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International Symposium on Velvet Antler - Banff, Canada

The 1st International Symposium on Antler Science and Product Technology took place in Banff, Alberta Canada, April 9 to 12. Sponsors for the four-day symposium included nutraceutical firms, universities and elk breeders. More than 300 delegations attended this meeting from 14 different countries around the world (Canada, USA, Korea, Germany, Norway, UK, New Zealand, Greenland, Japan, Nigeria, France, Russia, Australia, Czech Republic).
Opening remarks included a warm welcome from Chairman, Dr. Jeong S. Sim, from the University of Alberta. Sim stated that the symposium was created because there is a growing body of international scientific evidence showing velvet antler as a highly effective nutraceutical. Calling velvet antler “nature’s gift to mankind ,” he announced that scientific papers in a manuscript format will be compiled within six months to produce the first of its kind, a comprehensive reference source exclusively on Antler Science and product Technology. The ASPT book will be available through industry associations or directly from the University of Alberta Press. More than 100 copies have been pre-sold with a cost of $150 Canadian. 
Canadian Health Minister, Halvar C. Jonson greeted attendees with his congratulatory remarks that the first-ever scientific and technological forum on velvet antler will help in recognizing velvet antler as one of the alternative therapies and effective ways of treating patients.
More than 32 leading scientists presented research in five scientific discipline areas of antler science: Antler Biology (How and why does antler grow so fast); Antler Chemistry (Chemistry and pharmacology); Medicinal Efficacy of Antler (Clinical evidences and potentials); Antler Removal Technology (How to harvest for the best quality antler); and Antler Nutraceuticals and marketing (Market trends, opportunity for antler products).
Dr. peter Ghosh, Institute of Bone and Joint Research, Royal North Shore Hospital, Syndey, Australia, said that deer antler cartilage has been used for centuries as a treatment for arthritis and related disorders. Ghosh shared his results from laboratory tests in which velvet antler given orally to laboratory animals showed to slow down the progression of swelling of joints. 
Dr. Gregory Mundy, MD, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, Texas, reported on his research with velvet antler and osteoporosis. Mundy stated that antler growth represents possibly the most rapid example of bone formation in the animal kingdom.

He said that 30 million American women are currently at risk for osteoporosis and that velvet antler could be a promising agent for increasing bone mass, which could treat patients with osteoporosis. 
“Even the dental community may be interested in velvet antler,” stated Dr. I. Ongaro. The Department of Oral Biology, University of Alberta, studied elk velvet antler as a potential for use as bone grafting material in dental procedures.
Dr. C. J. Balok, Cedar Animal Medical Center, Gallup, New Mexico shared his results from a two-year, ongoing study of velvet antler treatment in animals. From his study on more than 150 animals it was concluded that velvet antler greatly improved arthritic conditions in dogs and horses, and accelerated soft tissue and bone healing.
Dr. K. H. Shin, Natural Products Research Institute, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea talked about the use of velvet antler in oriental traditional medicine from ancient times. Velvet antler is mainly prescribed for the treatment of anemia, exhaustion, loss of vigor, cardiac and vascular system insufficiency and improvement of wound healing. Dr. Shin evaluated the immuno-stimulating, anti-fatigue, anti-stress activities of antler and his findings show that antler extracts can promote an increased resistance against stress.
Dr. Betty Kamen, Ph.D., nutritionist and author of The Remarkable Healing Power of Velvet Antler, spoke about the North American perspective on antler as a nutraceutical. Bringing her fifty years of knowledge and experience in the natural supplement field, she stated the use of velvet antler as a functional food to provide nutritional support is very promising, but that two very important factors are needed education and marketing. Velvet antler h as been a part of the diet for the last millennia in other countries. As North American consumers begin to understand the benefits of using velvet antler, they too will realize its effectiveness as a natural supplement for a healthier lifestyle.
Besides the proceedings were 31 poster presentations and 17 industry exhibition booths. From Russia, The Research Institute of Pharmacology exhibited over a dozen products using a velvet antler formula called Pantogematogen. The Russian Ministry of Public health, officially grant permission to Tomsk Research Institute of Pharmacology to perform scientific research and clinical, experimentation on Pantogematogen as a drug. This patent pending preparation is used in capsules, tablets, syrups, juices and bath powders. In Norway, Spain and Bulgaria it is certified and registered as a biologically active food supplement. The Olympic Committee of Russia has approved pantogematogen for training Russian sportsmen for Olympic Games 2000 in Sidney.
The entire symposium delegates unanimously agreed to adopt the proposed ASPT society International. The ASPT Society International has adopted a mandate to share scientific information among the membership by organizing the International Symposia on ASPT every two years, creating an International Journal of ASPT , and distribution of scientific information among membership through Internet (, ASPT Book and journal publication. The ASPT Society International will participate as co-host in the 8th World Congress on Clinical Nutrition to be held in Thailand December 17-20,2000, by organizing a concurrent mini-symposium on “Antler Nutraceuticals and Health.”
For those that attended the symposium in Banff, you could see Dr. Jeong Sim’s enthusiasm in organizing this much-needed forum between the scientific and business communities. The results promise to have a positive impact on both the antler industry and consumers with a better understanding and sharing of information about velvet antler.
There was no better place to have brought together this world-wide knowledge of velvet antler then in Banff. Banff is a shining example of nature’s best beauty and one that I will never forget. The daily visits of the neighboring elk herd to the grounds of the centre, was a reminder to us all of what a gift of nature velvet antler truly is!