Using a high-performance liquid chromatographic procedure, age- and gender-based reference ranges for plasma retinol, alpha- and gamma-tocopherol, lycopene, and alpha- and beta-carotene have been established. In addition to confirming higher retinol levels in men than in women (p less than 0.001), this study demonstrates significantly higher plasma levels of both carotenes in women than in men (p less than 0.001). The plasma levels of retinol and beta-carotene showed a positive relationship with age after adjusting for plasma lipids (p less than 0.001 and p less than 0.02, respectively). In contrast to beta-carotene, there was no gender difference for plasma lycopene and a strong (p less than 0.001) inverse relationship of lycopene with age. These results suggest that differences may exist between beta-carotene and lycopene in their intestinal absorption, plasma transport, or tissue metabolism.