Beta-alanine supplementation (BA) has a positive impact on physical performance. However, evidence showing a benefit of this amino acid in aerobic-anaerobic transition zones is scarce and the results controversial. The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis is to analyze the effects of BA supplementation on physical performance in aerobic-anaerobic transition zones. At the same time, the effect of different dosages and durations of BA supplementation were identified. The search was designed in accordance with the PRISMA® guidelines for systematic reviews and meta-analyses and performed in Web of Science (WOS), Scopus, SPORTDiscus, PubMed, and MEDLINE between 2010 and 2020. The methodological quality and risk of bias were evaluated with the Cochrane Collaboration tool. The main variables were the Time Trial Test (TTT) and Time to Exhaustion (TTE) tests, the latter separated into the Limited Time Test (LTT) and Limited Distance Test (LDT). The analysis was carried out with a pooled standardized mean difference (SMD) through Hedges' g test (95% CI). Nineteen studies were included in the systematic review and meta-analysis, revealing a small effect for time in the TTT (SMD, -0.36; 95% CI, -0.87-0.16; I2 = 59%; p = 0.010), a small effect for LTT (SMD, 0.25; 95% CI, -0.01-0.51; I2 = 0%; p = 0.53), and a large effect for LDT (SMD, 4.27; 95% CI, -0.25-8.79; I2 = 94%; p = 0.00001). BA supplementation showed small effects on physical performance in aerobic-anaerobic transition zones. Evidence on acute supplementation is scarce (one study); therefore, exploration of acute supplementation with different dosages and formats on physical performance in aerobic-anaerobic transition zones is needed.
Keywords: aerobic–anaerobic transition zone; beta-alanine; ergogenic aid; physical performance.