Deer antler spray has been turning heads in the sports world, with some sports going so far as to ban professional, minor league and college athletes from using the substance as a supplement. Although few people understand the effects of deer antler spray, or have even heard of it, its ingredients seem to affect the human body in very specific ways. In fact, many sports leagues find it so powerful, that athletes are considered to have an unfair advantage over other athletes if they are found using deer antler spray supplements.
What’s in Deer Antler Spray?
Deer antler spray is a dietary supplement taken orally up to three times a day. Its active ingredients are deer antler velvet extract, which contains IGF-1. Deer antler velvet extract is taken from the velvet on the inside of a growing deer antler. Deer antler velvet extract has long been used in Chinese medicine to treat a variety of problems, including arthritis, joint degeneration and immune problems, but the western world has recently used it more to help improve muscle tone – especially in athletes and bodybuilders. It is also said to be an effective aphrodisiac and energy booster.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, IGF-1 contains a protein that is similar to insulin and helps regulate growth and muscle development within the human body. The body creates IGF-1 from human growth hormone and releases high quantities of the hormone during one particular part of life – adolescence. The quantities of IGF-1 remain at their highest during this time to allow the body to rapidly grow and develop into adulthood. After adolescence, IGF-1 quantities begin to slowly deteriorate until they are eventually less than half of what they once were during the adolescent years.
Using the IGF-1 in deer antler velvet extract to make an IGF-1 spray has been touted to have profound effects on individuals who need to boost speed, endurance, muscle mass and overall athletic capability. To find out whether IGF-1 spray has such an effect on the body, a team at the University of New Brunswick conducted a double blind study in 2003, in which deer antler velvet extract was given to one group of athletic men, and a placebo was given to the other. At the end of the study, the group with the deer antler extract was shown to have greater improvement in knee extensor strength and overall endurance.
Other Deer Antler Extract Benefits
As previously mentioned, deer antler velvet extract is also beneficial for a number of conditions unrelated to athletic benefits. The antler velvet contains prostaglandins that act as anti-inflammatories for individuals suffering from muscle injuries and arthritis. Furthermore, deer antler velvet extract is also known to have cardiovascular benefits, including an ability to help lower cholesterol and improve blood circulation.
IGF-1 Deer Antler Spray vs. Capsules
Many people wonder whether there is a difference between using an IGF-1 spray or taking it in capsule form. Although using a capsule may indeed provide some benefits, the IGF-1 spray is more likely to introduce more IGF-1 into the body, because when taken under the tongue, the body almost immediately absorbs it. When taken by capsule, IGF-1 may not be fully absorbed, which could limit its effects.
Because IGF-1 exists naturally within the human body, it is considered relatively safe for consumption, as there are no reported side effects, with the exception of some adverse reactions to morphine drugs. However, due to a lack of scientific study regarding the use of IGF-1 spray or capsules during pregnancy, women are encouraged to avoid using deer antler spray while pregnant or nursing.