It is since ancient times that Deer Antler Velvet has been used for its medicinal properties by various cultures across the world. Traditional Chinese medicine has hailed it as a fundamental ingredient in its various medications to improve general health and wellbeing. Its long and safe history of traditional use has spawned numerous research studies that delve into its chemical properties that are responsible for its beneficial effects.
It has been proven that deer antler velvet contains 396 bioactive natural components such as minerals, trace elements, collagen, amino acids and lipids, including growth factors IGF-1 and IGF-2. These bioactive amines contained in deer antler velvet have been thought to provide its beneficial effects such as providing for your growth, restoration, recovery, immune system development, sexual rejuvenation and joint health. Its beneficial properties are now being proven by research studies across the world.
What is Deer Antler Velvet?
The male deer grow new antlers every year, particularly after it has been severed by accident or by intention. Deer antler velvet refers to the whole cartilaginous antler of the deer before it becomes calcified.
Traditionally, deer antler velvet has been divided into three sections based on its traditional uses and its biological properties:
The upper section is called a ‘wax piece’ and supposedly assists growth in children. This is the most valuable part of the antler.
The middle section is called a ‘blood piece’ and is used for treating arthritis and joint conditions in adults.
The bottom section is called a ‘bone piece’ and is the calcified portion of the antler. It has been used for management of calcium deficiency due to any cause including various diseases of old age.
The unique property of deer antler velvet is that it is one of the fastest growing tissues in mammals. It is also an organ that has the distinction of being able to shed and regrow every year. The antlers are cut off after 55 to 65 days of growth before calcification sets in.
A deer antler velvet is harvested from a live animal and the deer is not harmed by the process of antler removal. It is usually done under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian. Although it is mostly painless procedure, in some countries like New Zealand, the deer is usually given local anaesthetic before antler velvet removal to create a humane atmosphere.
Why is Deer Antler Velvet Used?
Deer Antler Velvet is used because it is readily harvested from live animals without any threat to its life and it is a renewable resource. The deer antler velvet is known to regrow very rapidly after removal, without harming the animal. Besides, it has seen ages of use over the centuries with very few, if any, bearable adverse effects. Anecdotal experience with this amazing medicinal substance provides enough evidence to trigger new research to harvest the active ingredients.
The deer antler velvet has numerous medicinal properties such as boosting strength and endurance, improving the immune function, reducing stress and promoting rapid recovery from illness.
What are the Active Ingredients of Deer Antler Velvet?
The Deer Antler Velvet is extremely rich in growth factors such as growth factor 1 and 2 (IGF-1 and IGF-2), which explains the antlers’ rapid growth. It also contains around 40 key compounds and 400 bioactive natural ingredients such as minerals and trace elements.
Deer antler velvet is primarily made up of 53% proteins, 34% minerals, 3% lipids, and 10% water. Various bioactive substance such as proteins, growth factors (IGF-1, IGF-2, EGF), amino acids (over 30 types including 9 essential amino acids), collagen, Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) and mucopolysaccharides such as glucosamine sulphate, Chondroitin sulphate, hyaluronic acid, phospholipids, glycosphingolipids and prostaglandins are present in deer antler velvet.
It contains various minerals and trace elements like calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, selenium, sulphur, zinc, copper, iron, cobalt and magnesium are found in deer antler velvet which are responsible for the myriad beneficial effects.
What are the Uses of Deer Antler Velvet?
Due to the huge variety of active ingredients it contains, deer antler velvet has been effectively used for various ailments including stress. Some of its uses that have made it to the news, include:
General: Deer antler velvet is popularly used for increasing strength and endurance, decreasing the effects of stress, for promoting faster recovery from illness, and to ward off infections during winter months.
Cardiovascular health: Deer antler velvet helps in reducing high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels bringing in an all-round improvement in heart health. It increases red blood cells and promotes efficient circulation.
Immune function: It helps to improve your immunity and helps fight against various infections.
Joint, nerve and muscle conditions: The various mucopolysaccharides such as glucosamine sulphate, chondroitin sulphate, hyaluronic acid and phospholipids help maintain joint stability and flexibility. It helps in preventing inflammation and arthritic changes in the joints and prevents osteoporosis. It has been used in the management of muscle aches and pains in traditional medicine. It has also been effectively used in tendon or muscle injury sustained during sports. Muscular health is restored after heavy exercise and injury. It also improves joint pain and mobility.
Sexual problems: The rich content of sexual hormones such as oestrogen and testosterone helps improve fertility, treats erectile dysfunction, and also acts as an aphrodisiac to increase sexual energy. It is commonly used for reducing oestrogen dosage in hormone replacement therapy, premenstrual, menstrual and menopausal problems, vaginal discharges and uterine bleeding and to regain sexual energy and vitality.
Asthma: Its anti-inflammatory properties help relieve symptoms of asthma while its immune-modulating properties help fight various infections that worsen the symptoms of asthma. It also helps in preventing steroid dependence in asthmatics.
Metabolic functions: Deer antler velvet helps improve functions of the liver and kidneys while preventing toxin-related injury to the liver. It is also said to improve symptoms of indigestion. It is also used to improve metabolism of various substances in the liver.
Anti-ageing functions: Deer antler velvet increases blood circulation to the brain and helps delay or reduce signs of ageing such as tissue, bone and muscle degeneration and declining mental skills. It also boosts your mental health and prevents depression.
Skin conditions such as acne are comparatively less in those who use deer antler velvet.
Health and Growth tonic: Deer antler velvet has been used as a growth promoting tonic since ancient times due to the Growth Hormones that it contains.
What are the Precautions and Adverse Effects of Deer Antler Velvet?
The effects of deer antler velvet need further analysis before a consensus on its adverse effects is formulated. It is not known if it causes any adverse effects. Hence, it is best avoided in situations where its use might aggravate any pre-existing hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids. It should also be avoided during pregnancy and lactation until there is further evidence that deer antler velvet is devoid of maternal and foetal side effects or teratogenicity.
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