The term Deer antler velvet came into infamous prominence when famed American football linebacker Ray Lewis was accused of using it as a supplement to cure his torn triceps muscles. While such allegations raised a lot of hue and cry about the veracity of the drug, many were up in arms at the supposed use of banned performance enhancing drugs. Derived from the adolescent antlers of Red deer stag, moose, caribou and elks, the velvet is basically a soft epidermal covering of the antlers that they shed and grow anew in matter of months. For more detailed information visit www.antlerx.org.
While Ray Lewis might have put the deer antler velvet under the spotlight for the wrong reasons, it has been used widely in many countries all over the world albeit in different forms. Countries like China, Russia, and United States extensively advocate the use of supplements rich in the antler velvet. New Zealand is one of the biggest exporters of deer velvet to numerous countries in Asia and Europe and is credited for the humane extraction of the skin like substance from the male antlers.
While the various uses of deer antler velvet have not been statistically verified in humans, it is said to possess multifarious benefits.
- Help build lean muscles: Bodybuilders and even sportsmen are said to prefer using supplements containing deer antler velvet as it helps aid rapid muscle development, improve strength of joints by cartilage regeneration. Thus apart from building the lean muscles, it helps build endurance ability to a great extent.
- Helps cure issues of dwarfism: Deer antler velvet has been used since ages for curing problem of dwarfism as it supposedly contains a hormone substance IGF-1(insulin growth factor 1) which stimulates growth. Apart from that, it also addresses concerns of mental retardation and other disabilities of the brain.
- Hasten the recovery process: It has been widely speculated that deer antler velvet has properties which speed up the healing process and thus reduces recovery time between injuries making it a god send drug for athletes and sport persons.
- Addresses symptoms of health ailments: Supplements containing deer antler velvet is also used for reducing and curing early symptoms of hypertension, migraine, asthma, osteoporosis among a few.
- Improves libido: Deer antler velvet is said to stimulate release of the sex hormones testosterone and oestrogen which improves the libido in humans.
With the lack of any discernible side effects deer antler velvet can be used effectively for various reasons. However having said that, athletes need to exercise restraint before using the performance enhancing supplement as it could have been banned by the sporting authorities and its usage might attract heavy penalties or even suspension. In addition to that, some retailers have been found guilty of using inhumane means of deer antler extraction and might even indulge in use of spurious ingredients which would defeat the very purpose of using the supplement.
While deer antler velvet supplements have shown immense promise but wide scale usage and marketing should only be carried out after safe and detailed clinical trials on humans.