Every day we see the numbers. Tens of thousands more Americans test positive. Thousands more die.
But the real toll of the coronavirus pandemic goes far beyond these figures. It’s causing unseen health damage that may never be fully known.
One part of the hidden cost is the stress and anxiety that many of us feel. More Americans than ever are turning to pharmaceutical drugs for help. The number of prescriptions for anti-anxiety meds, antidepressants, and insomnia pills spiked by 21% from mid-February to mid-March as the pandemic surged.
We can expect that many of these patients will become addicted. They will be dealing with the tragic effects of drug dependency long after COVID-19 has passed.
Benzodiazepines are the first-line mainstream treatment for anxiety. They include diazepam, alprazolam, lorazepam, triazolam, and clonazepam. One study found that 44% of people who are prescribed these drugs, commonly called benzos, eventually become dependent.
About one-third of people who take benzos for six months or longer will have serious withdrawal symptoms such as seizures when they try to quit.
Overdose deaths involving benzos increased more than sevenfold between 1999 and 2015.
And unlike prescription opioids, whose use peaked in 2012, doctors continue to prescribe more benzos every year. One study calls it the “hidden epidemic” because nobody is paying attention to it.
Benzos can also have frightening side effects.
A 2014 study in the British Medical Journal found that people who take them for six months or longer have an 84% greater chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Doctors say seniors are at higher risk when taking benzos. Since the drugs have a sedative effect, they can lead to falls and fractures.
On top of all that, benzos don’t even work well for the conditions for which they are prescribed.
Dr. Donovan Maust of the University of Michigan’s Department of Psychiatry. He has done extensive research into benzodiazepine use. Dr. Maust said the drugs are nearly useless for fighting anxiety, insomnia, or panic disorders.
“The current amount of use way, way exceeds what the evidence would support.” he said.
Two Calming Nutrients for Coronavirus Anxiety
Research shows two popular supplements used for eye health are also powerful stress-fighters.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are important to vision because they help people see colors better. They also protect eyes from harmful blue light.
But the nutrients aren’t found only in the eyes. They’re also concentrated in the brain.
A study at the University of Georgia found that lutein and zeaxanthin have potent anti-anxiety effects.
The researchers recruited 59 healthy young adults. The participants received either a daily placebo or one of two daily dosages of the supplement: 10 mg of lutein and 2 mg of zeaxanthin, or 20 mg of lutein and 4 mg of zeaxanthin.
At the start of the study and again at six and 12 months, researchers assessed the subjects’ psychological stress by measuring the stress hormone cortisol. They also had them complete questionnaires that assess stress and general health.
The researchers found that both doses of lutein/zeaxanthin significantly lowered stress and cortisol levels. And they improved overall emotional and physical health.
Researchers called the results “groundbreaking.”
Both nutrients can be found in deeply colored foods. Lutein sources include leafy green vegetables, such as kale and spinach. Zeaxanthin sources include yellow-orange vegetables, such as orange peppers. Foods that contain both nutrients include egg yolks and corn.
Most Americans get far too little lutein and zeaxanthin. The most reliable way to get them is through supplements. Unlike prescription drugs, they have few—if any—side effects.
You don’t need dangerous benzos to deal with the stress of coronavirus or anything else. Lutein and zeaxanthin provide relief without risk of addiction.
Editor’s Note: Discover the single best supplement for stronger immunity… The fruit extract that helps 93% of people with respiratory viruses get better in just two days… The germ hotspot that most of us forget to sanitize. Find all this and more in Independent Healing’s Coronavirus Pandemic Guide. Go HERE.