In recent in vitro and in vivo studies support this use, and have suggested that velvet antler may indeed be beneficial to joint function. There are many studies undertaken by hundreds of scientists from around the world but we will look specifically at those that may be helpful for those suffering from Rheumatoid Arthritis.
The precise mechanism of any effect of velvet antler on joint function is not known, although immunoregulatory and anti-inflammatory activities and an apparent ability to inhibit connective tissue degradation may play important roles. Deer velvet contains chondroitin sulphate, which has been shown to be clinically effective for treatment of arthritis.
Whilst there are some incredible studies being undertaken on the effects of Deer Antler Velvet, we are still somewhat ironically on the forefront of scientific understanding. This is not to be implied that Deer Antler Velvet use in this way is new, the medical use of Deer Antler Velvet has been a common practice in Chinese medicine for the last 2000 years. It is only now in western medicine that we're opening our eyes and studying its powerful abilities as with so many other Chinese and natural remedies or ingredients.
In Korea, Deer Antler Velvet is a widely used treatment for some immune-related diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Studies of rheumatoid arthritis have shown that velvet extract was able to inhibit the development of the disease. (Kim et al. 2003; Kang et al. 2006; Suh et al. 2007; Kim et al. 2008a; Kim et al. 2008b). Velvet treatment had significant effects on a range of factors associated with the onset of arthritis, including suppression of the excessive rises in inflammatory mediators (Kim et al. 2003; Kang et al. 2006; Suh et al. 2007), inhibition of abnormally high activities of synovial fluid proteases (Suh et al. 2007; Kim et al. 2008a), prevention of oxidative damage to synovial fluid proteins by reactive oxygen free radical species (ROS) (Kim et al. 2008a), and inhibition of leukocytosis (Kim et al. 2008b). In collagen-induced arthritis it inhibited the formation of anti-collagen antibodies (Kim et al. 2003; Kang et al. 2006; Suh et al. 2007). Velvet extract alleviated reductions in bone minerals, strength and trabecular bone formation and the increase in osteoclast number (Kim et al. 2005).
Another study (Ghosh et al. 2001) found that Deer Antler Velvet and Ginseng also provided protection against arthritis when administered orally. Measures of acute inflammatory activity were decreased when treated with 2-4 capsules per day
(Ghosh et al. 2001), and the destruction of cartilage and bone in knee joints was also substantially reduced.
The use of deer velvet powder to alleviate symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis has also been investigated in two larger clinical studies. The first was an initial phase II trial (Allen et al. 2002a; Allen et al. 2004a) that was intended to assess the safety of velvet taken together with standard rheumatoid arthritis medications.
Forty patients with stage II rheumatoid arthritis were randomly assigned to groups of 10 patients each. One group received placebo and the other three groups received 2, 4, or 6 capsules of velvet powder daily for one month. In addition, all subjects continued to take their conventional arthritis medications (e.g. non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, disease-modulating arthritis drugs, and analgesics).
At the end of the study, there were no significant differences between groups in the number of adverse events or health status. However, the greatest improvement was in the group receiving 6 capsules of pure deer antler velvet, and the least was in the placebo group. It was concluded that deer antler velvet could be taken safely in conjunction with a number of rheumatoid arthritis medications and warranted further study to assess efficacy.
In a follow-up triple-blind placebo-controlled study (Allen et al. 2008), 168 patients with stage 2 to 3 rheumatoid arthritis and suffering residual symptoms after standard treatment were randomly assigned to receive either velvet (1000 mg) or a placebo, daily for 6 months.
Measures included patient assessment of pain, tender and swollen joint counts, patient and physician assessments of disease activity, patient questionnaires of functional ability and quality of life, and blood tests for C-reactive protein (a marker of acute inflammation).
Individuals in the velvet group reports documented that they felt better following treatment, whereas none in the placebo group showed a similar improvement. These factors led the study authors to suggest that deer velvet may have a positive effect in some individuals with rheumatoid arthritis.
These above are some scientific studies taken place under strict conditions in accordance with scientific methodology. Whilst everyone is different, it is worthy of mention that since the first release of these studies many people with Rheumatoid Arthritis have tried Pure Deer Antler Velvet to aid their condition, with a great number reporting positive effects. We have some of their testimonials available on our home page with more coming.