Ready Nutrition Readers, as you know I’m an avid proponent of exercise and fitness training. It is not the focus of my life, but I focus a large portion of my life on it, as it benefits me in every area. There is a supplement that is good for athletes, good for people with physical problems, ailments, and challenges, and the supplement has a wealth of documented use historically with success. That supplement is Deer Antler Velvet extract. Before we get into it, let’s talk some “pointy-ball.”
During the 2012 pro-NFL season, the press and the NFL were giving Ray Lewis of the Ravens (one of the greatest middle linebackers of all time) a rash of static for taking Deer Antler Velvet.
Turned out they couldn’t do much, as it did not contain any banned substances, and he took it in accordance with TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) to aid him in recovery with injuries he sustained during the game with Dallas that took him out for the rest of the season with a torn bicep and torn rotator cuff. He performed rigorous physical therapy (yes, the Deer Antler Velvet was included) and came back to play in the playoffs…all three games. Then came the Super Bowl, his last game, and then he retired.
The point: it works, and the proof that it works is that the establishment either decries it or attempts to ban it.
What Is Deer Antler Velvet and How Does It Help?
Here’s what it is. Deer antler velvet (just what the name implies) is taken from deer, elk, caribou, and moose…any of those guys. The velvet is a layer of growing antler that is harvested for its components and for its beneficial actions. TCM has been using it for thousands of years successfully. Athletes can use it to increase performance and strength: it contains amino acids, proteins, and IGF-1 (Insulin-like Growth Factor), a hormone produced naturally inside of the human body by the liver.
Deer antler velvet also has collagen, chondroitin, and glucosamine. These substances are well known and proven to aid in problems with arthritis, cartilage, and joint ailments. The velvet is packed full of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins, as well as zinc, calcium, and magnesium. It does not pose any side effects, and very few people are allergic to it or its components.
It can increase blood circulation, prevent inflammation, and speed recovery both from traumatic injuries and disease. It acts in an adaptogenic fashion. Adaptogens (to refresh) are substances that either raise or lower effects in the human body to bring it toward homeostasis. Ginseng is an example: lowering the blood-sugar levels in diabetics, and raising the blood sugar level in those with hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
How It Helps Athletes?
For athletes and those in physical training, it increases endurance and workload and decreases the recovery time. This was proven in the 1970s and 1980s in the USSR (Soviet Union) with their numerous gold medal winners in the Olympics. The Russian Olympic teams were second to none, and yes, they also used the deer antler velvet.
Deer Antler Velvet Is Harvested Humanely
Most of it these days is harvested in Korea and Australia. They do it humanely and painlessly, with no harm done to the animals. To learn more information on this, here is a really good ready-reference for more in-depth study, Deer Velvet Technical Manual Version 6.3 (pdf), and this is put out by the Deer Industry of New Zealand. The manual is 104 pages and rife with great information and charts pertaining to composition, the breakdown of amino acids and proteins, as well as helpful substances such as the prostaglandins, vitamins, and minerals. It delves into the history behind the use of it in traditional naturopathic medicines and gives the science behind it all, along with medical testing.