A study conducted by Suttie and Haines found that animals fed high levels of active antler velvet extract grew significantly faster and as much as 12 percent more than a control group. The animals also experienced increased liver weight and a higher bone calcium content. In addition, the researchers found that antler appeared to decrease calcium excretion. In another study by Takikawa, et al., researchers reported observing new bone formation following experimental whiplash injuries in rabbits.
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. (source)