NIH News Release
NIH Office of Dietary Supplements

Friday, October 30, 1998

Terri Krakower
(301) 435-2920

NIH Office of Dietary Supplements to Examine the Role of Zinc in Health

The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) at the National Institutes of Health will hold a conference on November 6, 1998 on "Zinc: What Role Might Supplements Play" on the campus of the Uniformed University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland. The conference is open to the public and will run from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

The meeting will present a state-of-the-art review of zinc as it relates to health and will address the biochemical, cellular, and nutritional requirements of zinc in health and disease. Attention will be focused on key areas where zinc supplementation may play a role in the prevention, reduction or treatment of disease. Specific topics will address essential zinc dietary requirements, the regulation of zinc metabolism, zinc and development, zinc and immune function, zinc metabolism in disease, and an update on zinc intake of the U.S. population. In addition, new and emerging roles of zinc in human health will be discussed.

Identifying and correcting borderline nutritional zinc deficiency may offer widespread health benefits. Pharmacological doses of zinc may also be beneficial in certain circumstances and harmful in others. In the public health arena, the positive results of zinc supplementation trials on childhood morbidity and mortality in developing countries have been remarkable and offer promise as a low cost solution to specific health problems. The conference will bring together leading experts in zinc research and clinicians from many scientific disciplines who will present a timely update and critical needs assessment on zinc and health to researchers, nutritionists, and public health advisors and policy makers. These scientists will present an overview of the current state of scientific knowledge regarding zinc nutrition, requirements, and function that will be applicable to many basic science, clinical, and public health programs across the country.

Additional information or registration for this conference is available at the ODS web site at, or by calling 301-592-8600.