Deer Antlers – Connection with HGH?

By | January 31, 2009

Deer antler velvet is the antler velvet taken from young deer. All types of deer that grow antlers are potential sources of deer antler velvet. But what does deer antler have to do with HGH? If you have been shopping for a HGH product, chances are you would have come across deer antlers, and wondered what it has got to do with HGH.

Well, deer antler velvet is marketed by some quarters as a source of IGF-1, especially the antler velvet harvested from non mature deer. These are antlers that haven’t calcified (solidified) wholly yet, and it is believed they are a rich source of growth factors. Let’s take a closer look at them.

Deer antlers have been in use in Chinese and Oriental medicine for many hundreds of years, right up till today, with China, Japan, and South Korea topping the list of top deer antler consuming countries. The Chinese have long believed that deer antler contain substances that vitalizes the kidneys, nourishes the blood, and strengthens both yin and yang energy. Since only the male deer grows antlers, it is also regarded as a libido booster for men (more on this below).

deer-antlersThe main component of deer antler is called velvet, and it is the skin growing around the antler during the growing stage. After the antler is fully grown, the antler bone solidifies and the velvet dies off. In deer farms, the antlers are harvested by tranquilizing the deer and sawing off their antlers. The antlers grow back after a while. The harvested antler velvet is commonly boiled, dried, and then sliced into thin pieces, or ground into powder, ready for consumption.

So does deer antler really contain IGF-1? Studies show that although IGF-1 is present, and plays a role in antler development, it is testosterone that is the main growth agent in the development of the antlers. Deer antler contains mostly calcium carbonate, and this particular form of calcium is highly absorbable by the body. It is also a source of collagen, which in aging, diminishes greatly in the body. As to whether deer antler nourishes the blood (as in Chinese medicine), research has shown that it contains monoacetyldiglycerides, which stimulate the production of red blood cells.

I used to think that the addition of deer antler in HGH products was just hype, but after finding out more about deer antlers, I’m actually curious enough to want to give it a try sometime in the future. Deer antler apparently do contain growth factors like IGF-1 (since the antlers are harvested while they are growing), but it is actually dispersed in different parts of the antler itself. When you consume deer antler extract or powder, the IGF-1 content may also greatly differ, depending on where the velvet was cut.

Deer antler velvet is highly sought after in the East as male libido boosters – consuming them most likely raises testosterone levels. I’d also postulate that by raising testosterone, HGH levels also go up. When you think of HGH, always regard it within its place in the larger endocrine system. Although like colostrum, I’d like to see more research on its IGF-1 content, right now I don’t doubt that it is a useful nutritional addition, even if you consume it just for its purported anti aging effect.