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.
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I know of no scientific evidence to support any of the marketing claims made for these supplements. I discussed your question with Tieraona Low Dog, M.D., an internationally recognized expert in the fields of integrative medicine, dietary supplements and women’s health, and an authority on botanical medicine. She explains that IGF-1 in the velvet promotes rapid growth of the antler. Dr. Low Dog notes that the two studies examining the effects of deer antler velvet supplements taken by athletes have yielded conflicting results. One showed some improvements in endurance and knee strength in weightlifters, but the other found no differences in rowers after 10 weeks of supplementation.
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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. 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. 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).
According to an article published by Business Insider, between 20 to 40 percent of professional MLB and NFL athletes admit to purchasing and using deer antler spray (also called “deer antler velvet”). They hope to benefit from its performing-enhancing effects. (1) Some famous athletes turn to deer antler spray in hopes of promoting growth of new tissue cells or gaining strength due to more easily putting on lean muscle mass.
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.
Speed Exercise Recovery - Depends which way you look at, but in general it really depends on why you would need it. If you think this works like synthetic anabolics that helps you recover quicker and train more you are grossly mistaken. But if you have joint issues, or desire the benefits of increased blood flow assisting and conversion in the liver, or need a boost to tissue regeneration than this is smarter thinking on your part.
Published research has shown that IGF-1 can produce similar results to growth hormone. The catch? If you do the math from the study, a 150-pound man (that’s a pretty small guy, so a bigger man would need more) would have to take more than 25 million nanograms just to experience the growth hormone-like effects of more muscle, less fat, and faster recovery.
Research in Korea, New Zealand and China has shown that deer antler velvet can stimulate the immune system. Extracts of deer antler velvet were variously shown to increase macrophage activity, stimulate the production of lymphocytes and increase the number of red and white blood cells. Each of these effects may directly complement the body’s ability to resist or fight disease and so promote and maintain health and an associated feeling of well being.
"I am 60 years old and had polio when I was six months old. Throughout my childhood I had 7 orthopedic surgeries to correct the damage leftover by polio to my left hip, leg and foot. I am battle scarred and a Post Polio Syndrome Survivor. I cannot praise your product enough! Its difficult for me to walk. I normally use a battery powered scooter in malls and airports. The least amount of physical exertion walking and standing creates days of agony afterwards. This past Saturday I walked the mall, went for a movie and dinner. I was active all day and well into the night without tiring. I kept waiting for the intense painful spasms and muscle contractions from my polio atrophied muscles in the left leg and also my hips. Usually late at night is when the pain and spasms are the most intense. But guess what? I am not hurting anywhere near the level I use too. I am not fatigued. I used Antler Farm's Deer Antler Velvet a couple of years ago when traveling to Machu Picchu, Peru. I am still amazed I climbed the ancient Inca Trail unaided with just my cane. Antler Farm's Deer Antler Velvet has improved my quality of life significantly."*
As you know I’ve been a Hollywood stuntman and director for over 30 years and during my stunt man career I have accumulated many injuries along with aches, pains and arthritis. Since I’ve been taking your IGF-1 product, my arthritis is 100% better and I’ve forgotten about my injuries. This product is truly amazing and has worked wonders for me. I also appreciate the sleep miracle as it helps me get a good nights sleep and feel great in the morning.
All groups experienced a significant improvement in strength. But the deer antler powder group showed the greatest increase in isokinetic knee extensor strength and endurance. However, it’s possible that this was due to exercise program rather than using the deer antler powder. None of the men in any group showed evidence of endocrine, red cell mass or VO2max changes. Therefore, researchers concluded that the “findings do not support an erythropoetic or aerobic ergogenic effect of deer antler velvet.” (12) On the other hand, this was a small study, with only 12-13 men in each group. This means that further testing is needed to confirm the validity of the results.
I’ve been taking IGF-1 Plus for 10 years. This is the most amazing product I have ever seen in all my years as a personal trainer and professional bodybuilder. I would recommend this product to anyone whether they were just trying to achieve maximum health or compete in any competitive sports. I feel like I could compete for Mr. Olympia at my age by taking this wonderful product.
I am considering getting this. I have late stage lymes disease that is in my brain and nervous system and it is ruining me. I cant get help anywhere. I have gained 50 lbs even though I eat healthy after working so hard to lose 248 lbs. Its ruined my brain. I am getting very concerned I am not going to get better and have tried everything. are you still taking it since it is a year later and what have you noticed? I am 47 yr old female. If you wouldnt mind emailing me back id appreciate it. powerhouseami at gmail
In an ovalbumin sensitized mouse model, 4 weeks of Velvet Antler at 2.5-10mg total (weight of mice not given, assuming 20g this equals 125-500mg/kg or 10-40mg/kg for humans) was able to reduce total Immunoglobulin E (IgE) and Ovalbumin-specific IgE at 14, 21, and 28 days. When challenged with methacholine and subsequently having their airway power measured, it appeared that Velvet Antler exert anti-asthmatic effects in regards to allergies.