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Deer velvet is obtained from deer and elk (or wapiti). Large antlers can weigh up to 20 Kg for a pair.
Deer velvet has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over 2000 years. It refers to the whole cartilage in its pre-calcified stage and doesn’t refer to the velvety “skin” growing on the antlers. The antler is usually cut-off before the calcification process starts when it is approximately two-thirds of its maximum size. Velvet antler contains approximately 40 compounds including chondroitin sulphate, glucosamine sulphate, prostaglandins, monoamine-oxidase inhibitors, selenium, calcium, collagen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, bone morphogenic protein and growth factors.
Traditional Chinese medicine uses velvet antler to treat muscular weakness, joint mobility, growth problems and childhood respiratory health. Western medicine uses velvet antler primarily to strengthen physical endurance, strengthen bones and tendons, support sexual potency and promote virility. Animal studies with deer velvet have shown reduced inflammation and negative effects of morphine in mice. It also stimulates fibroblast growth and increases phagocytic activity of macrophages in vitro.
Human studies have shown that deer velvet supports testosterone levels in young males and increases muscular endurance. It is also claimed that deer velvet may provide beneficial support for joint mobility, cardiovascular health and mental health.