Muc Off Amino UE (ultra endurance) Athlete protection ‘Delivers pure amino acids directly for increased endurance and resilience’ whilst Amino EP (explosive power) ‘improves the availability of oxygen and nutrients so you will feel real increases in strength and energy’, according to claims on the box. Pure amino acids, 100% natural. It’s like putting raw steak on your legs, which must be good, right?
As far as bold assertions go, you probably can’t go any bolder. These products claim they’ll help give your ‘body a sustained explosive power’ and ‘condition you ready for any activity’, and as you fondle the matt black boxes with their signature Muc Off pink highlights, they assure you that you’re holding ‘what now represents the cutting edge of science and world class performance in your hands’. Classy. And they’re not just ground breaking, they’re ‘highly ground breaking’.
Well, that’s definitely going to increase the blood flow to the muscles isn’t it? Claims like this can make a girl dizzy.
After an extensive literature review in the ‘Singletrack Health Institute & Technical Executive’, I can report that whilst there’s absolutely no doubt that amino acids are vital to cell chemistry, they’re usually ingested rather than rubbed in. So what of the EP and UE delivery mechanisms? Will they get to my glutes and keep them pumping? Will they ‘aid mental focus and motivation if applied to the chest 25 minutes before activity’? Will they mean I ‘smash records and feel superhuman’ to quote but one of the claims on the very tactile packaging?
Belonging, as I do, to the tribe of the sadly literal and hyperbole immune, I had to have a look at the science. Here’s my take on it.
Taurine (the UE main ingredient) and pet molecule of the fitness supplement world, has a crucial role in cell biology, regulating potassium, magnesium and sodium concentrations inside cells. It’s been used in cosmetics for a while (in anti-ageing creams) but a quick search of the literature suggests that whilst applying it to your skin will penetrate the outer layer (and help maintain collagen levels and aid healing), it will then accumulate there. If someone can find me a route from my epidermis to my muscles I’d be more inclined to think this useful. On the other hand, whilst £20 a tube seems a lot for a leg rub, it’s very much cheaper than any of the many collagen promoting formulae guaranteeing ageless skin on offer on the cosmetics counter. Maybe Muc Off are missing a trick here.
Meanwhile, the vital ingredients of the EP preparation are the less frequently raved about arginine amino acids. These molecules play an important role in cell division, the healing of wounds, removing ammonia from the body, immune function, and the release of hormones. The ability of arginine amino acids to penetrate the skin and affect cell chemistry is much better documented. Whether once there they will enable you to ‘smash records and feel superhuman’ was a matter for the practical lab. ‘Looking to turbo charge your performance?’. Why yes, actually. So I followed the instruction: ‘apply and destroy the field’.
‘Squooging’ a bit out of the tubes reveals that EP is a nice normal unguent, with a thick, creamy consistency. It smells nice, with notes of geranium and citrus. UE on the other hand is rather more curds and whey, but with a sophisticated bergamot aroma. Both are reasonably easily absorbed with a good rub. My cynical head expected them to be expensive deep heat – I’m pleased to report that neither smells nor feels like deep heat. In fact, they just smell rather pleasant, like high quality body lotion.
The hot tip on the packet states that ‘you can mix Amino Explosive Power and Amino Ultra Endurance to create a powerful body fuel’. Back in Yorkshire, that translates as ‘slather it on, and if in doubt, slather more on’. Well, I slathered away and went for a ride.
At the foot of the first hill I rode off the front of our little group. So far so good. At a slight pause, my other half sneaked up behind me and powered past up the steep climb. ‘Not so fast‘, I cried as I leapt on his wheel. Sadly, my body failed to display the promised ‘sustained explosive power’ I’d apparently applied to my legs. I still trailed him at the summit. Neither is surprising. I’m pretty reasonable at endurance events and have the sprint of an inebriated snail.
In short, Muc Off EP and UE are perfectly pleasant – and delicately fragranced – leg rubs. They will probably keep your skin elastic, aid healing and protect it from the effects of the weather. But they won’t give you what you haven’t got. If you like your performance body ablutions beautifully packaged, fizzing with hyperbole and laced with grammatical oddities, this is for you. All you have to do is believe.
Some peer reviewed literature for you
- Taurine penetration review: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18438702)
- Arginine application and delivery review: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3061229/
|Product:||Amino Explosive Power & Amino Ultra Endurance|
|Tested:||by Beate for|
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Are they even allowed to make bullshit claims like that?
I think you’re supposed to apply it to your tyres, not your legs.
And yet they don’t boast about Muc-Off’s ability to explode the stickers off your frame….