Mild zinc deficiency is a common condition in healthy elderly individuals leading to impaired cell-mediated immune response. Here we report the effect of improved zinc status on TH1/TH2 balance and on the activation status of T helper cells in 19 healthy elderly subjects aged 69.8 +/- 5.1 years. Our investigations revealed a mild zinc deficiency which was adjusted by oral zinc supplementation for seven weeks. Improved serum zinc levels significantly reduced levels of activated T helper cells whereas changes in TH1/TH2 ratio (determined by CCR4 and CCR5 expression) were not observed. These findings suggest that elderly individuals may benefit from moderate zinc supplementation due to improved immune response leading to reduced incidences of autoimmune diseases and infections.