Boldenone is a steroid hormone developed to treat debilitated horses. Although it is not approved for use in humans, bodybuilders and athletes in a number of sports have used it to build muscle and/or enhance performance. This illicit use has a number of side effects.
Boldenone is a veterinary steroid hormone used to treat horses. It is derived from the naturally occurring steroid testosterone, and is very similar to testosterone in its molecular structure and effects. In horses and humans, boldenone exhibits both anabolic (muscle-building) and androgenic (masculinizing) effects. It has not been approved for use in humans by the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but has been used illicitly by bodybuilders and athletes.
Veterinary Use and Complications
Boldenone has been prescribed by veterinarians for horses that are physically debilitated, underweight, malnourished, run-down or in otherwise poor physical condition after disease or periods of overexertion. In horses, boldenone produces its effects quickly; after only one or two injections (dosages depend on the horse’s body weight), this steroid stimulates the appetite (causing weight gain), increases lean muscle mass and restores the natural quality of the horse’s hair.
Boldenone has caused increased aggression in horses.
Bodybuilders and athletes have used boldenone to increase the appetite, gain lean muscle mass, lose fat and improve strength. Athletes also take boldenone to indirectly cause the body to produce more blood cells by stimulating the release of erythropoietin (EPO) by the kidneys (EPO is a hormone that activates red blood cell production in bone marrow). More red blood cells increases endurance by enabling the blood to transport more oxygen. Bodybuilders report using dosages as high as 800 mg weekly.
Connective Tissue Damage
In athletes who do not use steroids, weight-training and exercise produces incremental gains over time, and a muscle’s connective tissues can adjust to this slow development. Boldenone causes rapid gains in muscle and strength, which puts tensile strain on the ligaments and tendons, making them more prone to injury. When boldenone is “stacked” (taking more than one steroid at a time) with testosterone, this growth occurs more rapidly, and also causes the body to retain water, which puts additional strain on the joints.
Excess use of boldenone in humans can result in a dangerous increase in red blood cell counts. The presence of too many red blood cells makes the blood more dense and less viscous, and the heart must work harder to pump it through the body, especially during exercise. The extra blood cells can cause hypertension (high blood pressure), and also result in blood clots, strokes and weakening of the circulatory system. In an athlete with preexisting arterial plaque buildup, these dangers are increased.
Red blood cell counts become unsafe when red blood cells begin to account for more than 54 percent of total blood volume. Bodybuilders have reported elevated red blood cell counts at this level after only four to six weeks of using boldenone at dosages of 600 to 800 mg a week.
Boldenone is derived from testosterone, and acts as an androgen in the body, causing some mild masculinizing effects that include increased acne and facial and body hair. Women are more prone to experience these effects, which may also include a disruption of menstrual cycles, enlarged clitoris and altered libido.
Boldenone must be injected into the intra-muscular tissue, and a number of complications can result from improper administration. Failure to clean the needle or injection site can result in infection or abscesses under the skin. Also, not rotating the site of injection frequently can cause the buildup of scar tissue, increasing the pain of subsequent injections.