The following story is Dr. Alex Duarte's own personal introduction into the use of velvet antler as an anabolic agent.
It was late. I was tired. I had flown from California to the Windy City and was seated in the dining room of one of Chicago's Holiday Inn's waiting for my dinner and a face-to-face meeting with John Abdo, television health and exercise star. The body was tired, but the mind would not stop reeling from the research I had just read on a remarkable medicinal food that was by far the most unique in terms of its athletic building and biological properties.
John had read my books and seen me on television. He knew I was involved in the steroid alternative movement, using natural products to get athletes bigger, stronger, and more muscular without any side effects.
I thought I had studied most of the known natural anabolic and anti-catabolic compounds until I read the story of deer antler. I was also excited in anticipation of meeting one of Russia's greatest scientists who had 1,000 doctors working with him trying to find those natural and synthetic products that would help make weightlifters bigger, stronger, and more able to win gold medals. This man is Arkady Koulton who holds an M.D. and a Ph.D. degree and is considered one of the foremost authorities on anabolic muscle-building compounds.
Finally, my waiting was over, and there before me was John Abdo, a young man in his late 30s, good-looking and well built, with a plethora of information which he had gathered in Russia. In my conversation with John, I learned that he had gone to great lengths to discover the secrets of the Russian Olympic machine, specifically the Russian weightlifters and strength athletes. Aside from the exercises, volume training, and intensity of workout frequency, he also learned about the enhancement and ergogenic products the Russians were using in addition to, or instead of, the anabolic steroids.
In answer to my many questions, John told me about the work of Dr. Victor Sheynkin and Professor Ury Verhoshansky. Professor Verhoshansky was a former Soviet national weight- lifting champion. At a bodyweight of 132 pounds, he could snatch over 286 pounds, clean and jerk well over 360 pounds, and had now become a Soviet Olympic coach.
Sheynkin and Verhoshansky both admitted that their athletes had taken steroids, and I was later to learn that their athletes had numerous health problems; some had even died of complications from steroids. There was now an intense movement in Russia to find anything, even natural products, that could build strength, power, and endurance without side effects. So the question John asked during his visit was, "What about anabolic, nontoxic, non-banned products that could be used in competition by your athletes to promote strength and recuperation?"
It was Sheynkin who divulged two of the more important Russian discoveries: first, a fungus they eat which grows on the bottoms of certain rocks, and second, deer antler velvet. But Sheynkin went on to explain that the deer antler velvet must be harvested at just the right time of year, in the right stage of growth. If these conditions are not met, the product becomes worthless and has no anabolic effects whatever.
The Russian scientists gave John two boxes of deer antler velvet, which he took home. Once home, John discussed his discovery with a friend who was 12 weeks away from a major competition in world championship powerlifting. And of course, being a good friend, John gave this man all of the deer antler product. As expected, for several weeks John's friend went on to break several records.
Excerpt adapted from: Velvet Deer Antler: The Ultimate Antiaging Supplement by Dr. Alex Duarte, 2000.