What Are Deer Antler Supplements and What Are Their Health Advantages? Safety and Health Risks When Using Them
Deer antler supplements — particularly deer velvet extracts and powders — have been gaining popularity among bodybuilders and athletes looking to enhance their strength and endurance in recent years.
However, despite the claims, no scientific evidence exists showing that these substances can improve athletic performance in people.
What is deer antler velvet, and what does it do?
Deer antler velvet is the soft, fluffy, protective hair that covers the bone and cartilage of growing antlers that have not yet calcified. It is sometimes called “velvet antler” or simply “antler velvet.”
Deer antlers are unusual in that they’re one of the quickest-growing bones in the animal kingdom. In reality, deer and elk shed and regrow their antlers every year. It’s possible that this is why young deer velvet supplements are so popular among traditional medicine practitioners. They’ve been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years, primarily as a treatment for joint pain and infertility.
In recent years, however, people have been taking deer velvet supplements for a variety of other reasons, including:
– To improve athletic performance
– To increase energy levels
– To reduce stress levels
– To improve sexual function
– To boost the immune system
– To treat arthritis and other inflammatory conditions
– To promote wound healing
So, what do the experts say? Are deer antler supplements safe and effective? Let’s take a look.
Potential Health Benefits of Deer Antler Supplements
Studies on the potential health benefits of deer antler velvet are somewhat limited, but the existing research does suggest that these supplements may offer some benefits.
For example, one study found that deer antler velvet extract helped improve exercise performance and reduce inflammation in rats (1).
Similarly, another study found that a deer antler velvet extract helped improve cognitive function and reduce inflammation in mice (2).
And while these studies were done on animals, there’s reason to believe that the same effects could occur in humans. That’s because deer velvet contains a number of compounds that have been shown to have potential health benefits, including:
– Proteins: Deer velvet is high in proteins, which are essential for cell growth and repair. In fact, one study found that deer velvet was higher in protein than most other animal tissues tested (3). This makes deer velvet a potential supplement for people who are looking to build muscle or recover from exercise.
– Collagen: Deer velvet also contains collagen, a protein that’s essential for the health of your skin, hair, nails, and joints. In fact, some research suggests that taking deer velvet supplements can help reduce the symptoms of arthritis (4).
– Minerals: Deer velvet is also a good source of minerals like calcium and phosphorus, which are important for bone health.
– Amino acids: Deer velvet supplements contain a number of different amino acids, including glutamine and arginine. These amino acids have been shown to improve athletic performance and boost immune function (5, 6).
Potential Risks of Taking Deer Antler Supplements
Despite the potential benefits of taking deer velvet supplements, there are also some risks to consider.
For one, deer antler velvet is not regulated by the FDA, so you don’t know for sure what you’re getting when you buy a supplement. It’s possible that these supplements could be contaminated with other substances or that they may not contain the amount of deer velvet listed on the label.
Furthermore, little is known about the long-term effects of taking deer velvet supplements. So while they might offer some short-term benefits, it’s unclear whether they’re safe to take on a regular basis.
So, should you take deer antler velvet supplements? The decision ultimately comes down to you and your goals. If you’re looking for a potential boost to your health, then these supplements may be worth considering. However, if you’re concerned about potential risks or side effects, then you may want to speak with your doctor before taking them.