Deer velvet is a novel agricultural product and has presented the New Zealand (NZ) agricultural and food sectors with a number of opportunities. When the velvet industry emerged in the early 1970s, almost the entire product was exported to the traditional oriental medicine markets, which remain the basis of the deer velvet industry in NZ. This market did not require scientific validation of efficacy as the health promoting effects of velvet were accepted. However, as this is a mature market there is interest in growing new business, notably the Western dietary supplement market. This requires new knowledge on health benefits as potential purchasers have no initial product knowledge. We have conducted research to investigate whether or not deer velvet will help promote health. We chose to look for a verifiable benefit to athletes as the athletic market would be less likely to be price sensitive than other sectors. We also investigated the application of specific velvet extracts as topical agents to promote healing of open wounds, based on their ability to promote the growth of blood vessels (angiogenesis). This paper discusses the research that set out to demonstrate velvet efficacy and quality and describes research on nutrition and breeding designed to increase velvet quality and quantity. KEYWORDS: deer; velvet; antlers; production; quality; wound healing; dietary supplement; health benefits.

JM, Suttie, SR Haines, DE Clark, JA Archer, M O'Connor, CE Broeder, and ID Corson

Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 65, Christchurch, 345-351, 2005
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