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Zinc Conference

Zinc and Health

The ODS initiated a two-day workshop, followed by a one-day conference, to provide an overview of the biochemical, cellular, and nutritional requirements of zinc in health and disease. The meetings were co-sponsored by six NIH institutes and offices, other federal agencies, and two professional associations. Attention was focused on the key areas where zinc supplementation may play a role in the prevention, reduction or treatment of disease. These meetings brought together leading experts in zinc research and clinicians from many scientific disciplines to present a timely update and critical needs assessment on zinc and health to researchers, nutritionists, and public health advisors and policy makers. The workshop topics included the following: zinc and the immune system, gastrointestinal tract, and the central nervous system; antioxidant and defense functions of zinc; zinc and cellular mechanisms; and zinc in growth and specific disease entities. New and emerging roles of zinc in human health were also discussed, as well as new measurement and assessment techniques. The one-day conference summarized for the public the relevant findings on dietary zinc requirements, zinc and development, zinc and immune function, zinc metabolism in disease, and zinc intake of the U.S. population. Key areas that warrant further investigation were also identified.