Discussion Responses to Assignment 5 Questions

DiscussionResponses to Assignment 5 Questions

DiscussionResponses to Assignment 5 Questions

Thispaper answers the three questions for assignment 5 as part of aNutritional Behavior Course in Human Biology which touched on theeffectiveness of Ginkgo biloba in improving memory, the utilizationof St. John’s Wort as an antidepressant, selling of the energydrinks children populations, and the causes of alcoholism.

GinkgoBiloba and Memory

Ginkgobiloba, which is also called maidenhair tree has existed on theplanet for many years and is considered one of the oldest plantspecies which has survived even during the major events ofextinctions that saw the disappearance of say, dinosaurs. This treehas the potential to stand 130 feet above the ground as much as itcan survive for more than one thousand years. Evidence has long beenbrought forth about the therapeutic characteristics of these plants,with the discovery that they harbor high concentrations of terpenoidsand flavonoids causing significant excitement in the field of humanmedicine. These chemicals are antioxidants already confirmed toprotect against the oxidative cell destruction as caused by harmfulfree radicals, and that has earned the plant high popularityconsidered that its action helps in the improvement of human memory(Yasar et al., 2013).

Theissue of memory loss is as serious a problem in medicine as itstreatment is in psychotherapy, and such hazards like Alzheimer’sdisease and dementia are causing serious chaos concerning the memorystatus in the human populations (Worobey, Tepper &amp Kanarek,2006). Memory loss due to Alzheimer’s disorder can be effectivelyreversed by using the extracts of Gingko biloba’s dried leaveswhich are then processed into liquid drugs, capsules, and tablets.Some of the benefits associated with its use in pharmacotherapyinclude improved thinking, better social behavior, and memoryrestoration in demented individuals for half to one year. Its drugaction mechanism of enhancing blood flow in the brain as well as itstendency to antagonize neuronal damage processes are the attributingfactors in the cognition improvement by the plant extracts (Yasar etal., 2013).

However,some adverse effects have been associated with the use of Gingkobiloba including stroke, causing dementia in patients with heartattack, cancer in animals, nausea, dizziness, restlessness, anddiarrhea. Moreover, it contains long-chain alkylphenols which are thecause of fatal irritations in the patients who are allergic to ivypoison and alkyl phenols. Regarding these detrimental outcomes,Gingko biloba is regarded a less efficient antioxidant and othersupplements with limited risks such as increased dietary elementslike Omega-3 fatty acids, Acetyl-L-carnitine and huperzine A as wellas vitamin E in reversing memory loss that comes with Alzheimer andother dementias (Worobey et al., 2006).

St.John’s Wort as an Antidepressant

Fora long time now, depression has been a major social issue calling forimmediate therapeutic interventions. Consequently, such standardantidepressants as Placebo, alongside the application of nutritionalsupplements like minerals, herbs, vitamins, and amino acids, allprovided as powders, pills, and liquids (Brown, 2014). However,Sarris (2013) argued that the herbal sector has made significantachievement in the utilization of St. John’s Wort, scientificallyclassified as Hypericum perforatum, as an antidepressant to alleviatedepression. Europe has used Hypericum for centuries as a healthremedy for depression, especially the mild cases in addition to othermental disorders like insomnia, anxiety, mood swings, and seasonalaffective disorder. Currently, the medical advances have resulted inthe package of the drug in capsules for administration to depressionpatients, its pharmacodynamics (drug action) is such that it affectsthe brain neurotransmitters the same version as Placebo.

Manystudies have validated the effectiveness of St. John’s Wort as anantidepressant with petite to no side effects than the standardmedical drugs. When prescribed rightly at 300 milligrams for adults(0.3% extract of hypericin), followed by the correct doseconcentrations after the initial therapy, the herb efficientlymanages depression (Sarris, 2013). In a cohort study of 105 patients(both male and female of age range 20-64) suffering from mild tomoderate depression and with temporary depressive mood as well asneurotic depression, one category received 300mg Hypericum thrice aday. The other proportion of the cohort was subjected to Placebotherapy and the patients examined psychiatrically before the study,then after two weeks of treatment and finally four weeks later withevaluators who were unaware of the antidepressant administered(Sarris, 2013).

Atthe termination of the four weeks of the research, it was realizedthat 67% of those who received St. John’s Wort dose showcasedpositive response to therapy without any negative effects reported.Conversely, only 28% of the patients who got placebo administrationdisplayed the signs of improvement that affirmed that for low tomoderate depression, Hypericum is very useful (Sarris, 2013). And nowwith the dietary supplements such as capsulated minerals, herbs,vitamins, and amino acids available, the field of mental health isaugmenting impulse in the way it manages depression patients.

SellingEnergy Drinks to Minors

Energydrinks are defined as beverages which combine caffeine and otheringredients like B vitamins and guarana and aims to provide surplusenergy to the consumers. Although there are claims that such drinkshelp in the provision of extra energy crucial in improving mental aswell as physical activity, the body of literature is yet to come toterms with the exposition (Brown, 2014). In fact, research hasattributed energy drink overdose to several adverse effects likeamong the reproductive women and children aged below 18 years iftheir total consumptions contain more than 300mg caffeineconcentration (women) and 2.5mg/kg body weight (children) (Pomeranz,Munsell &amp Harris, 2013). However, the challenge is that thisamount is not easy to control because one energy drink served have 72to 150mg caffeine, but each drink often features 2 to 3 servings, animplication that a single complete bottle has about 294 mg caffeine.Furthermore, Brown (2014) specified that brewed tea, coffee, and coladrinks bear caffeine content of 48 to175, 134 to 240, and 22-46 mgrespectively. Its consumption is, therefore not recommended for theexpectant women, children, and sub-adults.

TheAmerican Association of Poison Control Centers` publications revealstriking findings related to the caffeine overutilization by childrenand teens. In the year 3013, for example, (Pomeranz et al. (2013)observed that those who suffered single exposure consequencesregarding soft drink intake totaled 1,685 (those aged 5 years andbelow), 173 (6 to 12 years), 246 (13 to 19 years), accidental(1,180), intentional (272), hospitalized (368), severe reactions (7),mild reactions (146), and death (none). More disheartening is therecent findings by the American Heart Association that 40% of theexposure to energy drink calls to the poison control concernedchildren as young as 6 years and below (Pomeranz et al., 2013). Inaddition to the above consequences, energy drinks are widelyassociated with heart attack, substance abuse by the teens,depression, and hyperactivity their sale to the young populationmust be prohibited as soon as possible.

Causesof Alcoholism

Alcoholismis defined as the chronic intake of hard drinks and in which a personloses self-control that features impaired drinking. It is caused bythree leading factors namely genetic, social, and psychological(Brown, 2014). Regarding genetics, children of alcoholics are morelikely to inherit the trait from their parents than the generalpopulation. Such scenario is associated with a possibility offamilial transmission of the problem, but the concept is yet t befully understood. Secondly, alcoholism may be caused by psychologicalsetbacks such as depression and mood swings, and with the intakeaimed to restore one’s emotions back to normalcy state. However, itis imperative to record that excessive consumption depletes serotoninand dopamine stores as well as the two neurotransmitters in the brainthat functions in the generation of feelings of happiness andeuphoria. One it has affected the central nervous system and thebrain neurotransmitters, one finds it difficult to cease drinkingbecause any such attempts lead to the excitation or overexcitement ofthe nervous system and the agitation that follows is unbearable tothe alcoholics. Finally, social factors that can lead to alcoholisminclude peer pressure and economic frustrations that give one afeeling of societal exclusion and lack of a future (Lieber,2012).


Thepaper successfully and unsparingly answered the questions posted inthe introduction. Ginkgo biloba was found useful as an antioxidantfor the restoration of lost memory as much as its use is accompaniedby a wide array of side effects. Also, St. John’s Wort is a verypotent antidepressant that functions more or less the same mannerlike placebo, and it has petite to no side effects. Besides, the saleof energy drinks to children and teens should be ban because thecaffeine contents in such beverages pose many health-related risks tothe group. Finally, alcoholism is a chronic intake of liquor or harddrinks with triple-fold causes of genetic, psychological, and socialfactors.


Brown,J. (2014). Nutritionnow.Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing.

Lieber,C. S. (2012).&nbspMedicaland nutritional complications of alcoholism: mechanisms andmanagement.Berlin, Germany: Springer Science &amp Business Media.

Pomeranz,J. L., Munsell, C. R., &amp Harris, J. L. (2013). Energy drinks: anemerging public health hazard for youth.&nbspJournalof public health policy,34(2),254-271.

Sarris,J. (2013). St. John`s wort for the treatment of psychiatricdisorders.PsychiatricClinics of North America,&nbsp36(1),65-72.

Worobey,J., Tepper, B.J., &amp Kanarek, R. (2006). Nutrition&amp behavior: A multidisciplinary approach. Cambridge,MA: CABI Publishing.

Yasar,S., Xia, J., Yao, W., Furberg, C. D., Xue, Q. L., Mercado, C. I., …&amp Williamson, J. D. (2013). Antihypertensive drugs decrease riskof Alzheimer disease Ginkgo Evaluation of MemoryStudy.&nbspNeurology,&nbsp81(10),896-903.