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

Friday, October 30, 1998
CONTACT: Terri Krakower, Ph.D.
Office of Dietary Supplements
(301) 435-2920


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.

The Office of the Director is a component of the National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The Office of Dietary Supplements was established at NIH in November 1995 as a result of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act passed by Congress in 1994. The goals of ODS are to explore more fully the potential role of dietary supplements as a significant part of the efforts of the United States to improve health care; promote scientific study of the benefits of dietary supplements in maintaining health and chronic disease; and conduct and coordinate scientific research within the National Institutes of Health relating to dietary supplements.