Plasma glycans were analyzed in 1008 individuals to evaluate variability and heritability, as well as the main environmental determinants that affect glycan structures. By combining HPLC analysis of fluorescently labeled glycans with sialidase digestion, glycans were separated into 33 chromatographic peaks and quantified. A high level of variability was observed with the median ratio of minimal to maximal values of 6.17 and significant age- and gender-specific differences. Heritability estimates for individual glycans varied widely, ranging from very low to very high. Glycome-wide environmental determinants were also detected with statistically significant effects of different variables including diet, smoking and cholesterol levels.