I don’t know about you but “paranormal” for me conjures up ghosts, UFOs, aliens, unexplained creatures and things that go bump in the night. My thoughts don’t go to an anti-aging serum and I don’t really get why AminoGenesis would call its newest launch Paranormal EFX. But I was intrigued enough to buy a bottle for $69.99 even though there wasn’t enough information on the AminoGenesis website to know if I was going to get out of this world results or meet up with a demonic presence.

Paranormal EFX arrived this morning at I was relieved to see that it doesn’t look demonic in the least. However, some of the ingredients and the claims made for them stretch credulity. Topping this category is guanidinopropionic acid. AminoGenesis says that this “reduces skin tension” and hence wrinkles that are caused by frowning. This idea of skin tension reduction and the fact that I have never heard of guanidinopropionic acid (also known as GPA 3) had me perplexed enough to allow skin tension to deeply furrow my brow.

According to Wikipedia, guanidinopropionic acid is a dietary supplement, known to increase insulin sensitivity and cell volumization. It is a supplement taken by weighttrainers because it is supposed to produce creatine, although some are chattering that it might be an anti-creatine and decrease muscle size. If it is pro-creatine then there could be some effects for aging skin as creatine may improve skin cell turnover, but there isn’t all that much research to back this up.

And then there is the maggot connection. Apparently maggots have been used to treat chronic wounds since 1930. This factoid is new to me. But perhaps it isn’t all that paranormal when you think that leach therapy has been used in medicine for hundreds of years. Guess what is in maggot saliva….. yep, guanidinopropionic acid (source). It had been assumed that maggot therapy was successful because it was an antibacterial, but a 2009 study found that this was not so and that the GPA amino acid, along with a couple of others, had “a proliferative effect on the growth of human endothelial cells, but not fibroblasts”. AminoGenesis says it sources GPA from plants though. Which, perversely, I almost find disappointing.

The bulk of Paranormal EFX’s ingredients are other amino acids, which isn’t surprising since they are really AminoGenesis’ thing. A couple of others are noteworthy though. Tremella fuciformis polysaccharide is a kind of mushroom (one that crops up in Chella’s products, such as Master Protocol 7). I can't corroborate AminoGenesis's claims that it five times more powerful at moisture retention than hyaluronic acid. But it has been shown to prevent radiation and can deal with circulatory disorders such as blood viscosity, as well as being an able free radical scavenger. Then there is trehalose, which is made up of sugars that form a gel as cells start to dehydrate, and myrothamnus flabellifolia, an African tree that also 'resurrects' itself after draughts by using protective lipid films.

Paranornal EFX has the usual suspects in the preservative department, undisclosed fragrance and retinyl palmitate, but otherwise nothing that you’d be nervous of encountering. Whether the results will be out of this world remain to be seen.

Ingredients: Purified water, ethylhexyl palmitate, glycerin, guanidine propionic acid, tremella funciformis sporocarp (mushroom) extract, trehalose, tamarindus indica seed polysaccharide, myrothamnus flabellifolia leaf extract, retinyl palmitate, cholecalciferol, diaminopropionyl tripeptide-33, tocopheryl acetate, lysine hcl, histidine hcl, aspartic acid, threonine, serine, glutamine, proline, glycine, alanine, valine, methionine, isoleucine, leucine, tyrosine, phenylalanine, acetyl tyrosine, caprylyl glycol, sodium citrate, PEG-40 Hydrogenated castor oil, carbomer, phenoxyethanol, triethanolomine, disodium EDTA, methylparaben, fragrance, blue 1, red 33