Deer antler velvet

By | May 24, 2011

If you notice, many HGH formulations nowadays contain deer antler extract. More precisely, they contain deer antler velvet extract, which are the extracts from immature deer antlers. It seems like almost any HGH product must have deer antler velvet in their ingredients list these days. So what is it about deer antler velvet that makes it so much in demand? Is there something special or magical within these bony outgrowths of animals, or is all this marketing gimmicks – mere hearsay?

We know males from the deer family (wapiti, caribou, elk, moose, red deer, chital deer, etc) develop antlers as a matter of fact. When the antler is developing, a layer of tissue riddled with blood vessels covers it, this is called velvet. The velvet is composed of cells normally found in connective tissue and has been found to have a high concentration of growth factors, of which the most well known is IGF-1.

These growth factors are one of the main reasons why deer antlers grow so fast. After the antlers reach full size, the velvet dies off, making the deer feel itchy (and the need rub their antlers against trees). At the same time, the antler bone calcifies and hardens. Eventually, the antlers fall off at the base, and new antlers develop all over again the following year. Some people make it a hobby to hunt for shed deer antlers.

Deer antler velvet and IGF-1

I do believe deer antler velvet could be an important key in natural HGH restoration therapy (without HGH injections) since on its own, it costs less than many HGH releasers. Deer antler velvet is one of the richest – if not the richest source of IGF-1 around.

It is IGF-1 that relays most of the benefits of HGH, because HGH is always converted into IGF-1 before it is used by the cells in the body. Also, there is strong evidence that increasing IGF-1 may help increase HGH release too. In order words, you can raise your HGH levels simply by taking this stuff regularly.

Deer antler velvet supplements are not actually made from the soft tissue that covers the antlers; they are made from the bone of antlers harvested just before maturity, when the bone would have hardened fully. The bone material is ground into powder, sterilized, and freeze dried before packed into capsules.

Deer stagDeer antlers

Supply of deer antler velvet

Two important points to note is there are many deer breeding farms all over the world now which are increasing (New Zealand being recognized as the leader in deer farming), and that the deer themselves are not permanently harmed when their antlers are removed (seeing that it just takes away their ability to fight). With a sustainable supply of deer antler velvet that is ever growing, hopefully, this can only mean their price will only keep coming down (let’s look forward to that).

Deer antler velvet usage

In Asia, particularly China, deer antlers have been used as medicine, health tonics, and aphrodisiacs for many hundreds of years. A common sight in traditional Chinese medicine shops is the sight of deer antlers being displayed under the counter, and if you wish to buy some, they will slice it up and grind those slices for you. It is only relatively recently, that people outside Asia have begun realizing their potential.

Flashback – Two years ago, I made a post on deer antler velvet; since then, it’s grown even more popular.

Not surprisingly, it’s pro athletes in the spotlight again. Widespread usage of deer antler supplements among athletes has led to doping bans. The kicker in all this is – deer antler velvet is not dope; it’s a natural health supplement. Now ask yourself, if it doesn’t work at all, why would it be banned for professional athletes to use? A case of simple deduction; but thankfully, I’m no professional athlete.

While there is a lack of studies on deer antler velvet’s benefits to date (again not too surprising), I believe this is one substance that deserves enough merit to belong in your anti aging supplement arsenal.