A systematic review protocol examining the effect of vitamin D supplementation on endothelial function
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Introduction: Vitamin D has potential benefits for extraskeletal health. These could include an anti-inflammatory effect as well as a reduction in endothelial dysfunction. We aim to provide quality evidence for the hypothesis that supplementation with vitamin D will improve endothelial function (EF), possibly through the abrogation of systemic inflammation. Methods and analysis: We will conduct a systematic review of all randomised controlled trials on vitamin D supplementation and EF lasting 12 weeks or more. The search will cover the period 2000–2015 and include studies that describe direct measures of EF, markers of endothelial cell (EC) activation and if concurrently reported, indicators of systemic inflammation. Study selection will follow the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines and study quality will be assessed by the Jadad score in addition to an evaluation of allocation concealment and data analysis. If sufficient data are available, a meta-analysis will be conducted. The effect sizes will be generated using Hedges’ g score, for both fixed and random effect models. I2 statistics and Galbraith plots will be used to assess heterogeneity and identify their potential sources. Potential publication and small sample size bias will be assessed by visual inspections of funnel plots and also Egger's test. Meta-regression analysis (if feasible) will be conducted with restricted maximum likelihood (REML) estimation method, controlling for potential confounders (demographics, study methods, location, etc). A backward elimination process will be applied in the regression modelling procedure. Subgroup analysis, conditional on number of studies retrieved and their sample size, will be stratified on participant disease category, total dose administered, degree of 25(OH)D change and type of supplement used.
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