A Detailed Guide to Deca Durabolin – Effects, Risks, Dosages, Stacks and Alternatives


Deca Durabolin, often referred to simply as ‘Deca’, is a powerful anabolic steroid. It is technically known as nandrolone and was originally designed to treat osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.

Deca is now highly popular among bodybuilders owing to its muscle building properties and its ability to stimulate muscle growth, appetite, and weight loss. In this guide, we will discuss how it exerts its effects, what the associated risks are, how to use it and where to find safer alternatives.

How it Works and Benefits

Deca Durabolin works in a manner similar to Anadrol. That is to say, that it’s primary mechanism or action is to increase the red blood cell count and also bone density. Increased red blood cell count is very beneficial for increasing protein synthesis and for delivering blood and nutrients to the muscles. The result is increased strength in the gym, accelerated recovery and better strength building with time.

Deca is not broken down into DHT (dihydrotestosterone) and doesn’t bind to the androgen receptors. This means that it does not lead to many of the side effects associated with high testosterone – acne, male pattern baldness, prostate issues and mood disorders are less common. It also is less toxic to the liver owing to the lack of alkylation on the 17a-carbon. This gives it some advantage over the similar steroid Anadrol Acetate as the side effects are somewhat decreased.

Side Effects

Deca works by raising red blood cell count and protein synthesis but all that is not to say that Deca does not have an impact on the hormones.

In fact, Deca has a big impact on the hormones – and is even able to work as a progestin based contraceptive for women! Deca is progesterone based and the role of progesterone is to modulate levels of testosterone and estrogen. While the precise mechanism of action isn’t fully understood, it is known that Deca increases the amount of estrogen in the body.

One of the big side effects that many users will find when using Deca then is an increase in water retention and ‘bloating’. This occurs as estrogen actually encourages the body to store fluids and fats and as a result you can often lose definition from taking Deca. This will come as an unpleasant surprise for many users who assume that all steroids result in cut, lean muscle. This makes Deca a suitable steroid for bulking in particular but not for cutting.

Deca doesn’t normally increase estrogen enough on its own to cause gynecomastia, however when taken with testosterone-based steroids, the combination is enough to make this a serious consideration.

As with many steroids, one of the biggest dangers of using Deca is the risk of testosterone inhibition. The effect that the steroids have on the body signal the reduction of luteinizing hormone, which in turn reduces the amount of testosterone in the body. This can then lead to erectile dysfunction and other problems and will often require HRT – hormone replacement therapy – to repair.

Deca Workout and Diet Regime

When using Deca, as with any steroid, it is important not to rely on the steroid alone to see improvements. This is particularly important with Deca in fact, as like Anadrol, it works primarily through enhanced protein synthesis.

What this should tell you right away is that protein intake is very important and you should drastically increase your consumption of meats and protein shakes to see results. It’s also worth noting that the increased blood cell count will aid recovery, which means that you can afford to train each muscle group with greater frequency to see more rapid gains.

When using any steroid, the approach to training should change slightly in that the focus should be on producing pump and on increasing time under tension. You will benefit most from training with light weights and high rep ranges of anything from 12-15. Using a slower tempo as well and especially on the eccentric portion of the movement.

Doses, Stacks and Cycles

Because Deca is so suppressive to natural testosterone levels, it can be difficult to get the doses right. The danger is that you take too much and upset your natural testosterone, or are too cautious and thus don’t get any real benefits from using the Deca.

Deca use is generally fairly low then and tends to be considered weekly rather than daily. 100mg per week is actually enough to see benefits though 200mg is more average. A typical cycle meanwhile lasts from 4-6 weeks in general.

One of the most popular stacks for Deca use is to use it with testosterone and Dianabol. Testosterone can offset some of the testosterone suppressing side effects of Deca, while Dianabol is an androgenic steroid that exerts similar effects in a different way. This was a very popular stack used by bodybuilders during the ‘golden era’ through the 1960s and 70s. Following this stack, you should use some kind of PCT (post cycle therapy) to try and fix your natural testosterone production and reduce estrogen.

However, as a general rule, you can get more desirable results via a similar mechanism by swapping out the Deca for something else. Deca runs too high a risk of estrogenic side effects for many people and doesn’t have the same impressive results of something like Trenbolone.


The good news is that there are safer alternatives out there that can be used in the place of Deca. These have all the same advantages with none of the unwanted side effects.

One example of a great alternative is Decaduro. Dekadrolone from Crazy Mass that utilizes natural ingredients such as herbs, vitamins, minerals and amino acids. All of the ingredients have been shown in laboratory studies to raise red blood cells and protein synthesis but without causing the significant unwanted side effects that one associated with using steroids. Deckadrolone is completely legal, taken orally and doesn’t cause any suppression of testosterone – in fact it increases it naturally and keeps it there!