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A Basic Look at Nandrolone and the Athlete Articles Database Articles by Writer Articles Written by A Basic Look at Nandrolone and the Athlete

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A Basic Look at Nandrolone and the Athlete

Articlecontributed by a Steroid Encyclopaedia Member....

What is nandrolone?

Nandrolone is a synthetic form of the male sex hormone testosterone. It is an anabolic steroid developed to treat diseases such as breast cancer (some forms), patients who have lost muscle mass and those suffering from aplastic amemia.

The drug itself stimulates the production of Erythropoietin (EPO) and reverses the breakdown of muscle tissue. It used to be injectable only but is now available in an oral form which is obviously easier to take.

What effect do increased levels of nandrolone have on sportspeople?

There's a belief that it will enhance acute exercise performance and improve the effectiveness of training. As an anabolic steroid similar to testosterone it can contribute to increases in muscle mass and strength. Anabolic steroids are generally combined with resistance training and high protein intake in the belief that performance requiring speed, strength and power will be enhanced.

The other effect of stimulating EPO could be an increased production of red blood cells and aerobic capacity. Because of its small androgenic effects it can make a sports person more aggressive and competitive and it increases fatigue resistance. So the athlete may be able to train harder for longer. Though there are few scientific studies that indicate the performance enhancing effects of nandrolone, the sports community believe very differently and the reason for that is there are probably much higher doses taken than in the sports world than there would be in trials. Athletes also take nandrolone in combination with other drugs.

Why is nandrolone banned? Are there any side-effects to taking it?

It's used in normal medical practice under supervision in safe doses and under close monitoring. It's banned in sport because it is seen as an unethical means of gaining an advantage over others. Side effects will depend on the dose, duration of intake, any other drug combinations and individual make-up.

One possible side effect is injury as muscle mass may develop faster than ligaments and tendons develop and strengthen. You can also suffer an injury from increased intensity of training. Fatigue happens for a reason and nandrolone can prevent you from recognising the signs of fatigue.

Prolonged high doses can impair normal sex hormone production, reduce fertility, reduce sperm concentration and even reduce testicular volume. There can also be increased secretion of female sex hormones, which can lead to the development of larger breasts in men. There is increased risk of coronary heart disease as normal cholesterol metabolism is changed and it can also effect liver function and the immune system.

How can a limit for the maximum permitted levels of nandrolone in the body be set when it is a naturally occurring substance?

Doping with nandrolone is easily detectable and evidence that the drug has been used can be found in an individual's urine many months after the athlete has stopped taking it. Standard drug tests don't actually test for the drug but for the breakdown of the drug's components. And so the drug tests have been designed to take into account the normal levels that could be found in the urine. Thus the fact that it is naturally occurring should not be a problem for athletes - this is only really an issue with pregnant women.

Confusion has arisen because similar breakdown products to nandrolone can be found in the urine after taking certain birth control pills and potentially in certain eye drops. There has been some recognition that it is possible to produce the same products through the body's natural steroid breakdown process. There can also of course be contamination through the food chain. The maximum levels for doping have been set with all these things in mind.

With many athletes protesting their innocence, is there a case for changing the permitted levels of nandrolone in the body?

Knowledge is increasing but scientists don't fully understand the breakdown processes of nandrolone and where else it can be produced from. Certain drug supplements and medication may contain similar substances and precursers to nandrolone. Although these things form nandrolone in the body, they may not be on the banned list. There is a lot of recognition that a lot of precursers to nandrolone are being imported into the USA and there are a number of similar steroid substances advertised on the internet. It may also be possible that substances could enter the body from eating meat taken from animals that have been injected with steroids. In terms of nandrolone at the moment there's no evidence that the body's natural production can reach the limits set.

More research needs to be done. With better scientific understanding there will be less risk of making false accusations.

Why do you think that there have been a clutch of recent cases? Is it because its use is increasing or is it just because there are better testing procedures?

Nandrolone was the drug of choice for bodybuilders, weightlifters and other athletes in the 60s and 70s and it lost popularity because it was easily detected. The high number of recent cases may be because there's been an oral form developed and for many people that is preferable to injecting the drug and also means that it breaks down more quickly. It is also possible that a number of athletes are taking the nandrolone precursors and are not aware of this but it is also likely that with the new forms around people aren't aware of the clearance time (how long it takes for all traces of nandrolone to filter out of your system) so they're just getting caught. The internet which provides increased access. Finally, in the USA a number of products advertised as supplements were found to have nandrolone in them when they were supposed to be safe supplements.

It is even possible that natural production in the body is being stimulated by a source we don't know about and societal changes are responsible for some of the current cases - further investigation is clearly required.

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