The use of alternative medicines and herbal remedies is an increasing trend in Western societies. For years, people have taken products made of deer velvet for their alleged beneficial effects on sexual function. There has been no scientific investigation of the effects of deer velvet powder on the sexual functioning of human males. This study investigated sexual function in men during a 12-week double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of deer velvet. Thirty-two volunteer male participants, aged 45–65 years, and their partners, were randomly assigned to either the deer velvet or placebo study group. The males took capsules containing ground deer velvet or placebo everyday for 12 weeks. Two sexual function questionnaires (the International Index of Erectile Function and the Brief Index of Sexual Function for Women) used at pre- and posttreatment assessed changes in sexual functioning in males and their partners. Blood tests at baseline, and end of study, determined levels of sex-related hormones in male participants. There were no significant differences in the sexual behavior of the men taking deer velvet compared with the men taking placebo capsules. There were no significant hormone changes from baseline to the end of the study in either group of men. We conclude that in normal males there was no advantage in taking deer velvet to enhance sexual function. All alternative health products or nutritional supplements should be subjected to randomized placebo-controlled trials to determine efficacy.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Aytac, I. A., McKinlay, J. B., & Krane, R. J. (1999). The likely worldwide increase in erectile dysfunction between 1995 and 2025 and some possible policy consequences. BJU International, 84, 5056
Batchelder, H. J. (1999). Velvet antler: A literature review. Health Supplement Retailer, 5, 4051.
Hyland, M. E. (2001, May 26). Hype, hope and healing. New Scientist, pp. 2833.
Johannes, C. B., Araujo, A. B., Feldman, H. A., Derby, C. A., Kleinman, K. P., & McKinlay, J. B. (2000). Incidence of erectile dysfunction in men 40 to 69 years old: Longitudinal results from the Massachusetts Male Aging Study. The Journal of Urology, 163, 460463.
Mazer, N. A., Leiblum, S. R., & Rosen, R. C. (2000). The Brief Index of Sexual Functioning for Women (BISFW): A new scoring algorithm and comparison of normative and surgically menopausal populations. Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society, 7, 350363.
Rosen, R. C., Cappelleri, J. C., & Gendrano, N. III. (2002). The International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF): A stateofthescience review. International Journal of Impotence Research, 14, 226244.
Rosen, R. C., Riley, A., Wagner, G., Osterloh, I. H., Kirkpatrick, J., & Mishra, A. (1997). The International Index of Erectile Function (IIEF): A multidimensional scale for assessment of erectile dysfunction. Urology, 49, 822830.
Sex please, we're researching. (2000, November 24). Waikato Times, p. 4.
Sunwoo, H. H., Sim, L. Y. M., Nakano, T., Hudson, R. J., & Sim, J. S. (1997). Glycosaminoglycans from growing antlers of wapiti (Cervus elephans). Canadian Journal of Animal Science, 77, 715721.
Suttie, J. M., Fennessy, P. F., Haines, S. R., Sadighi, M., Kerr, D. R., & Isaacs, C. (1994, December). The New Zealand velvet antler industry: Background and research findings. Paper presented at the Korean Society of Pharmacognosy, Seoul, Korea.
Suttie, J. M., & Haines S. R. (2002). Deer velvet as a Western dietary supplement: Some issues and actions. In J. B. Wood (Ed.), Proceedings of the 3rd World Deer Farming Congress (pp. 153162). Austin, TX. North American Deer Farmers Association.
Taylor, J. F., Rosen, R. C., & Leiblum, S. R. (1994). Selfreport assessment of female sexual function: Psychometric evaluation of the Brief Index of Sexual Functioning for Women. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 23, 627643.
Thomas, K. J., Nicholl, J. P., & Coleman, P. (2001). Use and expenditure on complementary medicine in England: A population based survey. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 9, 211.
Wang, B.X., Zhao, X.H., Qi, S.B., Kaneko, S., Hattori, M., Namba, T., et al. (1988). Effects of repeated administration of deer antler extract on biochemical changes related to aging in senescenceaccelerated mice. Chemical and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 36, 25872592.
About this article
Cite this article
Conaglen, H.M., Suttie, J.M. & Conaglen, J.V. Effect of Deer Velvet on Sexual Function in Men and Their Partners: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study. Arch Sex Behav 32, 271–278 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1023469702627
- sexual function
- deer velvet