Why supplementing Deer antler velvet alone is not enough for bodybuilding and anti-aging?

What is Deer antler velvet?

Deer antler velvet supposedly belongs to the broad category of substances known as adaptogens. These substances help to restore balance to numerous body processes, especially the endocrine and hormonal processes. Under physical or mental stress, that is either chronic (eg. because of lifestyle) or short term (eg. workout or injury) the body processes can be out of balance, thereby causing several minor or serious consequences for a person.

Many of the components in deer antler velvet are used by the body to maintain health and proper function, for example IGF-1 that plays a huge role in enhancing human growth hormone levels and hormonal restoration. Deer antler velvet supplements have no synthetic substances and the velvet are themselves entirely natural and unique blend of several amino acids, peptides, minerals, vitamins and more. Overall, deer antler has several health benefits.

According to KEY FINDINGS from studies , Ref.

Both in vitro and in vivo pharmacological studies have demonstrated that deer antler base possess immunomodulatory, anti-cancer, anti-fatigue, anti-osteoporosis, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-stress, anti-oxidant, hypoglycemic, hematopoietic modulatory activities and the therapeutic effect on mammary hyperplasia. Although the mechanism of actions is still not clear, the pharmacological activities could be mainly attributed to the major bioactive compounds amino acids, polypeptides and proteins. Based on animal studies and clinical trials, deer antler base causes no severe side effects.

Many scientific studies have been conducted to identify the health implications of deer antler velvet supplements and sprays on human beings. Deer antler velvet has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for more than 2,000 years and it has also been featured in Asian, European, and American remedies for various ailments.

Research suggests that deer antler velvet is beneficial to numerous body functions. Almost 250 papers have been published about deer antler velvet since 1930. Let’s now break down some of the research findings on benefits of deer antler velvet in the fields of athletics, bodybuilding and anti aging.

Effect of deer antler velvet on athletic performance, muscle strength, endurance, and recovery

Athletes have been using deer antler velvet to enhance performance for a long time in Russia, Korea, and China. The reported effect of deer antler velvet on athletic performance has caused a rapid increase in the number of American athletes using the supplement to make training more productive, improve physical recovery after workouts, and possibly to prevent injuries.

But this popularity has resulted in lots of shady companies promoting their low quality deer antler products. Learn more on Deer antler FAQs and reviews on best deer antler supplements.

There are several ways in which deer antler velvet could work to enhance performance.

In 1960, Russian bodybuilders claimed that deer antler velvet improved muscle strength and nerve function. Several studies conducted on lab animals had earlier shown similar results. Other studies show that long-term, consistent use of deer antler velvet improves cardiovascular health.

In 1969, Tanejeva conducted a study in which the performance of participants on a stationary bike was tested. Some of the participants were given pantocrin, a chemical substance extracted from deer antler velvet. The other group were given a placebo. The study concluded that the people given deer antler velvet had done more work than those who were given the placebo.

Tanjeva later confirmed these results in another study in which athletes who were given pantocrin completed a 3 kilometer race in a higher average time than those who were given a placebo.

Fitness expert John Abdo sought to determine why Russian athletes showed a sudden improvement in their weightlifting performance in 1989.

He found out that the reason for the sudden improvement in weightlifting performance was as a result of deer antler velvet. This was confirmed by Dr. Arkady Koltun, an expert in anabolic agents. According to Dr. Koltun, deer antler velvet improves muscular strength and reduces the time it takes for an athlete to recover after exercise.

In other studies, deer antler velvet was shown to increase heart strength and blood pumped while keeping mean arterial pressure, cardiac output, heart rate, pulse pressure, and central venous pressure largely unchanged.

Deer antler velvet has the potential to increase growth hormone and testosterone. It supposedly increases HGH via the HGH-igf-1 mechanism.

Several people have attempted to show the correlation between deer antler velvet and growth and repair of body tissues. It is believed that it has the potential to provide hormones and other substances that help muscle development.

The natural substances identified in deer antler velvet that have been proven to promote growth of muscle and various other tissues. These substances include insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1), IGF-2, and epidermal Growth Factor (EGF). In addition to these growth factors, deer antler velvet has amino acids that increase the amount of human growth hormone.

In a 2000 study, animals fed with active deer antler velvet were observed to grow significantly faster than others that were not fed the supplement. In the study, the animals that were fed active deer antler velvet were also confirmed to have larger livers and denser bones.

The University of Alberta, Canada conducted a study in 2004 that proved that deer antler velvet dramatically increases the amount of testosterone in blood plasma in a group of players from the University of Alberta Football team.

In a New Zealand study, deer antler velvet was proven to promote new blood vessel growth – a process that could help accelerate recovery from major surgery. Research into deer antler velvet and wound healing was also conducted in Russia in 1969.

In the study, a number of people who had undergone major surgery were given pantocrin whereas another group wasn’t. Scientists observed normalization of arterial pressure, fewer surgical complications, and quicker return to active lives for people who were given deer antler velvet.

Reason why Deer antler velvet’s IGF-1 cannot be fully effective without natural stimulation of hGH

The effectiveness of deer antler velvet in improving muscle growth, strength, and regeneration is as a result of the insulin-like growth hormone present in it. Insulin-like growth hormone as the name suggests is a hormone that is quite similar to insulin. It is produced in the liver and later sent to the muscles where it is needed.

The production of IGF-1 is dependent on the availability of human Growth Hormone (hGH). The human Growth hormone therefore is a precursor to IGF-1.

One mechanism by which HGH causes the muscles to grow is signaling the liver to produce IGF-1 which is responsible for muscle growth.

So, why must IGF-1 and hGH work so closely together to promote muscle growth and tissue repair among other things?

HGH supplements are frequently used by bodybuilders for its many benefits when it comes to muscle production, ability to strengthen joints, and tissue repair. Bodybuilders use HGH together with anabolic steroids or other natural supplements to hasten muscle growth and boost energy.

One of the best supplements to use in conjunction with HGH is IGF-1. And the best hGH supplements would be those that work on all seven mechanisms to increase HGH naturally including the igf-1 mechanism and the insulin mechanism.

These two hormones work together perfectly to promote muscle growth and to heal damaged tissue.

The pituitary gland in the brain is responsible for producing human Growth Hormone.  One of the many functions of hGH is to cause the liver to produce IGF-1. Once the liver produces IGF-1 it is transported to the muscle where it is needed.

When in the muscle, IGF-1 carries out many functions such as increasing muscle growth and promoting quicker healing after injury.

Don’t get confused by the mention of muscle in this statement; there are many cells in the body that have IGF-1 receptors so the hormone does not act on muscles only. In this case however, for bodybuilding or athletic purpose, we are only concerned with the hormone’s effect on muscle.

How does IGF-1 work? The main effect of IGF-1 is to dramatically increase muscle production. It does that by triggering muscle hyperplasia. This is the process whereby muscle tissues rapidly multiply in order to form new groups of muscles or to add to existing muscles. The body naturally produces IGF-1 in the liver which is then taken to the muscles as required.

Deer antler velvet vs. steroids and peptides

However there are several synthetic versions of this hormone that have been developed to increase the effectiveness of the hormone and to increase its half-life. One of the most potent versions of IGF-1 is Long R3 IGF-1.

It is a chemically enhanced version of IGF-1 to prevent deactivation by IGF-1 binding proteins that are found in the bloodstream. The enhanced hormone therefore lasts longer in the body hence increasing its effectiveness. Lr3 IGF-1 has a half-life of 20-30 hours which is a huge improvement compared to the 20-minute half-life of naturally occurring IGF-1.

The enhanced IGF-1 is injected directly into the muscle that a person wants to build for maximum effectiveness. When injected directly on the muscle, the Lr3 IGF-1 causes additional muscles to be produced hence it gives you the choice of which muscle to grow with each injection. Due to the longer half-life of the enhanced IGF-1, it is several times more effective than the naturally occurring variant.

However, many bodybuilders and athletes are reluctant to use the longer lasting versions of IGF-1 injections for various reasons.

A good alternative to longer lasting IGF-1 peptides is using a quality deer antler + HGH secretagogue supplement. Read its review here.

Is IGF-1 more effective than HGH?

Both these hormones have a part to play in muscle production. However, they play a complementing role to each other rather than a competing one.

HGH causes the liver to produce IGF-1 which is then taken to where it is needed. This is the natural process and it is quite effective but not in the same way as Lr3 IGF-1 injection is.

Using enhanced IGF-1 supplements causes a spike in localized concentration of the hormone which affects only the muscle tissue into which it is injected.

On the other hand, HGH causes IGF-1 to be evenly distributed all over the body.

So, while using enhanced IGF-1 injections beats the natural order of things, the HGH + deer antler’s IGF-1 provides a more natural, safe and balanced approach.

The enhanced growth hormone also improves uptake of nutrients by various tissues. HGH also affects metabolism and nutrient uptake.

Side effects of IGF-1 injections – Why natural deer antler velvet is safer?

It is a false choice to try to figure out which of the two hormones HGH or IGF-1 is more effective because they serve different functions. However, comparing modified IGF-1 steroids to the naturally occurring one, the modified version is definitely more effective.

It resists binding to all known IGF-1 binding proteins which means that it stays active for longer – an advantage that naturally occurring IGF-1 or deer antler velvet cannot match.

But, at the same time the modified synthetic version may possess some side effects and no long term administration study on safety is available yet.

Another question people have in mind whether a deer antler velvet spray is better or pills? (See the conclusion at the end of the article.)

What else does IGF-1 do apart from increasing muscle retention?

One of the most prominent functions of Deer antler velvet’s IGF-1 is making anabolic cycles more effective. It does that by acting on several types of tissues to increase growth.

IGF-1 is one of the many growth factors produced by the body. These incredible substances possess the ability to cause cell division and differentiation. Each type of growth factor affects certain tissues more than it does others.

IGF-1 has a big role to play in muscle production. It is responsible for the development of new muscle tissue and as a result also increases the number of testosterone receptors in the muscles.

Significant number of users of IGF-1 supplements have confirmed in various forums that the supplement noticeably enhances steroid cycles. Users also strongly agree that the supplement reduces fat and increases vascularity significantly.

One of the unexpected effects of IGF-1 is reduction of testicular atrophy. If a person with shrunk testicles takes IGF-1 supplements, his testicles soon return to their normal size just like he was in the middle of his steroid cycle. According to users, testicles do not shrink during the steroid cycle if they use IGF-1 all the time.

Summary of the specific benefits of Deer antler’s IGF-1 to athletes and bodybuilders


  • IGF-1 helps to regulate the process in which fat is converted to energy thus resulting in overall fat loss
  • Using IGF-1 supplements can fight against the effects of aging. Natural production of IGF-1 reduces as we grow older. That leads to age-related health problems like heart failure, reduced brain activity, and lower neuron function. It also causes muscle tissue to be broken down for energy just like carbohydrates. IGF-1 supplementation mitigates against all these negative effects and restores vitality and creates a sense of well-being.
  • It helps to boost nutrient shuttling, also known as protein synthesis
  • It is known to boost regeneration of nerve tissues
  • Boosts the process of muscular hyperplasia which causes the production of fuller and harder muscle tissue.

The best way to use a deer antler velvet extract supplement

Since, HGH and IGF-1 work so closely together, several bodybuilders and athletes have had most success when they try a supplement that increases both HGH and IGF-1. Since IGF-1 can be enhanced using deer antler velvet, the obvious choice would be an HGH supplement that contains deer antler velvet.

Deer antler sprays vs Pills

The capsules or pills pass less processing, with totally pure, 100% deer antler velvet. The velvet is dried, then ground into the powder and after that, it is encapsulated. The absorption of the nutrients will happen in the digestive system after you swallow it.

With this form, the nutrient of deer antler velvet will be retained fully that is almost 400 natural ingredients. However, users are advised to take a pill that has enteric coating so the stomach acid does not destroy the natural ingredients of the velvet.

Whereas the deer antler velvet in extract or spray form is processed to maximize the growth factor of matrix like EGF, IGF-1, IGF-2, and more. The harvested deer antler velvet is processed under strict, regulated and proprietary methods to refine and improve the amount of growth factor. The spray is applied under the tongue, and then it will absorb through bloodstream.

Because this product accentuates the IGF-1 and many other growth factors, the deer antler velvet extract is mostly chosen by professional and competitive athletes for body performance benefits. Nevertheless, as stated earlier the efficiency of a deer antler supplement will be enhanced substantially if used in the form of with deer antler velvet + HGH secretagogues, even as pills.

However, with increasing popularity of deer antler velvet, a lot of spray products have come up in the market that actually contain very little or nominal amounts of IGF-1 and are SCAMS. Read more on deer antler brands reviews.

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