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Effect of Deer Velvet on Sexual Function in Men and Their Partners: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study


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.

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Correspondence to Helen M. Conaglen.

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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).

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  • sexual function
  • deer velvet
  • placebo
  • double-blind