Deca-Durabolin®, sometimes called "Deca" for short, is the brand name of nandrolone decanoate, a type of anabolic steroid. It often has been the preferred drug of choice for bodybuilders or other athletes because of its ability to add muscle, decrease body fat and relieve joint problems. Nandrolone decanoate is present in very small quantities in the human body, but it also is sold commercially. Deca-Durabolin® came around in one of the first waves of commercial development of steroids, being made available in 1962 as a prescription medication.
It became one of the most widely used anabolic steroids, because of its structure exhibiting favorable properties. This might be because Deca-Durabolin® has a lower rate of aromatization, or the metabolic conversion to estrogen via the aromatase enzyme. It also has the ability to improve bone mineral content, which is why Deca has been popular among athletes who have problems with joints or connective tissues. For this reason, both the supply and demand of it are high, although it is also one of the most faked steroids in the world, with underground labs producing alternate forms of the drug.
Although they are not as widely reported as other steroids, the side effects of Deca include stimulating the progesterone receptor, which can cause unwanted side effects such as water retention, weight gains, impotence, sexual dysfunction, oily skin, acne, body and facial hair growth as well as hair loss. Although the manufacturers of nandrolone have strongly discouraged the misuse and abuse of the substance for bodybuilding purposes, there have been several publicized cases of athletes using Deca.
In Major League Baseball, former pitcher Roger Clemens was accused of using injectable steroids, including Deca-Durabolin®, during the 2000 season with the help of his former strength coach Brian McNamee. Former outfielder Barry Bonds was also reported to have used banned steroids and human growth hormones during spring training in 1999. According to his former trainer, Bonds was doping Deca-Durabolin®. Royce Gracie, a star in mixed martial arts, was suspended for the remainder of his license and fined $2,500 after testing positive for Deca as well.
In the United States, Deca-Durabolin® falls under the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 1991, so getting caught with the steroids could result in arrest and imprisonment. The cases of professional athletes being revealed to have used Deca-Durabolin® and other anabolic steroids have resulted in their reputations being severely damaged. To many of their fans, those athletes' reputations can never be salvaged.