June 29, 2009
Controlled trials using humans subjects—One small-scale study found that deer velvet powder produced improvements in strength and endurance in male physical education students (n=17).1 This is balanced by results from several other studies where velvet antler did not improve muscular performance or reduce post-training pain,3,15 and failed to reduce rheumatoid arthritis symptoms not fully controlled by medication.16 The most recent meta-analysis found that chondroitin, a key component of velvet antler-based products, does not reduce joint pain caused by osteoarthritis.17
The FDA has considered applications but does not currently recognize any therapeutic effects of velvet antler. Velvet antler products, however, may be marketed as dietary supplements or nutriceuticals.
General animal welfare legislation in the United Kingdom and Ireland is interpreted as effectively banning the farming of velvet antler.25 However it is an accepted and regulated industry in other countries such as New Zealand.
REFERENCES1. Sleivert G, Burke V, Palmer C, et al. The effects of deer antler velvet extract or powder supplementation on aerobic power, erythropoiesis, and muscular strength and endurance characteristics. Intenation J Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism 2003;13:251-265.2. Moreau M, Dupuis J, Bonneau NH, et al. Clinical evaluation of a powder of quality elk velvet antler for the treatment of osteoarthrosis in dogs. Can Vet J 2004;45:133139.3. Syrotuik DG, MacFadyen KL, Harber VJ, et al. Effect of elk velvet antler supplementation on the hormonal response to acute and chronic exercsise in male and female rowers. Internation J Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism 2005;15:366-385.4. Mikler JR, Theoret CL, Haigh JC. Effects of topical elk velvet antler on cutaneous wound healing in strepozotocin-induced diabetic rats. J Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2004;5:835-840.5. Herring H. Money Game. The Atlantic Monthly 2000;285:20-25.6. Conaglen HM, Suttie JM, Conaglen JV. Effect of deer velvet on sexual function in men and their partners: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Archives of Sexual Behavior 2003;32:271-278.7. Garman S. Eating horn (short note). Science 1884;3:88.8. Tuckwell C. Velvet antler: a summary of the literature on health benefits. Australian Government Rural Industries and Development Corporation RIRDC Project No DIP-10A.9. Kamen B, Kamen P. The Remarkable Healing Power of Velvet Antler. Nutrition Encounter: Novato CA. 2003.10. Oberle K, Allen MN. Clinical trials with complementary therapies. Western J Nursing Research 2005;27:232-239.11. Hemmings SJ, Song X. The effects of elk velvet antler consumption on the rat: development, behavior, toxicity and the activity of liver y-glutamyltranspeptidase. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology 2004;C138:105-112.12. Zhang H, Wanwimolruk S, Coville PF, et al. Toxicological evaluation of New Zealand deer velvet powder. Part 1: acute and subchronic oral toxicity studies in rats. Food Chem Tox 2000;38:985-990.13. Kim H-S, Lim H-K. Inhibitory effects of velvet antler water extract on morphine-induced conditioned place preference and DA receptor supersensitivity in mice. J Ethnopharmacology 1999;66:25-31.14. Angers RC, Seward TS, Napier D, et al,. Chronic wasting disease prions in elk antler velvet. Emerg Infec Dis 2009; 15(5):696-703.15. Percival RS. Examining the effects of deer antler velvet supplementation on muscular strength, performance, and markers of delayed onset muscle soreness. Masters thesis: East Tennessee State University, 2005.16. Allen MA, Oberle K, Grcae M, et al. A randomized clinical trial of elk velvet antler in rheumatoid arthritis. Biological Res Nursing 2008;9:254-261.17. Reichenbach S, Sterchi R, Scherer M, et al. Meta-analysis: chondroitin for osteoarthritis of the knee or hip. Ann Intern Med 2007;146:580-590.18. Walsh VP, Wilson PR. Chemical analgesia for velvet antler removal. New Zeal Vet J 2002;50:237-243.19. Johnson CB, Wilson PR, Woodbury MR et al. Comparison of analgesic techniques for antler removal in halothane-anaesthetised red deer (Cervus elaphus): electroencephalographic responses. Vet Anaesthesia Analgesia 2005; 32:61-71.20. Woodbury MR, Calukett NA, Johnson CB, and Wilson PR. Comparison of analgesic techniques for antler removal in halothane-anaesthetized red deer (Cervus elaphus): cardiovascular and somtic responses. Vet Anas Anal 2005; 32:72-82.21. Nicol AM, Barrell GK, Gibbs SJ, Frizzell AN, and McPhee JF. Assessment of the production of analgesia induced by application of a rubber ring or local anaesthetic to the antler pedicle of yearling stags. New Zeal Vet Jour 2009; 57(3):153-159.22. Cook NJ, Schaefer AL, Church JS. Nutritional therapy modulates stress responses of elk (Cervus elaphus Canadensis) to removal of velvet antler. Online J Vet Res 2006;10:20-25.23. Walsh VP, Wilson PR. Sedation and chemical restraint of deer. New Zeal Vet J 2002;50:228-236.24. Suttie JM, Haines SR, Brown-Smith AP, et al. The effect of removal technique and postremoval handling on velvet antler colour. New Zealand J Agricultural Res 2000;43:207-225.25. Wilson PR, Stafford KJ. Welfare of farmed deer in New Zealand. 2. velvet antler removal. New Zeal Vet J 2002;50:221-227.