Deer, moose, caribou, and elk all grow, then shed, their antlers annually. Rather than allowing the antlers to fall off on their own and go unused, many individuals harvest the animal's antlers before they have a chance to harden into bone. This leaves a velvet like material known as antler velvet.
Antler velvet has been used as a Chinese medicinal treatment for over 2,000 years and is said to help a wide range of medical problems. There have been few scientific studies conducted on the material, but the velvet been shown to help boost the immune system, speed healing, slow and reverse aging, improve libido, and drastically improve joint pain. When used in traditional Chinese medicine, the velvet has also been said to increase mental alertness and memory, reverse infertility, and treat hypertension.
The most well known and documented case of antler velvet use was done in the 1980s by Russian athletes training for the Olympics. Since the antler velvet is all natural, athletes were able to take high doses of the competent without being disqualified. The original reason the athletes took the velvet was to help recover from injuries due to constant training, but the athletes stumbled on something far better.
The Russians discovered that not only did they recovery much faster from strenuous exercises, but that they were also able to build strength and muscle mass at an alarming rate. After arriving at the Olympics, the Russians shattered previous strength records and crushed their opponents thanks to the velvet.
Deer antler velvet contains several natural components that make the supplement useful to the human body. These include glucosamine, chondroitin, collagen, and IGF-1. IGF-1 is an insulin-like hormone that increases the amount of human growth hormones (HGH) in the body. This particular component is the reason that the Russian athletes were able to train much harder without any negative side effects.
Once the hormone levels have been raised by IGF-1, the amount of testosterone in the body also increases. This is the reason why deer antler velvet is able to increase the sex drive in humans.
While deer antler velvet can do a lot of good, when taken in large doses, IGF-1 can cause an assortment of negative side effects as well. Since IGF-1 is a protein-based steroid, those who use it will experience all the typical 'roid' effects.
The most common side effect from IGF-1 is an inhibition of natural hormones. The human body will only produce so many hormones before it refuses to make more. When individuals take too much IGF-1, their body no longer makes the natural hormones needed to survive. When IGF-1 is stopped, this can cause extreme harm to the body.
Extreme aggression is another common side effect associated with IGF-1. This form of aggression is commonly refereed to as "roid rage" and is due to the increased level of testosterone. If individuals take too much of the supplement, they can also begin experiencing hallucinations and psychosis which can make the aggression even worse.
Males who are using IGF-1 may also notice an increasing in their breast size. This is because IGF-1 increases both testosterone and estrogen levels. Beginning signs of this include itchy breast nipples and pain in the chest area.
Men may also experience shrinking of the testicles and sterilization if IGF-1 is taken for a long period of time. Sever liver damage, including liver failure, may also occur.