Constituents and Analysis of Deer Antler Velvet March 12, 2016 15:06 4 Comments

The sectional analysis of Velvet Antler can be separated into 3 dominant areas concerning constituents and the desired benefits of supplementation.

  1. Overview
    1. Constituents
      1. Growth Factors
        1. IGF-1 and IGF-2
  2. Tips and Uppers - tines
  3. Middles - shafts and branches
  4. Bottoms - trunks


Within the deer antler velvet industry there are three sections used to identify the composition of velvet antler. The jelly Tips and Uppers are generally from the end to the first fork and are found as any additional tines. The next section is the Middles and goes from top fork to the next fork down the main shaft and is also found in the same range on advancer branches. Lastly is the Bottoms which includes a flattened center section known as the trunk.

Deer Antler Velvet and its Potency is Understood by Three Sections: Tips and Uppers, Middles, and Bottoms

Each Section Contains Constituents Necessary for a Full Potency Deer Antler Velvet Supplement

Like many tonic adaptogens, the composition of deer antler velvet has hundreds of constituents. Velvet antler is predominantly protein, but each section contains different concentrations of particular constituent groupings.

Tips and Uppers – The tine is also known as the Wax or Jelly Piece due to its fatty glossy texture. In this section is found the highest amounts of:

  • Lipids
  • Growth factors
  • Polysaccharides
  • Hormones.

Middles – The shaft is known as the Blood Piece from the larger amount of vessels found in the interior. This section is rich in:

  • Type II collagen
  • Proteoglycans
  • Glycosaminoglycans
  • Polysaccharides.

Bottoms – The trunk, or flattened base section, known as the Bone Piece, is completely hollow inside with very high concentrations of:

  • Bioavailable Minerals
  • Amino Acids
  • Enzyme Cofactors
  • Bone Stem Cells

The above listing came from a couple published sources. Although there is some variance between what each source considers which part we have tried to simplify it and make it easier to understand. The internet is ripe with experts who will tell you much information that is false. For example: some may claim that deer antler velvet contain "ash". Indeed ash is what you get when you burn it at high temperatures. Ash is actually the mineral content, just like wood ashes is actually the mineral of wood.


Deer antler velvet contains hundreds of studied and analyzed constituents that work in synergism to promote the various benefits for health and well-being. One may gain further understanding via a sectional analysis of the content of various parts of the whole deer antler stick. Below is a listing of the most recognized active constituents that will be found within either the extract or powder.

  • Type II Collagen
  • Glycosaminoglycans
    • Hyaluronic Acid (Hyaluronan)
    • Mucopolysaccharides
    • GAGRA [Glycosant]
    • Glucosamine Sulfate
    • Chondroitin Sulfate
  • Polysaccharides
  • Gangliosdes
  • Chondroblasts
  • Fibroblasts
  • Chondocytes
  • Osteocytes
  • Ursolic Acid
  • Amino Acids
    • BCAAs
    • 9 essential amino acids
    • 13 non-essential acids
  • Bioavailable Minerals
    • Calcium Hydroxyapatite
    • Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Sulfur, Iron, Selenium, Zinc, Copper, Potassium, Cobalt, Sodium
    • Trace Minerals
  • Lipids
    • Ectosaponins
    • Phospholipids
    • Prostaglandins
    • Glycosphingolipids
    • Lecithin
  • Many Various Anabolic Hormones
  • Growth Factors
    • IGF-1, IGF-2
    • Transforming Growth Factor-Beta (TGF-B1, TGF-B2, TGF-B3)
      • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins (BMP)
      • Growth Differentiation Factor-9 (GDF-9)
    • Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF)
      • Transforming Growth Factor-Alpha (TGF-A)
    • Erythropoietin (EPO)
    • Fibroblast Growth Factors (FGF)
    • Platelet Derived Growth Factor (PDGF)
      • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF)
    • Nerve Growth Factor (NGF)
    • Cytokines [Interleukins]

Growth Factors

Most unique of the many bioavailable constituents found within deer antler velvet is a special class of proteins or peptides, known as growth factors which are also considered anabolic hormones. These molecules signal our various cellular structures for proliferation, regeneration and growth. They promote cellular metabolism by increasing the uptake of nutrition and other related compounds.

The Most Recognized Growth Factor in Velvet Antler is IGF-1

insulin-like growth factor one igf1

IGF-1 Exhibits Anabolic Effects in Adults

The growth factor matrix found within deer antler velvet confirms the long held uses of many cultures around the world that use this tonic in delayed development of children and those who exhibit hormonal insufficiency. It also validates the modern uses in anti-aging by preserving and promoting lean mass (organ and muscle tissue), as well as overall recovery rates and regeneration of injured tissues. In addition, these factors easily show the growing popularity as a sports performance enhancement supplement and weight training bodybuilding supplement.

  • IGF-1, IGF-2

    Similar in structure to certain hormones, this peptide is important for childhood growth and its anabolic effects in adults. It is naturally produced in the liver, but this capacity declines as we age. As a primary mediator for hormones that are  involved in the process required for the growth of skeletal muscle, cartilage, bone, nerve, skin and several organs. It regulates the cellular development and promotes the effects of growth in every cell within the body. Additionally it has glucose metabolism effects that regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates, fat and the absorption of blood glucose by the muscles.

    IGF-1 Mediates the Effects of Many Hormones

    igf-1 insulin-like growth factor one

     IGF 1 & 2 Exhibit Anabolic Actions within the Body

    • IGF-2

    Has nearly the same functions of cell growth, cell dividing and proliferation and glucose metabolism effects while binding to the same receptor sites as IGF-1. Its differentiation is found in that it plays more of a role in fetal development during gestation.

    • Transforming Growth Factor-Beta (TGF-B1, TGF-B2, TGF-B3)

    This name recognizes a huge super family of growth factors that control differentiation and growth of numerous cells throughout the body. It has a crucial role in the regeneration of existing tissues, wound healing and physical trauma recovery. They play a role in the function and development of various organs, immunity, and the central nervous system.  

      • Bone Morphogenetic Proteins (BMP)

    Important to signaling the development of hard tissues throughout the body. They were originally found by their ability to promote the formation of cartilage tissue and post-natal bone matrix. These proteins also develop and regenerate the basis of the central nervous system, known as neural plates, and the complete and functional development of the heart.

      • Growth/Differentiation Factor 9 (GDF9)

    Also part of the TGF-B family these factors are known to play a role in female fertility. They are involved with female development, female ovulation and oocytes (immature egg cells).

    • Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF)

    Is a polypeptide that is critical for the growth, maintenance, differentiation and survival of cellular tissues throughout the body, such as lymph, nerve and skin cells. It promotes proliferation of the cells and has been found to have specific functions concerning the integrity of the digestive tract.

      • Transforming Growth Factor-Alpha (TGF-A)

    This polypeptide has a main function of being required for the signaling of EGF and other proteins in the process of growth, maintenance, differentiation and survival of cellular tissues. It assist the neuroendocrine system and the regeneration of vascular tissue and is required for many growth factors to function appropriately.

    • Erythropoietin (EPO)

    A hormone essential to the formation and protection of red blood cells, as well as the process involved with the formation and regeneration of vascular tissue, known as angiogenesis. Preliminary studies suggests that EPO may elicit effects on the hippocampus and greatly assist memory and mood

    • Fibroblast Growth Factors (FGFs)

    These are commonly found in the processes of cell division of various tissues and are involved with bodily regulation, endocrine signaling, and the structuring of organs, glands, and other systems throughout the body. This large family of growth factors of over twenty-two variations are directly involved with wound healing. They assist proper growth throughout our developmental years, as well as regeneration of neural, vascular and hard tissues, such as cartilage.

      • Platelet Derived Growth Factor (PDGF)

      Is directly involved with cell division and regulating cell growth of soft tissue, smooth tissue, such as vascular, and the myelin of nerve tissue. Specifically it mitigates the proliferation of cells involved with blood vessel formation and the regeneration of existing vascular tissue. It is required for fibroblasts to function in wound healing and decreases the time for collagen to form within the matrix of skin cells.

        • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF)

      These peptides are involved in the processes of vasculogenesis, the formation of blood vessels from scratch, and angiogenesis, the regeneration of blood vessels. They create new blood vessels in embryonic development, after injury in associated tissues, and after exercise in the muscles. As part of the system that promotes the development of vessels, they increase oxygenation and the circulation of blood in deprived tissues.

        Nerve Growth Factor is Important for the Central Nervous System

        • Nerve Growth Factor (NGF)

        These proteins are directly responsible for the growth, maintenance, and survival of sympathetic and sensory neurons (nerve cells). They have been shown to promote the repair of peripheral nerves, the protective myelin, and possibly brain tissue. Their concentration is critical in regulating homeostasis throughout the entire body. 

        • Cytokines [Interleukins]

        Our immune responses depend on the activity of Interleukins which are naturally produced by wide variety of cells within the body. The name originally derives from these factors being expressed by white blood cells, known as leukocytes, in initial studies. The majority of Interleukins function in the immune and lymph systems, but there are also nervous and glandular benefits. Some studies have shown effects on the Hippocampus, known to be involved in memory, learning and emotions.

        Sectional Benefits

        Each section lends a plenitude of constituents for a synergism of benefits and results.

        Tips and Uppers

        Deer antler velvet tips and uppers, also known as tines, are the ends found on a velvet antler sticks. They are known as the wax or jelly piece by the industry due to its oily and glossy texture. It is brown and the interior is soft. . They are considered a luxury in china and are responsible for some of the overall benefits of supplementation with deer antler velvet.

        This section is known for promoting heart, nerve and endocrine health. Traditionally this tonic adaptogen is known for promoting bodily growth and its duo-directional immunomodulating attributes.

        • Nerve and Heart Function
        • Endocrine Function
        • Bodily Growth
        • Immunomodulating

        The Numerous Tines of a Velvet Antler Rack Contain Lipids and Unique Peptides

        Deer Antler Velvet Tips and Uppers Contain Very Small Amounts of Key Signaling Molecules

        This section contains the highest amount of lipids that assist the nerve, heart and endocrine function.  It is high in in essential fatty acids such as linolenic acid, and other lipid molecules known as phospholipids, prostaglandins, and naturally occuring hormones. A special grouping of fat structures, called ectosaponins, are responsible for regeneration and the quickened growth of tissues.

        Additionally the largest amount of growth factors are present in this section. These unique peptides are responsible for proliferation of cells and tissues throughout the various bodily systems.  More than a dozen have been isolated from velvet antler such as IGF-1, epidermal growth factor (EGF), nerve growth factor (NGF) and interleukins (cytokines).

        Lastly, as within the middles section, we find Polysaccharides that are known to have preventative immunomodulating benefits that will benefit both an underactive immune system and an overactive immune system. As the tips do not contain essential minerals and cofactors one must additionally supplement with the bottoms section for full synergistic potency.

        Although there is major discrepancy between sources, especially on the internet, and purveyors who sell multi-hundred dollar bottles of deer antler velvet the tips and uppers are actually quite focused in their narrow amount of benefits. Many retailers put only a few grams of just this section in their entire bottle. Why not add the rest of the whole antler stick? This is why we choose to reference published works by trustworthy researchers.

        The tips and uppers are highest in our Power Velvet supplement.


        Deer antler velvet middles, also known as the shaft and branches, are the long sections found from top fork to the next fork down and are also found in the same range on the advancer branches. It is traditionally called the Blood Piece from the larger amount of vessels found in the interior that feed the fast annual growth of velvet antler.

        This section contains constituents that support joint health, such as tendon, ligaments and cartilage. It is high in proteins that are the as promote the repair and restructuring of skin muscle and vascular tissues.

        • Joint Health
        • Cellular Health
        • Tissue Regenerative
        • Blood Building

        Deer Antler Middles Contain Many Different Raw Materials for Regeneration and Growth

        The Shaft and Branches of Velvet Antler Contain Many Key Constituents for Joint Health

        This middles are full of the highly bioavailable type II collagen and free form amino acids which are readily used in nearly all soft tissues of the body, as well as joint tissue and function. We gain benefit from proteoglycans such as hyaluronan (hyaluronic acid) that also assist joint function, injury recovery and have profound anti-aging benefits. Additionally we find complex carbohydrate structures such as polysaccharides, also found in the tips and uppers , and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), specifically mucopolysaccharides, which are easily recognized as glucosamine sulfate and chondroitin sulfate that assist mobility and flexibility. A full potency tonic adaptogen requires the inclusion of necessary minerals, that are not manufactured by the body, and essential co-factors found in the bottoms.

        The middles are indeed one of the most important parts of deer antler velvet consumption. We have selected relevant sources that cite information that most of the recovery and regenerative capacities are offered by this section. When added to both other sections of whole stick velvet we gain a very powerful synergistic supplement.


        Deer antler velvet bottoms, also known as the flattened center trunk, are the section towards the base. It is traditionally called the Bone Piece due to a mineralization and its harder structure, only a very small amount of the whole stick is the bottoms, but it does contain many important enzyme synergist that activation each formulation for maximum effectiveness.

        This section contains constituents that support joints and the crystalline matrix of bones, as well as structural components and co-factors and that are important for cellular and enzyme functions.

        • Joint and Bone Health
        • Flexibility and Mobility
        • Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus
        • Trace Minerals

        Deer Antler Velvet Bottoms Contain Bioavailable Minerals and Co-factors for Optimal Efficacy

        The Trunk of Velvet Antler is a Synergist for the Many Unique Constituents Found in the Other Sections

        The composition of the bottoms contains joint and bone support in the form of type II collagen, proteoglycans, hyaluronic acid and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs). Additionally we find large amounts of calcium hydroxyapatite in bioavailable balance with the necessary synergist minerals, phosphorus and magnesium, for optimal absorption which will support cellular functions and the complete structuring of bone matrix. Trace minerals cofactors, such as selenium, copper, zinc, cobalt and iron, are important to overall health and enzyme function and, in combination, support every bodily system. Other cofactors include bone stem cells known as chondroblasts and fibroblasts. As with all tonic adaptogens, these elements and cofactors are necessary concerning the signaling molecules found in the tips and uppers and the raw materials found in the middles .

        The bottoms are such a small amount of the deer antler velvet that many purveyors don't use them and claim that other manufactures use only this part. Out of 2,000,000 pounds of deer antler velvet produced annually, why would they only sell the bottoms? Regardless adding what small amount we can greatly enhances the formulation. A few "expert" internet sources claim that the bottoms are mainly "ash". Bucks and stags do not grow ash, ash is actually created by burning the whole stick. What is leftover is minerals, which some ignorant folks call useless ash. For example: wood ash from a fireplace is in fact only the leftover minerals.

        Deer Antler Velvet Resources and References

        • Internet Sources
          • general access to antler section of website -
        • Books
          • Davidson, Allison, Velvet Antler. Connecticut. 2000. Print.
          • Kamen, Betty PhD and Paul, The Remarkable Healing Power of Velvet Antler. Novato California, Nutrition Encounter. 2003. Print.
        • Textbooks
          • Bensky, Clavey, Stoger, Chinese Herbal Medicine: Materia Medica 3rd Edition. Seattle Washington, Eastland Press, 2004. Print

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