Did you know that deer antlers are source for a performance and muscle building supplement? Dear antler spray, also known as IGF-1 or somatomedin C, is reportedly used by a number of professional athletes. But does it really work?
What Is IGF-1?
IGF-1 is an acronym for Insulin-like growth factor 1. According to Wikipedia, it is a hormone similar in molecular structure to insulin, and plays an important role in childhood growth. It is also said to have anabolic effects in adults.
IGF-1 contains deer antler velvet. Nothing velvety about it: just taken from adolescent deer at pre-calcified stage, that is, before the antlers turn to bone. It has been used in traditional medicine in Eastern cultures for centuries and is extremely popular in China.
Athletes Linked To Dear Antler Use
Okay, some may be of the opinion that golf is really not an athletic sport. After all, some middle-aged (and beyond) men and women, beer belly and all, are still competing in professional events long after contemporaries in other sports are already a decade or two into retirement. But that’s not the point.
One self-confessed user of deer antler spray is golfer Vijay Singh. He was reportedly taking it to promote muscle growth and performance. He never tested positive for it for reasons we shall point out later in this post. Yes, the game is now dealing with doping issues as well (big money = big temptation).
No one can argue about athletic ability being requisite for professional football (at least not convincingly). Now retired professional football player, Ray Lewis (who retired after his team won Super Bowl 2013), has denied using deer antler spray. He too never tested positive.
Does It Work?
So, does IGF-1 work to enhance performance and muscle building? Well, that it is banned by sporting organizations including the NFL points to one thing: it probably does work. Anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that it works. However, scientific evidence is largely lacking although some studies seem to support its anabolic effects.
According to a recent report published on Men’s Health , there is “scant evidence” that deer antler offers athletic boost. According to the article, the supplements at the present form that they come in, oral sprays, cannot give one adequate doses to enhance performance or growth.
So, why do athletes not test positive for the “drug”? Because it usually doesn’t show up in urine tests and there is no reliable testing for HGH (human growth hormone) under which category IGF-1 falls. At present, deer antler (or IGF-1) sprays are legally available in offline and online stores including Amazon.