Major League Baseball sent a warning to players on Sunday, telling them to avoid the use of Deer Antler spray or face suspension for using a league banned substance.
Marketed as an alternative to steroids, the spray is used under the tongue and because of it’s effects it has been added to the MLB list of “potentially contaminated nutritional supplements.”
At the center of the controversy is IGF-1 (an insulin-like growth factor) which is found on the velvet from antlers in immature deers. IGF-1 speficially affects a person’s level of human growth hormone.
The makers of the spray say it enhances performance and can’t be detected through urine samples. While blood tests can show the drug the MLB only relies on urine tests at this time. MLB officials however believe that the spray can cause players to test positive for methyltestosterone, a banned steroid.
The MLB can petition for the right to draw blood samples in players, however at this point the players association has refused to grant blood tests for all players despite understanding that certain drugs can not be tested using basic urine tests.
Players are currently being educated about the drug and the negative effects it can have on not only their careers but their bodies since long-term effects from the drug have not been explored at this time.
Unfortunately given the rampant nature of steroids in major league sports, players regardless of the consequences will likely continue to use the deer antler spray until MLB officials figure out how to detect the illegal substance using urine tests.