Are deer antlers really the source of a performance-enhancing drug?
Reports claim deer antler helped Ray Lewis overcome his recent triceps tear, and Vijay Singh has admitted to using a spray supplement. University of Alabama football players also allegedly used deer antler sprays leading up to the BCS National Title Game. Whether or not those reports are true, one thing is certain: There’s not much proof that deer antler is a performance enhancer or a miraculous healer.
First, the facts: Deer antler has been a popular element of Eastern medicine for centuries. And—like red meat, eggs, or milk—deer antler contains small amounts of insulin-like growth factor 1, or IGF-1, explains Oliver Catlin, president of the Banned Substances Control Group (BSCG), which tests dietary supplements for illegal performance enhancers.