Deer-Antler Extract All Hype?

Deer-antler extract the talk of Super Bowl week despite a lack of conclusive evidence that it does anything at all

January 31, 2013

By Alex Zakrzewski, Online Editor Deer-antler spray has been the talk of the sports world as of late thanks to a report this week alleging that Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis used the comical sounding substance to help recover from a triceps tear last fall. Since then S.W.A.T.S. (Sports With Alternatives To Steroids), the company that reportedly supplied Lewis with the spray, has been linked to college football players from the University of Alabama and LSU, as well as golfer Vijay Singh. Amidst the controversy surrounding who is using deer-antler spray to supposedly enhance performance or recover from injury, little light has been shed on what exactly the substance is and what benefits it offers – if any at all. “The hype comes from biological research that seeks to understand how deer antlers can grow so fast,” says Dr. Dawyne N. Jackson, MuscleMag’s resident supplement expert. “Parts of deer antlers contain the growth-promoting hormone, insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), which is suggested to regulate rapid antler growth. IGF-1 is also considered a banned ergogenic aid, so the ideology is that by ingesting deer antler or its constituents, you will be ‘naturally’ boosting anabolic IGF-1 levels.” Jackson says there are currently no conclusive studies to indicate that supplementation with deer extract leads to increased hormone levels or performance. One thing that is certain is that the media hype – warranted or not – has been a huge boon to suppliers of the extract which, has been “flying of the shelves” in recent days according to an ESPN report.