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Top 7 Health Benefits of Deer Antler Velvet for Athletes

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Published in Health Articles

A 2021 survey found that eight in 10 Americans now take at least one supplement. That’s a considerable increase of 9% from 2016. Vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc are among the most popular.

However, supplements aren’t only about vitamins and minerals; some are also hormones. Indeed, they’re available in so many types that, in total, there are now an estimated 90,000 of them in the U.S. market.

Deer antler velvet extract, in turn, is one such supplement containing a hormone. Interest in it grew after linebacker Ray Lewis supposedly used it in 2013 to treat an injury.

So, what exactly is deer antler velvet, and what are its benefits, especially for athletes?

We’ve done the research for you and listed the top ones you need to know in this guide, so keep reading.

1. May Help Strengthen Bones

Deer antler velvet pertains to deer antler in its growth phase. The word velvet in the term refers to the soft, fuzzy hair protecting the antlers’ bone and cartilage.

Deer antler velvet is unique as it’s the only mammalian appendage that regrows. Deer and other species of the Cervidae family (i.e., caribou, elk, and moose) shed and regrow them yearly. That regrowth is possible thanks to a growth hormone in their antlers.

The name of that growth hormone in deer antler velvet is insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). It’s responsible for regulating antler growth and development. It’s also why one of the purported dear antler velvet benefits is that it can strengthen bones.

Only a few researchers have looked into this, but those that did found that it can play a role in bone formation. Moreover, they say that the antler contains beneficial bioactive water-soluble proteins. For the same reason, they believe it has the potential to treat cartilage diseases.

Such properties may be helpful for athletes, considering their higher risk of fractures. Likewise, it may benefit players suffering from cartilage deterioration.

However, it’s vital to note that IGF-1 is a banned substance in many sports organizations. So if you’re a pro, get confirmation from your coach before taking deer antler velvet.

2. May Aid in Wound Healing

Deer antler velvet supplementation supposedly may bring faster wound healing. Again, there’s not a lot of scientific data on this, but earlier research found that it sped up wound healing in rats. The scientists who conducted the study noted that this effect is due to IGF-1.

That suggests deer antler velvet may benefit athletes, as they’re prone to wounds. Products with this ingredient may help their cuts, scrapes, or scratches heal faster.

3. May Help Reduce Scarring

Since athletes are prone to wounds, they also tend to suffer from stubborn scars. After all, scarring is part of the healing process of tissue damage.

For instance, wounds cause tissues to break, triggering the build-up of collagen. New collagen forms over several months, increasing blood supply to the wound site. That blood flow then results in the affected area becoming raised and lumpy.

Most minor injuries only result in minor scars that fade and flatten over time. However, more severe wounds result in permanent scarring.

The good news is that deer antler velvet appears to have scar-reducing effects. According to scientists, it may be due to peptides found in the appendages. They found that these compounds accelerated wound healing and also minimized scars.

4. May Help Prevent Muscle Atrophy

Muscle atrophy is a condition in which muscle wastes or thins. It can also lead to the loss of muscle tissue. It may result from injury, nerve damage, extreme diets, and bed rest.

Therefore, many athletes are prone to atrophy. Those suffering from severe injuries requiring lengthy rest are particularly at risk.

Fortunately, experiments suggest that deer antler extracts may inhibit muscle atrophy. In addition, the studies’ results indicate that this ingredient may promote muscle differentiation.

That can make deer antlers’ potential to prevent muscle atrophy beneficial to athletes.

5. May Boost Strength and Endurance

One of the earliest studies on deer antler velvet was in 2003, involving 38 active males. One group (12 men) took extracts, while another (13 participants) took a powdered form. The rest consisted of a placebo group.

After the study, the researchers noted the powder group’s knee strength was higher. They also found this group’s endurance to have increased.

Those findings suggest deer antler velvet may have strength- and endurance-increasing effects.

6. May Improve Fatigue

Fatigue is when a person feels extreme tiredness, weariness, or sleepiness. In athletes, it often arises from a lack of conditioning or overtraining. However, it may also result from insufficient recovery, rest, hydration, or nutrition.

Fatigue isn’t only highly unpleasant; it can also put you at a higher risk of injury. It may also impair your sporting performance and recovery times. In addition, it may give rise to negative emotions, such as moodiness.

The good news is that fatigue is preventable with proper training and enough rest. But if you want to reduce your risk further, deer antler velvet supplements may help. Researchers found it boosts muscle strength while exerting an anti-fatigue effect on rats.

7. May Improve Immunity

Prolonged and intense training can decrease a person’s immune function. Therefore, athletes should consider strengthening their immune systems to help with their recovery. Besides, the immune system plays a crucial role in sustaining energy during training.

Deer antler velvet supplementation may help as it appears to enhance immunity. In particular, researchers found that it has protective effects against staphylococcus aureus-infected mice. It’s a bacterium that causes infectious diseases like boils, cellulitis, and furuncles.

Consider Taking Deer Antler Velvet Supplements

And there you have it, your guide on the potential benefits of deer antler velvet for athletes. Now you know that it may help with bone strength, wound healing, scar reduction, and muscle health. It may also improve strength, endurance, fatigue, and immunity.

If that sounds like a good deal, it’s time to talk to your doctor about deer antler velvet supplementation.

Did you like this article? If so, we have more informative guides to share, so feel free to browse our latest blog posts now!

 

 

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