Numerous studies have evaluated the association between antioxidants and coronary atherosclerosis but have been limited by its study among individuals with advanced atherosclerosis. The authors studied 865 consecutive patients, 39-45 years of age, without known coronary artery disease and presenting for a periodic physical examination. Antioxidant intake was assessed with the Block Dietary Questionnaire, and coronary atherosclerosis was identified by measuring coronary artery calcification using electron beam computed tomography. The mean age was 42 (+/-2), 83% were male, and the prevalence of coronary artery calcification was 20%. Vitamin supplements were used by 56% of the participants, and the mean (+/-SD) daily intake (dietary plus supplemental) of vitamins A, C, and E were 1683 mg (+/-1245), 371 mg (+/-375), and 97 mg (+/-165), respectively. There was no significant correlation between coronary artery calcification score and individual vitamin or total antioxidant vitamin intake, even after adjusting for traditional cardiac risk factors. The highest quartile of vitamin E was positively associated with calcification (odds ratio=1.77; 95% confidence interval, 1.02-3.06). Antioxidant vitamin intake is not significantly related to coronary artery calcification, implying that there is no effect on the development of early coronary atherosclerosis. High doses of vitamin E may confer an increased risk of calcified atherosclerosis.