Recovery from a Deca cycle can take up to a year

For chemical athletes who have taken a cycle of nandrolone decanoate, re-establishing their hormonal balance can take longer than you’d expect. Swedish researchers at the Karolinska Institutet discovered this when they tracked users for a number of months after they’d taken a steroids cycle.

The researchers found most of their subjects through the Anti-Doping Hot-Line, a free telephone service in Sweden for steroids users. The researchers recruited a total of 21 men who had been taking nandrolone decanoate, and monitored them after they’d completed a course. The Swedes wrote that all test subjects had “a genuine desire to give up using anabolic steroids”.

Nandrolone decanoate is known as a steroid that doping hunters can detect longer after intake. All traces of nandrolone itself have disappeared out of the body 4-5 weeks after the last injection, but its metabolites, 19-norandrosterone and 19-noreticholanolone, keep on circulating for much, much longer. In their article, which will soon appear in the Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the Swedes wonder whether this is why it takes steroids users longer to recover from the cycles of androgens they take.


The figure below shows the concentration of 19-norandrosterone in the athletes’ urine. After six months, 80 percent of the athletes still showed up positive when they did a doping test. After the six months, the researchers lost track of most of their subjects. After a year, the researchers only had data on four of the test subjects, but of those half still tested positive. If you take part in a sport where doping checks are standard, you’re better off not using nandrolone decanoate.


The two figures above show the concentrations of LH and FSH in the athletes’ blood. These hormones stimulate the production of testosterone in the testes. During the first four months there was a statistical correlation between the concentration of these messenger hormones in the blood and that of norandrosterone in the urine. By the way, you also see that the concentration of these hormones continued to rise for almost a year after stopping taking the steroids. That means that the body is recovering throughout this period.

The research doesn’t mention post-cycle therapy, but reading between the lines you can make out that the subjects didn’t take anti-oestrogenics compounds after stopping with the steroids.

Long term perturbation of endocrine parameters and cholesterol metabolism after discontinued abuse of anabolic androgenic steroids.


To study the long-term impact of anabolic androgenic steroid (AAS) abuse on the cholesterol profile, and the potential to suppress endocrine activity in men working out at gym facilities. To study the relation between urinary biomarkers for testosterone and nandrolone abuse and the UGT2B17 genotype and time profile.

Subjects (N = 56) were recruited through Anti-Doping Hot-Line. Serum levels of luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), plasma levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL), high density lipoprotein (HDL) and urinary steroid profile were regularly measured for a period of up to one year after cessation of intramuscular AAS abuse.

A sustained suppression of LH, and FSH was observed for several months. The nandrolone urinary biomarker 19-NA was detectable several months after the last nandrolone intake and was correlated to the levels of LH and FSH. Testosterone abuse on the other hand was detectable only for a few weeks, and some of the testosterone abusers did not test positive due to a genetic deletion polymorphism of the UGT2B17. Significantly increased levels of HDL and decreased levels of LDL were observed for 6-months after cessation of AAS abuse.

Some individuals had a sustained suppression of LH and FSH for a period of 1 year whereas the cholesterol profile was normalized within 6 month. The long term consequences of these findings remain to be established.

PMID: 21884791 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]