Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Velvet Antler

Dog with arthritis -- Craige Moore
Velvet antler and products made from it (glucosamine, chondroitin etc) are starting to appear a lot in products made for animals.  One application is to help dogs suffering from arthritis.  But there is one thing that I feel needs to be cleared up.

Many makers of antler product make claims about what it can be used to treat or prevent disorders, and even claim it is FDA approved.  This is not the case.  Velvet antler is approved only as a nutritional suppliment and in the United States claims that it can treat a disorder may not (legally) be made. Specifically the manufacturer may not claim the product is "a treatment, prevention or cure for a specific disease or condition." [link]

Users can of course develop their own understanding of how this product might help their dog.  But producers, in my opinion, should respect the law.  After all, if they ignore labelling laws what is to say they are meticulous about formulating their product and ensuring it is safe for your pets to consume?

For those interested in more of the details:

TheFDA have been petitioned as suggested by these statements:
"Recently, the ability for Velvet Antler to support and restore joint structure and function” (as a result of Osteo-arthritis) was substantiated by scientific evidence in compliance with the FDA regulations. Velvet Antler is a significant anti-inflammatory agent for the symptoms of Oste-arthritis and possibly other type of acute chronic inflammation as well." [Matejcek Elk & Deer Ranch]

"The use of velvet antler was scientifically supported in compliance with FDA regulations for its beneficial effects in treating arthritis." [drugs.com]

"Many of the nutrients found in velvet antler are important for arthritis sufferers. Glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate, collagen, essential fatty acids, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, selenium, growth hormones, and growth factors are all vital for growth and maintenance of joints, tissues and synovial fluids. In 1999, velvet antler was scientifically substantiated by research and clinical studies in compliance with FDA regulations to prove that "velvet antler provides nutritional support for joint structure and function" in people suffering from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis." [MnEBA]

But the FDA did not accept that application and  has not endorsed therapeutic claims associated with this product or its constituent parts.  Therapeutic claims about these products may not be (legally) made in the United States.

"Yes, even the FDA says that the chondroitin sulfate and the collagen that velvet antler contains can help joint function." [Betty Kamen]

"Velvet antler has met the rigorous standards of structure/function claims, as required by the FDA, for arthritis symptoms" [Wapiti.net]

What the FDA has actually concluded:

"In summary, FDA has tentatively concluded that a relationship between glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate and a reduced risk of OA is not established." [link]

And that is all.  Saying this product prevents or treats any disorder is not legal.  Saying it is endorsed by the FDA in any way is flat out incorrect. The strongest statement that might be considered legal is that these products may "provide nutritional support for joint structure and function"

Elk in velvet antler
 And keep in mind that to make this product living tissue (the antler while still covered in skin, with blood and nervous supply) was amputated from a non-domesticated species of animal.  If you wish to use this product please consider seeking out a more humane source such as seafood byproducts.

1 comment:

  1. Users can of course develop their own understanding of how this product might help their dog