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More recent tests (Slievert, 2003) confirm deer antler velvet’s effects on muscle strength and endurance. In a randomized, double blind, placebo controlled experiment, 18 males entered a 10 week strength training program. Those who took deer antler velvet showed an increase in maximal aerobic capacity, an increase in strength in the bench press and leg squat, and decrease in body fat relative to the placebo group.
Deer antler velvet's effects on cell growth and repair have been investigated in several areas. Deer antler velvet may be a natural source of hormones for those seeking aid to muscle growth and development. Research has identified various growth factors in deer antler velvet including IGF-1 (insulin–like Growth Factor-1), IGF-2 (insulin–like Growth Factor-2), and EGF (Epidermal Growth Factor).
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Velvet antler in the form of deer antler spray has been at the center of multiple controversies with professional sports leagues and famous athletes allegedly using it for injury recovery and performance enhancement purposes. In mid-2011 a National Football League (NFL) player successfully sued a deer antler velvet spray manufacturer for testing positive for methyltestosterone in 2009 for a total amount of 5.4 million US dollars. In August 2011, Major League Baseball (MLB) added deer antler spray to their list of prohibited items because it contains "potentially contaminated nutritional supplements."