Doctor's Note

I also have a few videos about the other major tremor condition, Parkinson’s Disease: Preventing Parkinson’s Disease with Diet and Treating Parkinson’s Disease with Diet

These compounds created in cooked meats may also have implications for cancer risk:

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  • guest

    What about the NIGHTSHADE vegetables causing tremors and movement disorders? I am surprised you have not (to my knowledge) done any in depth analysis on this website as to the detrimental role nightshade foods (potato, tomato, eggplant, tobacco, goji berry, peppers, and more) have on not just the issues you’ve brought up in today’s video but on pain disorders such as arthritis and some other inflammatory and autoimmune diseases/disorders.

    Eliminating nightshade veggies from the diet has seemed to have had a profound and positive healing effect for countless folks. Please highlight this topic in a video. Eliminating tomato’s, potato’s peppers and eggplants, for me. eliminated by 99% my knee pain. And I’m not the only one.

    • Brenda

      His videos are based on current research. He does not create the studies, just reports on what is being investigated. If you look through his videos you will find information on inflammation from potatoes – white, red and golden. He does discuss tomatoes and their benefit when cooked. He talks of red peppers and being more valuable left raw. We all have differing reactions to various foods so no one statement applies to us all. But it is a good idea when you post that, like Dr. Greger, you cite the studies where you obtained your information.

    • Hillary Rettig

      I’ve been vegan for the last 10 years, with great health effects but no effect on my essential tremor. Like Brenda, I would like to see a cite and also want to know how long does one have to refrain from nightshades to see a reduction in tremor?

      • cometboy

        Like you I don’t eat meat, though I’m not vegan. ET runs strongly in my family and I appear to be experiencing a typical course with it despite my diet. My initial thought was that egg or dairy might be my nemesis, but your experience suggests it may not be.

        In the end it may be that there are classes of ET cases that include those who get it no matter what, just like there are people who get lung cancer without smoking.

        • Hillary Rettig

          My mom also has this tremor, and I believe it can be caused genetically. (“Essential” basically means they don’t know, right?)

          • Skeptic

            The cause is unknown. We do know that pairs of identical twins exist where one has ET and the other doesn’t. This strongly suggests are environmental component.

          • Raw and Cooked Vegan

            Hillary, Have you found in your studies that Dopamine Receptive Dystonia is a kind of Essential Tremor, or would it be a different illness altogether?

        • Skeptic

          I believe I’m stable and suspect its my vegan diet. I wouldn’t assume it doesn’t work just because the ET appears irreversible.

          • Tef

            It appeared reversible after short exposures in animals. The real question is whether it is reversible after long exposures. Perhaps there is some permanent changes/damage after long term exposure. I,too, have ET and gave up meat/fish two years ago after reading some of this research. I think my tremor has improved, but it ceratinly has not disappeared.

      • guest

        You can read the links posted above to Brenda for research on nightshades, and you can also check out some more of the links included here in the post for you, Hillary. Best of luck to you on your vegan journey. The people on my journey who seem to have gotten relief from tremors is by the elimination of nightshades, soy, gluten, and mushrooms, synthetic vitamins/supplementation and caffeine as well. I do feel there is enough of a reason to avoid nightshades and soy for a long stretch of time to see how you respond. Made the difference for me and lots of others. At some point I think the doubters need to understand and accept that we are not all the same, and that good folks of intact integrity are getting immense relief once they eliminate nightshades, soy, gluten, (and some of the other stuff on the list). Please, be in faith. Give it a go.


        Beier, R. C. Natural pesticides and bioactive components in foods. Rev Environ Contam Toxicol. 1990; 113:47-137.

        Childers N.F. A relationship of arthritis to the Solanaceae (nightshades). J Intern Acad Prev Med 1979; 7:31-37

        Dalvi, R. R. and Bowie, W. C. Toxicology of solanine: an overview. Vet Hum Toxicol. 1983 Feb; 25(1):13-5.

        Hopkins, J. The glycoalkaloids: naturally of interest (but a hot potato?). Food Chem Toxicol. 1995 Apr; 33(4):323-8.

        Kubo, I. and Fukuhara, K. Steroidal glycoalkaloids in Andean potatoes. Adv Exp Med Biol. 1996; 405:405-17.

        Maga, J. A. Potato glycoalkaloids. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 1980; 12(4):371-405.

        McGehee, D. S.; Krasowski, M. D.; Fung, D. L.; Wilson, B.; Gronert, G. A., and Moss, J. Cholinesterase inhibition by potato glycoalkaloids slows mivacurium metabolism. Anesthesiology. 2000 Aug; 93(2):510-9.

        Reit-Correa F, Schild AL, Mendez MC, Wasserman R, Krook L. Enzootic calcinosis in sheep caused by the ingestion of Nierembergia veitchii (Solanaceae). Pesq Vet Brazil 1987; 7:3:85-95

        Scott, P. M. and Lawrence, G. A. Losses of ergot alkaloids during making of bread and pancakes. J Agric Food Chem. 1982 May-1982 Jun 30; 30(3):445-50.

        Sheen SJ. (1988). Detection of nicotine in foods and plant mateials. J Food Sci 53(5):1572-3.

        Slanina, P. Solanine (glycoalkaloids) in potatoes: toxicological evaluation. Food Chem Toxicol. 1990 Nov; 28(11):759-61.

        Stankiewicz JN, Evans JL. Potato diet influences on tissue mineral composition in the growing rat. J Animal Sci Abstr 1980; 51:223

        • Hillary Rettig

          Thank you for your reply and the great suggestions.

        • Skeptic

          Another approach is to eat lots of nightshades and see if the tremor increases. In my case, and I have classic severe ET, nightshades have zero affect on it.

          None of your references appears to have any relationship to ET?

          • l have one patient who is now age 66 who had started to have a mild ET in right hand about 8 years ago. His father had ET fairly severely. The patient went on a plant based diet 6 years ago and his tremor gradually got better after 2 years. Now he has no tremor.

          • Dawn Berry

            Would you suggest dietary changes for someone who has had it since childhood? I have had hand tremors since I was a baby, now at 44 I am starting to have tremors basically everywhere.

          • peggy

            Hi Dr Forrester, can u give me more info on a plant based diet….I’m trying to find something to help my mom….Thank You

          • Hi Peggy,
            I would start with the Physicians Committee on Responsible Medicine. Go to their website… and download their Vegetarian Starter Kit… and sign up for a Kick Start program.. These programs are free. You might even be able to find a Food for Life Instructor in your area. Another resource is John McDougall’s website which has is also free. There are free educational video’s, recipes and newsletter articles. Of course you need to keep tuned to as the science keeps coming. Hope this helps both you and your mom.

      • Skeptic

        I’ve been vegan 8 years. My ET is still very pronounced, but I don’t think I’m getting worse. I grow a lot of veggies including a lot of tomatoes and potatoes and eat a lot of them. They have no effect on my ET.

      • Donna

        Hillary, I have been having a vibration sensation occasionally for years, discovered it was associated with MSG (monosodium glutamate). Listed under other names also. A new hidden MSG is in modified corn or food starch and also maltodextrin. You may find this link helpful. Also, nutra sweet give me problems also, like numb limbs and head aches. God Bless in your search.

        • Suzanne Davis

          My teenaged daughter has tremors when she eats MSG or aspartame and is going through tests right now to find out what else may be causing them. It’s frustrating and frightening for a young person to have this problem and not know why.

      • Carol

        I am a strict vegetarian and I don’t drink milk or eat any dairy products. I haven’t seen any reduction of my Essential Tremors. Drinking wine helps, but I can’t live on wine nor drink too much of it.

      • Shakin Susan

        Me too. Vegan for 3 years, eliminated every other problem I had except the tremor. My diet is not perfect. I do eat a ton of veggies, fruits, and legumes. I also bake a lot, with all the different sugars, I still eat oil (in small amounts), real chocolate, and I drink caffeine. I do notice the tremor gets better if I cut my caffeine, but it does not go away. I have tried cutting out alliums, that didn’t help. Cut out nightshades, that did not help. (I have since added both back in) I have found a way to “band-aid” my tremor with a very specific strain of medical cannabis oil.(Unfortunately this oil is not yet available to the public, i was lucky enough to try it from its creator as he is still perfecting the ratios of chemical compounds) As excited as I was to find something that helps so I can go to the store without shaking, I want it cured, not just suppressed. Anyone have other ideas? I am starting to look into the experiments with hallucinogenic mushrooms and other psychoactive compounds in low doses, which I think might be something for us all to check into. (Safely, and thoroughly, of course!)

        • Shakin Susan

          I forgot to add- my entire family has this disease. It is worse in the women. One possible causal factor that we all share other than our genetics, is environmental pollutants. I was raised in Lewiston, Idaho. It is down in a valley, with a paper products mill, a lot of conventional wheat farming, and most of the trees have been removed. The air is crap, the water is worse, and I wasn’t able to breathe without medications until I moved away at age 27. Women think miscarriage and birth defects are normal there, most miscarry 5 times before delivering a healthy baby, and this is at young healthy ages! In my own family, our hobbies may be adding to things. Every summer is spent out in the beautiful woods mining for gold. In the early days the miners used mercury and left much of it behind to pollute the waters. My dad still has big bottles of it sitting on shelves in the house where my nephews are now being raised. Where I was raised. I handled mercury a lot growing up, without knowing to be careful. Dad said don’t eat it, so we didn’t. We have been collecting it for years because we were taught it was dangerous and we didn’t want the fish to get hurt. Now I think we were idiots. We all also have emalgam fillings. I might be wrong about all of this. But in my family we have all tried different methods to treat this so we all eat different, some have done accupuncture and other alternatives, none of us can eliminate it. My sister curbed hers with alcohol, and I curbed mine with cannabis. Other than that nothing changes for us.

    • Skeptic

      I eat large amounts of tomatoes and potatoes in season. They have no effect on my classic and severe ET.

    • Savo

      Nightshades can have a huge effect on body inflammation anyone with a form of disease needs to stop inflammation foods one of them being night shades. I hope people know about dr wahls book and how she reversed her MS symptoms by diet. Also there is a huge play in water fasting and the activation of stem cells. B12 must be taken also in high doses and correct forms too.

      I would start with liver twice a week to lower tremors.

      • Skeptic

        ET is NOT an inflammation disease. It involves damage to the brain and fine motor control signals. I’ve had it for decades and I have no inflammatory conditions at all.. Even in my mid fifties I can downhill ski with ease and run every day.

  • rumicat

    If it’s fat soluble it may be that not much of it ends up in the filtered coffee extract, just a thought.

    • John Furr

      Harmalas are not fat soluble. In food they exist inthe salt form and would be readily dissolved in hot water during the brewing process.

    • For removing other fat soluble toxins, please use a paper filter. A metal filter does not help.

  • mbglife

    Dr Greger: If “harmain is produced when coffee is roasted, though coffee intake has not been tied to increased risk”, does the study cite the average level that ends up in a cup of coffee?

    • Ali Bano

      Please scientificaly use of caffen quantity per day to reduse tremors.

  • seedycharacter

    I’ve had essential tremor (mostly in one hand) for a few years–all while eating vegetarian. I do notice coffee makes the shaking worse if I have more than one cup. I always thought this was due to the usual caffeine induced “jitters” but now I’m wondering . . .

  • Mercedes Maharis

    Does fish oil have harmane in it? Is it safe?
    1200 mg 3 X a day?

    • bob

      Due to my age…over 65…I do eat meat but currently keep this down to beef and salmon for the most part….mostly never fried or broiled…just boiled. A solution for a higher protein intake for older people might be extra amino acids like arginine and ornithine…I intend to start taking a few grams a day in order to increase protein intake hopefully without the negative side effects. The positive effects from this might be increased muscle mass.

      • JacquieRN

        Hi Bob, lets find out more, if you don’t mind:

        1. How many grams of protein are you trying to ingest? You can reach healthy level without the meat/poultry and their potential side effects. Actually cellular inflammation aids in the loss of muscle mass as we age so it is even more important to reduce the amount of saturated fat, trans fatty acids, cholesterol, and total fat in the diet by eating fewer animal products and more plant foods.

        2. What is your goal for muscle mass?

        3. Are you doing strength training type exercise?

        4. What do you hope to gain from supplementing with extra amino acids?

        5. Do you have a study showing the benefits of supplementation specific for building muscle mass? If so please share so I can be informed. This is what I have for your consideration: Arginine is necessary for children, but usually not adults. Arginine is also one of the most common amino acid supplements, along with lycine and tryptophan, but beneficial effects of oral supplementation have not been proven.

        Ornithine is called a nonessential amino acid because your body can manufacture it. It is a nonprotein amino acid (not used to create proteins) that is an intermediate of the urea cycle, and provision of ornithine to a cell is actually the rate limiting step of the cycle. There is currently one study using ornithine paired with arginine that noted improvements in lean mass and power output in weightlifters, but this is an old study that has not been replicated and its practical relevance is uncertain.

        So eating eating whole plant foods will give you all you need – unless you have a specific medical condition that interferes.

    • JacquieRN

      What would be your goal in taking fish oil?

      Check this out:

  • Skeptic

    I’ve had ET for over 35 years-13 of them pretty severe. I’ve been a hard core vegan for 8 years, including 2 years where I ate only raw fruit and green leafy vegetables. I seem to be stable, that is not progressing, but very much still have the tremors.

    If harmane is a principal cause, merely not eating it does not appear sufficient to reverse essential tremors.

    • Raw and Cooked Vegan

      Have those severe 13 years been the last 13 years?

      • Skeptic

        Yes. But the eight I’ve been vegan have been better than the 5 before it. Veganism helps very noticeably, but so far it has not reversed most or all the symptoms. Merely not getting worse is a major accomplishment with ET.

        • Raw and Cooked Vegan

          Thanks very much.

  • Marilyn Reichenberger

    Is there any nutrition studies on restless leg syndrome? I can’t find anything in Dr Greger’s site at this time. Love the work he does! Thank you.

    • Shakin Susan

      I haven’t been able to find much on that either. I had RLS when I played video games a lot. When I started eating plant based my energy went up so i went outside and exercised and played less video games and mine is gone now. I have a friend who says his is excruciating if he lets his vitamin D get low or doesn’t hydrate enough. I think it can be different for all of us.

  • Joe Burdo

    I wouldn’t argue that a vegetarian diet isn’t better in general than a meat based diet, but in this aspect, the data out there isn’t that convincing yet. Two important studies were left out of the video. One study showed no correlation between blood harmane levels and animal protein consumption in patients with essential tremor. The authors later parsed it out for men and women and found a correlation for male patients and animal protein consumption, but not for women. Even for the men, the standard deviations (the differences in consumption within the male patient group) are huge, and it’s not clear that just because statistical significance was (barely) reached, that the effect is biologically meaningful.

  • Merio

    the problem is that if the essential tremor is linked to necrosis/apoptosis of particular neurons (that causes the tremor), once they died… well, i really don’t know how to repair the damage… it may be to late to save them… but i do not study this issue yet so i could be wrong…

  • Mikael George

    people who have tremors need to watch this video ;

  • allen cohen

    I am a 74 year old white male, with no adverse medical problems, except elevated BP, and a left hand tremor. My father had it in his right hand. I used to consume some form of red meat, chicken, fish at least 5 times per week. This tremor began when I was about age 45. Two months ago, I decided to wage a war on my BP and hand tremor. I stopped all meat, chicken and fish, and have gone onto a whole plant foods diet, actually a life style, as I plan to do this for the rest of my days. My blood pressure which was elevated even with medications (2 of them) is now 122/76 and going down ! My hand tremor is about 50 % better. I just wanted to share my observations on myself with your audience Dr. Greger. You are the one whom have taught me to do this by your lectures and fantastic videos. I think in due course I will be able to eliminate my BP meds, and probably my hand tremor will eventually be perhaps 90 % gone. Not bad for a 74 year old medical and cancer researcher ! By the way, I also exercise in a gym, for one hour, 7 days per week, and have been doing this for the last 40 years, so that I stay active physically.