Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Deer Antler Spray...The Part The Sports Talk Jocks Ignore.


There has been a whole lot of talk out there in the zeitgeist during the last 24 hours or so about this (alleged) miracle snake oil potion called 'Deer Antler Spray'.

Which has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the Grinch's 'antler dog', Max.

Instead, it has come to a billion or so people's attention in the last 'news' cycle because Sports Illustrated is claiming that one of the football players involved in this weekend's Super Bowl used the stuff while recovering from an injury last fall.

Which is neither here nor there.

Because it is not the spray itself that matters, or where it comes from, but instead what the snake oil salesmen who are pushing the stuff are claiming is in it that is the real thing to focus on here.

Interestingly, however, just about every sports talk jock I've heard babble on about this matter has lumped the spray and the claimed magic 'ingredient' together and then laughed off both.


I'm extremely skeptical that this spray can deliver this magic 'ingredient' in any sort of bioavailable/useful form.

But I can see why athletes that want to enhance their healing, their performance and/or their longevity could be bamboozled into trying to get the stuff into their bodies.

Because this magic ingredient, referred to haltingly by the talk jocks as Eye....Gee...Eff...One, is actually something called 'Insulin-like Growth Factor - 1' (IGF-1).

Which matters because:

1) IGF-1 is a powerful non-steroidal mass-building 'anabolic' compound.

2) Normally, IGF-1 is something that your liver makes gobs of when your pituitary gland pumps out human growth hormone (hGH)....In other words, IGF-1 is one of the compounds that actually does the job of hGH (think of hGF as being like your foot and the IGF-1 as the gas peddle that revs your body's mass-building engine.

3) Claims have been made that IGF-1 also has anti-aging properties.

Got it now?

Clearly, the quick-to-derision, know-it-all talk-jocks don't.

The thing about IGF-1 that makes it highly unlikely that the claims about the Antler Spray are credible is the fact that the factor (ha!) is extremely labile and that it actually sticks to a bunch of binding proteins when it moves, primarily after it is produced in the liver, through the blood to get to places like muscle tissue where it does it's thing by binding to a bunch of goal post-like molecular thingies on the surface of the cells (i.e. the 'receptors')...Thus, a topical spray as an efficacious delivery vehicle looks to be iffy at best...But I would assert that any athlete that is spraying themselves with the stuff (over and over and over and over again, apparently, in the case of at least one professional golfer) is not doing it because they want to be friends with the Grinch and/or are on a quest to end up as one-off in a Matt Good song.
Regarding the laughing derision of something as weird as 'antler spray' from the talking jocks....I wonder if they know where most of the 'natural' anabolic steroid/testosterone used to come from (and where the name of the steroid itself came from as well)?
Finally, the fountain-of-youth claims are actually based on really, really cool science in...get this!...round worms!


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