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WPEC-TV CBS12 News :: Sports - Controversial powers of deer antler velvet

Controversial powers of deer antler velvet

Story by Matt Lincoln / CBS12 Sports
A controversial nutraceutical is the newest popular supplement for professional athletes. It is so hard to detect, that many professional athletes are using it even though it is illegal in some of their sports.
Those who use deer antler velvet says it'll make you feel younger, and a lot healthier. That it will give you more energy, and help you recover.
It almost sounds too good to be true - a snake oil, or daffy's elixir for the 21st century. You can find deer antler velvet on the shelves at local stores like Nutrition World in Palm Beach Gardens. Prices can range anywhere from $40 to $130. For the people that use it, they say it’s well worth it.
Nutrition Consultant Vanesa Hotchkiss has been taking deer antler velvet for 25 years. It's helped reduce inflammation, clear her mind after a concussion and given her more energy. “The proof is in the pudding,” said Hotchkiss. “I take it first hand and I know customers who take it first hand, and I can say the results have always been really good.”
But it's not the general health aspects of deer antler velvet that has it in the news. It's the growth factors within the velvet that interest professional athletes.
Ray Lewis reportedly took deer antler velvet to help his triceps heal before the Super Bowl.
West Palm Beach native, and former NFL player Heath Evans is one of the most outspoken proponents of deer antler. He takes it for recovery from concussions.
Vijay Singh is one of a number of older golfers that take velvet for muscle support and recovery.
Dr. Gary Ackerman, the team doctor for the USTA works locally at Palm Beach Sportsmedicine.  He has heard a few of these anecdotal stories, but he believes the deer antler spray's all-healing powers are just hocus pocus.
“It's not detected in urine, that's why athletes like it,” says Ackerman. “It has a lot of people saying that it does a lot of great things, but there's nothing out there that shows it. Just because it works for one athlete, doesn't mean it will work for you.”
dr. ackerman says there's a placebo effect with any nutritional supplement like this.  A consumer takes it, plus they may exercise more, or rest more, or eat better, or maybe their health improves on its own. But the user credits the velvet for their improvement. Without rigorous scientific proof, says Ackerman, there's no way to tell it it’s really the velvet doing the work. “If (my patients) really want to try it, I tell them go ahead. There's no real downside to it, but it's not something I recommend.”
At Powerhouse Gym in West Palm Beach, I went looking for local athletes, and if any of them had tried, or would try, deer antler velvet for recovery.
Local trainer Andy Snyder said: “I don't know anyone who's taken deer antler spray, and says it works.”
Weightlifter Jared Duffy tried the velvet antler, and claimed it tasted like dirt.
Another local, Adrian Stone, said: “I only eat chicken breasts and protein shakes, if you take anything else, you're cheating yourself.”
Deer antler velvet divides medical professionals who live by it and those that deny it, and athletes that use it, and those that won't touch it.  As for whether it will help you - it all depends on whether you believe in the hocus pocus.
Earlier this month, the world anti-doping agency took deer antler velvet off their banned substance list. The PGA tour then ended Vijay Singh's probation, who has since brought up a defamation lawsuit against the tour. Deer antler velvet is still illegal to use for NFL players.Controversial powers of deer antler velvet

Saturday, August 3 2013, 04:51 PM EDT

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Last Update on July 24, 2014 02:47 GMT


UNDATED (AP) -- The Tampa Bay Rays just keep winning. The Rays, who got off to an awful start the first two months of the season, captured their seventh in a row with a 3-0 whitewash of the St. Louis Cardinals. The Rays have won 25 of 36 and are 13-4 in July.

Alex Cobb and two relievers combined on a five-hit shutout. Cobb struck out 10 in his seven innings. He's 6-6. It's the fourth time he has thrown at least seven innings without an earned run this season. Cobb missed 50 games last season with a concussion after being hit by a liner.

That moves the Rays within four games of .500 and within striking distance of the wild card hunt.

The loss drops the Cardinals two and a-half games back of division-leading Milwaukee in the NL Central.


-- The 41-year-old Bartolo Colon (bar-TOH'-loh koh-LOHN') came within seven outs of a perfect game as he retired the first 20 batters in the New York Mets' 3-2 win at Seattle. Colon finally gave up a single to Robinson Cano (kan-OH') and improved his overall mark to 9-8 this season and 13-1 all-time at Safeco Field. The rotund right-hander wound up giving up two runs and three hits in 7 1/3 innings.

-- Jorge De La Rosa struck out a season-high 11 as he pitched efficiently into the eighth inning and the wobbly Colorado bullpen held off Washington's late rally, helping the Rockies snap a seven-game skid with a 6-4 win over the Nationals. LaTroy Hawkins got out of a bases loaded jam in the ninth to help De La Rosa improve to 11-6. He is 42-14 lifetime at Coors Field.

-- Atlanta moved within a game of the NL East-leading Nationals by trouncing Miami 6-1. Freddie Freeman hit a three-run home run, ending a 2-for-44 slump. Ervin Santana improved to 9-6.

-- Pittsburgh downed the L.A. Dodgers 6-1. Josh Harrison had two hits with two RBIs. His two-run double highlighted a four-run first inning against loser Dan Haren, who fell to 8-8.

-- Miguel Cabrera hit a three-run homer, Austin Jackson a three-run double and the Detroit Tigers wore out the Arizona Diamondbacks 11-5 in a slugfest at Chase Field. Each team rapped out 13 hits as the Tigers built an early 7-0 lead after four innings against Trevor Cahill, who fell to 1-7.

-- Toronto slapped Boston 6-4. Jose Bautista homered and drove in two runs. Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey won for the first time in three starts and improved to 8-10.

-- The Reds were just the cure for what ailed Milwaukee. The Brewers completed a three-game sweep of Cincinnati with a 5-1 victory, after having lost 13 of their previous 16 heading into the series. Mark Reynolds entered the game hitting .199, but had three hits including two home runs and drove in three.

-- Mike Moustakas scored the tiebreaking run in the top of the ninth inning when White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers couldn't handle a throw home, giving Kansas City a 2-1 win over the White Sox. Adam Eaton's strong throw beat Moustakas to the plate, but Flowers lost control of the ball when the runner slid into him.

-- Fill-in starter Anthony Swarzak worked four perfect innings of the five he pitched in a fill-in start, helping Minnesota top Cleveland 3-1. Swarzak got the nod for Kyle Gibson who is having back problems. Swarzak allowing 2 hits and the lone Cleveland run.


UNDATED (AP) -- The Washington Nationals have placed third baseman/outfielder Ryan Zimmerman on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring. He was injured in the sixth inning Tuesday night while running out a grounder. The 29-year-old Zimmerman missed 44 games with a fractured right thumb earlier this season.

The Nationals are 33-19 this year with Zimmerman in the lineup. He's hitting .282 with five homers and 36 RBIs.

In other baseball news:

-- San Diego Padres outfielder Cameron Maybin has been suspended for 25 games after testing positive for an amphetamine. He is batting .247 with one home run and nine RBIs in 62 games this season.


DENVER (AP) -- Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen is giving up control of the team to deal with Alzheimer's disease. The team has announced that the 70-year-old will no longer be a part of the team's daily operations. Team president Joe Ellis will take over after being named the Broncos' chief executive officer.

After acknowledging in 2009 that he suffered short-term memory loss, he stepped back from day-to-day operations in 2011 when he promoted Ellis to president.

The Broncos say the ownership of the team is held in a trust and the hope is that one of Bowlen's children will run the team one day.

Under Bowlen's guidance, the Broncos made six Super Bowl appearances.


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) -- Tight end Rob Gronkowski has been cleared to play by the New England Patriots. Coach Bill Belichick (BEHL'-ih-chik) says the veteran has been cleared after offseason knee surgery. Gronkowski missed the last three regular-season games and both playoff games after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee when he was hit in a game with Cleveland. He underwent surgery in January.

In other NFL news:

-- Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles has reached a two-year contract extension with the Kansas City Chiefs. A person familiar with the contract said the deal will keep Charles in Kansas City through the 2017 season.

-- The Browns have signed rookie cornerback Justin Gilbert, one of their first-round draft picks, to a four-year, $12.8 million contract. Cleveland selected Gilbert with the No. 8 overall pick. He's expected to start on the opposite side from Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden.

-- Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Sidney Rice is retiring from the NFL after an injury-plagued career that included issues with concussions. Rice missed half of last season with the Seahawks after tearing his ACL against St. Louis.

-- Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson has been suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drugs policy.


UNDATED (AP) -- Chris Kreider (KRY'-dur) and the New York Rangers have agreed on a two-year deal shortly before going to arbitration. The 23-year-old Kreider made a deal Wednesday morning with an average salary of $2.475 million moments before the scheduled hearing. He will receive $2.35 million next season and $2.6 million during 2015-16.

In other NHL news:

-- The Colorado Avalanche have avoided arbitration with Ryan O'Reilly by signing the forward to a two-year deal. O'Reilly led the team with a career-high 28 goals last season. He also had six game-winners as the Avalanche advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 2009-10 under first-year coach Patrick Roy (wah).

Colorado selected O'Reilly in the second round of the 2009 draft.

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