Composition of Deer Antler Velvet
Research has reported the chemical composition of whole velvet antler sticks and sections (tip, upper, mid and base) of a stick.
Although Western research, particularly in New Zealand has reported the composition of velvet antler, it is important to remain aware that antler is the only mammalian organ that regenerates and that it grows extremely rapidly. The rapid growth of antler suggests that its chemical composition will vary during its growth until it becomes naturally calcified.
It is reasonable to say that broadly, velvet antler is composed of proteins, amino acids, minerals, lipids and water. Specific key compounds that have been identified in deer antler include collagen, glucosamine sulphate, chondrin sulphate and growth factors that aid in cartilage cell development.
Most researchers suggest that although ingredients in velvet antler are generally known, it is likely that combinations of ingredients in the antler contribute significantly to the activity of velvet antler products. This means that properties of processed products are likely to vary in a direct relationship to the portion of the antler used in the product’s manufacture.
Generally from the tip of the antler toward the base the ash content increases, lipid content decreases and protein content decreases. As antler matures, the ash and some mineral contents increase and moisture content decreases.
Proteins Identified in Velvet Antler
Proteins compounds identified in velvet antler by research include:
- Collagen – a major structural protein present in bone, tendons, ligaments, other connective tissue and articular cartilage
- Amino Acids – velvet is reported to contain eight essential and fifteen non essential amino acids, the precursors for all protein production
Growth Hormones and Growth Factor Identified in Velvet Antler Research has shown several growth factors exist in velvet antler including:
- Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF-1) – a precursor for the production of growth hormone
- Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) – growth factors that aid development of cartilage cells
Glycosaminoglycans (GAG’s) Identified in Velvet Antler
Glycosaminoglycans are complex carbohydrates. Research has shown GAG’s exist in velvet antler including:
- Chondroitin Sulphate – a carbohydrate that helps protect and rebuild degenerating cartilage and is regarded as a potent anti-inflammatory agent
- Erythropoietin – a hormone produced by specialised kidney cells to stimulate red blood cell production
- Glycosphingolipids – are compounds involved with growth and metabolism of cells and with memory and learning
- Glucosamine sulphate – is a component of Chondrin Sulphate and is a major component of cartilage and synovial fluid
- Hyaluronic acid – a substance that binds cartilage cells together and lubricates joints
- Prostaglandins – hormone like substances that produce a wide range of effects, including anti-inflammatory effects, within the body
- Phospholipids – the major structural lipid of most cell membranes
Other Compounds Identified in Velvet Antler
There are many other compounds shown by research to exist in velvet antler including
- Monoamine- oxidase inhibitors – an enzyme that inhibits the oxidation of neurotransmitters and so promotes a feeling of well being