Little scientific research has been done on the effects of high-dosage courses of anabolic steroids. There have been some epidemiological studies, but there are virtually no studies in which scientists have followed a larger group of users who are all taking high doses. An exception is a study done at the University of Southern California, published in 1999 in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. In this study, 30 men with HIV took 600 mg nandrolone decanoate per week.
The test subjects were on retroviral medicine and their weight was stable. That meant their illness was under control. The researchers wanted to know whether steroids would help increase their muscle mass, as muscle mass strengthens the immune system. If HIV infected people lose 1-10 percent of their body weight, their resistance to infection decreases. So for this group of people, muscle mass can mean the difference between life and death.
The researchers talked to bodybuilding experts before starting their experiment and before deciding on dosages. [The researchers acknowledge Michael Mooney at the end of the article – Ed.] On the basis of the information they collected, the researchers gave the test subjects 200 and 400 mg of Organon Deca-Durabolin in week 1 and 2. From week 3 to week 12 the test subjects got a weekly injection of 600 mg nandrolone decanoate. From week 12 to week 16 the researchers reduced the dose, giving the subjects 400, 200, 100 and 50 mg deca per week respectively.
The men ate a typical western diet, with just over 16 percent of their energy derived from protein, and about 50 percent from carbohydrates.
During the steroids course, 15 of the subjects did weight training. They went to the gym 3 times a week and did basic exercises covering all muscle groups: bench press, lat pull downs, military press, biceps curls and triceps extensions for the upper body, and leg press, calf raises, leg curls and leg extensions for the lower body. The men did 3 sets of 8 reps of each exercise. The last set they did to failure. Between sets the men rested for a maximum of 2 minutes.
The other 15 men didn’t train. This way the researchers were able to assess the nature of the interaction between steroids and strength training.
The figures below show what happened to the subjects’ body composition. PRT = strength training.
No surprises here: the steroids and training reinforce each other’s effect. The lean body mass of the nandrolone group increased by 3.9 kg. In the deca+training group the amount was 5.2 kg.
The differences between the two groups are bigger if you look at the effects on strength. The subjects that took steroids became stronger, but that strength increased even more if they trained as well. No surprises here either, we realise.
The most noticeable result of the study is shown in the table below, which summarises the side effects – which by the way were mild – of the steroids course. We’ve reproduced part of the table below. Of the 15 men in the deca group, 8 reported that their testicles had got smaller. In the deca+training group only 4 persons reported this effect.
So is the inhibitory effect of nandrolone decanoate on the body’s own hormone production less if you train hard as well? You’d think it is. But the researchers didn’t measure what the steroid cure did to the men’s testicle size, so we can’t be sure. It wouldn’t be the first time that a study claims that the effects of steroids are mitigated by training. According to a 2006 study, a course of nandrolone decanoate does not make agressive when combined with strength training. In animal studies running reduces the effect of steroids on the testes and the effect of steroids on the heart.
The measurements reproduced here were made in the 12th week of the steroids course. The researchers do not report the effects of the steroids cycle in the months after stopping. As far as we’re concerned that’s a shame. Steroids users report that after finishing a cycle you lose a great deal of the muscle mass you gained.
Effects of Pharmacological Doses of Nandrolone Decanoate and Progressive Resistance Training in Immunodeficient Patients Infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus
This nonplacebo-controlled, open label, randomized study was conducted to test the hypotheses that pharmacological doses of nandrolone decanoate would increase lean body tissue, muscle mass, and strength in immunodeficient human immunodeficiency virus-infected men, and that these effects would be enhanced with progressive resistance training (PRT). Thirty human immunodeficiency virus-positive men with fewer than 400 CD4 lymphocytes/mm3 were randomly assigned to receive weekly injections of nandrolone alone or in combination with supervised PRT at 80% of the one-repetition maximum three times weekly for 12 weeks. Total body weight increased significantly in both groups (3.2 ± 2.7 and 4.0 ± 2.0 kg, respectively; P < 0.001), with increases due primarily to augmentation of lean tissue. Lean body mass determined by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry increased significantly more in the PRT group (3.9 ± 2.3 vs. 5.2 ± 5.7 kg, respectively; P = 0.03). Body cell mass by bioelectrical impedance analysis increased significantly (P < 0.001) in both groups (2.6 ± 1.0 vs. 2.9 ± 0.8 kg), but to a similar magnitude (P = NS). Significant increases in cross-sectional area by magnetic resonance imaging of total thigh muscles (1538 ± 767 and 1480 ± 532 mm2), quadriceps (705 ± 365 and 717 ± 288 mm2), and hamstrings (842 ± 409 and 771 ± 295 mm2) occurred with both treatment strategies (P < 0.001 for the three muscle areas); these increases were similar in both groups (P = NS). By the one-repetition method, strength increased in both upper and lower body exercises, with gains ranging from 10.3–31% in the nandrolone group and from 14.4–53.0% in the PRT group (P < 0.006 with one exception). Gains in strength were of significantly greater magnitude in the PRT group (P ? 0.005 for all comparisons), even after correction for lean body mass. Thus, pharmacological doses of nandrolone decanoate yielded significant gains in total weight, lean body mass, body cell mass, muscle size, and strength. The increases in lean body mass and muscular strength were significantly augmented with PRT.