Poster Topical Area: Vitamins and Minerals

Location: Hall D

Poster Board Number: 484

P26-023 - Factors affecting serum zinc concentrations in the U.S. population: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2011-2014)

Sunday, Jun 10
8:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Background: Serum zinc concentration is frequently used to assess zinc status in populations. Cutoffs for serum zinc were developed based on data from National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) II in 1976-80, but until recently (2011-12) serum zinc was not included in NHANES. Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate serum zinc concentration in the U.S. population and determine factors associated with serum zinc using NHANES 2011-14.
Design: Serum zinc was determined in males and females ≥ 6 y using NHANES 2011-2014 (n=4,347). Dietary zinc intake was determined and factors associated with serum zinc were identified while controlling for sex, age, fasting status, and time of blood draw. Odds ratios were calculated to identify factors associated with risk of being below the cutoff for serum zinc and prevalence of low serum zinc was calculated.

Results: Mean ± SE serum zinc concentrations were 82.7 ± 0.6 µg/dL. Regression models with serum zinc as the dependent variable indicated that afternoon and evening blood draws (β=-9.7 and -15.3; P<0.0001 for both) were negatively associated with serum zinc concentrations and serum albumin (β=16.1; P<0.0001) and hemoglobin (β=1.0; P=0.0048) were positively associated with serum zinc concentrations. Hypoalbuminemia (OR=11.2; 99% CI: 3.4, 37.3), anemia in females (OR=3.4; 99% CI: 1.7, 6.9), and pregnancy (OR=9.6; 99% CI: 2.9, 31.9) increased odds of being below the serum zinc cutoff (P<0.0001 for all). Zinc from diet or supplements did not affect serum zinc (P>0.01). Approximately 3.8% of children (<10 y), 8.6% of males (≥10 y), and 8.2% of females (≥10 y) were below the serum zinc cutoff.

Conclusions: Factors such as sex, fasting status and time of blood draw should be considered when determining zinc status. Caution is advised when interpreting serum zinc concentration in populations with conditions that independently affect serum zinc.


Views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy of the Army, Department of Defense, or the US Government.




Funding Source:

DMRP, MRMC, and appointment to USARIEM administered by ORISE through an interagency agreement between the DOE and the MRMC.

CoAuthors: Harris Lieberman, PhD – U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine; Victor Fulgoni, PhD – Henry M. Jackson Foundation; James McClung, PhD – U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine

Stephen R. Hennigar

U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine
Natick, Massachusetts