Association between low vitamin D levels and the diagnosis of asthma in children: a systematic review of cohort studies
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BACKGROUND: There is conflicting evidence about the association between low vitamin D levels in children and development of asthma in later life. The objective of this study was to systematically review the evidence for an epidemiological association between low serum levels of vitamin D and the diagnosis of asthma in children. METHODS: We used the Cochrane methodology for conducting systematic reviews. The search strategy included an electronic search of MEDLINE and EMBASE in February 2013. Two reviewers completed, in duplicate and independently, study selection, data abstraction, and assessment of risk of bias. RESULTS: Of 1081 identified citations, three cohort studies met eligibility criteria. Two studies found that low serum vitamin D level is associated with an increased risk of developing asthma late in childhood, while the third study found no association with either vitamin D2 or vitamin D3 levels. All three studies suffer from major methodological shortcomings that limit our confidence in their results. CONCLUSIONS: Available epidemiological evidence suggests a potential association between low serum levels of vitamin D and the diagnosis of asthma in children. High quality studies are needed to reliably answer the question of interest.
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