Velvet antler has been used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) that classifies many similar substances from a variety of species under the simplified Chinese name 鹿茸; (pinyin Lu Rong) and the commercial name Cervi Cornu Pantorichum. The two common species used within the TCM system are sika deer and red deer which are thought to be useful for treating yang deficiency syndromes.
The latest and greatest performance enhancer, if you've been living under a rock, is deer antler velvet. On the surface, it seems like it could make sense. The coating on the antlers of young male deer that contribute to the growth of that part of their body could help athletes. First, the NFL prohibited Oakland Raiders coach Hue Jackson from endorsing it. Now, according to SI.com, Major League Baseball is warning players about using it.
After about 55-60 days of growth the velvet antler is removed painlessly from the deer in less than 60 seconds so that it may be done as humanely as possible. These deer are not harmed and experience no pain in the removal of their velvet antlers for our consumption. The antler is then scraped of its fuzzy velvet and then cleaned before it is sanitized and pasteurized for safety, and then inspected for quality grading.
An acute dose of 2,000mg/kg Deer Velvet Antler to rats (human equivalent dose of 320mg/kg) has failed to show toxic signs over 14 subsequent days of observation, and a 90 day trial with daily dosing of 1,000mg/kg did not show any significant toxicological symptoms of haemotological signs; a decrease in liver weight was noted in males, but under histological examination it appeared to be benign. Another rat toxicological study using 10% of the diet as Deer Velvet Antler during gestation and after birth noted that there were no apparent teratogenic effects on the rat pups and that serum AST (indicative of liver damage) was actually decreased 50% relative to control with no effect on γ-GT (another liver enzyme).
Deer Antler Velvet Spray is an extract that’s taken directly from the material that grows on the outside of the antlers of deer, elk, moose and caribou. Their website suggests its use for anyone that is looking to counter the effects of light exercise, mild muscular strain and exertion, and some arthritic conditions. In addition to providing joint support, Deer Antler Velvet Spray is said to balance hormone levels, build muscle, boost sexual performance, and improve immune function.
Even more intriguing is how the stags manage to regrow their antlers. Scientists have found stem cells at the bases of antlers’essentially ‘blank’ cells that can develop into many different types of cell, such as a skin cell or a cartilage cell. If they could find out what triggers the stem cells and controls their development into antlers, the knowledge could be applied to the regeneration of human limbs and organs. Scientists know that the shedding is initiated by a fall in the hormone testosterone, a change linked to an increase in day length, and they think oestrogen may be a key cellular regulator. However, much more research on a molecular level is required to unravel what is clearly an intricate process.
When antlers fall off, they leave wounds that heal quickly, without forming a scar. Researchers have found that velvet antler contains substances that encourage healing, and could be of use to humans. Of particular interest are 3 hormones known to promote growth of skin tissue: insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), epidermal growth factor (EGF) and transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1). In a recent study, an ointment made from velvet antler, containing these compounds, enhanced healing when applied to the skin of rats. IGF-1 was a hot topic in the media in the winter of 2013 when a football player, Ray Lewis, was accused of using a banned spray containing IGF-1.
Keeping true to our original Deer Antler Spray formula, Deer Antler Velvet Extract HERS is all-natural and contains the same amount of Deer Antler Velvet as the original, coming to us straight from red deer in New Zealand. Like the original, our new product is high in the growth hormone IGF-1. This new spray, however, is testosterone free and contains: collagen type II, biotin, green tea, and epimedium, all of which have benefits specially geared toward female athletes. Epimedium, known in Chinese medicine as “yin yang huo”, has the same effect as estrogen, can increase libido, and produce osteoblasts, the cells that secretes the matrix for bone formation. This promotes strong bones, and aids in the prevention of osteoporosis. Collagen, is a protein that forms the strong, flexible white fibers of the body's bone, cartilage, and connective tissue, and is vital for tissue regeneration. Biotin can speed up metabolism, improve glucose levels, and improve brittle nails. Green tea, is one of nature's most powerful antioxidants, and has been linked to cancer prevention, Alzheimer's prevention, the prevention of obesity, and countless other health benefits.
A Russian study indicated that the amino acids, polypeptides and other compounds found in antler increased the survival rate of mice with cancerous tumors as much as 40 percent. In addition, a study conducted by the East-West Research Institute in Korea found that deer antler velvet appears to increase neutrophil levels in mice, which boost the body’s ability to fight injuries and disease. The mice with tumors lost less weight and suffered lower levels of kidney damage than those treated with drugs.
Immortal Antler Velvet Gold is the Mercedes of antler velvet extracts. It is the only all-natural 43:1 extract that contains a powerful blend of growth factors in a naturally occurring matrix. These naturally occurring growth factors are involved in every cellular function in the human body, from metabolism to immune response. Immortal Antler Velvet Gold is the only all-natural proprietary matrix to deliver up to 100 mcg’s of IGF-1 per bottle, in addition to the full growth factor matrix. Delivering a full range of growth factors at an alarming 43:1 ratio means there is no stronger formula on the market today. This ratio means it requires 43 lbs of velvet antler tips to create 1 lb of this complete formula. It is extracted in organic grape alcohol and bottled in miron violet glass for maximum absorption and effectiveness.
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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.
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Deer antler products contain mostly amino acids (that form proteins) along with growth factors, which are poly-peptide bonded amino acid chains. (4) The most abundant growth factor is IGF-1. However, it isn’t a factor found in these products. Depending on the specific brand, deer antler spray/powder/capsules may contain amino acids and growth factors including: (5)
In an experiment (Gerard, 2004) conducted to study muscle damage and repair, 20 males ran for 35 minutes on a downhill treadmill. The participants, who were not trained runners, were pre-treated with deer antler velvet or a placebo 14 days prior to the run. The subjected treated with deer velvet showed that their creatine kinase levels, a marker of muscle damage, was significantly lower than the control group. Also, muscle soreness on average was reported to be gone 24 hours before subjects in control.
Bottom line: Rogol says it’s “extremely unlikely” that deer antler in any form could offer athletes a boost. “Deer antlers do contain growth factors,” he explains. But it’s a huge leap of faith to talk about an extract doing anything beneficial for human beings, whether it’s slowing aging, developing muscle, or repairing tendons, he adds. Opinions like Rogol’s are one reason the FDA and anti-doping agencies haven’t yet taken steps to ban deer antler products that contain IGF-1.
This fancy concept is easily understood in the gym as increasing the contractile capacity of muscular groups. In other words, its strengthening to your body. Scientifically these concepts translate into increased anaerobic workloads and more weight for more repetitions, which is a progressive measuring standard of performance. Its about you reaching your goals. More progress for you equals more gains.
New Zealand research reports that although the mechanism is unknown, deer antler velvet shows strong anti-inflammatory effects. Recent clinical tests suggest oral ingestion of glycosaminoglycan-peptide complex, or components such as chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine sulfate — both found in deer antler velvet — may help stimulate cartilage repair.