The effect of partial dietary replacement of linoleic acid (18:2n-6; linoleic acid-rich diet) with α-linolenic acid (18:3n-3; α-linolenic acid-rich diet) on plasma lipids was investigated in twenty-nine healthy young men. After a 2-week stabilization period subjects were randomly assigned to either the α-linolenic acid-rich diet group (n 15), receiving a mean of 10.1 g of α-linolenic acid and 12.1 g of linoleic acid/d, or the linoleic acid-rich diet group (n 14), receiving a mean of 1.0 g of α-linolenic acid and 21.0 g of linoleic acid/d, for a 6-week test period. Blood samples were taken at the commencement of the stabilization period and at the start (week 0), midpoint (week 3) and endpoint (week 6) of the test period and plasma lipids analysed. The changes occurring on the linoleic acid-rich diet and α-linolenic acid-rich diet were compared but no significant differences in the changes in plasma total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, the subfractions HDL2 and HDL3 or triacylglycerols were found. These results indicate that dietary replacement of linoleic acid with α-linolenic acid in the diet of healthy male subjects offers similar cardioprotective benefits with respect to lipid metabolism.