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

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Animal study: running reduces effect of steroids on testes

The anabolic steroid nandrolone decanoate, active ingredient in Organon's Deca Durabolin, inhibits the production of sperm cells in the testes. All anabolic steroids have this effect. But according to biologists at the Universidade Estadual de Maringa in Brazil, running lessens the effect. The Brazilians came to this conclusion, not from a study of human steroids users, but from an animal study.

The researchers published the results of their study of four groups of male rats in Acta Scientiarum. Two of the groups did not train. [S for sedentary] Two groups ran four times a week for an hour in a specially constructed treadmill for lab animals. [T for training] The rats in the training groups trained for 9 weeks.

Animal study: running reduces effect of steroids on testes
The rats in one of the training groups and one of the sedentary groups were given a Deca Durabolin injection 5 times a week. [Tr for treated] The dose was 0.5 mg per kilogram bodyweight. Converted to human proportions, that's a modest dose. It would mean a bodybuilder weighing 100 kg would inject 250 mg a week. The steroids were administered starting in the fifth week of the experiment and continued for 5 weeks. The other training group and sedentary group were given injections containing oil. [Co for control]

When the 9 weeks were up the Brazilians examined the rats' testes. They found that the steroids had caused the testes to shrink in the STr group, but not in the TTr group.

Animal study: running reduces effect of steroids on testes

The researchers also did a sperm count for all their lab animals. They counted the sperm numbers [germ cells] and determined their development stage as well.

Animal study: running reduces effect of steroids on testes

Sertoli cells [STL in the table below] are the sperm cell nurseries. In the early stages sperm cells are called spermatogonia [SPA below]. Spermatogonia develop into spermatocytes [SP-1], and when these divide they become spermatids [SPtids].

The number of Sertoli cells [STL] declines with nandrolone decanoate use, but training compensates for this. The same also applies to the total number of germ cells.

Animal study: running reduces effect of steroids on testes

If you give rats nandrolone decanoate, the number of spermatogonia increases. This is probably because the cells do not mature. The number of sperm cells at a further stage of development declines, however. But running cancels out this effect.

There are also human studies which have shown that physical training reduces the negative effects of anabolic steroids. Trials in which HIV infected men injected 600 mg Deca Durabolin weekly reported that the men who did weight training as well experienced testicle shrinkage less often. [J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1999 Apr;84(4):1268-76.] In another human study, in which men with a kidney disease were given Deca Durabolin, the anabolic steroid increased aggressive tendencies, but not in the subjects who also did physical training.

Acta Scientiarum. Health Science, Vol. 32, No 1 (2010) 17-22.

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