bodybuilders for bulking, mass-adding, and strength-gaining cycles. This is due in part to its positive and beneficial effects on connective and bone tissue, allowing a greater rate of healing in these areas and an added injury preventative when heavier weights are used and more intense physical activity is engaged in.
Being that Deca Durabolin is a long-acting long estered variant of Nandrolone (possessing a half-life of 15 days), Deca-Durabolin cycles are and should be at least 12 weeks in length. Here it is often combined with similar long-estered compounds, such as Testosterone Cypionate. Because of its long acting nature, most users will not experience the ‘kick-in’ of the compound until at least several weeks into the cycle, and this is where many individuals will insert a kickstarting compound into the Deca-Durabolin cycle for the first few weeks. This is typically any oral anabolic steroid, such as Dianabol, Winstrol, Anadrol, Anavar, etc. However, for the purposes of bulking and strength gaining, most individuals tend to lean towards compounds generally suitable for these goals, such as Anadrol (Oxymetholone) or Dianabol (Methandrostenolone) for the first 4 – 6 weeks. These compounds are used because of their mass-adding properties that lend themselves to Deca and Testosterone quite well.
This is where the typical age-old cycle stack of Testosterone / Deca / Dianabol is often discussed. Quite simply put, this is the most popular cycle stack in all history. The Testosterone/Nandrolone/Dianabol stack was originally devised, pioneered, and popularized by the golden era bodybuilders of the 1960s and 1970s. This particular stack is often recommended for all tiers of users (beginners, intermediates, and advanced) as it is a timeless stack that will provide quality gains to any user no matter the experience.
Deca-Durabolin Dosages and Administration
As a prescription drug and medication, Nandrolone Decanoate was originally recommended to be prescribed at a dosage of 50 – 100mg every 3 – 4 weeks, for no longer than 12 weeks. Because every medical condition, disability or disease can be different, the prescription recommendations for Deca have changed to suit the individual patient’s needs. For instance, anemic patients were prescriped 100 – 200mg per week, a Deca Durabolin dosage that is considerably larger than the common prescription doses.
For the purpose of performance and physique enhancement, Deca is usually used by beginners in the range of 300 – 500mg per week. Intermediate users normally do not have to venture above the 500mg mark within that beginner range, especially when Deca Durabolin is stacked with other compounds such as Testosterone and/or another oral compound as a kickstarter. Advanced users should likewise have no major requirement to veer outside this dose range, but should an advanced user require a higher dose to elicit gains, a range of approximately 600 – 800mg or greater should suffice, especially if Nandrolone is the primary anabolic compound of a cycle and Testosterone is simply run as a supportive compound at TRT (Testosterone Replacement Therapy) doses.