Generally researchers agree that velvet antler restores, strengthens and protects normal bodily functions but is not in itself curative. Preliminary results of modern research suggest that deer velvet may have beneficial effects related to:
- Stimulation of the body’s immune system to assist protection against infection and disease
- The anti-inflammatory agents it contains that may assist in reducing the pain and inflammation of a variety of degenerative diseases
- The anabolic or growth stimulating properties it provides
- The prevention or repair of muscle damage following exercise
- Its ability to increase muscular strength and endurance
- Its ability to significantly reduce the damaging side effects of chemotherapy drugs, while at the same time increasing their effectiveness
Specific health benefits shown by western research include:
New Zealand research has shown clear evidence that velvet antler can alleviate experimentally induced anaemia.
Research on mice suggests that velvet antler supplements inhibited the activity of some enzymes associated with aging while increasing the synthesis of liver and kidney protein by promoting activity of other specific enzymes.
Reviews report that this research is strong evidence of the anti-aging influence of deer velvet.
Although there does not appear to be any evidence that velvet antler can cure cancers, research has demonstrated that velvet may extracts have some anti-tumor (cytotoxic) effects against some forms of cancer cells.
New Zealand research  reports that although the mechanism is unknown velvet antler shows strong anti-inflammatory effects.
Blood Pressure Control
Research has shown that extracts of deer velvet have a strong ability to lower blood pressure in people with normal blood pressure and to stabilise abnormal blood pressure. However Suttie et al advises extreme caution of use of velvet by those with extremely high or low blood pressure.
Bone and Joint Health
It is proposed by researchers that therapies used for the treatment of human bone and joint problems should include the use of glycosaminoglycan-peptides, particularly chondroitin sulphate. Several studies have shown the glycosaminoglycan (GAG) content of velvet antler and in particular the relatively high level of chondroitin sulphate.
Most research suggests that as velvet antler contains significant quantities of chondroitin sulphate, it is worthy of consideration as a treatment for joint and bone inflammation conditions.
Research has identified various natural hormones (growth factors) in velvet antler including IGF-1 (insulin –like Growth Factor-1) and EGF (Epidermal Growth Factor).
Velvet antler may be a natural source of natural hormones for athletes and others who seek a natural aid to muscle growth and development.
Although the mechanisms are yet to be clearly identified, research and anecdotal evidence suggests that velvet antler has a positive effect on athletic performance. Although not all reports are positive, most indicate that the effect is likely to be either prevention or rapid repair (or both) of muscle damage associated with exercise.
Stimulation of the Immune System
Research in Korea, New Zealand and China has shown that velvet antler can stimulate the immune system. Extracts of velvet antler were variously shown to increase macrophage activity, stimulate the production of lymphocytes and increase the number of red and white blood cells.
Each of these effects may directly complement the body’s ability to resist or fight disease and so promote and maintain health and an associated feeling of well being.
The immune stimulation effects shown by research gives support to claims of TCM that velvet antler can have a revitalising effect, especially for people who are immuno-compromised people (those weakened by illness or other stress).