Just like nearly every other drug, the anti-anxiety drug Xanax contains fillers and additives that are listed as inactive ingredients, but which actually can pose significant health risks. The only way to avoid ingesting those potentially dangerous chemicals and compounds is to avoid taking the medications.
But does that mean you have to suffer with anxiety and panic disorder? Not at all. Theres an alternative treatment which can be just as effective as Xanax, but which has none of the potential side effects and risks associated with the drug and its active and inactive ingredients. First, lets look at the inactive ingredients in Xanax.
Although alprazolam is listed as the primary or active ingredient, Xanax is made with GMOs, allergens and other ingredients that can cause health problems and reactions in many people. Heres an overview of some of the inactive ingredients lurking in a Xanax tablet:
- Lactose: About a third of the population is lactose intolerant, and many more have low levels of lactase, the enzyme needed to properly digest lactose. People who are lactose intolerant may experience intestinal gas, bloating, stomach pain and cramps, diarrhea and even vomiting. (1)
- Corn starch: Almost 90 percent of corn grown in the U.S. is genetically modified, injected with foreign DNA that helps plants tolerate higher levels of pesticides and herbicides, among other modifications. (2) Genetically modified crops are a relatively new invention, and therefore, their health risks have not been fully studied over a long period. Many scientists worry that the addition of new genetic material could cause health effects ranging from allergic reactions to more serious issues affecting the immune system, digestion or organ health. In addition, corn starch can become contaminated with gluten during manufacturing and production, increasing the risk of reaction among people with celiac disease and those with gluten sensitivity. (3)
- Sodium benzoate: A known carcinogen, sodium benzoate is a compound that forms as a result of a reaction between benzoic acid and sodium hydroxide. Its commonly added to food products, drugs and supplements as a preservative and to inhibit mold. Sodium benzoate reacts with cell DNA by preventing cells from taking in oxygen, a necessary element for cellular metabolism and other functions. In addition to its link with cancer, sodium benzoate has been associated with an increased risk of Parkinsons disease, neurodegenerative disorders and premature aging. (4)
- Magnesium stearate: Associated with the formation of kidney stones and the development of liver ailments, magnesium stearate can suppress T cells, an important component of your bodys immune system. Whats more, stearate is often derived from cottonseed oil, which has one of the highest levels of pesticides of all processed oils, which means many products containing magnesium stearate also may be contaminated by pesticides. (5)
- FD&C Yellow No. 6 and FD&C Blue No. 2: Most food colors are derived from petroleum products, and therefore are associated with a potentially increased risk for cancer. As a result, most are tested continuously on animals. FD&C Yellow No. 6 is commonly used in cosmetic products and D&C Blue No. 2 is often found in hair dyes. In some people, they can cause allergic reactions and skin reactions. (6, 7)
- Docusate sodium: Docusate sodium is used as a laxative and stool softener. Possible side effects include cramping, bloating and gas. In some cases, it can cause diarrhea, indicating an intolerance of this so-called inactive ingredient. (8)
The holistic alternative
While doctors may reach for their prescription pads at the mere mention of feelings of anxiousness, nervousness or depression, there are several well documented alternative treatments that help your body learn to tap into its own natural powers to relieve stress and calm even the most entrenched panic disorders.
Herbs like valerian and St. Johns wort have a calming effect and have been used for centuries to treat anxiety, panic disorders and depression. These and other herbs can be purchased as organic supplements or may be steeped into a tea. Other foods that contain B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids have also been linked with a decrease in mood disorders, and eating a balanced diet overall helps strengthen your bodys immune system as well as boost mood.
Yoga, meditation and regular aerobic exercise like walking can also have significant benefits for mood disorders. When combined with a good diet and supplements, you can develop a treatment regimen thats designed specifically for your needs and preferences.
As with any other illness or medical condition, knowing your options means you can make an educated decision about your care. When it comes to incorporating holistic methods, the benefits are clear: You can avoid the serious side effects of Xanax while also enjoying all the added benefits that go along with better overall health.