What is Deca Durabolin? (Effectiveness & Availability) 

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Published by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: July 17, 2024
FACT CHECKED by Dr. Kristy Dayanan, BS, MD
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In today’s world, immediate gratification is fervently sought after, especially in athletics and bodybuilding. As a fitness coach, I encounter this every day at the gym and when speaking with my clients and colleagues.

That instant gratification is the reason why some athletes and gym-goers turn to anabolic steroids like Deca-Durabolin as the fast lane to a jacked physique.

I always strive to help my clients make informed decisions in these matters, so over the last few weeks, I pored over user reviews and talked to colleagues and bodybuilders to learn all I could about Deca-Durabolin so my readers and clients are familiar with all the dangers.

Quick Summary

  • Deca-Durabolin is an injectable anabolic steroid that enhances protein synthesis and maintains a positive nitrogen balance in muscles, commonly used in bodybuilding.
  • It has legitimate medical applications such as treating osteoporosis and anemia but poses serious health risks like heart failure and liver dysfunction when abused.
  • According to the National Institutes of Health, using nandrolone decanoate increases testosterone levels in the blood, leading to a decrease in natural testosterone production by the body.
  • In my opinion, while Deca-Durabolin can be beneficial for joint health and muscle gains, the potential for severe side effects and long-term health risks should be carefully considered.

What Is Deca-Durabolin and How Does It Work?

A syringe close up shot

Deca-Durabolin is an injectable anabolic steroid that boosts protein synthesis and maintains a positive nitrogen balance in muscles.

Its key component, nandrolone decanoate, is a Schedule III controlled substance, indicating a high risk of addiction or abuse. Popular in bodybuilding since the 1960s, it's a first-generation steroid.

Nandrolone decanoate, acting as an androgen receptor antagonist, prevents androgens from binding to proteins. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), it's more anabolic than androgenic [1].

Bodybuilders I've talked to believe it helps with ligament and tendon health, and aids in joint lubrication by retaining fluids.

I'll delve into the risk-reward discussion of Deca-Durabolin later in the article.

Medical Use

A man injecting a syringe

Deca-Durabolin, a beginner-friendly anabolic steroid, helps rebuild tissues in patients with chronic diseases or severe injuries. It's administered through deep intramuscular injections.

This steroid has legitimate medical applications. Research from NIH indicates it can improve calcium metabolism, potentially treating osteoporosis in women [2]. It's known to increase lean body mass by correcting negative nitrogen balance and stimulate red blood cell production in bone marrow.

Consequently, Deca-Durabolin could be effective in treating anemia and breast cancer, especially in women or those undergoing long-term corticosteroid treatment.

Recreational Abuse

Medically Deca-Durabolin is typically dosed at 0.4 mg per kg of body weight. However, bodybuilders may use upwards of ten times that amount, significantly increasing its effects, including adverse effects.

In talking to bodybuilders, I learned that A “Deca Cycle” is very popular.

Because Deca-Durabolin isn't considered a potent steroid on its own, a stack with other anabolic steroids like Dianabol or Testosterone Enanthate is standard.

Deca cycles can last 12-19 weeks, depending on your goals, whether you are cutting or bulking, as well as other steroids in the stack.

What To Know Before You Start Taking It

A syringe and a bottle side by side

As a fitness coach, I cannot stress enough to my clients and fellow gym enthusiasts the importance of making informed decisions by educating oneself on any medication or supplement you put in your body.

With an anabolic steroid like Deca-Durabolin, it is even more critical. There could be serious health risks associated with this medication if you:

  • Have or have had prostatic carcinoma
  • Have cardiac or hepatic disease
  • Had congestive heart failure
  • Have liver dysfunction

Be aware that Deca-Durabolin contains peanut oil, a common allergen. It's not suitable for breastfeeding or pregnant women due to its potential to enhance male traits in babies.

Always mention any current medications to assess possible drug interactions. This is crucial for those on diabetes medication, blood thinners, or Erythropoietin, as anabolic steroids might necessitate a dosage adjustment.

Nandrolone decanoate converts to dihydro nandrolone in the body, which can impair erectile function. Extended use of Deca-Durabolin often leads to this issue, known in bodybuilding as “Deca D**k.”

What Are The Side Effects Of Deca Durabolin?

A syringe injected inside a pill

Deca-Durabolin can lead to side effects such as headaches, bloating, diarrhea, stomach pain, jaundice, and high blood pressure.

These are common with its medical use, but the effects from abuse can be significantly more severe.

Symptoms of misuse of Deca-Durabolin include:

  • Increased male characteristics in women, including facial hair and deeper voice
  • Enlarged breasts in men
  • Shrinking testicles and infertility
  • Heart attacks and strokes
  • Blood vessel damage
  • Issues with blood clotting
  • High blood pressure
  • Severe acne
  • Anxiety or aggression
  • Sleep problems
  • Stunted growth in teenagers

“Do steroids improve performance? That depends on your measure of performance.” You may have improved performance, but what about the other side of the equation? Whenever you have ‘good,’ there are always potential problems.”

- Robert Kersey, Ph.D

What Happens After You Stop Taking It?

A shirtless man showing his body

Stopping Deca-Durabolin may resolve some issues, but others could persist long-term. This varies based on individual factors, dosage, and duration of use.

Whether you're stopping permanently or just cycling off, understanding the impact on your body is crucial. Your body's production of testosterone and similar hormones depends on their blood concentration levels.

According to NIH, taking nandrolone decanoate raises blood testosterone levels, causing your body to produce less [3]. Stopping Deca-Durabolin disrupts hormonal balance, necessitating post-cycle therapy (PCT) to normalize natural testosterone levels and counteract negative effects.

“Bodybuilders inject testosterone as this is meant to help promote muscle growth, bone strength and develop muscle tissue. What they don’t realize is that it shuts down your body’s natural way to produce testosterone after you stop taking this supplement.”

- George Trott, Personal Trainer

If you are already using this harmful substance, then to assist your body in producing testosterone again on its own, a week after your last Deca-Durabolin dose, you should implement a proper PCT protocol:

  • Clomid PCT (Clomiphene): It is a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM). According to NIH, it will help regulate estrogen levels that tend to increase when coming off a steroid like Deca-Durabolin [4]. Clomiphene is a very potent prescription-only medication generally used in the short term. General accepted practice of 50 mg for two weeks and 25 mg for two weeks.
  • Nolvadex PCT (Tamoxifen) is also a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM). When estrogen increases, testosterone decreases, and Tamoxifen will regulate that. You are looking at two to four weeks with a dosage amount beginning at 40 mg and dropping to 20 mg halfway through.

Other things to consider when stopping Deca-Durabolin is to:

  • Maintain a proper diet, especially one high in protein
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Stick to a consistent workout routine
  • Take a natural testosterone booster

Related Articles:

Comparison with Other Steroids


  • Deca-Durabolin: Known for gradual, quality muscle gains and joint relief.
  • Testosterone: Versatile, foundational for muscle growth and overall enhancement.
  • Dianabol: Rapid-acting, significant strength gains and muscle mass increase.
  • Anavar: Mild but effective for lean muscle development and fat loss.
  • Trenbolone: Potent for muscle hardness and cutting, but can have strong side effects.

Usage in Bodybuilding:

  • Deca-Durabolin: Preferred for bulking due to quality muscle gains and joint support.
  • Testosterone: Foundation for most cycles, supporting both bulking and cutting phases.
  • Dianabol: Used for rapid strength and size gains during bulking cycles.
  • Anavar: Popular for cutting cycles, preserving lean muscle mass.
  • Trenbolone: Utilized for cutting due to its potency and ability to harden muscles.

Athletic Performance:

  • Deca-Durabolin: Potential benefits in endurance and joint health.
  • Testosterone: Enhances overall athletic performance, strength, and recovery.
  • Dianabol: Boosts strength and power, enhancing athletic performance.
  • Anavar: Improves endurance and speed, suitable for athletes in weight-dependent sports.
  • Trenbolone: Enhances strength and conditioning, popular in strength-based sports.


Is Deca-Durabolin Good for Joints?

Yes, Deca-Durabolin is good for joints and has shown to be a promising medication in relieving joint pain while also promoting joint lubrication. However, there are other less harmful treatments for joint issues which do not entail serious side effects.

How Long Does Deca-Durabolin Stay In Your System?

Deca-Durabolin stays in your system for 14 days and can is detectable in urine for a minimum of six months.

Is Deca Hard on Your Liver?

Yes, Deca is hard on your liver, a prevalent risk of using anabolic-androgenic steroids.


  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10199766/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15972619/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5064776/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22951175/
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About The Author

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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