The Growth Power of Elk Antler, aka the “Horns of Gold”
Now Available in Two Potent Supplemental Forms – Capsules and Spagyric Tincture
Every year, male elk, called bulls, grow new antlers. What’s even more impressive is that this growth happens in a relatively short period of time, as quickly as 1 cm/day over 90 to 120 days. A fully mature bull of 7 or 8 years, weighing sometimes over half a ton, may produce up to 40 lbs. of velvet antler every year.
Antlers naturally fall off in March. By this stage, they are fully calcified due to the effects of testosterone, nothing left but bone. And yet, the bulls regrow antlers every year.
Harvesting typically takes place in May or June when the antlers are in the cartilaginous or velvet stage, and the antlers are full of growth factors, blood vessels, and more.
The term antler velvet comes from the fact that while the antler is growing, and it is covered in what looks like tiny hairs. This highly vascular skin is called velvet. It is not this velvet that is used to make the tinctures, but this stage of growth that you want.
For the most part use of Elk or Deer Antler should be looked at interchangeably, just as different species of the same genus are often used with other herbs. They are both in the Cervus genus, the family of deer.
Antler in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Elsewhere
Traditionally, in Chinese medicine, deer antler was used for cardiovascular health, reproductive issues, immune system support, tissue repair, and overall health.*
From a Chinese medicine perspective, deer antler is said to “nourish the Yin, tonify the kidney, invigorate the spleen, strengthen bones and muscles, and promote blood flow.”* Others consider it to be a strong yang jing tonic, while also supporting qi and shen, and thus containing all of ‘The Three Treasures.’*
The Divine Farmer’s Materia Medica stated, “Protracted taking may make the body light and prolong life… It supplements the essence and blood and fortifies the sinews and bones.”*
The use of Elk and even Moose Antlers was described for helping with impotence in Li Shen Chen’s Pen Ts’ao Kang Mu in the 16th century.*
Nor is China the only place. Antler has long been used in Japan, Korea, Russia and elsewhere. In Russia, the Antlers were used as far back as the 13th century and were referred to as “Horns of Gold”. (Even though antlers are not horns, the key differentiator is that antlers regrow while horns do not.)
The first science investigating its abilities was conducted in the 1930s in Russia. This led to the first named extract of antler, Pantocrin.*
Later, the Japanese Taiho Pharmaceutical Company made an Antler extract called Rulondin that was used as an injectable for male sexual disorders.*
Probably the Richest Source of Many Growth Factors
Velvet antler has been shown to contain IGF1 and IGF2. These hormones are important for the growth and repair of all kinds of tissues in the human body.* They also help regulate cellular development.*
You’ll also find nerve growth factor (NGF) and neurotrophin-3, which help to stimulate the growth of nerve fibers and are active on nerve receptors.[3,4]* Then there is a brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which supports neuron growth and survival.*
There are fibroblast growth factors and vascular endothelial growth factors. These are especially important to the connective tissues and blood vessels.*
There is also pleiotrophin, which goes by other names, including heparin-binding growth factor 8 and neurite growth-promoting factor 1.
Bone morphogenetic proteins are important for the formation of cartilage and bone.*
Transforming growth factors involve regulating inflammatory processes, especially in the gut, stem cell differentiation, and immune T-cell regulation and differentiation.*
These growth factors and more are all present in the growing antler, as this chart shows.
Which growth factors and how much make their way into any extract, only science will tell us in time.
Yet, just looking at this through the “doctrine of signatures”, that is there are signs in nature as to the capabilities of an herb; we know why our ancestors started using this material. The antlers grow fast every single year, thus they may be able to help in the regeneration of cartilage, muscle, bone, connective tissues, blood vessels and nerves.*
Antler’s Effects on Joints, Injuries and Recovery
In addition to the many growth factors, Velvet Antler also contains:
- Type-II Collagen
- Type-I Collagen
- Type X-Collagen
- Chondroitin Sulfate
- Glucosamine Sulfate
- Keratin Sulfate
- Hyaluronic Acid
- Dermatan Sulfate
- Branch-Chain Amino Acids
Some of these compounds, notably collagen, chondroitin sulfate, and glucosamine sulfate, have been shown in studies to help in cases of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and more.*
One of Antler’s effects is in its inflammation-modulating properties.* This helps deliver these rejuvenating and anti-aging properties.*
It’s even been looked at for wound healing, likely because of the epidermal growth factors, prostaglandins, and more.*
A water-soluble elk extract gel that was topically applied to cuts on diabetic mice was found to result in smaller wounds after one week.* The topical administration of deer antler-extracted polypeptide to burned rats study also found accelerated wound healing.* In addition, some Japanese research saw improvements in whiplash injuries.*
That’s what we often hear, even more so than anabolic properties, is that old injuries are doing better when taking Antler extracts…
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Antler’s Science on Performance
Early Russian research theorized that athletic performance was because of increases in muscle recovery after exercise as well as adaptogenic properties which helped the body increase work capacity and response to stressors.*
One thing that antler may be helping with is by acting as an erythropoietic agent.* This means it helps to increase blood cell count. This can occur for both red blood cells, helping with endurance and stamina, as well as white blood cell count, helping to enhance the immune system.*
Theories on why Antler may be androgenic include increasing production of testosterone from the Leydig cells, increasing the half-life of testosterone, or components binding to SHBG thus leaving testosterone more freely available.*
A systematic review of seven different deer antler supplementation studies looked at effectiveness in rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, sexual function, and sporting performance enhancement in humans. Two of the seven reported some benefit, while five of the seven reported no benefit.*[16-18]
So early Russian research was very positive. But then Western science has not been positive when it comes to deer antler, in more cases than not.
But looking deeper, there are some interesting things. In one of those studies, there was no performance improvement, but testosterone levels were increased.* In another, performance did increase over placebo control, just not enough to be statistically significant.*
Furthermore, that review states that “for osteoarthritis the findings may have some promise.”* While a trial for rheumatoid arthritis did show a dose-dependent response, in the end it was not statistically significant.*
Quality can be a HUGE factor here, more so possibly than with other herbs. In many cases, these studies might rely on inferior products and extractions. Furthermore, the dosage may be too small to achieve a significant effect.
Even though the science is mostly negative it still is a fairly small amount of research, so I wouldn’t say the issue is finalized either.
However, it is important to know that something is there. Elk Antler is considered a powerful tonic for a reason.
If you need science to back your actions, you should steer clear. If you feel it is more important to have nature to be your guide to jump on in.
Still, based on the science and anecdotal evidence, I believe that Antler is better at helping with injuries than being an anabolic or aphrodisiac agent.*
On Our Source of Elk Antler (and its Sustainability)
Raising elk helps utilize marginal land in a setting that is natural to them and with minimal handling involved.
The animals are well cared for. And there is no castration of the males. The antlers are removed humanely, under veterinarian care and anesthesia, without animal harm or injury.
Removing antlers helps protect the herd, as elk fight using their antlers, sometimes wounding one another.
We offer these Elk Antler supplements because we’ve formed a relationship with a USA-based supplier i.e. herders of the Elk.
At this time, most Deer Antlers on the market are coming from New Zealand or China. While there is nothing wrong with that, we are seeking to have more USA-sourced products. That is the main reason for choosing to go with Elk.
Our elk are tested for chronic wasting disease, as that is required by the state. Therefore, there should be no concerns of prions or prions disease. Even if there was an issue, while there is some data in mice, it is only theoretical that this could pass to humans from antler velvet supplementation. But once again, the herd is tested and passed by the state.
100% Full Antler Used – Includes Tips, Middles and Bottoms
The antler used in both products includes all pieces, the tips or wax piece, the middles or blood piece, and the bottoms or bone piece.
This is a full antler extract, and all parts are used to provide different benefits and beneficial compounds. All parts really contain everything, it is just more concentrated in certain regions.
Current research shows:
- The upper part, known as the wax piece, concentrates the lipids, growth factors, hormones, and polysaccharides.
- The middle part or blood piece concentrates collagen, proteoglycans, glycosaminoglycans, and polysaccharides.
- The bottom part of the bone piece concentrates minerals, enzyme cofactors, amino acids, and bone stem cells.
While some people say one part may be better than the others, we feel getting the full antler is the best bet.
Again, full velvet stage antlers are used in both the capsules and spagyric tinctures.
Two Great Velvet Antler Options – Freeze-Dried Capsules and the Only Spagyric Tincture on the Market
After harvesting, the antlers are freeze-dried. According to research, this seems to be the best way to preserve the nutrients.
Elk Antler Capsules – Dosage
The capsules contain freeze-dried, ground-up Elk Antler. Nothing else. The capsules are made of bovine-sourced gelatin.
The recommended starting dose is two capsules per day. You may modify this up or down as you see fit.
Elk Antler Tincture – Dosage
The spagyric tincture takes slices of the freeze-dried Elk Antler and tinctures them over six weeks in a menstruum made with:
- Organic Cane Alcohol 50% ABV
- Fresh but Filtered Spring Water
Being a spagyric, after the tincture is pressed, the antlers are calcined (burned and ground down) into a fine ashen powder, which is separated with distilled water and crystallized down before being added back into the tincture. These “spagyric salts” help to increase the potency of the tincture.
There is no other spagyric Antler on the market, making this a unique offering.
The Elk Velvet Antler Spagyric Tincture taste is a distinctive salty, sour, and sweet flavor. This corresponds to the Kidneys, Liver, and Spleen, respectively, in Chinese medicine.
We recommend starting with a squirt once per day (about 30 drops). There are approximately 40 doses at this size.
You’ll also notice the bubbles on top that are thereafter shaking the gallons seen here. This indicates the presence of saponins which have steroidal properties.
You can see here that the tincture is a somewhat bright yellow. However, when you only have the dropper full, it looks quite clear. This is normal.
Which is better? Try them both and see for yourself. As tends to be true for all herbs, different people are likely to find that they get more benefit from one or the other, and some will even like to take both simultaneously.
Elk Antler Products are Expensive…but Ours Aren’t Too Expensive
This isn’t just growing a plant, but instead involves herds of large animals growing antlers once per year. As such, this is more premium priced than other herbs available.
And the spagyric tincture is even more so than the capsules due to the added processing and time that is needed.
Others sell Antler tinctures for $150-$300 sometimes. In our opinion, that is a bit excessive. And those aren’t even spagyric tinctures, either!
So ours are not the highest price, but not the cheapest of herbs.
Side Effects and Contraindications
I’ll share something an herbalist once told me. Finding the correct dose of Antler meant taking more and more each day until it gave you a nosebleed. Then you’d back off, and that was your dose. I have not pushed the limits of dosage to such. You are invited too if you so choose!
In South Korea, Antler is even used in children.
There is no research on pregnant or nursing women, so Elk Antler is best avoided due to caution.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.