The effects of calcium supplementation (as calcium citrate malate, 1000 mg elemental Ca/d) with and without the addition of zinc (15.0 mg/d), manganese (5.0 mg/d) and copper (2.5 mg/d) on spinal bone loss (L2-L4 vertebrae) was evaluated in healthy older postmenopausal women (n = 59, mean age 66 y) in a 2-y, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Changes (mean +/- SEM) in bone density were -3.53 +/- 1.24% (placebo), -1.89 +/- 1.40% (trace minerals only), -1.25 +/- 1.46% (calcium only) and 1.48 +/- 1.40% (calcium plus trace minerals). Bone loss relative to base-line value was significant (P = 0.0061) in the placebo group but not in the groups receiving trace minerals alone, calcium alone, or calcium plus trace minerals. The only significant group difference occurred between the placebo group and the group receiving calcium plus trace minerals (P = 0.0099). These data suggest that bone loss in calcium-supplemented, older postmenopausal women can be further arrested by concomitant increases in trace mineral intake.