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Zinc effects on nutrient/nutrient interactions and trends in health and ageing

Contract number : QLK1-2001-00168
Contract type : Shared Cost Project
Total cost : € 2.786.141
EC contribution : € 1.909.050
Starting date : 1/03/2002
Duration : 36 Months
Scientific Officer : Jürgen Lucas
Project website : not yet available
Dr Charles Coudray
INRA Theix
Centre de Recherche en Nutrition Humaine d'Auvergne
Unité Maladies Métaboliques et Micro-Nutriments
63122 Saint-Genès-Champanelle
Tel.: +33-4-73624281
Fax: +33-4-73624638
E-mail: coudray @

Intake of protective nutritional components, including zinc, is critical for older people. Zinc enrichment may be beneficial for health, but excess zinc may interact with Fe and Cu metabolism. We propose to determine the response to nutritional supplementation of zinc in cohorts of late middle-aged and older men and women from different European countries. Volunteers will receive a placebo or two levels of zinc supplement for 6 months. Effects of zinc supplementation on relevant micronutrient status and intestinal absorption of zinc will be evaluated. Cognitive function and psychological and physiological factors will be monitored. Beneficial effects and possible adverse effects, on surrogate biomarkers of health and physiological factors, will be determined at baseline, 3 and 6 months of zinc supplementation. This proposal will provide a scientific basis for formulation of public health recommendations on dietary zinc intake in ageing Europeans.


The overall aim is to provide clear and sound scientific data on the beneficial and/or potential adverse effects on mental and physical health of zinc supplementation in ageing Europeans in order to evaluate the need for dietary recommendations specific to this population.

The specific objectives are on the one hand an estimation of zinc intake and status in late middle-aged and older people in four European countries. On the other hand, the project is aimed at the determination of zinc supplementation effects on mood, taste, food choice, cognitive function, anti-oxidant status and oxidative damage, immune status, physical activity, basal metabolic rate and thyroid function, protein synthesis, bone health, micronutrient status, and lipid metabolism.

(expected) Results and achievements

We expect to demonstrate that high intakes of dietary zinc are beneficial to psychological and physiological health without adverse effect for these population groups. The knowledge acquired in this project will provide a scientific basis to decide whether specific dietary recommendations for zinc are required for this population.


Université Joseph Fourier Grenoble 1
Laboratoire de Biologie du Stress Oxydant
Domaine de la Merci
38700 La Tronche
University of Ulster
Northern Ireland Centre for Diet and Health
School of Biomedical Sciences
Cromore Road
BT52 1SA Coleraine
United Kingdom
Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca per gli Alimenti e la Nutrizione
Unità Nutrizione Umana
Via Ardeatina 546
00178 Roma
Cenes Limited
Compass House
Vision Park, Chivers Way
CB4 9ZR Histon, Cambridge
United Kingdom
University College Cork
Cork Nutritional Sciences
Department of Food Science, Food Technology & Nutrition
Western Road

Fifth Framework Programme

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