To determine the effects of deer antler velvet on maximal aerobic performance and the trainability of muscular strength and endurance, 38 active males were randomly assigned in a double-blind fashion to either deer antler velvet extract (n = 12), powder (n = 13), or placebo groups (n = 13). Subjects were tested prior to beginning supplementation and a 10-week strength program, and immediately post-training. All subjects were measured for circulating levels of testosterone, insulin-like growth factor, erythropoietin, red cell mass, plasma volume, and total blood volume. Additionally, muscular strength, endurance, and VO2max were determined. All groups improved 6 RM strength equivalently (41 ± 26%, p < .001), but there was a greater increase in isokinetic knee extensor strength (30 ± 21% vs. 13 ± 15%, p = .04) and endurance (21 ± 19% vs. 7 ± 12%, p = .02) in the powder compared to placebo group. There were no endocrine, red cell mass or VO2max changes in any group. These findings do not support an erythropoetic or aerobic ergogenic effect of deer antler velvet. Further, the inconsistent findings regarding the effects of deer antler velvet powder supplementation on the development of strength suggests that further work is required to test the robustness of the observation that this supplement enhances the strength training response and to ensure this observation is not a type I error.
G. Sleivert is with the Faculty of Kinesiology at the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada E3B 5A3. V. Burke and C. Palmer were formerly with the School of Physical Education at the University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand. D. Gerrard is with the School of Medicine at the University of Otago. A. Walmsley is with the Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health at Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand. S. Haines and R. Littlejohn are with AgResearch Ltd in the Invermay Agricultural Centre, Private Bag 50034, Mosgiel, New Zealand.