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

about us





Nolvadex may be as dangerous as DES hormone for female bodybuilders

Once again we review an older article, this time by two military doctors. We're not quite sure what to make of it, but we think it's a good thing for you to know about it.

The authors describe a case of an otherwise reasonably healthy female bodybuilder aged 26. The woman had suffered for years from an eating disorder, and menstruated infrequently. But apart from that she didn't use drugs or alcohol. However, when the doctors persisted in their questioning, she said that six years previously she had taken Nolvadex for six months. She had taken twenty to forty milligrams a day.

The woman also said that she knew other female bodybuilders who had taken nolvadex. Like her, they were using the anti-estrogen in an attempt to reduce their fat percentage. She was successful when it came to her buttocks and thighs, the bodybuilder recalled, but not her stomach. She also noticed that her breasts became smaller, that she sweated at night and got hot flashes. The symptoms disappeared when she stopped taking Nolvadex.

In the article the authors express their concern. The chemical structure of tamoxifen, Nolvadex' active compound, they write, is somewhat similar to that of the DES hormone. DES or diethylstilbestrol is a synthetic estrogen that was invented in 1938. It was used for decades until researchers discovered that it damaged the foetus and resulted in deformed babies being born.

As most female bodybuilders are of childbearing age, there is a risk that they may become pregnant without knowing while using Nolvadex, the doctors speculate. And what would be the effect on their unborn child?

Clin J Sport Med. 2002 Sep;12(5):313-4.