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Is deer antler extract safe to take as a dietary supplement for bodybuilding?
Deer antler velvet products have been making waves in the over-the-counter nutritional supplement industry for a few years.
This is mainly due to attention brought to sports figures who have been criticized for using the product in a number of forms.
What does it do? How does it affect the body, and more importantly, is deer antler extract safe?
Men and women use the product for a number of benefits including muscle building, increased endurance and stamina, weight loss, enhanced libido, and increased vitality.
Before jumping on any bandwagon when it comes to nutritional supplements however, consider safety.
Is Deer Antler Extract Safe For Bodybuilding?
One of the major components of deer antler velvet extract and sprays is IGF-1, or insulin-like growth factor.
Any type of growth hormone is banned by numerous athletic organizations and associations around the world.
Why? Because it’s considered a performance enhancer for one, and for two, the potential of abuse by users.
When assessing the safety of any product, a list of ingredients will be your first clue. Nutritional supplements are designed and manufactured using products culled from nature; plants, trees, shrubs, and even animals.
Some common ingredients in antler extract products also include herbal components to enhance benefits as well as to promote overall health and wellness.
Deer antler velvet contains a rich source of nutritional components including but not limited to:
IGF-1 – a type of growth hormone.
Amino acids – required for the synthesis of proteins.
Minerals – calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, etc.; all important in metabolism as well as promoting bone growth and strength.
Collagen – a type of connective tissue. Antler tips are rich in chondroitin.
Protein – required for growth of muscle fibers and tissues, as well as other structures in the body, including organs.
Proteoglycans – a compound of connective tissues.
Glycosaminoglycan – important for the maintenance of collagen and elastin, types of connective tissues.
How safe is deer antler extract? When used as directed, the best products are considered relatively safe.
They are certainly safer then some of the IGF-1 promoting research chemicals on the market, and, bonus, they don’t carry the legal risks of these products either.
Of course, age, health status, and the presence of any medical conditions can affect safety.
If you’ve been diagnosed with any kind of medical condition, it is recommended that you consult with your physician prior to taking deer antler velvet extract or any form of deer antler supplement.
What Are The Deer Antler Velvet Benefits?
The benefits of Deer antler spray has been explored in its many pharmacological uses.
Practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) have used the product for centuries to treat a number of ailments ranging from skin conditions to impotence.
Koreans have used it to enhance the immune system, to treat lung deficiencies, improve nerve and heart function, as well as a treatment for impotence.
It’s been studied for its potential to promote cellular growth and repair of nerves as well as muscles.
Insulin-like growth factors are also vital in growth of deer antlers, and it’s this growth and the speed of that growth that has captured the interest of medical experts around the world.
Growth factors enhance cellular division, and may have an important role in the process of cellular repair and regeneration in humans.
Deer antler velvet has also been explored in regard to its ability to heal wounds, due to the proliferation of nutrients such as chondrocytes (cartilage cells), chondroblasts (cells of growing cartilage cell tissue), and fibroblasts (a connective tissue cell that produces collagen as well as other fibers and plays vital roles in wound healing).
It should be noted that most of the experimentation of antler velvet has been performed on animals.
Widespread and placebo-controlled studies regarding the benefits of deer antler velvet extract on humans is still limited, with further research recommended to determine specific efficacy and potential when it comes to treatments.
Animal studies have determined that short-term use of deer velvet has not been deemed harmful, although long-term studies regarding safety have not yet determined.
The variety of manufacturers (Lurong, New Zealand producers, etc), ingredients, and milligram strength of ingredients will also have an impact on safety.
Be aware that manufacturing standards, quality of ingredients, and developmental standards differ between countries. To ensure that the product you choose is safe, look for those that are certified in regard to production and quality standards.
Labels should show the country of origin for the product. Labels must clearly define active as well as inactive ingredients. If in doubt regarding dosage and safety, consult with a physician or pharmacist, especially if you’ve been diagnosed with an illness.
So, is deer antler extract safe and does it work? As a product, it is considered safe, with a very few reports of interactions or adverse reactions.
Even so, it is wise to avoid use of any dietary supplement product including deer velvet extract if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding. Until specific dosage recommendations are offered, users are advised to follow label instructions regarding use. Start at the lower dosage range and see how your body reacts to it.