The role of elk velvet antler in sports performance and recovery
Elk velvet antler is a supplement that is believed to have a number of potential health benefits, including improving athletic performance and aiding in recovery. Some studies have even suggested that elk velvet antler may have certain benefits for athletic performance, such as improving endurance and muscle strength. It can help athletes in boxing, soccer, football, and even Olympic sports!
Perhaps the most well-publicized study of antler’s strength and muscle-enhancing attributes involved a blind trial of New Zealand athletes. Volunteers were divided into two groups, with height, weight and age closely balanced. The first group received 70 mg of velvet antler extract per day for 10 weeks, while a control group received a placebo. Subjects underwent moderate flex and weight training, and were tested twice during the 10-week period and once following the 10 weeks. The athletes were also scanned with a Dual X-Ray Absorptiometry Scanner (DEXA) before and after the trial to determine any changes in body composition.
The researchers found that muscular endurance doubled among the velvet antler group, tending to support the assertion of previous studies that velvet antler improves muscle activity. At the same time, the athletes taking antler lost more body fat than those in the control group, but did not increase muscle size. The researchers speculate that antler use may boost muscle efficiency without increasing in muscle mass. Results of the DEXA scans also suggested that velvet antler may improve muscle dynamic activity. The New Zealand researchers theorized that the antler extract may improve blood supply to muscles or act as an anti-inflammatory, allowing athletes to recover faster from training sessions.
Athletes from New Zealand and other countries — swimmers and mountaineers to rugby players and golfers — have used velvet antler to increase strength, vitality and endurance. Other athletes and professionals requiring strength and endurance are also using antler as a legal substitute for anabolic steroids. Researchers at the University of Alberta, Canada, tested antler’s ability to increase strength and endurance on cadets from the Edmonton police academy. The researchers found that use of velvet antler significantly increased blood plasma testosterone levels in the men participating in the study.
Elk antler velvet has been used for regenerative muscle and tissue repair and as an energy source in traditional Chinese medicine. Considered as a yang tonic (energy, red, warm spectrum), it is often given to children who need help with growth spurts and to injured people to help them recover and heal faster, but it can also be used as a supplement for bodybuilding. One bodybuilder said:
"American Elk Velvet is pretty good stuff. I have been taking it non-stop. I have pushed my workouts pretty hard to see how my recovery time has been and it has been minimal even with an above the top workout. My chest the next few days didn’t feel like I had done much of anything! Last night I did something I haven’t done in years…run. For the longest time, I have feared running because I have had 3 knee surgeries and I did quick sprints. This morning I was assuming the worst with my knee pain and swelling but I haven’t had an issue so far. Good Stuff!"
There is also some evidence to suggest that elk velvet antler may have certain properties which could potentially aid in recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage. If you're looking to improving athletic performance and recovery time, it is important to speak with a healthcare professional before taking any new supplement to ensure that it is safe and appropriate for you.