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Plasma zinc is an important biomarker of zinc status, but the concentration is depressed by inflammation.Apparently healthy adults, who tested positive twice for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) but who had not reached stage IV or clinical AIDS, were randomly allocated to receive a food supplement (n=17 and 21) or the food plus a micronutrient capsule (MN; n=10 men and n=33 women) containing 15mg zinc/day. We used the inflammation biomarkers, C-reactive protein (CRP) and α1-acid glycoprotein (AGP), to identify subjects with and without inflammation and determine the effect of inflammation on the response of plasma zinc concentrations to the MN and food supplements.There were no differences between men and women either in plasma zinc or in the responses to the supplements and their data were combined. Plasma zinc was lower in those with inflammation than without. Repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) showed that inflammation blocked increases in plasma zinc, and there was an approximate 10% increase in plasma zinc concentration in response to the MN supplement (P=0.023) in those without inflammation. Subgroup analysis showed mean changes in plasma zinc of 0.95 and -0.83 μmol/l (P=0.031) in response to the MN and food treatments, respectively, in those without inflammation at both time points.Inflammation seems to block any increase in plasma zinc after MN supplement and it is important to identify those without inflammation to determine the effectiveness of a zinc supplementation program.