Deer antler velvet is the hardened substance found in deer antlers. It is not the velvety skin on the antlers, but rather the entire antler. Just about every male species of animal in the moose family will produce antlers, with the exception of caribou and reindeer.
History of Deer Antler Velvet
The Chinese have used deer antler velvet for centuries and it has been a major part of ancient Chinese medicine. In China, the antler is removed in a pre-calcified stage. The antler is dried for a prolonged period of time before it is ground up into a powder. This powder is what is used for medicinal purposes.
Today, deer antler velvet can be found in specialty health stores. In commercial products, elk antlers are commonly used because a pair of elk antlers can weigh as much as fifty pounds, which is much heavier then normal whitetail deer. It is regulated under the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), who is in charge of testing the deer antler velvet for bacteria.
Uses of Deer Antler Velvet
Athletes and adults use deer antler velvet because it contains IGF-1, which has numerous health benefits. The benefits of deer antler velvet have only begun to be exposed to the public, as deer antler velvet is a fairly new product into the product.
However, it is starting to be used for other medicinal purposes due to its numerous health-boosting properties. Research supports deer antler velvet as a legitimate health product. New Zealand researchers published the first study, which explored the relationship between deer antler velvet and joint health. Researches concluded that deer antler velvet was solely responsible for easing joint pain and also actually helped remove and prevent inflammation in the joints.
Currently a study is in progress in the United States to test claims by some deer antler products as “anti-cancer.” The study is scheduled to conclude in the middle of this year, so more information about the study will be released at that time.
Proven Benefits of Deer Velvet
Studies support claims by deer antler velvet products of increases in strength, muscle, and performance of athletes. The main reason for these physical improvements is because of IGF-1. IGF-1, or Insulin Growth Factor 1, is a hormone largely responsible for the growth and development of the human body. As we age, our levels of IGF-1 decrease – hence why we stop growing and why eventually our body starts to weaken.
Deer Velvet is so powerful that Major League Baseball had to ban it and add it to their list of banned substances. According to an MLB press release, “Athletes using deer antler were at an advantage due to increase physical performance, which created an unfair playing environment.”
Therefore, when a person regularly takes deer antler velvet, their levels of IGF-1 drastically increase. Older adults can reverse the effects of old age such as weakened bones, joint problems, and loss of muscle strength.
Other Claimed Benefits of Deer Antler Velvet
Many other products claim to have other health effects. Users back some of these health effects, but not all claims have been validated. Some of these benefits include:
- Improvement in Memory
- Relieves Symptoms of Asthma
- Reduces Blood Pressure
- Improved Sexual Desire and Performance
- Nerve Growth and Repair
- Improved Focus and Concentration
Some of these claims are being validated through clinical research at the moment. As soon as the results are published, updates will be given to determine whether or not these claim benefits are indeed true.
Deer Antler Supplements
The most common form of deer antler velvet supplements is in power or spray form. Deer antler spray is much easier to take because it only involves spraying the supplement bottle a few times under the tongue. Deer velvet supplements in powder form require many steps and take much more time.
As far as safety is concerned, there are no side effects of deer antler supplements. Most are made of 100% natural ingredients, which generally is an indication that a supplement is of a higher quality. However, some supplements do contain filler ingredients so you should always read the label before purchasing a deer antler velvet supplement.
As mentioned previously, the ASDA oversees the production of deer velvet so you are assured there are no harmful bacteria present in deer antler supplements. In addition, the Food and Drug Administration lists deer antler velvet as “generally recognized as safe.” This means that for the majority of people, there will be no harmful effects from using deer velvet.
Deer antler velvet is a proven substance to promote strength gains and improve performance among athletes. While still a newer product, thousands of athletes are reaping the benefits of deer velvet to smash through training plateaus, reach new levels of athletic performance and build muscle and strength faster then they ever imagined.