The goal of this investigation was to determine whether participation in an atherosclerosis treatment program would reduce the oxidative susceptibility of LDL from patients with coronary artery disease. The treatment program included intensive exercise therapy, stress management, and consumption of a diet containing 10% fat. The size and antioxidant and lipid contents of LDL particles from 25 patients were analyzed at baseline and after 3 mo of therapy. The susceptibility of LDL to copper-mediated oxidation was measured by a conjugated diene assay and headspace gas chromatography (HSGC). Atherosclerosis treatment significantly reduced plasma total cholesterol and apolipoprotein B concentrations and the molar ratio of LDL cholesterol ester to apolipoprotein B (P < 0.01). The LDL content of alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene was increased (27% and 17%, respectively, P < 0.04) and the molar ratio of LDL cholesterol ester the sum of LDL alpha-tocopherol and LDL beta-carotene decreased from 159 at baseline to 122 at 3 mo (P < 0.01). The lag phase of LDL conjugated diene formation increased 24%, whereas the maximum rate of oxidation slowed 29% (P < 0.01). As assessed by HSGC, copper-catalyzed formation of volatile lipid oxidation products was reduced 15% (P < 0.007); the reduction in volatiles was correlated with an increase in the alpha-tocopherol content of LDL (r = -0.48, P < 0.01). The principal determinants of reduced LDL oxidative susceptibility were the particle contents of alpha-tocopherol and beta-carotene. To our knowledge, this is the first report to document a reduction in LDL oxidation in coronary artery disease patients undergoing atherosclerosis-reversal therapy.