Hypo- and hyperzincemia has been reported to cause alterations in the adrenal secretion. To determine the acute effect of zinc on cortisol levels, we studied 27 normal individuals of both sexes aged 20-27 y after a 12-h fast. The tests were initiated at 7:00 AM when an antecubital vein was punctured and a device for infusion was installed and maintained with physiological saline. Zinc was administered orally at 8:00 AM. Subjects were divided into an experimental group of 13 individuals who received doses of 25, 37.5, and 50 mg of zinc and a control group of 14 individual who received 20 mL of physiological saline. Serial blood samples were collected over a period of 240 min after basal samples (-30 and 0 min). We detected an acute inhibitory effect of zinc on cortisol secretion during 240 min of the study period in the experimental group.