The effect of the fatty acid composition of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) on copper-ion-catalyzed oxidation of isolated LDL was examined in 18 normolipidemic men. The decrease in LDL linoleic acid concentration (delta L) during oxidation was found to be strongly correlated with initial LDL linoleic acid concentration (r = 0.976, n = 18, P < 0.001), whereas the production of thiobarbituric acid reacting substances (TBARS) was not. The concentration of oleic acid in LDL was then increased significantly (mean increase 20%, P < 0.05) in 8 male volunteers by a daily dietary supplement of rapeseed oil/muesli for 4 weeks. The mean delay before copper-ion-catalyzed production of conjugated dienes (the lag phase) was significantly (P < 0.001) greater in LDL isolated after the study period (67 min) than that of before the study period (40 min). The rate of formation of conjugated dienes, delta L and TBARS production during oxidation of LDL was not significantly altered by the rapeseed oil/muesli supplement. These results suggest that the linoleic acid content of LDL is a determinant of individual variability in LDL oxidation, and that a rapeseed oil/muesli dietary supplement reduces the susceptibility of LDL to oxidation.