Deer Antler Spray Would Not Deliver IGF-1

A Johns Hopkins professor has remarked that even if Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis had made use of deer antler spray, his body would have never absorbed the banned substance IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1) that is claimed by the manufacturer.

There is no scientifically accepted way to deliver IGF-1 orally, said Dr. Roberto Salvatori, who runs a lab studying growth hormone deficiency and has been on the Hopkins faculty since 1998. He said it is not possible for the hormone to come from a spray. The hormone, IGF-1, is used for treating a rare form of dwarfism known as Laron syndrome and other health complications where children fail to process or produce growth hormone. Insulin-like growth factor occurs naturally in the body and is produced as a result of the increase presence of human growth hormone (HGH).

In a recent article, Sports Illustrated disclosed that Lewis was connected to S.W.A.T.S. — Sports with Alternatives to Steroids — a company that has marketed alternative health supplements and products to athletes. The magazine story quotes S.W.A.T.S. co-founder Christopher Key as telling a group of college football players that the deer antler spray of the company includes IGF-1, which is a hormone banned by most major sports organizations including the NFL. Key claims that the deer-antler products made by SWATS “helped the body repair, regrow and rejuvenate” and that “you will never fail a drug test from taking our product.” He went on to add that his company has sold its products to more than 20 college football players each at Southeastern Conference schools Alabama, Auburn, Mississippi, LSU, and Georgia.

Dean Nieves of Florida-based Bio Lab Naturals remarked that IGF-1 is very stable and it cannot exist outside of a very controlled environment. He added that it is disingenuous to make claims like deer antler spray or pills can deliver insulin-like growth factor, and the subsequent benefits like muscle growth and increased energy. Dean added that the substance is essentially an uncomplicated, “super-concentrated” and natural protein by the time the harvested antlers are broken down and processed to be sold. The deer antler spray is made by clipping still-growing antlers on deer or elk and then extracting those nutrients.

Meanwhile, Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis said he “never, ever took” the stuff and described himself as “agitated,” not angry that this story has become part of the Super Bowl-week prelude to Baltimore’s game against the San Francisco 49ers. Lewis added that he is sure that his teammates would not get distracted by the Sports Illustrated report. The Ravens linebacker is the leading tackler in the NFL post-season after returning from a torn right triceps that sidelined him for 10 games. The 2001 Super Bowl MVP Lewis called the whole episode a “joke” and a “trick of the devil” and added that he told teammates not to get disturbed.

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said Lewis told him that there is nothing to the story and he has never taken any of that thing ever. When asked about the deer antler spray, San Francisco’s tight end Vernon Davis said he does not think Ray Lewis would take any substance.

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