Deer Antler Velvet For Improved Athletic Performance

Keen athletes and sports people should find the following information of more than passing interest. Although not widely known in the West, deer antler velvet in the form of pantocrin has been an essential part of Russian athletic training programmes for decades. In fact, the success of Russian athletes has been attributed to its use during Olympic training sessions.
In 1969, studies were carried out in Vladivostock to evaluate the traditional use of deer antler velvet in physical tests of stamina and endurance. In an experiment supervised by Dr Taneyeva, the subjects began cycling on an ergonometer, which is a fixed bicycle with a workmeter attached. The men were then stopped and given either pantocrin or a placebo, and checked again two hours later. The pantocrin group showed a much greater increase in the total work achieved.
In another experiment, again designed to test the endurance properties of deer antler velvet, fifty young men ran a three-kilometre race. The group that had been administered pantocrin thirty minutes before the race were considerably faster on average than the placebo group.
Studies similar to those of Dr Taneyave, carried out in 1974 by Drs Yudin and Dobryakov, showed the performance of average healthy athletes improved considerably after being administered pantocrin. While control athletes on an exercise cycle performed 15 kg/meter of dynamic work, those given pantocrin increased this dramatically to 74 kg/m. Improved performance in running and weight-lifting were also documented.


To be continued………..


Deer Antler Velvet Anti-inflammatory Properties and Accelerated Wound Healing

As many people will happily testify, one of the outstanding properties of deer antler velvet is its ability to alleviate the pain of inflammation, such as joint pain, swelling and tissue injury. While anti-inflammatories are widely prescribed in Western medicine for a large number of ailments, they can often cause severe and unpleasant side effects.
Deer antler velvet has been shown in research studies to have marked anti-inflammatory activity, although at this stage it is not known exactly why. It has been suggested that the high concentrations of hormone-like substances in deer antler velvet are responsible for the rapid tissue repair after injury, or even the cartilaginous concentration of the deer antler velvet itself. When deer antler velvet is harvested it is still largely cartilage, containing such compounds as collagen and glycosaminoglycans, including chondroiton sulfate A, B and C.
Research microbiologist Dr Alex Duarte, has spent many years researching the powerful healing properties of cartilage and in his book The Benefits of deer antler velvet he refers to studies that have been carried out using cartilage in the treatment of serious degenerative diseases. In particular he refers to Dr John F. Prudden and other researchers who over thirty-five years ago discovered such elements in cartilage as
N-Acetyl-Glucosamine, glycosaminoglycans and synoviocytes, all of which have been associated with accelerated healing.
He describes glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) as being the “regulator of new cartilage production and turnover” and being “a very powerful regulator of synoviocytes, which regulate the integrity of the joint fluid.”
He cites studies in which people suffering from severe osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis showed overwhelmingly positive results when treated with bovine cartilage.
Glucosamine is formed from the combination of a sugar (glucose) and an amine, derived from the amino acid, glutamine. It is an important component in proteoglycans, which provide structure to the bones, cartilage, skin, nails, hair and other body tissues. It is essential for healthy cartilage and to maintain healthy joints and pain-free mobility.
The major GAG in deer antler velvet is chondroitin sulfate. Chondroitin is formed from a long chain of sugar molecules which helps to attract fluid into the proteoglycans. This is necessary to provide nutrients and lubrication into the joint cartilage which has no blood supply of its own. Termed “chondroprotective” agents, glucosamine and chondroitin are today being widely promoted to help rebuild cartilage and improve joint mobility in arthritis sufferers with very beneficial effects.
Duarte also cites Dr Lester Morrison, who over ten years ago observed chonroitin sulphate A to be an extremely powerful anti-inflammatory agent which reversed the degenerative condition of arteriosclerosis and dramatically improved circulation. He conducted a six-year study demonstrating that chondroitin sulphate A could reduce the incidence of fatal heart attack and stroke by over 400 percent just by daily oral consumption.
Further studies by Dr Prudden, involving the treatment of advanced cancer patients were also dramatic. There was a positive response from 90 percent of the patients and it was discovered that “cartilage protected the patients from the severe side effects of chemotherapy” apparently by protecting and strengthening the immune system.
While these studies have found cartilage to be a powerful anti-inflammatory and wound healing agent, the cartilage from deer antler velvet itself is unique as it contains many other bioactive compounds that are still under investigation.
In other studies from Japan, deer antler velvet extract has shown to speed up the healing of damaged nerve tissue, and also aids in the recovery of patients suffering from cervical and whiplash injuries. Research has shown that long standing wounds and ulcers also respond well to deer antler velvet preparations, and the high level of phosphate, calcium and other minerals has been suggested as reasons why it is so effective in healing bones and wounds and helping with arthritic complaints.
The rapid yearly growth of deer antler velvet has provided a unique opportunity for the study of bone development by a research group at Lincoln University, Christchurch. The group has been studying the effect of the hormone oestradiol on deer antler velvet tissue, in particular by activating receptors in the tissue which surrounds the deer antler velvet bone beneath the skin.
Dr Graham Barrell writes, “Deer antler velvet is newly formed bones and the final burst of calcification depends on the secretion of sex hormones from the testes. Research at Lincoln and overseas has shown the hormone oestradiol is predominant in stimulating calcification of the deer antler velvet.” This on-going research may become very important for future work on the treatment of bone disorders such as osteoporosis.


Blood Building and Reduction of Blood Pressure

According to modern research, deer antler velvet stimulates the production of blood by nourishing the bone marrow.
Deer antler velvet has long been recognized as being effective for increasing both the volume and the circulation of blood though the body. As a specific remedy in traditional medicine for anaemia it has been shown in experiments to have a potent erythropoetic effect, meaning that it stimulates the formation of red blood cells. Improving the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood and building the iron uptake of the red blood cells may account for its value in treating anaemia.
This “well-accepted erythropoietic activity” which results in improved blood supply may also enhance muscle endurance and stamina both in athletes and in normal healthy people.
Reports from Korea showed that deer antler velvet extract increased the erythrocyte count and stimulated red blood cell synthesis in anaemic rabbits. The rate of recovery of blood cell counts was faster in anaemic rabbits treated with elk or particularly New Zealand red deer antler velvet extracts. Experiments also showed that powdered deer antler velvet given orally or injected as preparations in rats increased the number of red and white blood cells, and large amounts resulted in a marked increase in the production of red blood cells.
In Jade Remedies we read that deer antler velvet increases “serum levels of erythrocytes, hemoglobin, leukocytes and reticulocytes” and also “promotes cellular rejuvenation through its ectosaponin content.”
While the tradition of women regularly taking tonics to nourish the blood is deeply ingrained in Asian culture, anaemia is very prevalent among women in the West. However, deer antler velvet could well become part of a new tradition as there are many reports of women taking deer antler velvet to increase the iron levels in their blood. For example, Dr Suttie recounts the story of a pregnant woman who was suffering from anaemia and took deer antler velvet. Within 48 hours her blood count was back to normal.
Deer antler velvet not only builds blood but research has shown that it also has a strong influence on blood pressure – it lowers the arterial blood pressure, apparently due to its ability to increase the dilation of the peripheral blood vessels. This immediate lowering of blood pressure is a major property of deer antler velvet extract and since it is so easily demonstrated, is widely used as a test for its biological activity. It is interesting to note that while deer antler velvet extract has this marked hypotensive effect in normal people, it has also been shown to restore blood pressure to normal in both hypo- and hyper-tensive patients.
Pharmacological and clinical research indicated that the use of deer antler velvet significantly improves the heart function, regulating hearts with arrhythmias and increasing the blood flow in subjects with chronically poor circulation.


Deer Antler Velvets Anabolic or Growth Stimulating Properties

For centuries children in Korea have been given deer antler velvet to promote their healthy growth and development, both physically and mentally. In similar capacity, deer antler velvet has also been used as a strengthening tonic for invalids, and for patients suffering from chronic wasting diseases such as tuberculosis, AIDS, and chronic fatigue syndrome.
The nutrient rich, fast growing cartilage of deer antler velvet contains many growth factors that are under close investigation at AgResearch Invermay. During preliminary ‘in vitro’ studies, deer antler velvet extracts were found to not only stimulate cell growth, but also demonstrated anti-tumour and anti-viral properties.
During their investigations, the Invermay team measured a natural hormone called “insulin-like growth factor-1” or “IGF-1”. High levels of this hormone were found in deer blood during the growth of the antlers, and “receptors to IGF-1” were found in the deer antler velvet itself. Dr Suttie’s group discovered the IGF-1 and a related hormone IGF-2, promoted growth in deer antler velvet cells growing in the laboratory and more recent discoveries have shown that these deer antler velvet cells are capable of producing IGF-2 themselves.
When we are young the concentration of human growth hormone is relatively high which promotes good musculature and low body fat. However as the body ages, our growth hormone levels decrease along with IGF-1 and the muscles tend to atrophy. As a natural source of IGF-1,
it is claimed that deer antler velvet can help to keep the body lean and the muscles well-developed.
The anabolic, or growth promoting effects of deer antler velvet have been well documented, and separate studies using mice, tadpoles, chickens, young rabbits and rats have all shown stimulated growth and increased body weight.
In a recent study carried out by AgResearch using New Zealand deer antler velvet extract, healthy rats fed diets supplemented with medium and high doses of deer antler velvet extract grew markedly more than the control group, and their liver weight was also significantly heavier.28 The rats fed with the highest level of extract grew 12 percent heavier than the control group during the first three weeks of the study.
Research by Dr Jeong Sim and Dr Hoon Sunwoo at the University of Alberta has also demonstrated deer antler velvet’s potent growth-promoting effect, stimulating bone development in rats by increasing femur length, thickness and mineral content.


Deer Antler Velevt For Sexual Benefits.

There is a very strong case for stating that ginseng and deer antler velvet can increase sexual energy, and that they would be a considerable help to both those who are potent but sexually exhausted, and to those who are impotent and wish they could be sexually exhausted.

There is no doubt that deer antler velvet, together with herbs such as ginseng, have been used by wealthy Asian men for centuries as tonics to improve potency. Chinese Taoists, for example, use an extensive array of herbs to increase sexual energy in the belief that it enhances their overall health. They have a fundamental understanding that the flow of sexual energy within the body is the basis of physical and mental well being.
In traditional terms deer antler velvet  is held to harmonise the yin and yang energies, to bring the vital energies of the body into balance at a deep and fundamental level. It appears to affect the balance of hormones necessary for healthy sexual function and to restore the body’s reserves of energy depleted by stress or exhaustion.
The effects of deer antler velvet and pantocrin on patients with sexual disorders has been widely documented, especially by Russian clinical researchers, with the result that while ginseng used to be famous for treating sex problems in Russian clinics, now pantocrin has taken over for this purpose.30 It is regarded as one of the most effective known remedies for impotence, increasing the libido and the general sexual function and is widely prescribed for women as well as men.
In Jade Remedies deer antler velvet is reported to be “used for incontinence, sexual disinterest, impotence, infertility.”
Research has shown that deer antler velvet demonstrated androgenic and gonadotrophic effects, meaning that it helps to regulate the activity of the sex organs. A series of investigations by Pavlenko et al. (1969) has shown that pantocrin contains biologically active substances of both the male and female sex hormone types.

The sex hormones estrone, testosterone and a substance similar to progesterone have been identified at low levels in deer antler velvet, and the estrogen hormone most affected by deer antler velvet is estradiol, which is a precursor to testosterone. Also found by New Zealand scientists is a hormone called lutinizing hormone (LH) which is secreted by the pituitary gland and is the testosterone master-hormone, giving the signal for testosterone to be produced in the body.
In earlier experiments deer antler velvet has been shown to raise testosterone and estrogen levels in rats, and according to scientific studies it can stimulate growth and increase the weight of both the seminal vesicles and prostate.

When ginseng, eleutherococcus, rantarin or pantocrine were given continuously to young male mice, the weight of their sexual glands increased by up to 50 per cent, depending on the preparation and the dose… Only pantocrine and rantarin had a measurable effect in mature as well as immature animals.

Also, perhaps as an unexpected side effect:
Rantarin treatment of arteriosclerotic patients led some to recover sexual functioning and experience a return of potency and libido.

Deer antler velvet’s value in treating impotence is well known in traditional Oriental medicine and is widely used for that purpose in China. Dr Shi Zhi Chou, a specialist in men’s sexual problems from Dalian Traditional Medicine Hospital, lists some 300 formulas in his book The Most Effective Prescriptions For Impotence. Deer antler Velvet is listed in almost every one of them.
In the West there are many anecdotal accounts on file from men, who having taken deer antler velvet to increase energy, to lower blood pressure, or alleviate the pain of arthritis, have enjoyed the added bonus of increased sexual interest and capacity. Deer antler velvet builds endurance, it seems, on every level.

Deer Antler Velvet For Women.

While deer antler velvet extract is regarded as the ultimate primal tonic for men, it is also widely prescribed in Russia for women, especially for treating menstrual problems and alleviating the symptoms of menopause.
Western medicine, particularly in the United States, promotes the use of hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) for women at menopause, which involves giving small doses of oestrogen to women in order to compensate for the dramatic drop in the amount of oestrogen being produced by the ovaries. It is a very controversial therapy, with studies showing that in the short term HRT may banish the debilitating effects of menopause, but it may in fact unleash greater health risks such as thrombosis and uterine cancer later in life.
Women seeking less invasive ways to balance the hormonal system during menopause, which can be a time of intense physical and psychological stress, may be interested to know that in Russia pantocrin and rantarin are officially recommended for menopausal problems as well as for delayed and abnormal menstrual cycles.
Fuler states, “Pantocrine was found very useful in reduced sexual function and menopausal disorders of circulation, in depression and psychological problems, and pain in the joints.” He goes on to say that some of the menopausal women treated in this way even started menstruating again.
Women taking deer antler velvet have reported diminished symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, even to the point where periods pass by almost unnoticed. They have also reported increased sexual interest, and a sense of being in touch with deeper reserves of vital energy.
While pantocrin given to young male mice caused an increase in the size of their sexual glands, similar experiments were carried out in Russia by Brekhman and Taneyeva to investigate the gonadotrophic action of deer antler velvet extract on female mice. During these experiments they discovered an increase in the weight of the uterus and ovaries of the mice, and also an increased number of oestrus cycles.
Whether the effect is on male or female, deer antler velvet appears to have a profound strengthening and balancing influence upon the hormonal system. Traditionally it is prescribed to women in China for infertility and “female reproductive debility.” It is taken by women during pregnancy and lactation, during childbirth to aid in the baby’s delivery, and after childbirth as a general Tonic.


Deer Antler Velvet For Anti-Aging Effects

The elderly in Asia take deer antler velvet during the cold winter months, when the body is most vulnerable to infection and disease. It is traditionally said to benefit a wide variety of mental and physical health processes that are involved with aging, including strengthening the mind and increasing the quality and length of life. Deer antler velvets positive influence is so marked that Brekhman distinguishes pantocrin from all other adaptogens because its effect are “manifest with particular distinction in elderly and old people.”
The revitalising effects of deer antler velvet have long been known in Oriental medicine and well documented in Russian clinical trials where both pantocrin and rantarin are used to treat the elderly. “In Russia where eleutherococcus and particularly pantocrine/rantarin are given to the elderly, many trials have been reported,” writes Fulder. “In one study using elderly patients with some degree of atherosclerosis, rantarin was found to improve sleep, memory, mood and drive, and to alleviate headaches.”
More recent research carried out by Chinese scientist Wang Benxiang and associates suggests that deer antler velvet preparations showed anti-aging effects by reducing signs of senility in mice, very possibly due to its hormonal effects.


Deer Antler Velvet For Anti-Cancer and AIDS

While there is no evidence to date showing that deer antler velvet actually cures cancer, experiments carried out in Russia have shown extracts to increase survival rate and, in some cases, to inhibit the spread of tumor cells in rats and mice.
To determine whether the extracts of New Zealand deer antler velvet are effective in anti-cancer treatments, AgResearch has been running clinical trials in Korea and according to Dr Suttie the first series of experiments have shown positive results.
A major problem with the drugs used in chemotherapy is the damage they cause to the body while destroying the cancer cells. However, it was discovered during experiments that the aqueous extracts of deer antler velvet increased the effectiveness of the anti-cancer drugs while at the same time reducing their side effects. They were clearly potent at reducing the damaging side effects of the anti-cancer drug, in particular by reducing damage to the kidneys.
As New Zealand GIB chief executive Rick Christie said, “We’re no saying that deer antler velvet is a cure for cancer, Aids or any other complaint. But the science strongly indicates that deer antler velvet may be effective in supporting other treatments.”
Recovery of weight was greatest in the mice treated with the aqueous extract of deer antler velvet, which normalised or partly normalised spleen, kidney and liver weight.
As an immune enhancer for patients with AIDS, deer antler velvet is mentioned in Jade Remedies; also as an ingredient in a formula for people with HIV which is under study at the Institute for Traditional Medicine in Long Beach, California. It is hoped that the formula will help the bone marrow and increase white blood cells, red cells, and T-helper counts.
There is also evidence that deer antler velvet reduces cholesterol levels, as demonstrated by Soshnianina (1974), whose experiments showed a reduction of liver, spleen and brain cholesterol in guinea pigs under the influence of deer antler velvet extract.
Pantocrin is also evidence that deer antler velvet reduces cholesterol levels, as demonstrated by Pantocrin is also used for used for treating epilepsy and, according to Fulder, it has been widely recommended in Russia for treating this condition. It was reported by Brekhman that the depressive states and psychoses associated with epilepsy “could be arrested by pantocrin considerably sooner than by other methods of treatment.”
Other conditions reported to be alleviated or cured by deer antler velvet extract include skin disease such as psoriasis, infected and slow healing wounds—as it promotes the granulation of tissue—as well as healing bone fractures.
Considering deer antler velvet’s long history of use in Chinese medicine, particularly as an ingredient of formulas prescribed for a wide range of human ailments, together with the extensive Russian literature available on pantocrin’s clinical testing, it will be of great interest to see how deer antler velvet’s role evolves in Western medicine and natural health care.


Deer Antler Velvet in Oriental Medicine.

For millenndeer antler  velvet has been prized throughout Asia for its wide-ranging medicinal and health promoting qualities. Among the many thousands of herbs used in traditional Oriental medicine deer antler velvet is one of the most important, in fact one of the primary ingredients used in this ancient tradition. It is still consumed today by millions of people in Asia who regard it as a major tonic for promoting strength and stamina, for maintaining good health and preventing illness.
There are few natural remedies known in the world that are held to be as precious as deer antler velvet, and in order to understand its role in traditional medicine it may be helpful to take a brief overview of Oriental health philosophy.


Deer Antler Velvet – A ‘kingly’ or ‘Imperial’ herb.

Among the several thousand herbs used in Chinese traditional medicine, there is a small but elite group known since ancient times as ‘kingly’ or ‘Imperial’ herbs. These were tonic herbs used by emperors and sages, the wealthy and discerning; very special herbs that were recognized as having extraordinary health promoting benefits for those fortunate, or wealthy enough, to acquire them.
While relatively unknown in the West, many of these wonderful tonic herbs have a history of continuous use dating back thousands of years, and they are still in use today for one reason only —because they work.
Among these kingly herbs, and ranking alongside ginseng as one of the most precious of all, is deer antler velvet, rapidly proving its reputation in the West as an outstanding energy tonic and adaptogen.
Although not technically regarded as a herb, but rather as a ‘harmonizing remedy’, deer antler velvet has been prized for over two thousand years in the Orient for its unique tonic and stimulating effects. It is among the most highly valued and expensive remedies used throughout Asia and is regarded as the prime tonic for promoting endurance, stamina and strength. Its commonly heldreputation as an aphrodisiac by Westerners may add to the mystique of velvet antler, but only touches upon the surface of its wide-ranging therapeutic properties.