The relation between risk of angina pectoris and plasma concentrations of vitamins A, C, and E and carotene was examined in a population case-control study of 110 cases of angina, identified by the Chest Pain Questionnaire, and 394 controls selected from a sample of 6000 men aged 35-54. Plasma concentrations of vitamins C and E and carotene were significantly inversely related to the risk of angina. There was no significant relation with vitamin A. Smoking was a confounding factor. The inverse relation between angina and low plasma carotene disappeared and that with plasma vitamin C was substantially reduced after adjustment for smoking. Vitamin E remained independently and inversely related to the risk of angina after adjustment for age, smoking habit, blood pressure, lipids, and relative weight. The adjusted odds ratio for angina between the lowest and highest quintiles of vitamin E concentrations was 2.68 (95% confidence interval 1.07-6.70; p = 0.02). These findings suggest that some populations with a high incidence of coronary heart disease may benefit from eating diets rich in natural antioxidants, particularly vitamin E.