Results from the largest ever trial on vitamin E supplementation – almost 40,000 American women participated – appear to confirm previous research showing that the vitamin does not prevent heart disease or cancer. But those women taking the high dose natural alpha-tocopherol supplements did have a significantly lower risk of death and also a much lower risk of heart attack and stroke if they were over the age of 65, according to the major trial out today. Researchers on the study, published in the 6 July issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (vol 294, no1), say these findings should be investigated further. Industry will also welcome the lack of adverse effects reported during the 10-year study, the longest trial period for vitamin E supplements to date. The study found a 24 per cent reduction in cardiovascular deaths among the nearly 20,000 women who took vitamin E supplements compared with the nearly 20,000 women taking placebo. For women 65 and over, taking vitamin E supplements had an even greater positive effect, reducing cardiovascular death by 49 per cent compared to placebo and heart attack by 34 per cent. Professor Maret Traber, a principal investigator at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University and a leading expert on vitamin E, said: ?Vitamin E has clear value in helping to reduce the risk of heart and other serious degenerative diseases. This is especially important for people who smoke, have high blood pressure, or who don?t eat properly, habits which can leave them with inadequate levels of this essential vitamin.?