Deer Antler Velvet Uses and Effects for Bodybuilders
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Deer antler spray for bodybuilding is getting a lot of attention these days, as it is supposedly packed with components that are full of health benefits that include boosting the immune system, providing effective muscle growth and development, enhancing sexual libido, and treating a number of issues when it comes to health and general wellbeing.
Deer antler velvet, which is the main component of a variety of deer extract products is harvested annually from male deer, with the major exporters of the velvet in the world being New Zealand, where farmers raise upward of 2,000 native Red deer for this very purpose.
The velvet contains a vast number of nutrients that promote growth and development at an accelerated rate.
It is so rich in nutrients that it enables a young male deer to grow a rack that weighs 30 kg in as little as three months. It’s this rejuvenation process that captured the attention of researchers in the first place.
Use Of The Deer Antler Velvet – Body Builders
The use of deer antler velvet dates back to the 1500s. It, however, came to limelight in the center of a doping controversy labeled against a celebrated athlete.
The deer antler extract is claimed by promoters to improve muscle growth, increase athletic endurance, and accelerate the healing of broken bones.
For these reasons, it was briefly banned by almost every major pro sports league, as well as the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), because its main constituent, the IGF-1 human growth factor is considered a performance-enhancing substance.
Funny as it sounds, the body naturally produces this IGF-1 to create growth spurts and maintain bones and muscles.
Possible Reasons Why Athletes Use Deer Antler Velvet
The recent flare-up in the use of sports-related deer antler velvet products can be explained easily with its core ingredient, the IGF-1 (Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1).
This IGF-1 is an amino-rich hormone and is nearly identical to insulin. It has a natural anabolic effect on muscle health.
The body naturally produces some IGF-1, especially during childhood growth cycles, and it has been seen that the same substance can be produced abundantly elsewhere in nature, primarily in the growing antlers of the deer.
When extracted from the still-developing antlers of the deer, this fuzzy material is said to have comparable effects in humans as natural IGF-1 does.
Such effect includes:
- Speedy recovery from injury
- Increased endurance, and higher rates of metabolism. This translate into better ability to utilize oxygen and convert energy stores when reaching VO2 max.
- Building lean muscle, and burning of fats, as conversion of cells into complex muscle tissue, is greatly aided by IGF-1.
- Serves as an alternative to illegal steroids, as athletes looking for natural methods for improving performance, can use deer antler velvet to produce similar (yet milder) results.
Why the Ban on Deer Antler was Lifted
After having been included in extensive bans of all IGF growth factor hormones, WADA was forced to reconsider its ban on deer antler velvet, with this reversal occurring after a high profile NFL player, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, was identified as a user of the compound in a Sports Illustrated profile.
It was alleged that Lewis apparently used the spray to speed up recovery from a torn triceps muscle injury.
Upon investigation, the World Anti-Doping Agency determined that the amount of IGF-1 in commercial deer antler sprays was not abundant and significant to constitute an illegal use of the hormone.
A CBS news reports that as many as 20 % of all NFL players have made use of the deer antler sprays, while as many as 40 % of players in MLB and NHL leagues commonly employ the spray to aid in endurance.
These statistics can only rise now that bans have been lifted.
The lifting of the WADA ban confirms that deer antler velvet is a safe method for supplementing IGF-1 in humans, however, the increase that deer antler supplements provide to IGF levels is yet to be clinically proven, to find out if it is sufficient to grow new muscle and repair damaged bone and tissue.
Pro athletes who supplement on IGF-1, often inject them directly into muscle, since the compound has a low oral bioavailability.
IGF-1 is often destroyed in the digestion process, however, taking deer antler velvet in spray form may sidestep this process, without the need for needles and injections.
While most people who want to try deer antler velvet may not be professional athletes, the product can provide significant gains for all fitness levels, with reported benefits of better endurance, fast muscle and bone repair, enhanced fat burning, and other wellness benefits are obviously attractive to anyone embarking on a fitness program.
Assessments have found out that 3-5 sprays under the tongue seem to be an adequate daily dosage for most people.