For the first time, many of us are hearing about deer antler velvet. It may sound strange, but Jim Powers of Bio Protein Technology in Tampa says it's powerful stuff.
"Deer velvet is a super food," Powers claimed. "It's been around for over 2,000 years."
His company manufactures deer velvet supplements, which are legal. They're marketed towards anti-aging, hormonal imbalances, and athletic performance.
It packs a punch thanks to naturally occurring IGF-1 found within the antlers.
"The antlers of a deer or an elk are the only mammal organ that regenerates every single year," Powers said. "What you're getting are those proteins in a concentrated form and you're putting them directly into your system."
IGF-1 is an insulin-like growth factor and is connected to Human Growth Hormone, both of which show up on most major sports banned substance list, including the NFL's. IGF-1 is said to help build muscle strength and endurance in some.
Future Hall of Famer Ray Lewis is being accused of using it to recover from an injury, a claim he adamantly denies.
For better or worse, the accusations have put a spotlight on these products. FOX 13's Dr. Jo says potential users should be cautious.
"When we think of a supplement, it does not go through the same type of testing or scrutiny by the FDA as a drug would. So again, the clinic trials would be limited," she said.
"There are probably 800 to 1,000 athletes taking our product right now and they have been over the last three years," Powers continued. "Our most potent product that we create – which, by the way, the highest strength we have retails for over $500 an ounce -- they've never tested positive for blood or urine."
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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