Without a doubt Deca-Durabolin is one of the most effective and respected steroids ever made. The fact that it’s been used for more than 50 years and by some of the world’s best bodybuilders tells us just how beneficial this steroid is.
Deca-Durabolin’s popularity has never waned after all these years and today it still remains one of the best steroids that we can use.
Does that mean you SHOULD be using Deca-Durabolin though? In the past there was no other option – steroids have long been the only powerful substances to take for big gains and big performance boosts.
Times change though, and today we’re fortunate to be able to have different options to achieve similar outcomes. But first, learning all there is to know about Deca-Durabolin is essential before deciding whether you really do want to use this steroid.
Deca-Durabolin comes with some very impressive benefits and it’s one of the most versatile steroids in existence. There are downsides to be aware of though, and although it has a reputation as one of the more harmless steroids, few people will be able to use Deca-Durabolin without negative effects.
Let’s dive into everything you need to know about Deca-Durabolin.
Author’s Note: The following guide is based on my personal experience and does NOT promote the use of illegal steroids (PEDs).
Deca-Durabolin History and Overview
Deca-Durabolin is a Nandrolone anabolic steroid. There are two esters – Nandrolone decanoate and Nandrolone phenylpropionate (NPP). Both forms have the exact same effects, but the attached ester controls the rate of release of the hormone with NPP being the much shorter and faster ester of the two.
When it comes to performance use, Nandrolone decanoate is by far the most popular form of Nandrolone and this is almost certainly down to its wider availability over NPP.
Deca-Durabolin is one of the oldest steroids but one which has retained its popularity with bodybuilders and athletes since it was introduced in the early 1960’s. It’s also long been valued for medical use which of course was its original purpose.
Today it is still prescribed in many countries, although its use and availability has been on the decline. In the US and Canada, Nandrolone was discontinued many years ago, including the generic versions.
Deca-Durabolin is the main brand name of Nandrolone decanoate and this steroid is consistently considered in the three most widely used anabolic steroids cycles for performance purposes.
Other brand names that you might come across when looking for pharmaceutical grade Nandrolone include Deca-Durabol, Retabolil, Decaneurabol and Metadec.
By understanding the medical applications of Deca-Durabolin we can gain a good idea of how and why this steroid is of value to bodybuilders and athletes. Different countries have approved Deca-Durabolin for different medical uses.
Some of the medical uses of Deca-Durabolin have included for wasting syndromes, anemia, osteoporosis, kidney failure and chronic kidney disease, and inoperable breast cancer. Due to its milder nature it has been used in women and children at lower doses.
Other possible areas of medical research for this steroid have included as a treatment for bone loss in males, however studies showed that it was not as effective as testosterone for this purpose.
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Chemical Characteristics and Properties
Deca-Durabolin is a Nandrolone based steroid with the large decanoate ester. Another ester form of Nandrolone also exists in Nandrolone phenylpropionate (NPP) which is a smaller ester, and that was the very first version of Nandrolone developed in the late 1950’s.
NPP, while popular and effective in medical use, was found to be too limiting with its short half life (around 4 days) which required very regular injections. This lead to Nandrolone decanoate being developed which then become the favored ester thanks to its long half life of about 15 days.
While a half life of 4 days and regular injections is rarely a problem for performance users, Nandrolone was designed for medical use and it was determined that frequent injections for patients was not ideal, hence the need for a longer ester.
While some bodybuilders may in fact prefer the shorter acting NPP, it is Nandrolone decanoate which is the most popular performance steroid and this is mainly because it’s easier to find for purchase.
Both ester versions have exactly the same properties and effects of the Nandrolone hormone, it is simply the attached ester that differs which controls the release of the steroid after injection.
Chemically, Deca-Durabolin is in a class of steroids called 19-nortestosterone, or just 19-nor for short. This is classed as a progestin and that results in a lower aromatizing activity and consequently lower estrogen effect than many other steroids.
Although Deca-Durabolin has a half life of about 15 days, it is able to detected in testing for up to 18 months following a final dose.
Compared to testosterone which has an anabolic and androgenic rating of 100, Deca-Durabolin has a slightly higher anabolic rating of 125, while its androgenic rating is significantly reduced at just 37.
This is appealing for users who want to avoid androgenic side effects, but a low androgenic rating does come with some downsides as well and is one reason why most males will choose to stack Deca-Durabolin with a testosterone steroid.
Effects of Deca-Durabolin (Deca-Durabolin Benefits)
Deca-Durabolin is effective at promoting lean muscle growth. One of its medical uses is to promote growth in people with muscle wasting conditions, and it has proven benefits at doing just that.
Deca promotes a positive nitrogen balance in the muscles, preventing muscle loss. This makes Deca an effective agent to use while cutting for the purpose of muscle preservation.
Deca increases red blood cell count and oxygen transporting hemoglobin, while promoting protein synthesis. All of these activities combine to make Deca a powerful lean muscle builder – even if not one of the most potent bulking steroids available.
Muscle gains with the slow acting Nandrolone decanoate take time to develop and users shouldn’t expect notable gains within the first weeks of a cycle. A cycle length of at least 12 weeks is required to get the maximum benefit from this steroid.
Benefits relating to the joints and connective tissue are what make this such a highly valued steroid with both bodybuilders and athletes. Deca has a powerful ability to promote collagen synthesis and improve bone mineral content.
Deca has also shown to be effective for tendon and ligament healing. The practical outcome of this is relief of joint pain, stronger joints, and improved recovery after intensive weight lifting or athletic performance.
It’s these therapeutic benefits of Deca-Durabolin that make it a very versatile steroid that you can include in any cycle, where a low dose can exclusively be used for the joint and healing benefits.
One of the lesser talked about effects of Deca-Durabolin is increased hunger. Now, some people will find this to be a side effect and not a beneficial effect. But if you’re on a mass gaining cycle then the increase in appetite will almost always be welcome.
On the other hand, using Deca-Durabolin on a cutting cycle could cause some issues with appetite when you’re trying to eat in a calorie deficit. But the lower doses of Deca-Durabolin usually used for cutting cycles is likely to minimize changes to appetite.
Deca-Durabolin Cycles and Stacks
When planning a Deca-Durabolin cycle it must be understood that this is slow acting steroid which requires a longer cycle in order to allow its effects to be fully experienced. 12 weeks is considered the minimum, but 16 to 20 weeks is the optimal cycle length for most people.
The common strategy is to kick start a cycle with a fast acting steroid like Dianabol, then allow time for Deca-Durabolin to take effect.
Beginner Deca-Durabolin Cycle
As a beginner to Deca-Durabolin you can choose to either use it as a sole compound or to stack it with one other steroid. Although we would often want to test out a new steroid by using it alone, in the case of Deca-Durabolin this can be counterproductive.
Even beginners should consider stacking it alongside a more androgenic steroid like testosterone, so as to help avoid the sexual side effects in particular that Deca is notorious for.
If however, as a person brand new to use Deca-Durabolin, you want to give it a go on its own to evaluate your response, a simple 12 week cycle using 400mg per week of Deca-Durabolin will provide moderate lean gains, good therapeutic benefits, and allow a full evaluation of your individual response to this steroid.
Intermediate Deca-Durabolin Cycle
Even intermediate users can usually comfortably take the tried and tested stack of Deca, Testosterone and Dianabol where muscle gains are the main priority.
This is a stack that has been in use for decades with proven results. With Dianabol being an oral steroid it will stress the liver, unlike Deca-Durabolin which has no known effect on the liver.
- Dianabol: 30mg/day for 4-6 weeks
- Deca-Durabolin: 400-600mg weekly for 12-16 weeks
- Testosterone: 300mg weekly for 12-16 weeks
As Dianabol is a fast acting, liver toxic steroid when you stack it with Deca-Durabolin Dianabol will be placed at the beginning of the cycle for the first 4-6 weeks only. This kicks off your gains while Deca-Durabolin takes longer to kick in.
Advanced Deca-Durabolin Cycle
Advanced users will regularly include Deca-Durabolin in both bulking and cutting stacks along with several other compounds, including those which are not anabolic steroids.
When it comes to bulking, by strategically combining and timing the different compounds you can bring on gains faster at the start of the cycle, while using Deca to carry you through a long cycle with gains that will be easier to maintain.
An advanced bulking cycle of Deca-Durabolin, Dianabol, Testosterone Cypionate, Human Growth Hormone (HGH) plus Arimidex is going to promote substantial lean mass, strength and performance gains.
Dosages should be adjusted according to your response and your specific goals:
- Weeks 1-6: Testosterone 200mg/week, Deca 500mg/week, Dianabol 50mg/day, HGH 4iu/day, Arimidex 0.5mg/day
- Weeks 7-14: As above but stop taking Dianabol at week six.
- Weeks 15-16: 500mg/week Testosterone, 4iu/day HGH, 0.5mg/day Arimidex
The cycle should run for 16 weeks so that Deca-Durabolin is given ample time to deliver its maximum benefits as a slower acting steroid. That means breaking up your use of these compounds to stretch across the entire 16 weeks, with each one placed where it’s able to provide optimal benefits.
Many experienced bodybuilders will always include Deca-Durabolin as a staple steroid in off mass building cycles. Here it is often stacked with testosterone and Dianabol, with this being a very popular and proven stack for the purpose.
Quite simply it has worked for decades and today’s bodybuilders get to benefit from the experience of those in the past. Dianabol is a very fast acting oral steroid and it will kick off a cycle from the get go.
Gains will come on fast, but Dianabol needs to be limited to a 6 week period. Deca-Durabolin then takes over as the main anabolic agent.
This stack will present a significantly higher side effect risk than Deca-Durabolin alone, with both testosterone and Dianabol having high aromatizing activity, resulting in increased estrogen and risk of water retention and gyno, as well as androgenic side effects.
Other steroids that can be stacked with Deca include Winstrol, where Deca-Durabolin has the unique benefit of being able to offset the notorious joint pain that often occurs on Winstrol.
Along with Winstrol, in a cutting cycle Deca can be stacked with Anavar and HGH to aid with muscle preservation and joint support.
As a versatile steroid it’s possible to include Deca-Durabolin in just about any type of cycle and without greatly increasing the side effect profile.
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Deca-Durabolin Dosages and Administration
As a steroid that has been in use for so long, the most effective dosages have been generally long established and accepted.
Still, everyone will have their own preference and it’s well worth experimenting with different doses to obtain that balance between benefits and any side effects.
The majority of Deca uses will dose it at 400-600mg per week. Rarely will a dosage above 600mg be required or of any benefit; if you want more substantial Deca-Durabolin results, stacking Deca with other steroids is the way to go rather than taking excessive doses.
Medical Deca-Durabolin Dosage
Deca-Durabolin has a list of medical uses, but they differ between different countries.
It can also include some off label uses, and therefore the dosage is going to depend on what particular condition is being treated as well as the gender, age and health status of the patient.
Many medical doses are as low as 50mg to 100mg per month. In some cases, especially for the treatment of anemia, medical doses may be higher than 100mg each week.
Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced Deca-Durabolin Dosages
Deca-Durabolin is often thought of as more of an advanced steroid, but beginners who want to give it a go can do so with proper planning and understanding of its properties.
At low doses Deca has significant benefits and despite what you might hear some people say about this being a steroid that isn’t suited for first time users, many beginners actually find that Deca soon becomes one of their favorite steroids to use.
Beginners can usually comfortably use Deca-Durabolin at 200mg per week if therapeutic effects are the main goal. But for lean gains, 300-400mg weekly is the ideal dose for a new Deca-Durabolin user.
Intermediate and advanced users will often settle on 400mg as the optimal Deca-Durabolin dose which maintains a good balance between benefits and side effects. At the top end, some advanced users will take their Deca-Durabolin dosage to 600mg weekly.
This is considered the maximum recommended dose, with little to no benefit in exceeding that amount; particularly as side effects are almost certain to become more pronounced as you start taking more than 400mg per week.
Female Deca-Durabolin Dosage
Most women won’t choose Deca-Durabolin as the first steroid to use for lean gains, cutting or performance because there are better options like Anavar that come with less side effects.
But for those females wanting to use Deca-Durabolin then you can expect this steroid to still at the lower end of virilization risks thanks to its relatively low androgenic rating – but by no means is it certain that women won’t develop masculine traits with Deca and that risk will naturally increase as the dosage does.
Women will find doses as low as 50mg weekly to provide noticeable gains, but the cycle should ideally run for at least 12 weeks. This can present some issues in terms of interlining risks, with women often limiting steroid cycles to 6 weeks with other compounds. A dose even lower than 50mg/week for 8 weeks can provide a balance between results and side effects.
Proper Administration and Timing
Because Deca has a large ester attached, it is a slow acting and long lasting steroid. This means you don’t require very frequent injections to maintain an optimal dose of Deca in your system. Most performance users will inject Deca either once or twice weekly.
While a once per week is injection is perfectly effective, the main reason anyone will choose to split the dose into a twice weekly administration is to reduce the amount being injected at each dose. Your personal preference and tolerance for injecting will guide your decision making in terms of injection frequency with this steroid.
PCT will always be required after a Deca cycle and should be taken into consideration while planning your cycle, whether or not you’re stacking Deca with other steroids.
As a long acting steroid, if your cycle ends with Deca then waiting between three and four weeks to start PCT is required to allow it to exit your system.
A common strategy is to stop Deca four weeks before the end of a stack that includes short ester steroids, where PCT can then be immediately started and users will find that lean gains are almost always easier to maintain with this strategy.
Deca-Durabolin Risks and Side Effects
All steroids come with their side effects and health risks and Deca-Durabolin is no exception. Often talked about as a milder steroid that can be used with minimal side effects, as many users will find out this is often far from the truth.
While it’s true that Deca-Durabolin will rarely give you as much trouble as a steroid such as Trenbolone, it still has the potential to bring about some unwanted discomfort at the very least.
At the more serious end, you need to be just as careful with using Deca as you would with any other anabolic steroid because there’s no such as thing as safe when it comes to the doses we use for performance that are almost always well above those that are used and tested medically.
The main areas of adverse effects to watch out for involve testosterone suppression, libido and sexual function, and cardiovascular changes.
Deca has a reputation for impeding and even destroying male sexual function and in the worst cases, leading to impotence (at least in the short term, until come come off it).
Deca may cause a reduced sperm count and impact on fertility while you’re taking it. The cause of these debilitating side effects is not usually low testosterone as is often mistakenly thought, but due to the way Deca reduces nitric oxide levels and increases prolactin levels.
Steroids that are stronger androgens (like testosterone) can help counteract these side effects as they promote increased nitric oxide levels. This is another good reason why Deca is almost always stacked with at least one other steroid such as testosterone or Trenbolone.
Without one of those additional compounds, many men will find a Deca cycle challenging to complete if for no other reason than the negative impact on sexual performance and libido.
Testosterone suppression on Deca will be strong, and PCT will always be required. Deca is a surprisingly very suppressive steroid despite it being relatively mild in other side effect areas and this is one of its strongest side effects.
Testosterone suppression can easily be 75-100% of your normal levels so the inclusion of at least a TRT dose of exogenous testosterone is must on any Deca-Durabolin cycle.
Deca can cause the development of gynecomastia, but not necessarily because of increased estrogen levels.
Instead, being a progestin Deca has a particular affinity for breast tissue and that’s why the most common estrogenic-type side effect with this steroid is gyno even though Deca has a low rate of aromatizing activity.
The fact is that most of us will be stacking Deca with another steroid that does aromatize at a much higher level so you should already have your plan in place to mitigate estrogenic type side effects with the correct drugs.
Water retention is possible with Deca, and diet will tend to either reduce or worsen this side effect. Minimizing sodium and carbohydrates can help prevent water retention, but in most cases it will again be other steroids you stack with Deca that will be the major fluid retention culprits.
Aromatase inhibitors are the preferred drug type to inhibit these side effects as not only do they reduce estrogen levels, but they are very effective against progesterone as well, making them a much better choice when using Deca than SERMs are.
If you do find water retention becoming a problem, this raises the risk of an increase in blood pressure. This side effect can also be heightened by some of the negative changes that Deca can cause to cholesterol levels by raising LDL and decreasing HDL cholesterol.
Although Deca is not as hard on the cardiovascular system as many other steroids this is an area not to be overlooked.
In any case, a cholesterol friendly diet is always a must when using any steroid and if you have any existing cardiovascular health issues, the use of any anabolic steroid can be high risk.
Deca has low androgenic activity overall, but a minority of users can still experience acne and hair loss. Generally only those who are strongly predisposed to male pattern baldness will suffer with this side effect on Deca and it will not be anywhere near as pronounced as it is with highly androgenic steroids.
Even guys who find that they experience male pattern baldness with other steroids often find they can use Deca without loss of hair, which gives us a good idea that these side effects are only likely in a minority of men with the most sensitivity to androgenic effects.
With other steroids we can often try and minimize hair loss and other androgenic side effects by using a 5-alpha reductase inhibitor drug, but this is not going to be effective with Deca due to the way Nandrolone metabolizes the 5-alpha reductase enzyme.
Deca-Durabolin is not known to be liver toxic, so that particular side effect isn’t an issue with this steroid as it is with many others. Since Deca is regularly stacked with the oral steroid Dianabol which has a high risk of liver toxicity, you will need to be on alert for liver effects during that of your cycle (Dianabol will rarely be used for more than six weeks of your Deca cycle for this reason).
Some of the lesser talked about Deca-Durabolin side effects that can affect a smaller number of users include insomnia or difficulty sleeping, headaches, mood changes and nausea to name a few. All of these types of adverse effects can be thought of as individual responses.
As with any type of drug, there will always be individuals who experience uncommon side effects such as these, which are usually mild and harmless, but once stopping the use of Deca and allowing time for it to clear your system, these temporary side effects will disappear. In some cases some people simply find they can’t use Deca at all due to a particular side effect they have developed.
On the other hand you will find a good number of Deca-Durabolin who proclaim that they can use this steroid without any side effects at all. This will rarely be the case at higher doses, but some guys are just fortunate in that they aren’t prone to side effects – at least with Deca-Durabolin. Few other steroids will have users able to get through a complete cycle without suffering with adverse effects.
How to Buy Deca-Durabolin?
Deca-Durabolin is a controlled substance in the US and most other countries. As a performance enhancing drug it is not legal to buy, sell or use for any reason besides medical use with a valid prescription.
While Deca is still prescribed as a medical drug in some countries (although it has been discontinued in the US and Canada), without a legitimate medical need you will need to look for Nandrolone for sale from the same types of suppliers where all steroids are obtained from. This will usually be from underground lab sources as well as black market pharmaceutical grade.
Because Deca-Durabolin is such a popular steroid, it is widely sold and generally easy to find from any supplier. It’s also one of the lower cost steroids you can get, once again due to its immense popularity where it’s always in demand.
This doesn’t mean it’s always easy to find top quality Deca though. When buying on the black market you need to watch out for counterfeit Deca-Durabolin.
While this steroid isn’t counterfeited as often as some others, mostly due to its wide availability and low cost, there are still fakes out there that you need to avoid. More so, even non-counterfeit black market Deca-Durabolin can come under-dosed or even contaminated.
It’s one thing to buy a poor quality formula that doesn’t give you the expected results, but those that are made in labs without proper safety measures and sterile manufacturing practices can pose great risk to your health.
In other words: do your homework on where to buy Deca-Durabolin from. The best way is often old fashioned word of mouth. Regulars who buy Deca-Durabolin and other steroids will have their favored and trusted suppliers and this is often the most reliable method of deciding on your own suppliers.
What Alternatives Are Available?
So whether you’re like me and have used Deca-Durabolin for some time but just want to move away from all steroids in general, or if you’ve been pondering whether to try Deca-Durabolin for the first time but are feeling hesitant (and rightly so), then looking at alternative options can never hurt. For me, it’s been life changing because I no longer have to deal with any of the side effects of Deca.
This means I fully focus on my diet and training and my results. Dealing with steroid side effects is stressful and time consuming, so now with Deca-Durabolin alternatives available like Decaduro you are literally eliminating the entire negative aspect of gaining muscle, improving performance and losing fat.
It’s also relieving not to be dealing with illegal substances like Deca-Durabolin, because the alternative Decaduro is completely legal to buy over the counter.
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When do you see results from Deca?
Deca is a slower acting steroid that takes time to deliver noticeable results and should be used for 12-16 weeks. Lean muscle gains can start being noticed at the 3 to 4 week mark, provided your diet and training supports muscle growth.
How much Nandrolone should I take?
Most users will consider 400mg per week to be the most effective dose of Deca-Durabolin. It allows excellent muscle gain and joint relief benefits, while keeping side effects to a minimum.
Those who want to take a higher dose of Deca will increase it to 500mg or 600mg per week at the most – but such high doses are only recommended for more experienced users.
Does Nandrolone help joint pain?
Yes, Deca-Durabolin is famous for its joint benefits. It not only helps to relieve and prevent joint pain, but assists with healing of tendons and ligaments as well.
For bodybuilders putting great pressure on the joints while lifting heavy weights, the therapeutic and recovery benefits of Deca-Durabolin including for joint pain are one of the main reasons for using this steroid.
Does Nandrolone raise blood pressure?
Deca-Durabolin can increase your blood pressure through two ways: by negatively affecting cholesterol when LDL levels are increased and HDL levels are decreased, or when fluid retention becomes a problem.
Although Deca-Durabolin is not likely to cause as much water retention as some other steroids, this side effect should be alleviated as much as possible through diet (minimizing carbs and sodium) to reduce the risk of elevated blood pressure.
Is Deca-Durabolin better than Trenbolone?
Deca-Durabolin and Trenbolone are two very different steroids, with Trenbolone being substantially more powerful in both its effects and its side effects.
Trenbolone’s very high anabolic rating makes it a more potent muscle builder than Deca but you will also have to deal with serious androgenic side effects, cardiovascular risks and many other adverse effects.
What’s the difference between Nandrolone Phenylpropionate (NPP) and Nandrolone Decanoate?
Both forms of Nandrolone hormone are the same with these two steroids, but they have a different ester attached. The ester control the rate of release of the hormone.
NPP has a short ester which releases quickly and gives fast results, but has to be injected much more frequently than Nandrolone Decanoate which has a long lasting ester.
Is Nandrolone good for building muscle?
Deca-Durabolin is a good muscle building steroid but it is not the most powerful bulking steroid. Gains will be moderate and slow to come on, with noticeable size gains usually seen within three to four weeks.
For maximum muscle gains Deca-Durabolin is usually stacked with Dianabol and testosterone to achieve higher anabolic effects.
Where should you inject Deca-Durabolin?
Deca-Durabolin is an intramuscular injection and the best place is one of the large muscles. The thigh and buttocks are the most recommended injection sites, and you should rotate your injection muscles to allow recovery. Some users will also inject into the shoulder muscle.
Avoid injecting Deca-Durabolin into small muscles and areas with arteries. The injection site should be swapped with an alcohol wipe to clean before injecting to maintain hygiene and prevent infection.
How can I avoid side effects of Deca-Durabolin?
You probably can’t avoid all Deca-Durabolin side effects, but one way to minimize them is to reduce your dosage to the lowest effective level. Anti-estrogen drugs can be used to reduce or avoid side effects like gynecomastia and water retention.
To help avoid low testosterone as a result of Deca-Durabolin’s suppressive effects, include exogenous testosterone in your cycle and complete PCT post cycle. Eat a healthy diet low in carbs and sodium to avoid high blood pressure and keep cholesterol in check.
My Conclusion and Recommendation
Once you’ve weighed up all the pros and cons of Deca-Durabolin, is this a steroid that you should be using?
Times change and with a greater focus on health than at any time in the past, more of us are seeking out legitimate alternatives to steroids like Deca-Durabolin.
The pros of Deca-Durabolin are celebrated, for good reason. They include:
- Slow and steady quality muscle gains that you can keep easier than a lot of other steroids
- Less severe side effects that many steroids
- Low cost (relatively speaking)
- Great joint and healing benefits that appeal to both bodybuilders and athletes
The big negatives of using Deca-Durabolin are:
- It puts pressure on your cardiovascular system and you need to monitor cholesterol and blood pressure
- Severe suppression and sometimes total shut down of testosterone production
- Debilitating sexual side effects in many men
- Not legal to buy and many legal and health risks come with buying on the black market
So there are certainly some very good reasons to use Deca-Durabolin. But no steroid comes without its set of cons, and Deca-Durabolin is no different despite the often repeated statement that this is a mild steroid. In reality, it poses a risk just as all steroids do.