Deer antler spray: All natural or performance enhancing? - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Deer antler spray: All natural or performance enhancing?

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Rodney Helaire Rodney Helaire

Super Bowl Sunday is just around the corner, and one the biggest players, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, is now being questioned about a substance known as deer antler.

The formula can come in the form of pills or as a spray. Some health experts say it's all natural and promotes balance, strength, and the ability to deal with stress.

Rodney Helaire, owner of R.H. Tanning and Fitness in Pooler, says deer antler is also known to improve muscle tone and athletic ability.

"It definitely enhances muscle mass and gives you strength," he explained. "Just basic performance. It's what an individual might take, come in the gym and train at a certain level."

Deer antlers grow back very quickly, and that's part of the appeal to put it in a formula.

But experts say some forms of deer antler also contain a growth hormone called IFG -1. They say some companies may also add performance enhancing products to the substance, like steroids.

In fact, most deer antler sprays and pills are banned from many sports in the United States, including football and golf.

Helaire doesn't just own a gym, he is also an all natural world winning body builder. He says he's scrutinized by national organizations before he competes in any contest. Helaire says there's a special test for deer antler.

"It's a serum, so you have to detect it through blood tests," he explained. "Some sports organizations don't do that. So they have approved polygraph examiners that know how to ask the proper questions leading up to whether someone is taking a bad substance or not."

The group alleging Lewis was one of their customers is a small company out of Alabama called Sports With Alternatives to Steroids. Lewis denied using any substance from the company.

One of the owners claims their products are all natural and says football players from the University of Alabama and Auburn are just some of their customers.

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