Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 and Deer Antler Spray
Added by Katie Boushie on February 6, 2013.
There has recently been an increase in discussion of illegal substance use in sports, specifically the use of deer antler spray. What exactly is it and what is its supposed purpose? Deer antler spray falls under the category of peptide hormones, growth factors and related substances on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of banned substances and contains amounts of Insulin-like Growth Factor-1, or IGF-1.
Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 effects protein metabolism in the body, stimulating protein synthesis and hindering protein breakdown. It is believed that because of its anabolic effects, increasing IGF-1 will increase muscle mass and strength, thus increasing an athlete’s performance. However, IGF-1 must be injected in large quantities to have these anabolic effects.
Abuse of IGF-1 can also have extremely adverse effects. Examples of these effects are; acromegaly (the enlargement of body parts, most commonly jaw and brow bone), organomegaly (the enlargement of internal organs), hypoglycemia (lower than normal amounts of glucose in the blood), and cancer.
It is debatable how much Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 is in deer antler spray, some claim it is no more than what’s found in red meat or milk. This does not excuse the fact that it is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency and may result in a positive test if tested for IGF-1, but does raise the question of its efficacy. No matter the potency, Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 is illegal in athletics. Furthermore, it has several extremely adverse effects and lacks significant evidence to prove any benefits. A complete list of banned substances can be found at http://www.wada-ama.org
Sources used: http://www.wada-ama.org
Holt R, Sonksen P. Growth Hormone, IGF-1 and Insulin and Their Abuse in Sport. British Journal of Pharmacology. 2008;154(3):542-556.