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Jairus J. Quesnele, Michelle A. Laframboise, Jessica J. Wong, Peter Kim and Greg D. Wells

Purpose:

To critically review the methodological quality and synthesize information from systematic reviews and high quality studies on the effects of beta alanine (BA) on exercise and athletic performance.

Methods:

A search strategy was developed in accordance with the standards for the reporting of scientific literature via systematic reviews. Five databases were thoroughly searched from inception to November 2012. Inclusion criteria were English language, human studies, used BA to increase exercise or athletic performance, systematic reviews or randomized controlled trials and were published in a peer-reviewed journal. Included studies were systematically graded for their methodological quality by rotating pairs of reviewers and the results were qualitatively synthesized.

Results:

One systematic review and 19 randomized trials were included in this review. There is one systematic review with several methodological weaknesses that limit the confidence in its results. There are moderate to high quality studies that appear to support that BA may increase power output and working capacity, decrease the feeling of fatigue and exhaustion, and have of positive effect on body composition and carnosine content. The reporting of side effects from BA supplementation in the athletic population was generally under-reported.

Conclusions:

There appears to be some evidence from this review that supplementation with BA may increase athletic performance. However, there is insufficient evidence examining the safety of BA supplementation and its side effects. It is therefore recommended to err on the side of caution in using BA as an ergogenic aid until there is sufficient evidence confirming its safety.

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Insook Kim, Phillip Ward, Oleg Sinelnikov, Bomna Ko, Peter Iserbyt, Weidong Li and Matthew Curtner-Smith

Purpose: We conducted a retroactive analysis of teacher and student data from two randomized group trials and one well-controlled quasi-experimental group trial focused on improving pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) and student performance. Method: Seven teachers and 32 classes were investigated. PCK was measured using four variables: task selection, representation, adaption, and an aggregate variable called total PCK. Student data are reported as percentages of correct performance. Data are reported descriptively using effect sizes (ES). Results: The studies generated 35 ES across four teachers and one student performance variable. All ES exceeded the U.S. Department of Education’s What Works Clearinghouse .25 standard deviation criterion for a “substantively important” effect and all ES exceeded Cohen’s criteria of .8 for a large effect. Discussion: Findings from this study support a focus on professional development of teachers’ content knowledge as an evidenced-based practice for improving the PCK of teachers and in turn student performance.

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Peter A. Hastie, Oleg A. Sinelnikov, Sheri J. Brock, Tom L. Sharpe, Kim Eiler and Claire Mowling