Hypothetical presentation that I delivered in an oral at school regarding the dangers associated with certain pharmaceutical dependencies.

Good morning general practitioners of the Australian medical association of Queensland. I, Shaun Rudd, stand before you today on behalf of the Queensland branch council, to shed light on a subject that has been kept in the dark for too long. I agree with the research that has found Vitamins and Antioxidant supplements are increasing our mortality. It has always been the belief that antioxidant supplements and other vitamins have helped to fight our everlasting battle between our bodies and the natural aging process.

But reality, are vitamin supplements merely a vessel in which companies extort money from anxious citizens trying to avoid the inevitable? Medicine has and always will be about helping the sick, and if vitamins have proven to be nothing more than an expensive placebo it is our duty to expose them for what they really are.

Many of you would know that as general practitioners a comprehensive study covering a wide range of antioxidants and vitamins has been published by the American Medical Association last week. The research conducted by a Danish hospital research team revealed a startling and dire truth about medications that are supposedly beneficial to our health. The report was accomplished with the trial of 68 antioxidant supplements and involved 230,000 adults.

I believe the research has exposed some alarming information for the Australian public. The specific vitamins supplement that have come under scrutiny are beta carotene, vitamin A, vitamin E, Vitamin C and selenium. Vitamin A is "said" to help maintain normal reproduction, vision and immune function. However when looked at separately the research showed that Vitamin A when taken in supplement form causes a 16 per cent rise in mortality. A closely related nutrient, beta carotene caused an increase of death by 7 per cent and vitamin E by 4 per cent.

The Danish study found that the top-selling supplement, vitamin C, had neither a positive nor negative effect on mortality. Selenium also returned non conclusive results. I believe its bad press for pills that are supposed to have precisely the opposite effect. Any medication that has the risk of lifting the mortality of the Australian public should be recognized as problem for the AMA. We must do everything to educate the consumers within the antioxidant supplement market about the research.

A majority of people who consume vitamin or herb supplements presume that because the substance is “natural” it can not be harmful. Professor Luis Vitetta said “There's a billion-dollar industry based on this idea that people can prevent disease when they're actually putting themselves at extra risk”. As GP's I believe it needs to become our obligation to ensure the Australian public understand the reality of antioxidant supplements and vitamins. Anxious consumers are lured to buy particular products because they claim an antioxidant effect. Profit-driven manufacturers insist their medication eliminates the free radical molecules that are responsible for “oxidative stress”.