Can Elk velvet antler extract increase strength?

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Elk velvet antler supplements have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years as an aphrodisiac and as a cure for ulcers, arthritis and anemia.

Its possible effect on the sex drive suggests that Elk velvet antler supplements might boost anabolic hormones such as testosterone. This, in turn, should lead to faster gains in muscle size and strength.

A recent study presented at the American College of Sports Medicine’s annual meeting found that weight-trained subjects taking deer antler supplements increased strength faster than those taking a placebo. This raised the possibility that elk antler might benefit bodybuilders and power athletes.

So, a team from Canada's University of Alberta decided to put deer antler velvet to the test. For the study, a group of men and women took Elk velvet antler (560 milligrams per day) or a placebo during 10 weeks of training.

Cardiovascular fitness, 2000-metre rowing time, leg and bench press strength were measured before and after 5 and 10 weeks of training. Hormone levels were measured prior to and 5 and 60 minutes after a simulated 2000-metre rowing race.

Although strength increased and 2000-metre times decreased with training, there was no significant difference between the Elk velvet antler and placebo groups. Testosterone (men only) and growth hormone (both men and women) were higher 5 minutes after the simulated race but returned to normal after at 60 minutes. However, there was no significant difference between the groups for any hormonal response.

This study shows that 10 weeks of Elk velvet antler supplementation does not significantly improve strength or rowing performance nor does it alter the hormonal responses to exercise.

Source: Syrotuik DG, MacFadyen KL, Harber VJ, Bell GJ. (2005). Effect of elk velvet antler supplementation on the hormonal response to acute and chronic exercise in male and female rowers.

Ed. Note: If you're looking for an effective product to help you pack on muscle and burn off fat, don't waste your money on anything with Elk velvet antler in it! It's far better to use proven and effective products with research to back them, such as whey protein, Creatine, and HMB.

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