Written by Jose Antonio, Ph.D.
06 April 2007

Steroids and competition.  Some fascinating work looked at the possible long-term effects of the anabolic androgenic steroid (AAS), nandrolone decanoate (ND), on dominance in a provoking and competitive situation in sexually matured male rats.  In other words, does ND turn normal rats into complete bad assess?  Let's find out. 

The experimental group received daily injections of ND [15 mg/kg in a volume of 1 ml/kg subcutaneous (s.c.) injection for 14 days].  This is equal to a 1,363 mg of ND for a 200 pound human daily.  Pretty nice dose!  During the corresponding period, the controls were given daily injections of an oil vehicle (1 ml/kg s.c.). All animals were tested in a competitive situation at four occasions after the end of the treatment period (week 5, 8, 11 and 14).

Water-deprived pairs of rats, consisting of one ND-treated rat and one control, had to compete for access to water. The results showed that the ND-treated rats approached the water spout significantly more often compared to the controls. During the competition tests, the ND-treated rats spent more time drinking, an effect that was prominent for 11 weeks after the end of the treatment period. The ND-treated rats also displayed more frequently piloerection than the controls. For those of you who slept through biology class, piloerection refers to your 'hairs standing on end.'  You'll see cats and dogs do it when they are provoked.  It makes the animal look bigger and basically tells other animals, 'don't fuck with me or your dead meat.'  Thus, according to the authors, "ND has long-term effect on dominance in a provoking and competitive situation."[1]  I don't know about you, but this shit is fascinating.  Give a bunch of rats nandrolone, which in my opinion is a relatively mild androgen, and you turn them into a bunch of alpha-males. 

A recent study investigated the chronic effects of a dietary PS mixture (5mg/kg/day), containing mainly beta-sitosterol, on the reproduction of the mouse. Beta-sitosterol is the most abundant phytosterol in the diet.  It is found in such botanicals as Serenoa repens (saw palmetto), Curcurbita pepo (pumpkin seed) and Pygeum africanum. Some scientists posit that beta-sitosterol plays some role in the possible benefits of these herbs in prostate health. Beta-sitosterol itself is used as a medicine in Europe for BPH or benign prostatic hyperplasia. [2]  Nonethless, this study looked at general reproductive parameters, postnatal development, growth and survival of pups, weight of sex organs, the concentrations of plasma sex steroids and testicular testosterone were monitored across five generations (F(0)-F(4)). PS exposure increased the plasma levels of testosterone and decreased the relative uterine weights in the pups of F(2) and F(4) generations. Furthermore, PS exposure increased the concentrations of plasma estradiol in the female pups of F(3) generation. PS supplement also increased the testicular levels of testosterone in the male pups of F(2) generation. In spite of these transitory changes, PS exposure caused no permanent deleterious effects on the reproduction of the mouse.[3]  So what's next?  Feed your pregnant wife lots of beat-sitosterol so your kids and your kid's kids will be jacked on testosterone!

Suramin is used in the treatment of African sleeping sickness (African trypanosomiasis) and river blindness (onchocerciasis), infections caused by parasites. This medicine works by causing the parasites to lose energy, which causes their death. [4]  However, suramin may cause serious side effects. So before you try to self-medicate, don't.  But suramin also has some cool effects on muscle.  Check this out.  Suramin has been hypothesized to prevent scar tissue formation and improve muscle healing after injury because of its ability to antagonize transforming growth factor-beta1, a fibrotic cytokine. In one study, mouse gastrocnemius muscles (this is the calf muscle) were strain injured. Suramin or sham/control intramuscular injections were performed after injury at various time points. Mice were sacrificed at various time points after injury, and skeletal muscle tissue was evaluated by using microscopic analysis and physiological tests.  There was significantly less fibrous scar formation in suramin-treated muscles than in sham-injected muscles. The fast-twitch and tetanus strength of suramin-treated muscles was also significantly greater relative to that of control muscles. Thus suramin may facilitate the development of strategies to enhance muscle healing after injury.[5]  Let's wait for more data on this before you go on a suramin binge.

Catch-Up Growth and Fatness
Have you ever watched with shock and awe how amazing the physiques of today's bodybuilder and fitness competitors truly are?  They're ripped to shreds; have muscle mass like a myostatin-mutant, and just plain look like they popped out of a comic book.  As you know, to attain such degrees of muscularity with low body fat levels is about as easy as finding a virgin at your local strip club.  Yes, my friend, it's pretty g'damn difficult. 

Well guess what.  All of that dieting and refeeding is just about the worst thing you can do to your body, in the long run.  Here's the proof.  After 10 or 30 days of growth retardation due to undernutrition or underfeeding during the early life of a rat, rats fed ad-libitum (given as much access to food as they wanted) showed the phenomenon of catch-up growth. That is, gains in body weight and body protein were greater by 50% and 25%, respectively, than those of controls with similar starting body weight.  But here's the catch, these rats became much more efficient at storing their food thus making it easier for them to store calories as body fat.  Thus, gains in body fat during recovery from malnutrition may result not only from unbalanced diets or excess dietary intake, but also from a enhancement in the efficiency of food utilization and a shift in energy partitioning in favor of an acceleration for the replenishment of fat stores.[6]  In fact, other studies have shown that isocaloric refeeding (meaning refeeding with the same number of calories as unstarved animals) on a high-fat diet resulted in even lower energy expenditure and thermogenesis and increased fat deposition and led to even higher plasma insulin and elevated plasma glucose after a glucose load.  Thus, the phenomenon of undereating followed by overeating results in the suppression of thermogenesis per se may have a primary role in the development of hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance during catch-up growth.  Also, it makes one more prone to fatness.[7]

1.    Lindqvist, A.S. and C. Fahlke, Nandrolone decanoate has long-term effects on dominance in a competitive situation in male rats. Physiol Behav, 2005. 84(1): p. 45-51.
2.    http://www.gettingwell.com/drug_info/nmdrugprofiles/nutsupdrugs/bet_0236.shtml
3.    Ryokkynen, A., et al., Multigenerational exposure to phytosterols in the mouse. Reprod Toxicol, 2005. 19(4): p. 535-40.
4.    http://www.drugs.com/cons/Suramin.html
5.    Chan, Y.S., et al., The use of suramin, an antifibrotic agent, to improve muscle recovery after strain injury. Am J Sports Med, 2005. 33(1): p. 43-51.
6.    Dulloo, A.G. and L. Girardier, Adaptive role of energy expenditure in modulating body fat and protein deposition during catch-up growth after early undernutrition. Am J Clin Nutr, 1993. 58(5): p. 614-21.
7.    Crescenzo, R., et al., A role for suppressed thermogenesis favoring catch-up fat in the pathophysiology of catch-up growth. Diabetes, 2003. 52(5): p. 1090-7.