VITAMIN E supplements raised the risk of heart failure in a group of patients who took them for seven years, new research showed yesterday.

The study found vitamin E did not significantly reduce the risk of cancer or heart-related events, and could be harmful.

Researchers at McMaster University in Canada warned anyone with disease affecting their blood vessels, or diabetes, to avoid vitamin E supplements.

Previous research has suggested the supplements may protect against cancer and cardiovascular illness, but this has not been borne out by trials.

The researchers write in the Journal of the American Medical Association: “We observed an increase in the risk of heart failure, which is of concern.”

They “strongly recommend” a review of available data.