Anthocyanins are secondary plant metabolites responsible for the blue, purple, and red color of many plant tissues. The phenolic structure of anthocyanins conveys marked antioxidant activity in model systems via donation of electrons or hydrogen atoms from hydroxyl moieties to free radicals. Dietary intakes of anthocyanins may exceed 200 mg/day, however, little is known about their antioxidant potency in vivo. Consequently, the aim of this study was to establish whether anthocyanins could act as putative antioxidant micronutrients. Rats were maintained on vitamin E-deficient diets for 12 weeks in order to enhance susceptibility to oxidative damage and then repleted with rations containing a highly purified anthocyanin-rich extract at a concentration of 1 g/kg diet. The extract consisted of the 3-glucopyranoside forms of delphinidin, cyanidin, petunidin, peonidin, and malvidin. Consumption of the anthocyanin-repleted diet significantly improved (p <.01) plasma antioxidant capacity and decreased (p <.001) the vitamin E deficiency-enhanced hydroperoxides and 8-Oxo-deoxyguanosine concentrations in liver. These compounds are indices of lipid peroxidation and DNA damage, respectively. Dietary consumption of anthocyanin-rich foods may contribute to overall antioxidant status, particularly in areas of habitually low vitamin E intake.