Association between micronutrient deficiency and acute respiratory infections in healthy adults: A systematic review of observational studies

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Abstract

Background: Acute respiratory infections (ARI), including the common cold causes significant morbidity and economical losses globally. Micronutrient deficiency may increase ARI incidence risk and its associated duration and severity among healthy adults, but evidence are inconclusive. This study aims to systematically review all observations on the association between single micronutrient deficiency and ARI incidence, duration and severity in healthy adults. Methods: Systematic literature searches were conducted in PubMed, Cochrane Library, Embase and Scopus databases. Eligible studies were assessed for the reporting and methodological quality. Adjusted summary statistics with their relevant 95% confidence intervals or interquartile ranges were extracted for the outcomes of interest. Results: The literature search identified 423 unique studies. Of which, only eight studies were eligible and included in the final review. Only vitamin D deficiency (VDD) was observed among these eight studies. There were no eligible studies that focused on the association between other single micronutrient deficiency and ARI. The review found mixed observations on ARI incidence, and a lack of evidence on its associated severity to conclude the association between VDD and these outcomes. However, existing evidence consistently suggested that VDD is likely to lead to longer ARI duration (median duration in days: deficient group, 4 to 13; non-deficient groups, 2 to 8). Conclusion: This review found that VDD may be associated to longer ARI duration, but its effect on ARI incidence and its associated severity among healthy adults remains inconclusive. This review also highlighted the lack of a consistent regional and/or global definition for micronutrient sufficiency, and that future studies should explore and conclude the association between other micronutrient deficiency and ARIs in healthy adults before considering supplementation for ARI prevention and management.

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Wang, M. X., Koh, J., & Pang, J. (2019). Association between micronutrient deficiency and acute respiratory infections in healthy adults: A systematic review of observational studies. Nutrition Journal, 18(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12937-019-0507-6

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