The deer-antler velvet controversy is drawing plenty of attention and Adam Greenberg is reaping the benefits.
Greenberg helped start the company LuRong Living. It sells a deer-antler velvet product he says is not considered out-of-bounds for athletes.
A Sports Illustrated report recently linked Baltimore Ravens all-pro linebacker Ray Lewis to deer antler spray. There has been alleged use by Alabama football players and Hall-of-Fame golfer Vijay Singh admitted Wednesday to using the substance.
Deer-antler velvet contains IGF-1, a growth hormone banned by the NFL, MLB, PGA Tour and others when detected in elevated levels.
"Good, bad, press is press," Greenberg said. "A couple of years ago, no one knew what it was. It's brought light to us and gives us a platform to differentiate what's out there and what's banned."
And as Greenberg points out, LuRong Living Essential is not among the banned.
"Any athlete can comfortably take our product," he says.
Greenberg went on to explain that food products such as red meat and eggs contain IGF-1, and his product is considered a whole food. Other products are concentrated, altered and don't enter the body through digestion.
The Banned Substance Control Group, which offers dietary supplement certification and testing services for companies, lists LuRong Living Essential under its clean certified products. According to BSCG, LuRong Living Essential grinds the actual antler into a powder and then forms an
As BSCG puts it, a doping violation comes down to whether the product is ingested or absorbed, and whether its free of potential contaminants such as methyltestosterone.
"Unfortunately, there's a lot of gray area," Greenberg said.
Greenberg has received well over 100 texts, emails and phone calls about his product since the Lewis story came out. Business has increased by 400 percent each day.
"It's been exciting," Greenberg said.
Along with Greenberg, who signed a minor league deal with the Baltimore Orioles in December, LuRong Living is endorsed by former major leaguer Danny Putnam, professional boxer Karim Mayfield, former NFL players Randy Cross and Eric Wright, along with others.
The product is said to have many benefits including relief of joint and muscular discomfort, improvement of strength and endurance and increased energy.
"It's really exciting," Greenberg said. "It's unfortunate it's in such a negative light, but it brings attention to the table for us."
Greenberg made headlines after he was hit in the head by the first Major League pitch he saw while playing for the Chicago Cubs in 2005. He made a Major League comeback last October when the Miami Marlins signed him to a one-game contract.