Deer may sometimes be prey to the lions but really, that’s how nature works and it doesn’t take away from the majesty of this magnificent animal. Deer have often been symbolized by myths and legends. They wear their antlers like a crown and thus leading to a symbolism of superiority, power, and authority.
All these things are what we men aim for. We strive to become Alpha Males and in an effort to become Alpha, many believe in the reported benefits of the velvet that surrounds deer antler. However, although myths and legends sound interesting, I am a man of science and I believe in scientific research. In today’s review article, I’ll be tackling the evidence (or lack thereof) surrounding Deer Antler Velvet’s influence to our manhood.
WHY TEST BOOSTER SUPPLEMENTS USE DEER ANTLER VELVET
You probably already know that many other animals such as axolotls, starfish, and lizards have the ability to regenerate lost or damaged body parts. You probably also know that this useful ability is lost in most mammals.
Notice that I highlighted the word “most” in the previous paragraph? That’s because what you probably didn’t know, is that one such mammal still exists and it’s the deer. When mating season comes, these deer get so horned up that they end up dueling each other for the right to mount a beautiful but picky female. In the process of doing so, their antlers inevitably get damaged and when spring comes, the once majestic antlers now shrivel up and fall off their heads.
After their antlers fall, they begin a regrowth process that spans from spring to summer. Interestingly, this article says that this cycle is “clearly closely linked to circulating testosterone” as the antlers fall in spring with a dip in the deer’s testosterone and stops its longitudinal growth in the late summer months where androgen concentrations are high in preparation for the next mating season.
I think this might be the reason why we humans now use Deer Antler Velvet as a supplement in an attempt to regenerate lost testosterone. Furthermore, a rise in growth hormone has also been reported during the deer’s antler regrowth cycle. As such, Deer Antler Velvet can now be found in a lot of male supplements that’re particularly geared towards sports and bodybuilding.
Did you know? Deer Antler Velvet used to be illegal. Because Deer Antler Velvet reportedly contained growth hormones (IGF-1 to be more specific), the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) included Deer Antler Velvet in its prohibited list of supplements. After finding out that Deer Antler Velvet only had trace amounts of IGF-1, the ban has since been lifted and has now become legal.
However, I do advise you to be cautious of supplements containing Deer Antler Velvet as a research has shown that it is still possible for these supplements to have detectable amounts of IGF-1. Even though it’s technically legal, the IGF-1 that it contains is not and could get you banned from competition.
STUDIES ON DEER ANTLER VELVET SUGGEST:
No improvement in testosterone and libido
A rise in testosterone is also linked to a general feeling of hornyness. If you didn’t know that yet, I also made an entire article on the relationship between testosterone and libido so you might want to check that out here.
Anyway, a research was done to investigate the effects of Deer Antler Velvet on sexual function. This research was conducted by giving men and their partners capsules that contained Deer Antler Velvet or placebo for 12 weeks. Before and after measurements were then taken which included questionnaires for both the gents and the ladies and blood tests specifically to determine the change in sex hormones in men. This of course, included testosterone. Below are the results of the Deer Antler Velvet group as compared to the placebo:
- no significant differences in the sexual behavior
- no significant hormone change
As you can see, Deer Antler Velvet had no influence on sex and testosterone. As such, these results led the researchers to say that “in normal males there was no advantage in taking deer velvet to enhance sexual function“.
No improvements to exercise and hormonal response
Now that I’ve said my piece, let’s get to the research. This next one was done to study the effects of Elk Antler Velvet and training on resting and exercise stimulated hormonal response. The subjects (25 males and 21 females) were rowers who took either 560 mg/d of Elk Antler Velvet or placebo for 10 weeks of training. Measurements included the following:
- For exercise:
- 2000 m rowing time
- leg and bench press strength
- For hormonal response:
- testosterone (for males)
- growth hormone (both genders)
- cortisol (both genders)
The exercise parameters were taken before and after 5 and 10 weeks of training while the hormonal response was measured prior to and 5 and 60 minutes after each exercise. Here are the results of the research:
- Increased VO(2max) and strength with training
- Decrease 2000 m rowing time with training
- No significant different between the Elk Antler Velvet group and the placebo in any of the hormonal responses
As you can see from those results, Elk Antler Velvet had no influence on the exercise parameters as both groups had similarly gotten stronger, faster, and had more stamina after training. Furthermore, the research shows that testosterone, growth hormone, and cortisol were all increased but this is just our body’s typical response post-exercise with no significant difference between the Elk Antler velvet group and the placebo.
As such, these results led the researchers to conclude that “EVA (Elk Velvet Antler) supplementation does not significantly improve rowing performance nor alter hormonal responses at rest or after acute exercise than training alone“.
May maximize anabolic response
Now, I’ve already stated earlier that Deer Antler Velvet contained IGF-1. This growth hormone is commonly associated with an increase in muscle mass which may cause an “unfair advantage” to those who’re taking it, thus leading to its status as a banned substance. However, by increasing muscle mass, IGF-1 may also increase levels of testosterone. Ironically so, an increase in testosterone may also increase muscle mass and IGF-1 so the relationship between both hormones are reciprocal in nature.
According to this research, IGF-binding protein (IGFBP) production is regulated by androgens and IGF-I. You know what’s so intriguing about this research though? Their test subject is human foreskin. Uh huh, you read that right. They analyzed male ball sacks.
Regardless, the research shows some pretty cool data but including all of them here would make this article way too complicated. To summarize all the results of the study and to make it a lot simpler, the researchers said that “the combination of testosterone and IGF-I resulted in a synergistic stimulation of total protein synthesis by the fibroblast cultures, suggesting that a maximum anabolic response requires both hormones“.
How Do I Take DEER ANTLER VELVET?
Deer antler velvet comes in many forms. It could either be powdered, in a capsule, as a tablet, or in liquid form (i.e., spray). Regardless of what form you choose though, there is no optimal dosage for Deer Antler Velvet. This is because of its complicated legal status and the fact that it’s not surrounded by a lot clinical research.
What I did find though, is that in Chinese medicine, the dosage range is at 1000 – 3000 mg for improvements in athletic performance, muscle recovery, and overall health. Again, be cautious with taking Deer (or Elk) Antler Velvet. Some supplements standardize their forms to contain a higher concentration of IGF-1. In which case, the supplement is more likely to work but you will also be more likely to test positive for doping.
As you can see from the different researches I referenced to here, Deer Antler Velvet doesn’t seem to have any influence on 3 of the most common reasons to take a testosterone booster which is sex, bodybuilding (muscle), and of course, testosterone. Additionally, it is a risky substance that may get professional and competitive athletes to be banned from their respective leagues.
In that sense, my personal opinion on Deer Antler Velvet is that it currently lacks the evidence to earn a strong warrant in testosterone boosting stacks. However, if you do opt for standardized Deer Antler Velvet containing much higher levels of IGF-1, your supplement may very well work for you but just remember not to use it if you’re in any competitive sport.
As of right now, I think Deer Antler Velvet still has a lot of untapped androgenic potential considering its long use as a traditional Chinese medicine. Until that said potential is explored by scientific ventures though, Deer Antler Velvet remains to be an enigma.
TESTOSTERONE BOOSTERS THAT USE DEER ANTLER VELVET
- Methyl Andro – Supposedly for “serious athletes only”, this testosterone booster uses Deer Antler Velvet in one of its prop blends.
- MuscleTest – A PCT using Deer Antler Powder in its libido enhancing prop blend.
- Amp Test 1700 – A product of the marketing giant GNC using 250 mg of Deer Antler Horn Powder.