When people take medicine, they often also ingest nonactive ingredients and fillers, which sometimes come with their own side effects.
According to Dr. Todd Rowe, a homeopathic physician and chief medical officer of Genexa, a local company that produces organic medicines, hydrogenated oils found in some medications may lead to heart and nervous-system problems as well as strokes; artificial colors have been linked to cancer and attention deficit disorder; titanium dioxide can weaken the immune system; and sodium benzoate and BHT might damage human DNA and cause liver issues and bladder cancer.
“I believe that organic foods and organic ingredients are healthier for our bodies,” said Rowe, who also is the homeopathic program director at the American Medical College of Homeopathy in Phoenix. “What we choose to place in our bodies does have an effect on our overall health. Organic ingredients are more likely to work in harmony with the body. The choice for consumers to use organic ingredients helps them to know that what they are placing into their bodies is healthier.”
Max Spielberg and David Johnson founded Genexa in 2014 after they couldn’t find organic medicine to purchase for their families. The friends and business partners researched the inactive ingredients in medicine, cold-calling doctors and pharmacists, and were taken aback by their findings.
“We were really shocked when we learned what was going on and saw how the companies were putting in cheap crap, like synthetic fillers and binders that are harmful,” said Spielberg, the company’s president. “They were putting all this really harmful stuff in the medicine because it’s cheap. It inspired us to make a difference and give people another option.”
Genexa, which has offices in Beverly Hills and manufactures its products in California, produces organic, non-GMO medicines for adults, such as Allergy-D for nasal allergy and cold symptoms, Jet Lag RX for jet-lag fatigue, the Sleepology sleep aid, Stress Relief to quell anxiety and promote concentration, and Calm Keeper, a relaxation aid for children.
The fillers Genexa uses in its medicines include organic carnauba wax, maltodextrin, rice bran extract, acai berry flavor and dextrose. All of the products are available online at genexahealth.com and amazon.com. They also can be found in some CVS and GNC stores.
“Organic ingredients have been shown to protect the body against aging, cardiovascular disease and cancer,” Rowe said. “They are freer of many of the pesticides, herbicides and fungicides found in nonorganic ingredients. In my opinion, ingredients that are free from GMOs are also less likely to cause allergies and cancer.”
Organic medicine also is better for the environment, according to Rowe. “Organic farming, for instance, reduces pollution, conserves water, reduces soil erosion and uses less energy,” he said.
Genexa is a Certified B Corporation, which means it has been evaluated by the nonprofit B Lab organization to ensure it is committed to transparency and accountability, and has met thorough standards for environmental and social performance. Genexa also is certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative as a user of recyclable materials that works with manufacturers involved in sustainable forestry.
Prior to starting Genexa, Spielberg was a lawyer and ran a home health care agency. Johnson, the CEO, was in finance. Spielberg, who grew up in New York, and Johnson, who is from Miami, have lived in Los Angeles for 15 and 10 years, respectively.
Spielberg, who goes to Chabad of the Miracle Mile Area, said Genexa is in the process of getting certified as kosher by the Orthodox Union. All of its products except Flu Fix are kosher but do not contain a hechsher, the certification indicating it conforms to the requirements of halachah, Jewish law.
Judaism has played an important part in Genexa’s development, Spielberg said.
“Judaism taught me to do the right thing,” he said. “We value social justice. Our products are correcting a wrong because we are educating people about what’s in medicine. We are showing them not only what’s healthy but what’s harmful.”
In its first three years, the company has grown from three employees to seven.
Spielberg said his goal is “to become an internationally recognized brand for healthier options for all kinds of medicines. Whenever someone is thinking, ‘I have a cold’ or ‘I have a headache’ or ‘I am stressed out,’ I want him or her to think of Genexa. We want to be known as a company that makes a difference in the world by treating people well and standing for something.”