DHT and Nandrolone

Posted 5 months ago

Introduction to AAS- DHT Derivatives + Nandrolone

Before reading this article I strongly suggest you read the article Introduction to AAS-Testosterone. Once you have done so, you will have a better grasp of the basic concepts that are discussed in this article. I’d also like to remind you that the following topics are for informational purposes only and should not be deemed as advice in any way.

It is important to note that all steroids are preparations containing the three naturally occurring steroid hormones: Testosterone, Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), Nandrolone (19-nortestosterone) or chemical altered derivatives of these. In creating new compounds, one of the three is selected as a starting point, usually due to a particular trait that that steroid has, which will be discussed in turn below. Specifically, the purpose of this article is to provide you with clarity on the basics of Nandrolone and DHT, and how their actions may differ to that of testosterone.

What’s the difference?

This is the “sciencey bit” that might go over your head, but it’s important to know the difference . Although the main difference between these steroids is their molecular chemistry make up, it’s important to note that all steroids share a common “base structure” (Figure 1).

Figure 1

The steroid core structure is typically composed of seventeen carbon atoms, bonded in four fused” rings. Nandrolone is identical to Testosterone, except it lacks a carbon atom on the 19th position – hence the name ‘19-nor’. DHT has one double bond less than testosterone and has an additional two hydrogen atoms – hence the name ‘di-hydro’. (Figure 2).

Figure 2

DHT and its derivatives

As you already know, testosterone can be reduced by the enzyme 5-alpha-reductase (5-AR) to form DHT. This is far more potent that testosterone and is three to four times stronger at binding to androgen receptors in androgenic tissues (such as the scalp, skin, and prostate).

However, a common misconception is that steroids that are derived from DHT are guaranteed to have these same properties as testosterone. However, these are in fact all more tissue-selective than testosterone. Please see the table below for information on the compounds that I am referring to here (Figure 3).

Figure 3

Remember: DHT derivatives are not pure DHT – the word derivative gives it away. What this means is that due to their chemical makeup, they are unaffected by 5-AR, meaning that they become neither weaker nor stronger in androgenic tissues. In essence, they have a very well-balanced effect between muscle and androgenic tissues, making them far less androgenic than testosterone. Personally, I notice zero androgenic side-effects from using Masteron, Primobolan, Anavar, Proviron or Superdrol.

It’s also worth noting that because these compounds are derived from DHT, they cannot be converted to oestrogen; therefore, you don’t get any of the negative side effects you’d typically see from running testosterone or its derivates, such as gynecomastia. This makes it a far more favourable choice when it comes to cycle design. Due to these traits, DHT derivates are often used to offset the androgen to oestrogen ratio, and thus control estrogenic sides. It is this ratio alone which dictates these side effects – using myself as an example, Masteron or Primobolan are always in any cycle I run, and I have no need to run any aromatase inhibitors (which are terrible for your health).

Nandrolone and derivatives

When one thinks of nandrolone derivatives, Decca or NPP instantly come to mind. However, few people realise that these are, in fact, the same compound: the only difference is the ester that is attached. Most anabolic steroids have undergone esterification, which can alter how quickly the drug can get into your system. Decca, in simple terms, is long ester Nandrolone (attached to deconate ester), whereas NPP is short ester Nandrolone (attached to phylpropionate ester), meaning that NPP will get into your system quicker than Decca. Strip the ester away, and the steroid elicits the same effects.

Commonly referred to as the 19-Nor’s, these offer the greatest ratio of anabolic to androgenic ratio between the three natural steroids. This is because when Nandrolone is reduced, it is converted (by 5-AR) to a much less potent structure, dihydronandrolone, specifically in androgenic tissues. If you’ve haven’t picked it up already, this is the exact opposite of what happens when testosterone is reduced by 5-AR.

5-AR removes the c4-5 bond in both testosterone and nandrolone; however, when it does so in nandrolone, it decreases its ability to bind to the androgen receptors (in androgenic tissues) by several times. This is, of course, a very desirable trait if you want the anabolic effects over the androgenic effects; this is why I always have it in higher quantities in my stack design during an off-season relative to testosterone. In fact, in my own steroid use, my testosterone never really goes that “high” for that exact reason.
Nandrolone also aromatises much slower than testosterone, making it easier to manage any estrogenic side-effects you may encounter. Nandrolone derivatives do however interact with the progesterone receptor and can activate it, which can cause similar side-effects to those which are observed from higher oestrogen.

There is one 19-Nor that has shown to have an anti-catabolic effect (decreases muscle breakdown) and that is Trenbolone. It does this by binding to the glucocorticoid receptors and acts as a completive inhibitor so cortisol cannot bind. At low doses, I have found this extremely useful when dieting, particularly to conserve muscle mass in periods of high stress on the body. There does appear to be a saturation dose by which thereafter, treen begins to negatively impact on your sleep (decreasing time and quality) and causing night sweats.Overall, the 19-Nors lean more towards hypertrophy than the DHT derivatives but knowing the effects they can have on the progesterone receptor, one must be careful when using higher dosages.

In summary, all steroids are preparations containing the three naturally occurring steroid hormones: Testosterone, Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), Nandrolone (19-nortestosterone) or chemical altered derivatives of these. These have a slightly different molecular make up and can react differently in the body. These can compounds can have different traits as they are released in the body and  favourable outcomes such as: DHT and its derivatives being unable to be reduced or aromatise and also the 19-Nor’s becoming several times weaker when reduced by 5-AR.

Vaughan Wilson Bsc Hons


Llewellyn, W. (2017). ANABOLICS 11th Edition (11th ed.). Molecular Nutrition.