Yes, the Soviets had even been involved in extensive research to ascertain the performance benefits of deer antler velvet. But they've been using it for awhile. In their country it was known in Russian folk use to be a warming and vitalizing food several hundred years ago, but with the advent of modern history, they began research nearly 90 years ago.
Osteoarthritis is caused by the loss of cartilage in bone joints. In normal joints, cartilage serves as a buffer between bones. Usually the body replenishes cartilage as it wears away, but when osteoarthritis occurs, cartilage deteriorates faster than the body can replace it. Eventually, the bones begin to rub together, causing pain, swelling and loss of joint mobility. Most treatments for osteoarthritis attempt to reduce pain and maintain joint function, but these treatments do little to restore joint health.
World harvest extends far and wide. The farming of deer species for their velvet antler has been occurring for a long time in China and Russia. The Asian industry raises a predominant amount of sika, aka. spotted deer, on private and communal farms where they are well cared for by private owners. Quality of a this profound botanical is of utmost importance. Farms in Asia it is also both industry and government regulated for quality, safety, and the welfare of the animals.
Russian and Japanese researchers have conducted experiments using deer antler extract and found that it appears to lower blood pressure in both human subjects and laboratory animals. A series of clinical case studies (Albov, 1969) were conducted in which the effects of Pantocrin on cardiac patients were assessed. In one test involving 32 subjects with high blood pressure caused by cardiac disease, early onset menopause or obesity, blood pressure was lowered in 81% of patients. In another study involving 13 patients with hypotension caused by disorders of heart muscle activity, blood pressure was lowered for 84% of patients.
Tissue Growth* - Ancient use was as a growth tonic for underdeveloping children and as a gland activator for the glandularly deficient.* It was also recommended to maturing people because of this interesting action on the body.* In modern times it has been discovered that very small amounts of key constituents, called growth factors, signal cellular structures for regeneration and growth, and are found in deer antler velvet extract itself and in larger amounts within the circulating blood of those who take it.*

One study[14] (duplicated in Medline[15]) that used a water extract of Velvet Antler at 50-200mg/kg failed to inhibit the pain killing effect of Morphine yet reduced the rate at which rats became tolerant to Morphine over the course of 6 days when taken an hour prior to Morphine each day.[14] Rats who were given Velvet Antler prior to Morphine also experienced 26.6-36.6% less withdrawal (dose-dependent) and reduced reverse tolerance and dopamine receptor supersensitivity relative to morphine control.[14]
Deer antler velvet can help slow the aging process and possibly even increase longevity due to the IGF-1 present in deer antler velvet. Aging occurs because our DNA becomes damaged throughout our lives and the damages accumulate over time. The damaged nuclear DNA can either directly cause the aging process by increasing cell dysfunction or it can indirectly cause the aging process by increasing programmed cell death (apoptosis) or increasing the number of cells which are unable to divide any further (cell senescence).
A study by Chen found that deer antler velvet inhibits monoamine oxidase activity in the liver and brain tissues of aged mice. Monoamine-oxidase inhibitors prevent breakdown of monoamine neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine and serotonin. Antler apparently allows these vital neurotransmitters to be available longer to the brain structure, enhancing mood.

Deer antler, or more specifically ‘velvet antler”which refers to the soft, newly grown antler before it hardens, not just the velvet skin’has been used in Chinese medicine for 2000 years. Often prescribed as a tonic, it is reputed to boost the immune system, improve stamina and reduce swelling. It is also prescribed to promote wound healing and strengthen bones and said to be an aphrodisiac and to enhance fertility. In China, velvet antler is seen as second only to ginseng in its restorative powers.
This is a full spectrum extraction of one of the most profound substances in the anti-aging and longevity category. Deer Antler Essence is a premiere tonic formulation for the rejuvenation of Yin Essence, Yang Essence, and blood. Deer Antler is a prized tonic in the East that provides deep nourishment of Jing Essence. Considered a Yang tonic, it provides physical, sexual, and creative energy by nourishing the root energy of the body. It also is extremely powerful for nourishing bone marrow and building blood.

The product smells like lemon-scented cleaner and bears a resemblance to murky pond water. I hesitantly tried the stuff and found it surprisingly palatable, with a lemon taste, but not too sour and slightly sweet. The directions say to take 14 drops under the tongue, three times a day, but I stopped after one dose — so I probably don't have a good chance of reaping the benefits, if there are any.
In Asia, velvet antler is dried and sold as slices, or as a powder which may be boiled in water, usually with other herbs and ingredients, and consumed as a medicinal soup.[6] In the traditional commercial trade of Korea and China, whole stick antler velvet is divided into three sections based upon their supposed properties. Although there is an absence of uniform standardization, these sections are known as the wax piece (uppers or tips), the blood piece (middles), and the bone piece (bottoms): the wax piece may be marketed as a growth tonic for children, the blood piece supposedly for joint and bone health, and the bone piece supposedly for calcium deficiency and geriatric needs.[2][5][9] Early commercial activity in Russia between the 1930s and 1980s led to the production of an alcohol extract from deer antler velvet marketed under the Russian drug trade name Pantocrin (also pantocrine or pantokrin).[10][11]
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