Deer antler velvet is a recent innovation in the field of performance enhancement. It is being viewed as a potential alternative to steroids because it contains insulin-like growth factor or IGF-1, which governs the body's production of human growth hormone.
IGF-1 is a natural substance the human body produces. The levels of IGF-1 are highest during puberty. At this time, IGF-1 promotes the natural growth of muscle. It also boosts protein synthesis, increases glucose transport, increases RNA synthesis, and decreases protein breakdown.
IGF-1 acts differently depending upon which type of tissue it is present in. Protein utilization is promoted in muscle tissue. In leaner tissues, IGF-1 blocks insulin from moving glucose through cell membranes. Consequently, cells are forced to switch to burning fat for energy.
It also simulates insulin in the body, increasing insulin sensitivity in muscle. So if you are using insulin currently, you may be able to lower your insulin intake.
Another benefit of IGF-1 is the role it plays in reducing levels of inflammation in the body. Inflammation is proving to be a culprit in many disease processes like cancer, cardiovascular disease, and degenerative diseases of the brain.
IGF-1 is being used more frequently by athletes, with body building perhaps the sport most associated with its use. Body builders feel it enhances performance by increasing their energy, endurance, and muscle mass, while promoting fat loss. It provides a similar performance boost as steroids, without many of the negative side effects.
Currently, it appears to be safe for regular use. The main side effects are typically only seen when very high doses are taken. In this case, the chief side effect is low blood sugar. This makes sense because of the similarity between IGF-1 and insulin. So small doses appear to be quite safe, but avoid taking unusually large doses. If you experience side effects, you can temporarily discontinue use or reduce your dosage until they go away.
Deer antler velvet has its origins in Chinese medicine and is harvested from New Zealand red deer. These deer are famous for being free of disease and providing the highest quality antler velvet.
Although known for centuries in Asia, it has only become known in the last three decades in the West. Deer antler can be taken in a number of different ways- as a drink, in a pill, or in a powder. The most popular means of ingestion is through a convenient spray. You would spray it into your mouth. Doing it this way allows it to be easily absorbed directly into your bloodstream, where it can go to work immediately. This bypasses your stomach, where it would be rapidly broken down, rendering it ineffective.
Probably the best known U.S. study of deer antler velvet involved 32 male body builders, half of whom took deer antler velvet, with the other half taking a placebo. After 10 weeks, performance was measured in each group. The placebo group showed no performance increase in squat or bench tests, but the deer antler group had a four percent performance increase on the bench press and a 10.1 performance boost on the squat test. Researchers also observed that aerobic capacity in the deer antler group was "significantly" improved.