Elk velvet antlers have been shown to contain chondroitin sulfate. This has a growth-promoting effect on cells throughout the body, which helps with recovery. This includes cells in the gut. It is believed that cartilage proteoglycans regulate water retention and differentiation and proliferation of chondrocytes inside cartilage tissue. Four types of collagen (I, II, III, and X) have also been identified in deer antlers. The collagen may provide benefits including rebuilding damaged parts of the GI tract, skin and joints. This might be beneficial for preventing or helping to treat leaky gut syndrome, which contributes to widespread symptoms.
First, the facts: Deer antler has been a popular element of Eastern medicine for centuries. And—like red meat, eggs, or milk—deer antler contains small amounts of insulin-like growth factor 1, or IGF-1, explains Oliver Catlin, president of the Banned Substances Control Group (BSCG), which tests dietary supplements for illegal performance enhancers.
Reports claim deer antler helped Ray Lewis overcome his recent triceps tear, and Vijay Singh has admitted to using a spray supplement. University of Alabama football players also allegedly used deer antler sprays leading up to the 2013 BCS National Title Game. Whether or not those reports are true, one thing is certain: There’s not much proof that deer antler is a performance enhancer or a miraculous healer.
Blood Pressure: Almost 30% of Americans (28.7%) have high blood pressure. If you’re 60 years of age, 65.4% of your age group has it. If you’re black, 33.5% vs. 28.7% of whites, have high blood pressure. It’s a very common problem-and only gets worse as we age. So why should you worry about your blood pressure? Because high blood pressure is the cause of heart attacks, stroke, blindness, kidney disease and failure and death to name a few reasons. Did you know that 5 million people in US have high blood pressure, including those getting treated for it? But wait-almost 40 million people don’t know they have it, aren’t getting it treated or can’t control it adequately! Are you one of them? Ask your doctor. Deer Antler Velvet has been shown to reduce high blood pressure naturally, without side effects and without interfering with any medication you’re already on.
"Unlike steroids, which are small, cholesterol-based hormones, protein-based hormones or growth factors can easily be destroyed," he wrote in an email. Cohen guesses that even if you consume high levels of IGF-1, most if not all of the substance would be destroyed after hitting the acid in our stomach and before entering the blood system, which is how compounds we ingest reach the muscles. "This is also why you have to inject insulin instead of just eating insulin pills," he added.
The truth? While research is limited, there’s nothing to suggest that deer antler velvet (or deer antler spray in the supplement form) actually does what it claims. In fact, there are two published studies (in real scientific journals, you can see them here and here) that suggest deer antler velvet does not (I repeat, does not) even elicit a hormonal response. What’s more, it also did not increase muscular strength or aerobic power.
The company has found that powders have only about a 15–20 percent absorption rate of IGF-1. This is due to how the digestive system breaks down the powder. Nutronics states that their “proprietary sublingual spray delivery system” is superior to many competitors because it offers “enhanced bioavailability” of IGF-1. They also point out that “it is not the milligrams of Deer Antler Velvet in the product, it’s the content of IGF-1 and other Growth Factors in Deer Antler Velvet, that makes the difference.”(6)
A systemic review on human interventions makes note of a study conducted on patients of osteoarthritis (Edelman et al. 2000; cannot be located online) which found improvements in joint pain symptoms relative to baseline in the Velvet Antler group and not placebo, although a lack of information on blinding and randomization precludes results that can be drawn from this study.