Today's top athletes are using AntlerX... should you?

Known as Deer Velvet, Velvet Antler or simply as "the answer", Deer antler velvet is the latest performance supplement taking the world of professional sports by storm. Anonymous player surveys in recent years have suggested any where from 10-20% all the way up to 40-50% of NFL players currently use or have at least tried Deer antler velvet. A spokesman for Nutronics Labs claims that about 40% of MLB and NFL players purchase Deer antler velvet from their company alone. We may never know what the actual numbers are but one thing is certain, hundreds of professional athletes are using Deer antler velvet. The question is, does it actually work?

The origins of this supplement can be traced all the way back to ancient Chinese medicine. Once removed, antlers are divided into different sections and then sliced into thin strips that are boiled and consumed as tea. Lower portions of the antler are used primarily on elderly patients to treat arthritis and a variety of illnesses. The upper parts and especially the tip are used on younger patients to promote growth and faster healing from injuries. Over the years, the use of Deer antler velvet has expanded to the west where antlers are more commonly converted into a powdered form used in pills instead of tea.

So why are so many athletes adding Deer antler velvet to their medicine cabinets? The secret is IGF-1. For deer, IGF-1 is what helps their antlers grow so quickly and strong. In humans, IGF-1 is a naturally occurring protein that promotes growth in children. The thinking behind Deer antler velvet is that higher levels of IGF-1 generate new cells that enable muscles to repair themselves faster. This means athletes can not only improve their endurance and build strength faster but it also enables quicker recovery times from injuries.

Athletes aren't the only ones turning to Deer antler velvet to help. The supplement is now being used by a number of doctors, including orthopedic surgeons and endocrinologists to treat everything from stunted growth to damaged cartilage in joints. The main concern expressed by most doctors researching Deer antler velvet is not whether it works but rather, the lack of regulation. Since deer antler velvet is created from a naturally occurring substance and not created in a lab, it does not have to meet any FDA requirements. Since there are no regulations in place, anyone purchasing Deer antler velvet can use whatever daily dosage they wish. New York City endocrinologist Spyros Mezitis argues taking too much of the supplement can adversely affect the body's natural metabolism.

Doctors aren't the only ones who have expressed concerns over the popularity of Deer antler velvet. Animal lovers worry about what happens to the deer during the antler removal procedure. New Zealand, the world's largest supplier of Deer antler velvet has licensed veterinarians use local anesthesia while antlers are being removed. The stags are not harmed or killed and because of how quickly IGF-1 works, they are able to grow a new set of antlers each year.

Whatever your feelings on Deer antler velvet may be, it seems the supplement is here to stay. In early 2013, the World Anti-Doping Agency lifted a previous ban on Deer antler velvet. Since then manufacturers of the supplement have reported increased sales. Only time will tell what impact Deer antler velvet will have on athletes in the long run but for now it seems to be living up to the hype. Deer antler velvet is currently available directly from suppliers online and at stores like AntlerX online store.

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