By Paul Teixeira
When it comes to health and fitness, everyone is looking for that magic bullet – that one ingredient that can work to push users through plateaus, and allow for previously unimagined levels of physical and mental performance. In response to this consumer demand, the supplement industry is loaded with more than it’s fair share of “quick fix” solutions that promise “cure all” effects while seldom delivering on their promises. Luckily, every now and again an ingredient makes it’s way from the time-tested traditions of eclectic cultures around the world into the medical and supplement industries. Rare ingredients whose traditional uses, though unconventional, are just as relevant to the benefit of modern fitness consumers as they are to the ancient peoples who pioneered their applications – such is the case with Deer Antler Extract. Deer Antler is a rare ingredient that acts as a magic bullet – effectively providing several benefits to athletes.
WHAT IS DEER ANTLER EXTRACT?
Also known deer antler velvet, this rare and unique anabolic ingredient is harvested from the antlers of deer, elk, caribou, and moose! It is the soft, velvety substance that coats the antlers during precalcified growth phases. Deer antlers can shed and regrow every year, and the velvet is most abundant during the animal’s prime growth phases, thus catching the interest of scientists by demonstrating how the velvet has something to do with growth and life. The best part is that there is no harm to the animals because the velvet is harvested before the antlers solidify into solid bone. Deer antler extract is rich in calcium, magnesium, zinc, a full amino acid profile, prostaglandins, glucosamine, chondroitin, collagen, and even IGF-1.
AN ANCIENT HISTORY
The first recorded uses of deer antler velvet were found in scrolls that were uncovered in China during the Han Dynasty. It has been documented as a key ingredient used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for over 2000 years! In fact, an essential medical document known as the Pen Ts’ao Kang Mu includes various means of preparing deer antler velvet – powders, ointments, capsules, extracts, teas, tinctures, and pastes. It was traditionally used to treat, “yang deficiencies”. These are related to weakened immune system, poor circulation, kidney problems, poor digestion, and even week pulse. More recently it is used in traditional Chinese medicine as a growth tonic for children with stunted growth. It is also used for bone and joint health, as well as countless other geriatric therapies.
Deer antler extract is extremely unique in the sense that it is composed of a multitude of sub-ingredients, which are each beneficial in supporting the body to increase well-being and boost performance. These nutrients are so diverse that Deer antler has many applications, both inside, and outside of the bodybuilding and nutrition realm. Check out 5 of the major constituents of deer antler extract and their incredible range of positive effects on the body:
Glucosamine and Chondroitin – Both of these compounds make up normal human cartilage. Of course, cartilage is essential to bones and joints because it is effectively the cushion between them. There have been many research studies that have demonstrated that the combination of glucosamine and chondroitin work synergistically to combat osteoarthritis (or at least it’s symptoms). Strengthening joints and cartilage is extremely important to athletes because of the constant stress placed on them during high performance activities like resistance training.
Calcium, Magnesium, and Zinc – These minerals are essential to many processes. Calcium and magnesium are most useful to athletes for improving nerve impulses, calming the nervous system when it is overly stimulated due to too much caffeine and other stimulants, and controlling cortisol levels. Zinc, like calcium and magnesium, is beneficial in many ways as well, but it’s most notable benefits come in the form of supporting peak testosterone levels in the body. It is used in the production of sex hormones that are responsible for strength, libido, and muscle growth.
Prostaglandins – These are active lipid compounds that have hormone-like effects in the body. Two common examples include, Alprostadil and Prostacyclin. Even more interesting is that they can be found in almost every tissue in the human body. Scientists have identified ten prostaglandin receptors on various cell types. As such, they provide a variety of effects in the body. The major benefits to athletes include the control of blood pressure, inflammation, cell growth, and even hormone regulation.
Amino Acids – Amino acids bonded together make up protein strands. Deer antler extract contains a full amino acid profile, which means that it contains a variety of amino acids that work to aid in muscle growth and repair. In addition, they ensure that the body is in an anabolic state, even when daily calories are being consumed at a deficit (e.g. During a weight loss program).
IGF-1 – A hormone that is very similar in structure to insulin. Normally a boost in Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is directly related to the production of IGF-1 in the liver. By ingesting IGF-1 by itself, it’s benefits can be felt almost immediately. It works to provide a potent anabolic effect while stimulating muscle cell growth, boosting the immune system, and encouraging healthy joints, bones, and cartilage. In fact, it is well known that the muscle-boosting benefits of HGH come mainly from the elevated IGF-1 levels that come with HGH supplementation.
In addition to supporting muscle protein synthesis via IGF-1, deer antler’s huge range of components helps provide athletes with a variety of beneficial properties that heighten performance such as:
- Regulating metabolism
- Increasing protein synthesis
- Boosting strength
- Boosting libido
- Improving blood pressure
- Strengthening joints
- Repairing, growing, and strengthening cartilage
- Speeding up muscle growth and repair
- Boosting the immune system
loading the MAGIC BULLET
Deer antler extract has a deep-rooted history in Traditional Chinese Medicine practices as a “shotgun” remedy that can affect multiple biological processes. Due to this influence, the bodybuilding and fitness industry has recently become very interested in its unique properties that work on precise areas of the body and translate into optimized performance. Athletes place a very hefty demand on their bones, joints, muscles, cartilage, heart, and brain – so the fact that deer antler extract can benefit all of these to some capacity, makes it a very useful ingredient for athletes to add to their supplement regimen. The active dose to reap such benefits is approximately 450mg per day in a 4:1 potency ratio – like the dosage in Nutrabolics’ Aggro. Deer antler is one of the most powerful and useful bodybuilding ingredients known to man. It regulates the metabolism, optimize immune function, increase protein synthesis, boost strength, speed muscle growth and repair, and strengthen cartilage, bones, and joints. It is truly the, “magic bullet” that can skyrocket health and athletic performance to unimaginable levels!
Antlerfarms.com - Historical Uses of Deer-antler-velvet
Bodybuilding.com - Deer Antler Velvet Facts
Intechopen.com - skeletal muscle from myogenesis to clinical relations
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Ghosh P., Smith M., and Wells C. Second Line Agenda Osteoarthritis. In Dixon, J.S. and Furst, D.E., EDA Second Line Agents in the Treatment of Rheumatic Disease, Marcel Dekker, New York, p. 383, 1992.
Roden L. Effect of Hexosamines on the Synthesis of Chondoitin Sulfuric Acid in vitro. Ark Keml 1956; 10:3.