_by Scott Bestul


The velvet-covered antlers of whitetail deer–long regarded as one of the fastest-growing tissues in the animal kingdom–have been studied for years for everything from simple cell replication to cancer research. Well, apparently companies like Nutronics Labs have jumped on the wondrous properties of velvet and are promoting (oh, and selling) it in spray form as a means to “increase lean muscle tissue, experience quicker recovery, and overall healthy natural performance gains.

Well, hey, this is America. If folks can make a buck off some velvet, no harm, no foul…right?

Well, Major League Baseball thought differently, and last August issued a warning to its players to abandon use of the spray because it “contained potentially contaminated nutritional supplements” that might cause a player test positive for banned substances, according to this “ESPNGO” story filed last fall. Scientists have discovered the presences of IGF-1 (a banned performance enhancer) in the velvet of deer antlers, which caused the league to issue the warning.

Now, Nutronics Labs are suing MLB, saying the league’s warning contains “false, misleading and malicious” statements (Nutronics contends their product has never tested positive for any banned substance) that have cost the company as much as $50 million. In addition to professional ball players, college teams also warned against the use of velvet spray after the MLB released its letter.

Sorry, but I have to admit to being behind the curve on this issue. Naturally, I blame Hurteau, who’s the bigger baseball nut. I’m just the guy who covers the folks who’ll plunk down five figures for a shed antler.