The European food science agency said that the European Commission had asked it to review the scientific comments that had been received on the back of it’s 2014 scientific opinion that ruled a cause and effect relationship could not be established between the intake of beta-alanine and increased physical performance during short-term, high-intensity exercise.
According to the response published by the Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA), comments received do not require any change in the conclusions of the initial opinion – despite the opinion leading to widespread criticism when it was initially published last year.
Commenting on the EFA opinion at the time, the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) noted that the amino acid is used widely by athletes who engage in high intensity sports – adding that there is ‘robust’ data behind the claim.
“EFSA’s assessment of beta-alanine is just flat-out wrong,” said Jose Antonio, co-founder of the ISSN. “The data on beta-alanine’s ergogenic effects are quite robust.”
“Certainly there are more than a dozen studies showing that beta-alanine is one of the most effective sports supplements on the market. Only caffeine and creatine have more supportive data.”
Indeed, the comments received regard to the opinion suggested that EFSA’s rejection of certain evidence because it related to physical capacity and not physical performance could have been avoided by an alteration in the proposed wording, and that in other areas EFSA failed to assess the evidence from studies.
“Comments received indicated that the applicant disagrees with the conclusion of the NDA Panel that enhancing physical capacity cannot be an effective measure when it comes to performance and suggests that EFSA could have altered the proposed wording of the claim in order to accommodate all outcome measures addressed in the human studies submitted for the scientific substantiation of the claim,” reads the EFSA response. “EFSA wishes to clarify that, as specified in the Scientific and technical guidance for the preparation and presentation of an application for authorisation of a health claim … “one application should be prepared for each individual health claim; this means that only a relationship between a food/constituent and a single claimed effect can be the object of each application”.”
Commenting on the ‘missed study’ EFSA added that the findings of the cited research were ‘inconsistent’ – noting that there was no statistically significant link between beta-alanine and many of the primary outcomes reported in the study.
“Therefore, although it is acknowledged that this study is pertinent for the scientific substantiation of the claim, its results do not change the earlier conclusion of the NDA Panel,” said EFSA.
“The comments received did not provide evidence which would warrant a change in the conclusions of the NDA Panel,” it concluded.