Background: Epidemiological studies suggest that dietary intake of vitamins A, C and E may be associated with the occurrence of asthma. A systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted in accordance with MOOSE guidelines to determine whether vitamins A, C and E, measured as dietary intakes or serum levels, are associated with asthma.
Methods: MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, CAB abstracts and AMED (up to November 2007), conference proceedings and bibliographies of papers were searched to identify studies of asthma, wheeze or airway responsiveness in relation to intakes and serum concentrations of vitamins A, C and E. Pooled odds ratios (OR) or mean differences (MD) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated using random effects models.
Results: A total of 40 studies were included. Dietary vitamin A intake was significantly lower in people with asthma than in those without asthma (MD −182 μg/day, 95% CI −288 to −75; 3 studies) and in people with severe asthma than in those with mild asthma (MD −344 μg/day; 2 studies). Lower quantile dietary intakes (OR 1.12, 95% CI 1.04 to 1.21; 9 studies) and serum levels of vitamin C were also associated with an increased odds of asthma. Vitamin E intake was generally unrelated to asthma status but was significantly lower in severe asthma than in mild asthma (MD −1.20 μg/day, 95% CI −2.3 to −0.1; 2 studies).
Conclusions: Relatively low dietary intakes of vitamins A and C are associated with statistically significant increased odds of asthma and wheeze. Vitamin E intake does not appear to be related to asthma status.
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Funding: This study was internally funded by the University of Nottingham. The study sponsor had no role in the study design; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of the data; in the writing of the report; or in the decision to submit the paper for publication.
Competing interests: None.
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