All About Nandrolone

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Nelson Vergel


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Nelson Vergel

Clinical Application of Anabolic Steroids


19-Nortestosterone (or nandrolone) is an anabolic steroid that was first synthesized in 1950 [33]. One of the main biochemical differences between nandrolone and testosterone is the substitution of a hydrogen atom in the C19 methyl group of testosterone, a change that imparts a favorable myotrophic/anabolic ratio of nearly 11:1 [16]. It is administered via an intramuscular injection and is metabolized in a similar manner to testosterone, with conversion into 3-norandrosterone by 5 alpha-reductase [34]. Unlike DHT, this metabolite has a weak binding affinity to the androgen receptor [16]. Through this fundamental difference between nandrolone and its metabolite, as well as the significant anabolic-androgenic dissociation of nandrolone, there have been renewed investigations into the use of nandrolone in clinical situations of chronic catabolic disorders such as anemia and muscle wasting secondary to hemodialysis, COPD, or HIV [35, 36, 37]. Due to the weak affinity for the androgen receptor after 5 alpha-reductase reduction, there is also a possibility that nandrolone may be used in the context of male hypogonadism, androgenic alopecia, and management of shoulder pain in men with rotator cuff injury [34]. It could also serve to augment testosterone's effects in improving body composition and possibly decreasing the risk of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome in hypogonadal men [34]. Furthermore, given that prior research has noted that exercise enhances serum total testosterone levels in young men [38] and loss of muscle mass correlates with decreases in androgen levels [39], it is tempting to speculate that gains in muscle mass could be beneficial in warding off, and even treating, male hypogonadism.

Specifically, a Finnish study investigated the effects of heavy strength/power training on serum hormone levels in elderly men and women. A significant response in serum testosterone was noted after 24 weeks of resistance training in the elderly male population [40]. In another study by the same group, significant increases in testosterone were noted in a middle-aged and elderly population of men, but not women [41]. It is suggested that the low levels of serum testosterone might be a limiting factor in muscle hypertrophy and strength development in these older populations. Thus, it is tempting to speculate that short-term administration of nandrolone, coupled with a structured exercise program in the hypogonadal male, could lead to sustained improvements in both muscle mass and strength, thus resulting in long-term elevations in native testosterone levels. Further studies, however, are needed to investigate this phenomenon.

Caution should be taken with the use of any AAS in males of reproductive age desiring fertility. Though no formal studies on reproductive effects have been conducted with nandrolone, rat studies have shown impaired spermatogenesis [42]. A case report on a patient with 10 years of supra-physiological nandrolone use also demonstrated prolonged testicular dysfunction with severe oligospermia [43].

Source: Wu, C. & Kovac, J.R. Curr Urol Rep (2016) 17: 72.

Nelson Vergel

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Nelson Vergel


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