Deca Durabolin (Nandrolone)

Deca Durabolin has been synonymous with professional bodybuilding through the late 60s, the 70s and the 80s.

Along with testosterone, it has remained the most popular off season bulking compound. Deca allows athletes to maintain a copious amount of muscle mass.

Because of its legacy, a lot of athletes dabble with the thought of adding Deca Durabolin to their steroid cycles 1.

Many athletes also consider running Deca only cycles, which means using Nandrolone Decanoate as a standalone steroid as opposed to pairing it with testosterone.

Here’s the lowdown on this powerful mass builder.

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Chemical structure

deca durabolin cycle

Deca Durabolin belongs to the 19-nor group of anabolic steroids, which includes the hormone Nandrolone and its derivatives. (1)

In simpler words, it is the Nandrolone hormone with the large Decanoate ester attached to it, which has a very long half-life.

This makes it one of the slowest acting anabolic steroids in the world. Also, it is largely responsible for Deca’s use in the off season, more than it is used during competitive bodybuilding season.

While there are other versions of the hormone, like Nandrolone PhenylPropionate or NPP, Deca has been so popular in bodybuilding culture. Hence, it has largely become synonymous with the Nandrolone hormone.

Administration and dosage

Nandrolone dosages

Deca Durabolin has a longstanding history of usage in therapeutic applications. Deca uses are ranging from reducing muscle catabolism to reducing the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, amongst others.

The dosage in such settings varies from 100mg/week to 250mg/week. Both of these dossages are considered to be excellent doses. 2

In a performance enhancement setting though, you’ll typically be using much higher doses of Deca. The exact dosage though should depend on your cycle goals and your experience with the drug.

For men, a starting dose of 500mg/week is considered to be good enough to produce sufficient gains without the risk of too many side effects. However, many users will increase the dose up to 750mg/week. In professional circles, even doses as high as 1 gram/week are not uncommon.

In some cases, bodybuilders use a much higher dose of Deca with TRT dose of testosterone to mitigate side effects. But the results with such a combination, (based on anecdotal evidence) is said to to be mixed.

For females, 50mg/week is a perfectly-tolerable dose with very few risks of virilization. That said, some athletes might find that dose too mild and may consider increasing the dose to 100mg/week, which greatly increases the risk of virilization.

Brand names (Pharmaceutical and UGL)

Just like most other AAS, Deca Durabolin is legally used for therapeutic applications in most parts of the world.

This makes it possible to get pharmaceutical grade anabolic steroids at reasonable prices, without having to rely on UGL, where the quality can be circumspect.

Some of the pharmaceutical brands of Deca are Organon, LA Pharma, Meditech and Platinum Bio.

Anabolic Research Labs is a popular UG lab based in Russia, which also produces Deca Durabolin in 200mg/ml vials.

Effects of Deca Durabolin

deca results before and after

Deca Durabolin is a terrific anabolic compound that’s largely misunderstood and terribly underrated.

That may have to do with its slow acting nature and its tendency to cause a fair amount of water retention. Also, due to the term ‘Deca Dick’3 being thrown around on messaging boards, it has a reputation that precedes it.

However, if you know how to use the compound to derive max benefits while minimizing risks, there is no better mass builder.

Here are the primary effects of Deca Durabolin.

Mass Building:

Deca is what professional bodybuilders call a slow-acting mass builder. It is used primarily for maintaining muscle mass post cycle. But if you are looking for a compound that can help you pack on size during a competitive cycle, it is as good as any. Due to the slow acting ester attached to the compound, the mass that you gain on Deca is normally of much better quality (easier to maintain) as compared to the mass that you’d gain on compounds like Dianabol. Water retention can be a concern, especially for athletes who tend to absorb water like a sponge. But if you keep an eye on your blood pressure, then you should be able to maintain it without too many problems. New comers and first timers can expect to gain up to 15-lbs. on a Deca Cycle.


There will be a noticeable increase in muscle strength during your cycle. However, since the compound acts extremely slow, the strength gains are not nearly as dramatic as what you’d get with oral steroids like Anadrol4 or Dianabol. But, if you are looking to maintain your strength off-cycle, then Deca is a phenomenal choice.

Joint Health:

In therapeutic settings, Deca Durabolin has been used to amplify the rate of recovery after knee surgery. But the off-label use is to improve joint mobility and reduce pain. Using deca is touted to be as good as using a combination of NSAIDS and joint lubricants. Only, it’s not half as liver toxic as NSAIDS and opioids are. Even at 150-200mg/week, it provides a considerable improvement in joint health, which can help bodybuilders continue with their workouts unabridged. If you are struggling with joint pain or sore tendons, throw in a very low dose of Deca and notice the difference it makes. 5

Safety and Side Effects

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Being one of the oldest anabolic steroids used for performance enhancement, Deca is widely studied and its side effects are well known.

At the forefront is the possibility of a complete shutdown of your endogenous testosterone production, even at therapeutic doses. Even a single dose of Nandrolone shows considerable LH suppression within 4-days. 6

19-Nors are also notorious for keeping you suppressed for up to 6-months post cessation of the cycle. This is why most bodybuilders don’t consider using Deca unless they are on TRT or are using exogenous testosterone until their endogenous testosterone production is restored.

Surprisingly, Deca Dick, which is often exaggerated to be a serious side effect, can be countered by adding just 0.5mg-1mg Finasteride to your cycle. This suppresses DHN in androgenic tissue, preventing it from replacing DHT, which is what provides penile stimulation. No, you don’t really need to bump up your testosterone dose to counter Deca Dick, as is popular hearsay.

What should be more concerning is the ability of Deca to cause Cardiovascular damage. In the short term, it will suppress HDL and increase LDL. But with prolonged use, Deca Durabolin can cause permanent DNA damage to your cardiac tissue. 7

Hence, users must limit the usage and make sure proper safety protocols are in place.


  1. Deca Durabolin Cycle:
  2. A Randomized, Controlled Trial – JASN
  3. How bad is deca dick in reality? –
  4. Why Anadrol is considered a better kickstarter than Dbol in steroid cycles –
  5. A double blinded study – BMC
  6. Impact of single‐dose deca on gonadotropins –
  7. A study on male rate – PMC