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Deer Antler Velvet Side Effects

Don’t try deer antler velvet until you read this

Competitive athletes are always looking for an edge. Unfortunately, more thought is given to glory and performance, and little to none about the side effects.

Now that the World Anti-Doping Agency has removed deer antler velvet from its banned substance list, the ingredient has become more popular than ever. Everyone wants to know why their favorite athletes were taking this substance and what it can do for them.

But what about the side effects? Let’s explore deer velvet antler side effects in depth.

Increased Estrogen

Like other new dietary supplements, there’s not much information about whether deer antler velvet is safe, or what side effects to expect.[1] As it continues to grow in popularity, however, more anecdotal side effect reports will surface.

Currently, anecdotal evidence suggests deer antler velvet increases estrogen.[2] For men, too much estrogen leads to development of breasts, having too much abdominal weight, feeling tired, suffering loss of muscle mass, and emotional disturbances.[3]

For women, estrogen side effects include upset stomach, nausea, headache, changes in weight, breast tenderness, or behavioral changes.[4]

WebMD experts also explain not enough is known about deer antler velvet supplementation during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Consequently, it’s best to “stay on the safe side and avoid use.”[1]

Furthermore, “If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, don’t use deer velvet.” These conditions include breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids.[1]

What Are You Really Getting?

Deer Antler Velvet Side Effects

Other side effects to consider from deer antler velvet are reactions to substances used to harvest the antler. Carcinogenic substances like xylazine have been found in deer antler product, and the tranquilizers and anesthetics used to remove the horn often make their way into the product.[5]

One article investigating deer antler velvet quoted Glendale internist Steve E. Kasper as saying, “Most of that stuff is harmless, but you never know what they ground up with the antler. Twigs? Bark? Rhino horn? Plastic bags?”[6]

Positive Side Effects

Some sites indicate deer antler velvet is a “worry-free product” and the only side effects are positive.[7] These positive side effects include enhanced insulin receptor sensitivity, improved nerve function, and better immune response.[7]

What’s more, these positive side effects are attributed to the IGF-1 present in velvet deer antler.[7] IGF-1 is a powerful growth hormone stimulator. It is widely believed to have anti-aging properties thanks to effects on the pituitary gland.[8]

IGF-1 is also the reason velvet deer antler was originally banned by the WADA. IGF-1 is still considered a banned substance; however, deer antler is now allowed because it only contains trace IGF-1 amounts.[9]

Are the Side Effects Worth It?

At least for now, deer antler is safe and not considered a banned substance. But what does the future hold?

No long term studies have been conducted on deer antler; therefore, nothing is known about adverse side effects from prolonged deer antler use. Consequently, it’s best to exercise caution when using deer antler velvet.


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    Comments (7)


    May 12, 2014


    It seems that WebMD is the only site that claims that Deer Antler Velvet increases estrogen. I cannot find any study conclusively demonstrating this. Could you please direct me to the research study? Thanks!

      Mike Jackson

      Mike Jackson

      May 12, 2014


      Thanks for reaching out Jim. You’re right, there isn’t any conclusive studies demonstrating that deer antler velvet increases estrogen, nor does this article say that there are. There is only anecdotal evidence suggesting this as is cited with the WebMD reference you mentioned as well as here.


    February 28, 2015

    makes sense

    From what I have read and understand, deer/elk antler is a natural testosterone booster, it only makes sense that boosting one’s test, your body would try and compensate for the imbalance by increasing estrogen….I have seen many products out there claiming to block or retard the body’s response to increased test levels and inhibit the production of estrogen.

    Not to sure on it though. ..I have tried using products containing DAA and found that they do seem to do what they claim as a recent hospital visit had a full blood work up done on me and my test levels came back as high. No mention if estrogen levels were effected though. .

    I am interested in trying deer antler products but from what I have heard and read, the supplement can’t be effective orally. .it has to go directly to the blood stream. .I am certainly not ready to start shooting up.


      March 31, 2017

      to mike from feb 2015 (Edited)

      Looks like this site sells the exact same one I got from Puritans Pride ($18.99) for $4 cheaper – guess I will buy from here instead from now on 🙂

      April 7, 2017

      It has shown no side effects.....and I dont have boobs ... yet!

      Hi Guys… I have been taking Deer antler as in the box shown. for 2 years now and for Erectile Dysfunction.
      It is extremely helpful in this respect and works in 15 minutes and the effects last possibly for about 30 hours…. I have not noticed any adverse side effects at all, and I am happy with the result.


    January 20, 2017

    Side effects for women

    Within 4 months I had to stop and take a lower dose (1drop) take two days then skip next day do lower the change of my side effects. However my side effects still continued. During ovulation I would have spotting, cramps, mood swings, and had notice weifht gain but that could be from lifting heavy, high protein intake. It did at first make me feel good but the side effects were not worth it for me, too much estrogen. Hope this helps.



    January 27, 2019

    Definite Gain in Muscle Mass

    I’ve been using pure velvet brand for 6 months and I have seen and felt a significant increase in muscle mass and strength. I’m 55 years old and weight train 3 times a week and I had thought I had reached my potential and in fact, I was ready to expect a decrease due to my age. But, since I started taking pure velvet, I have seen continued significant muscle mass increases as well as increase in strength and libido. I wasn’t suffering in any of these areas so I was surprised to see such a significant increase. I have not experienced any negative side effects. Ive even been asked by younger women if I take steroids. The harvesting method and processing method I think plays a huge role in the effectiveness and safety. I’m interested to see how much more, if any, muscle mass I can achieve with this product.


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