One of the most significant meetings I have had in the last 20 years was with the former head of the Russian strength, weightlifting and bodybuilding programs, Dr. Arkady Koulton, M.D., Ph.D. For 12 years Dr. Koulton was chairman of the Medical Committee of the Russian Body Building Federation and was directing research into anabolic agents that would improve performance, strength and musculature in trained Russian athletes.
Dr. Koulton worked with Russian kayakers, water-sports athletes, weightlifters, bodybuilders, and power-lifters. Upon meeting Dr. Koulton, I began to ask him about discoveries the Russians had made about antler velvet and how they used this product in their training program. Dr. Koulton verified the fact that this product helped work towards increasing muscle strength. But he said it also helped in bringing about neurotropic (nerve-strengthening) properties and could be particularly beneficial in treating infectious diseases, fatigue syndromes, and hypertension associated with his athletes.
Dr. Koulton went on to talk about the time he spent at the Scientific Research Institute of Physical Culture in St. Petersburg, where they had conducted controlled studies on many Olympic athletes in the Soviet Union. Dr. Koulton was involved as a cardiologist and pharmacologist in the study and application of various products and their effects on athletes.
He quickly defined velvet antler as an adaptogen, meaning that wide-ranging benefits for human physiology could be traced back to the entire product complex, which is composed of a variety of ingredients. He said that one can use antler velvet throughout the entire year, cycling on and off the product so as not to allow the body to completely adapt to it. During the eight- to 10-day cycle when the product was being used, he said that his athletes were given three to four tablets per day, and in many cases he gave vitamins B1, BG, B12, and inosine in conjunction with the antler, as ergogenic aids.
In a remarkable statement, Dr. Koulton told me that antler helped to induce significant endurance increases in his athletes. Using pantocrine alone in Russian festival prior to the Olympics, two of his top kayakers and a canoe world record holder obtained astonishing results. Together, they improved their times one week before the race and also improved their speed in rowing.
The use of concentrated, cold-processed velvet antler extract is exquisitely produced to help work towards improving athletic performance. As a dietary supplement it can be used as a training aid, a performance booster, a recovery promoter, a natural substance to help treat athletic injuries, and possibly as a nutraceutical to prevent injury or infection following intense exertion which may lower the immune system. In addition to these benefits, velvet antler concentrate has been shown in recent scientific research to help encourage anabolic (growth-promoting) properties. These uses place velvet antler in between a food and a nutraceutical product.
The benefits of velvet antler for athletic performance are complex, simply because the product contains many varied ingredients that positively enhance athletic performance. The physiological mechanisms involved with improved athletic performance center around increased strength, endurance, oxygen carrying capacity of the blood, oxygen utilization of muscle tissue, repairing of minor tissue damage occurring either during training or competitive sports events, and boosting the immune system of athletes to inhibit compromise during extreme exertion.
Excerpt adapted from: Velvet Deer Antler: The Ultimate Antiaging Supplement by Dr. Alex Duarte, 2000.