Effects of beta-alanine supplementation on body composition: a GRADE-assessed systematic review and meta-analysis

Damoon Ashtary-Larky, Reza Bagheri*, Matin Ghanavati, Omid Asbaghi, Alexei Wong, Jeffrey R. Stout, Katsuhiko Suzuki

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Previous studies have suggested that beta-alanine supplementation may benefit exercise performance, but current evidence regarding its effects on body composition remains unclear. This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to investigate the effects of beta-alanine supplementation on body composition indices. Methods: Online databases, including PubMed/Medline, Scopus, Web of Science, and Embase, were searched up to April 2021 to retrieve randomized controlled trials (RCTs), which examined the effect of beta-alanine supplementation on body composition indices. Meta-analyses were carried out using a random-effects model. The I2 index was used to assess the heterogeneity of RCTs. Results: Among the initial 1413 studies that were identified from electronic databases search, 20 studies involving 492 participants were eligible. Pooled effect size from 20 studies indicated that beta-alanine supplementation has no effect on body mass (WMD: −0.15 kg; 95% CI: −0.78 to 0.47; p = 0.631, I2 = 0.0%, p = 0.998), fat mass (FM) (WMD: −0.24 kg; 95% CI: −1.16 to 0.68; p = 0.612, I2 = 0.0%, p = 0.969), body fat percentage (BFP) (WMD: −0.06%; 95% CI: −0.53 to 0.40; p = 0.782, I2 = 0.0%, p = 0.936), and fat-free mass (FFM) (WMD: 0.05 kg; 95% CI: −0.71 to 0.82; p = 0.889, I2 = 0.0%, p = 0.912). Subgroup analyses based on exercise type (resistance training [RT], endurance training [ET], and combined training [CT]), study duration (<8 and ≥8 weeks), and beta-alanine dosage (<6 and ≥6 g/d) demonstrated similar results. Certainty of evidence across outcomes ranged from low to moderate. Conclusions: This meta-analysis study suggests that beta-alanine supplementation is unlikely to improve body composition indices regardless of supplementation dosage and its combination with exercise training. No studies have examined the effect of beta-alanine combined with both diet and exercise on body composition changes as the primary variable. Therefore, future studies examining the effect of the combination of beta-alanine supplementation with a hypocaloric diet and exercise programs are warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-218
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • beta-alanine
  • body composition
  • meta-analysis
  • systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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