Getting nutrition down during a marathon can be a tricky thing. This is especially true in late miles when your stomach has shut down and you are hanging on for dear life. That is why the products at Aminoskin got me curious. Aminoskin offers a line of products developed in Germany that profess to supply amino acids during a workout from skin absorption.
I was eager to give the products a try. I had heard of vitamins and nutrients being applied to the skin for absorption and thought that might be an ingenious way to get some needed nutrients during a race. Previously though, amino acids were not thought to be absorbable through the skin.
Amino acid absorbtion through the skin is dictated by the size. Aminoskin has found a way to decrease the size enough to make absorption possible. Aminoskin points this out on their Facts page and The National Institute of Health study Interaction of nanoparticles and cell-penetrating peptides with skin for transdermal drug delivery appears to back the science up.
Before taking a chance on the product and skin allergies, I applied a little bit to my forearm and had no reactions of any kind for the day. It is very mild and has a very light citrusy scent. I then applied Aminoskin for two races on back-to-back weekends – a full marathon followed by a half marathon. For the full marathon, I applied Aminoskin Endurance.
Aminoskin Endurance contains taurine which helps to delay muscle fatigue during the activity. I dutifully applied the lotion to my quads exactly 20 minutes before the race in the porta-pottie. The consistency is very interesting. It is not as viscous as a standard lotion, it is almost frothy. That is good for me because I have always found lotion to be slimy. My wife likes to tease me about that. The product absorbs into the skin very quickly and was not noticeable as I exited the port-a-pottie.
There are other ingredients like mint in the product that may have exaggerated the effect, but I honestly didn’t feel my muscles as I started the race. It’s not like they were paralyzed and I had no control, but rather like they were gently held in a stasis and super relaxed. This may have influenced my decision to go out harder than I should have and I ran with a pace group 10 minutes faster than my goal.
For the first several miles, my legs felt outstanding and honestly I hadn’t run that well for a while. The miles were just clicking and felt effortless. Was this all the product? No. But I do think it made a difference. Even if there was a placebo effect. The reason I credit the product is because I could tangibly feel the tingling and then numbness after application.
I shared my experience with Aminoskin and was advised to take a hot bath and apply some of the Recovery to help me the next day. I did this with Epsom salts and I will say that I recovered from the race better than I could have imagined.
The day after the race, I was able to walk down my stairs facing forward, not sideways (I still had to be gentle and used a handrail, but the difference was palpable). I saw my chiropractor the same day, and he was completely surprised. I was in better shape than I had been in 18 months of treatment. Was it all the product? No. But I do think it was a factor.
The rep at Aminoskin also advised me to use both the Power and Endurance product at the same time in my next race.
Amino skin Power contains Arginine which as described on their site as follows:
Arginine is used to make nitric oxid (NO) in the human body. NO dilates the blood vessels, faciliates an increased blood flow into muscle tissue and improves thereby the supplementation of oxygen and nutrients to increase the muscle power. AminoSkin Power is particularly suited to support your performance during sport specific interval and strength exercises, which are characterized by alternativ exercise phases and recovery phases (so-called intervals).
The rep also said to make sure I apply it to all muscles I will be using in the race. So, I made a port-a-pottie trip 20 minutes before the start of the Shamrock half-marathon and applied both to my quads, hamstrings and calves.
This time when I raced, I felt much the same as before. I started out the race tentatively because I was only one week off a marathon, hadn’t run a step all week and have a spotty injury history. My legs felt very good and I was able to set into a rhythm. I even was relaxed and comfortable enough to catch up to a friend that I sometimes run with and we ran the rest of the race together. I felt very good throughout the race and managed to get a 3.5 minute PR out of it.
I repeated the same process of recovery afterward and was feeling fine the next day. I actually was feeling so good that I was complaining that I wasn’t being allowed to run because I was in the middle of the recovery.
Again, the big question is are the results of my races and quicker recoveries caused by the Aminoskin? I would answer again. Not completely but they are a definite factor. But here is the bottom line, will I be using the product in the future. Absolutely. I will be applying some for my 20 miler this afternoon and I will be dutifully sneaking off to a port-a-pottie in 6 days for my third marathon and am very thankful I have this extra tool available.
Aminoskin is sold exclusively on their site at http://aminoskin.com (for English, click the American flag on the top right of the page).