Velvet Antler is a supplement derived from powdered or crushed antlers, most commonly from deer (and thus referred to as Deer Velvet Antler) although Elk have also been used. They have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The base of the antler is referred to as Cervus (in reference to deers), Lu Jiao Pan, Zhen Zhu Pan, as well as Lu Hua Pan and appears to have been traditionally used for cardiovascular disease, gynecological problems, immunological deficiencies, blood cancers, tissue repair and health promotion. The specific part used is the antler base; when the antler is sawed off the base temporarily remains until the regeneration of the new antler pushes it off which occurrs occasionally in the wild. Traditional usage involves using the base and macerating it in wine or decocting it with water for oral consumption.
S.W.A.T.S. Fitness and Performance was a dietary supplement company that sold deer antler spray and other products. The owners began distributing their products to NCAA and NFL athletes in 2008. The controversy initially started in March 30, 2009 when Alabama athletic officials sent a cease-and-desist letter to the company's owner that stated: "Refrain from using current student-athletes to endorse products. Refrain from contacting current student-athletes. Refrain from giving or selling products to current student-athletes."  The letter was then sent again in 2012.
We know about growth factors, such as IGF-1, which are responsible for promoting healthy hormones. It is the synergy of all the constituents that help these growth factors work better. And this is why our deer antler velvet is so awesome! If you go read other labels and check the magic "extract-ratios" and micro-nanogram amounts, you'll discover something interesting:
I was first introduced to and started using IGF-1 Plus™ in July of 1999. I made it part of my daily regiment originally to increase my stamina and build my muscles while burning body fat at the same time (which I was informed this would help me accomplish). I am 35 years old and exercise for about an hour or so at a time, 3 to 4 times a week. It is now the end of February 2000 and I’m extremely impressed at the results! People have commented on my appearance and I have been reaching new heights in the gym that I though were only obtainable by using drugs like steroids (which I never considered taking due to the unwanted side effects). However IGF-1 has not only increased my strength and endurance, but has given me much more in ways that I had not anticipated! For instance, the person who shared this with me had no idea that I have arthritis. I would wake up in the morning and my joints would ache severely (especially my wrists and elbows) until eleven o’clock or noon. Now, although it took me a few weeks to start really noticing my improvements in the gym, it didn’t take but 3 -4 days for me to take notice of the fact that my morning arthritis pains were completely gone. The only time the pain has come back is when I ran out of the spray and couldn’t get a hold of any for a couple of weeks because I was out of town vacationing in Florida. Now I try to have at least a couple extra bottles on hand! Also, my hair stylist of 17 years had noticed that I had lost a significant amount of gray on my head and asked if I was coloring my hair. I’ll make sure I never run out of this amazing formula again!!!
A growing trend in western medicine is the proliferation of influences from ancient eastern medicine. Over 2,000 years ago, the Chinese were administering deer antler velvet to treat conditions ranging from serious illnesses to lack of sexual desire. After closely examining the wide range of health benefits deer antler velvet promotes, it's no wonder why the Chinese used it as a medicine for thousands of years.
Moose, elk and deer produce new antlers yearly (primarily males, except in caribou/reindeer). In New Zealand, deer are subject to local anesthesia and restrained during antler removal, and the procedure is supervised by licensed veterinarians. Typically, the antler is cut off near the base after it is about two-thirds of its potential full size, between 55 and 65 days of growth, before any significant calcification occurs. The procedure is generally done around June in the Northern Hemisphere and December in the Southern Hemisphere.
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.
Sourced from New Zealand, Piping Rock’s IGF-1+ extra strength Deer Antler Velvet Spray taps into ancient practices famously exploring male virility.** Each spray contains the beneficial amino acids, peptides, proteins and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1+) naturally found in deer velvet, making this spray a popular choice among athletes, fitness enthusiasts and those who are looking to support muscle strength, stamina, vitality and overall male performance.**
There is some evidence that deer antler spray may work for improving performance and physique. However, it seems that an individual needs to take very high doses in order for these benefits to occur. In studies where the supplement was effective, injections of very concentrated extracts were used. Injections may be the most effective, and likely the only, way that deer antler works. This is because IGF-1 is mostly destroyed when it passes through the digestive system. Because of this, swallowing deer antler supplements would practically be useless.
Deer antler velvet is the tissue that covers the bone and cartilage that develop into deer (and elk) antlers. It has been harvested for centuries and used traditionally to increase strength, boost the immune system, and counter the effects of stress. Now it’s promoted to improve athletic performance; raise testosterone levels to increase sex drive, fertility and erectile function in men; as well as to reduce the signs of aging and treat problems ranging from high cholesterol, high blood pressure, asthma and osteoporosis to migraine headaches, indigestion, and many more.
It is recently gaining popularity in the USA as seen with the deer antler spray controversy a couple years ago concerning several professional athletes. Oh yeah, I heard its a performance enhancer. They were consuming it for its natural growth factors, extracted via cold water, which are known to promote growth and regeneration capacities. Natural? Yes, and healthy. Where does this stuff come from?
Data is limited. Two studies (n=40 and 168) investigating the efficacy of elk velvet antler supplementation on rheumatoid arthritis found no effect, while a study conducted in people with osteoarthritis (n=53) reported symptomatic relief among participants. The small sample sizes may result in the trials being underpowered to detect effects.25, 28, 29