Velvet Antler Extract is a key ingredient in Totem's products. Although Velvet Antler Extract (VAE) has been used in traditional medicine for centuries, it's not a very well known or well appreciated superfood in our culture. Because this ingredient is critical to our product line, we'd like to take some time to introduce to VAE, explain what it is, and tell you about all of its amazing health benefits.
What is Velvet Antler Extract?
Velvet Antler Extract is an all natural product derived from the velvet-like fuzz that covers a deer or elk's antlers as they grow. Our VAE is made from elk antler. Male elk grow antlers each spring that fall off each autumn. Antlers stem from a bone in the skull called a pedicle, and antlers begin as fast growing cartilage wrapped in velvet. The velvet's role is to supply the growing antler with blood, oxygen, and nutrients as the cartilage hardens and becomes bone. Once the antlers are fully grown, the elk sheds its velvet, and the bone dies. When people generally think of a big rack on an elk or a deer, they're picturing the dead bone. At their peak growth stage, antlers can grow up to one inch per day. Antlers are the fastest growing bone in the mammal kingdom.
Velvet Antler Extract is the harvested and processed live velvet and cartilage from the elk antler. As you can imagine from such a fast growing biological structure, this cartilage and the velvet that provides it with sustenance is jam packed with vital nutrients, growth factors, and amino acids. You can see a complete list of what's all been found in VAE below.
How is it made?
Our VAE is harvested from elk born and raised in Idaho. The elk, which are essentially wild, live out their entire life on a fenced in plot of land supervised by an onsite veterinarian. The wild environment allows the elk to roam freely and eat their regular diet. They live as elk in the wild might. Each spring, when the elks' antlers are in their fastest growing state, the onsite veterinarian oversees the harvesting process. The antlers are clipped, and the elk go about their day.
The elk are not harmed when their antlers are clipped. This process is much like a human cutting their toenails. Besides not wanting to hurt the elk, caring for the animal during harvesting is our own best interest, too. A stressed animal would not produce superior product. We only sell superior product.
Once the antler is clipped, it's freeze dried within 5 minutes. Because of how quickly we process the product, the protein and growth factor concentration in our product is 95%. We then use a proprietary 3 step method to extract the antlers growth factors, proteins, and nutrients into organic grape alcohol. For every 43 pounds of elk antler used, we get 1 pound of finished antler ingredient. This ultra concentrated ingredient is what's found in our products.
Why Should I Take VAE?
Practitioners have been using VAE for millennia. This potent adaptogen is mentioned in some of the earliest Traditional Chinese Medicine texts from over two thousand years ago. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, VAE, or Lu Rong, is a Yang tonic. Yang tonics are invigorating and are used to help people feel more energized and resilient.
More modern studies have backed up with ancient practitioners knew about VAE. VAE is loaded with amino acids, growth factors (including IGF-1), collagen, and minerals that are are crucial to your body's own recovery, growth, and regenerative processes (see the photo above for a complete list of growth factors and proteins). Research has shown that VAE improves immune and adrenal function, increases metabolism, assists in injury recovery, bolsters the body's natural hormonal cycles, builds muscle mass, intensifies sexual function and experience, and enhances mood, memory, and cognition.