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Recovery from mild nandrolone use takes six months

In the early eighties endocrinologists in Muenster, Germany gave fve young men in their twenties nandrolone hexylphenylproprionate [aka Anadur] for a couple of months and then looked at what happened to the men. Although the doses were very low, the men's bodies needed at least six months to recover from the drugs.

Nandrolone hexylphenylproprionate is related to nandrolone decanoate. The researchers started off by giving the men 100 mg injections of the hormone for the first three weeks, followed by ten weeks of 200 mg per week.

The men had no complaints: they didn't develop acne, their prostates didn't grow, they didn't get gyno and their libido didn't decrease. They did put on weight though. They weighed an average of 88 kg when the experiment started and at the end of the experiment they weighed 95 kg. Sixteen weeks later the men had already lost 3 kg.

The article suggests that the men did weight training. Back in the eighties scientists didn't believe that athletes grew more muscle if they took anabolic steroids. In almost all studies from that period you see that athletes gained four, five or more kilos if they took androgens, but researchers usually swept this information under the carpet. Facts may speak for themselves, but conformity is often stronger than facts.

The men's natural testosterone production decreased during the course of the experiment. After they had had their last injection it took six months before their testosterone level was back to its previous level.

Recovery from mild nandrolone use takes six months

During the course of the experiment the men's testes also shrank. The average volume decreased from 39 to 21 millilitres. The researchers had expected this to happen, but hadn't warned the men. They were afraid that the information might have an undesirable psychological effect on the men. [In 2008 this would not get past ethical committees – Ed.]

Recovery from mild nandrolone use takes six months

There were big differences in the men's fertility recovery. One man was as fertile as he had been at the start after just eight weeks, but for one man it took thirty weeks for his sperm production to be restored to the pre-experiment level.

Later on, researchers working on the 'male pill' also observed similarly large differences. Nevertheless, the old German study is not very reassuring. If such a light course of steroids has such long-lasting detrimental health effects, what are the effects of the steroids regimes that bodybuilders follow nowadays?

In the medical literature there are cases described of bodybuilders that have become infertile after years of taking steroids or have injected such large quantities that they hit the andropause before the age of thirty. Researchers also tend to find a lower testosterone level in ex-steroids users than in bodybuilders who have not used drugs.

It's easy to put testosterone decline and fertility problems down to extreme steroids use. But if you're sensitive to them they can lead to problems, even if you stick to the guidelines in the underground manuals. These consistently underestimate the impact of steroids on the natural production of hormones and on fertility. A few months is all it takes to recover, the manuals say. But studies – and not just the one described here – show that four months recovery after a course of drugs is not enough.

Admittedly, the test subjects in the studies didn't use anti-estrogens or hCG. Substance users in the sports world use these after a course of steroids to get their own testosterone production going again more quickly.

Lancet.R 1984 Feb 25;1(8374):R417-20.