Timing Antler Harvest Results in Premium Product

With elk velvet antler, it's best to be on time, not late or early.

One of the most commonly held beliefs about elk velvet antler supplements is that they are all the same. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

With elk velvet antler, quality and genetics of the animal is critical, but there is one element that seldom is talked about- time.

That's right, timing the harvest matters.

Timing the harvest

In order to produce a premium product with the optimum amount of minerals and nutrients, you must harvest the antler at the exact right time – not too soon; not too late. Sounds simple, right? Well it’s far from simple.

Elk antlers grow fast!

Antler can grow up to 30 cm or 12 inches in just one month. Antler, at its peak growth rate, is 2 cm or almost 1 inch a day! Nothing in the mammal kingdom on earth that grows as fast as antler does.  That’s why we at VIGR Lifestyles works with elk producers who monitor their herds every few hours every day between the 60-75 day growth stage and strive to harvest at the antler’s peak.

When do we harvest?

VIGR Lifestyle’s Elk Velvet Antler is harvested between 60 days and 75 days after button drop – that is when the last piece of bone drops from the elk in the spring.

Antlers are still actively growing at 65 days – and contain a variety of minerals, proteins, collagens, omega-3 fatty acids, glycosaminoglycans, and prostaglandins in varying concentrations. By day 95, antlers begin to calcify and lose potency. Antlers grown for too long are not going to give you positive results.

Many elk producers are paid on a per pound basis and calcified antler is heavier than un-calcified (meaning there is a financial reason to let the antler grow longer). VIGR’s 30 elk producers know that this model undermines the industry.

While paying on a per pound basis may be the easiest method to compensate the producer, we are aware that the lighter the antler, the higher the nutritional value, and therefore harvest while the antler is optimum.

There are other factors that the producer must observe when harvesting the antler. Timing is a matter of education and experience, and knowing when the antler is most desirable. 

Some antlers may be ready near the start of the 60 day window and others may be ready near the end of the window. This influences our decisions – not the actual weight of the antler.

Why do we harvest at the optimum time?

Simply put, because we want you to feel the best you can, recover from your workouts and optimize your health! Plus we want to make the choice simple for you our customer. VIGR Lifestyles Premium Elk Velvet Antler is the last brand you’ll ever need to buy!

One thing we’ve heard over the years from people who’ve tried other brands is that “antler doesn’t work”, and from store owners who say, “antler doesn’t sell.” However, VIGR Lifestyles Elk Velvet Antler has become a best seller in nearly every store we’re in!

Study confirms antler harvest timing and efficacy.

It has been found that the timing of antler harvest greatly effects the quality and potency of the elk velvet antler.  A study* conducted by the Asian-Australian Association of Animal Production Societies sought to analyze antlers harvested at different stages of growth to discover the contents and concentrations of those antlers. 

Antler is composed of a variety of minerals, proteins, collagens, omega-3 fatty acids, glycosaminiglycans, and prostaglandins in varying concentrations.

The study was conducted with healthy male (bull) elk between the ages of four and five.  Twenty-four elk were used in the study and the antlers were harvested at 65, 80 and 95 day intervals. The study showed that the growth stage at the time of harvest greatly determines the composition and make-up of the antler. Antler that is left on to too long hardens and becomes less effective than antler that is harvested around the 65th day of growth.  The study points to:

  • Higher glycosaminoglycan (GAG) content in the 65th day group than in the 95th day group. Glycosaminoglycans have been shown to reduce joint erosion and stimulate biosynthesis of cartilaginous tissue and inhibit cartilage degradation.
  • Lower protein levels were found to be the lowest in the 95 day group
  • Higher collagen content in the 65th day group than in the 95th day group
  • A greater proportion of linoleic acid, total Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in the 65th day group than in the 95th day group. Oemga-3 fatty acids are reported to have anti-inflammatory effect, and have been found to be effective in reducing symptoms in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Based on the results of the research, it is considered that the lower content of bioactive components in the later antler development stage (95 days) leads to a decrease of whole antler quality for nutritional supplements or pharmaceutical agents.

*“Effect of Antler Development Stage on the Chemical Composition of Velvet Antler in Elk.” Authored by nine researchers and published in the Asian-Australian Journal of Animal Sciences (2011).

VIGR Lifestyles knows timing matters.

Elk velvet antler is one of nature’s greatest gifts with the ability to dramatically increase health and well-being. But, nature designed antler to be harvested at the right time. With the cooperation of our producers – and their extensive knowledge of antler production – VIGR’s antler is harvested at the optimum time, setting it apart from other antler products on the market.

Bottom line, be on time!

- David Limacher