Definition: "An ergogenic aid is any substance or phenomenon that enhances performance "

about us





1975 study: bodybuilders grow with 10 or 25 mg methandrostenolone per day

Way back in 1975, sports scientists at Manchester University in England made a discovery that mainstream science would only come to accept twenty years later. The researchers gave bodybuilders who worked out in fitness centres pills containing the anabolic steroid Dianabol [structure shown below], produced by the CIBA Laboratories. They discovered that these accelerated muscle growth. 'Their improvements were significantly greater on methandienone than on placebo', the Brits wrote.


The researchers got thirteen athletes to participate in their experiment, and gave them either a placebo or Dianabol. They had known since 1969 that bodybuilders used steroids and that there was lively clandestine trade in the substances. They also knew that women sometimes took steroids and that stories were doing the rounds of users who took over 300 mg of Dianabol per day. The scientists did their experiment to find out whether steroids really had any effect on athletes.

They gave their test subjects either 10 or 25 mg of Dianabol per day. Some of the athletes started with the steroids and ended with a placebo, and the others did it the other way round. All athletes could tell whether they were using a steroid or the fake.

When they were using the blue CIBA pills they felt "prima-donna-ish", or made, in their own words, "fantastic improvements". The athletes' progression is shown below. It is not clear from the article how the researchers measured progress. They did mention though that the group on 10 mg of methandrostenolone per day made as much progress as the group on the higher dose.

1975 study: bodybuilders grow with 10 or 25 mg methandrostenolone per day

What's noticeable is that an athlete that made progress on steroids grew even faster when taking a placebo. Mind over matter? Or had that person found another source of steroids that he was taking on top of the placebos? The article does not say.

The steroids had side effects, a few of which are represented in the graphs below.

1975 study: bodybuilders grow with 10 or 25 mg methandrostenolone per day

All the side effects that were measured disappeared once the athletes stopped taking the steroids.

Steroids don't work?
At the time that the researchers carried out their experiment, most sports scientists claimed that their studies showed that steroids did not work. Their studies could be true, the Brittish researchers think.

Their subjects were not the kind of ordinary people scientists use as a guinea pig. They were on a protein-rich diet and trained at a high level. There aren't that many people who can manage to do what these fanatics subject themselves to. If bodybuilders build up more muscle by taking steroids, it doesn't necessarily mean that average people will do so as well.

Br Med J. 1975 May 31; 2(5969): 471473.

Study: testosterone works better than Deca 29.01.2009
Medical study: twelve weeks on oxandrolone 21.01.2009
Medical study: twelve weeks on nandrolone 15.01.2009