Last Updated: May 20, 2021
Deer antler velvet has been used for over 3,000 years in traditional Chinese medicine as a powerful medicinal substance. It’s been reputed to boost energy and stamina, raise IGF-1 production, increase testosterone levels, restore sex drive, and more.
It’s also been a banned substance in some professional sports.
But what’s the real story, and what does it do – if anything? Keep reading to get all the basics on this fascinating supplement.
What is Deer Antler Velvet Used For?
Deer antler velvet is an HGH supplement made from the new growth on deer antlers, and there are a lot of guys who swear by this stuff.
Some of the many benefits reported from using deer antler velvet include a faster recovery time, increased testosterone levels, an enhanced immune system, and boosted strength and endurance.
It’s also said to promote muscle growth, aid in weight loss, and increase red blood cell count.
As this chart shows, deer antler velvet is also used in a wide variety of other treatments, including:
|High blood pressure
|Muscle aches and pains
|Liver and kidney disorders
|Cold hands and feet
|Chronic skin ulcers
What Does Deer Antler Velvet Do?
Obviously, that’s a lot of benefits for any one product to provide. So just how does deer antler velvet work in the body to accomplish all of this? Primarily, it contains critical growth factors like:
- EGF – Epidermal Growth Factor
- FGF – Fibroblast Growth Factor
- NGF – Neurotrophin Growth Factor
- IGF-1 and IGF-2 – Insulin-like Growth Factors 1 and 2
- TGF-A and TGF-B – Transforming Growth Factors A and B
Growth hormones are a normal part of growth and repair. They build muscles, joints, and cartilage, and perform other essential functions in the body.
When growth hormone levels become imbalanced, disease occurs.
Most of us push our bodies too hard. We work too hard, sleep too little, eat crappy food, and don’t exercise enough.
Due to all this stress, it should come as no surprise that so many people have low levels of growth hormones. If you’ve depleted your hormones due to years of stress, deer antler velvet may help bring them back in balance.
Deer antler is also commonly praised for it’s ability to increase IGF-1. Among it’s many benefits, IGF-1 can:
- Reduce fat
- Increase lean body mass
- Assist in glucose metabolism
- Build bone, muscles, and nerves
Where Does the Antler Velvet come from?
A common question asked is how deer antler velvet is made. Antlers are harvested when the deer are young, while their antlers are are still covered in soft furry velvet.
Hence the name “deer velvet antler.” The antler is harvested every year during the deer’s life. The deer are sedated, restrained, and given an anesthetic to reduce pain when the antler’s are removed. Care is taken to not to harm the deer when antlers are removed, and the deer are generally free to go back to roaming the fields, without any side effects.
The antlers are then processed. They are sterilized, frozen, sliced or powdered and then manufactured in whatever form necessary.
Deer Antler Supplements
In Asia, deer antler velvet is sold as slices or powder. Both are boiled in water, usually with other herbs, and served as tea or soup.
In the United States, you can find deer antler velvet in slices, powder, and as a tincture. For those of you who don’t know, a tincture is an herb or fungi (or in this case, deer antler velvet) soaked in grain alcohol for 1 month or more.
The alcohol extracts beneficial chemicals from the deer antler velvet, called alcohol soluble compounds.
By comparison, when you make tea or soup by boiling water with the deer antler velvet, you are extracting water soluble compounds. Different compounds have different effects in the body, which is why it’s always good to take both, if possible.
There are also some high-quality extracts and sprays available that you can buy over the counter. These supplements are a very popular way of using deer antler due to their convenience and ease of use.
These supplements are delivered as an oral spray, which is considered a superior delivery method compared to absorption through the digestive system.
Are There Any Side Effects?
There really hasn’t been a ton of scientific research done on deer antler. And until there is, it’s best to play it safe and cycle it on and off – just like you would do with most, if not all, supplements.
For now, sites like WebMd consider it “possibly safe when taken by mouth for up to 12 weeks,” and that any possible side effects are not currently known.
If you have a hormonal disorder, consult with your doctor to see if it’s safe to use deer antler.
Deer antler increases hormone levels like testosterone & estrogen. Using it could imbalance these hormones and further complicate your hormonal problems.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid deer antler, since there hasn’t been enough scientific evidence yet to determine if it’s safe for you.
Have you used deer antler velvet? I’d love to know about your own personal experience. Feel free to leave any questions or comments below.
Mark McIntyre is the founder of MaleHealthReview.com and acts as it’s chief contributor. He is a fitness trainer and avid mountain biker who also enjoys camping, hiking and fishing. Besides managing Male Health Review, Mark is also a guest columnist for several blogs related to men’s health. More about this author…