NutritionFacts.org

Health Topics

  1. #
  2. A
  3. B
  4. C
  5. D
  6. E
  7. F
  8. G
  9. H
  10. I
  11. J
  12. K
  13. L
  14. M
  15. N
  16. O
  17. P
  18. Q
  19. R
  20. S
  21. T
  22. U
  23. V
  24. W
  25. X
  26. Y
  27. Z
Browse All Topics

Muscle Tremors & Diet

Essential tremor, one of the most common neurological conditions, appears to be linked to meat consumption.

November 16, 2009 |
GD Star Rating
loading...

Topics

Supplementary Info

Sources Cited

Acknowledgements

Image thanks to the United States Navy and Chief Mass Communication Specialist Don Bray.

Transcript

Breast cancer has been the traditional target of these cooked meat carcinogens, but now there’s also prostate, stomach, colon, and kidney cancer concerns too. We also know these cooked muscle chemicals are neurotoxic, and so last year researchers looked into meat consumption and “essential tremor,” one of the most common neurological conditions in the world.
They can start as early as our 40’s, and usually starts in the hands but can spread to the rest of the body and become quite debilitating. And we never knew what caused it, but now, at least for men, we seem to have a pretty good idea. Men eating the most meat in this study had more than 20 times the odds of having this tremor.
Just to illustrate how dramatic a 20-fold increase is, the odds of a pack a day smoker getting lung cancer after 20 years is only 13 times that of nonsmokers.
So for meat and tremor, it comes out to be 6% increased risk for every 10 grams of meat consumed daily. That’s like one strip of bacon. That means if we eat the equivalent of a chicken breast a day we may double your risk of developing a tremor for the rest of our lives.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

To help out on the site please email volunteer@nutritionfacts.org

Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out theother videos on meat. Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos--please feel free to explore them as well!

For some context, please check out my associated blog posts: Harvard’s Meat and Mortality StudiesBreast Cancer and Diet, and Estrogenic Chemicals in Meat

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/mgreger/ Michael Greger M.D.

    Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out the other videos on meat. Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos–please feel free to explore them as well!

  • http://nutritionfacts.org/members/toxins/ Toxins

    Can tremors be reversed with a whole foods plant based diet?

    • Jane

      I don’t know what all of the research says, but I had tremors for a year because of autoimmune problems. I went on a low fat plant based diet (no meat or dairy at all and not much processed foods) and my tremors are completely gone after a year on the diet.

      • Skeptic

        Research is sparse concerning ET and diet. Most effort seems to be focused on the usual suspects: drugs, surgery, and medical devices-profitable ways to endlessly treat symptoms.

    • Skeptic

      In my lengthy personal experience, no, though it seems to reduce them and may prevent progression. In my experience, in my individual case of severe ET, some of it appears to be irreversible, like many neuro disorders. Perhaps it might eliminate them for a mild, developing case. This approach has been very worthwhile for me.

  • acrigler

    What if any foods/nutrients increase the production and/or usage of dopamine?

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    For some context, please check out my associated blog post Harvard’s Meat and Mortality Studies!

  • Glden

    Dr Greger, do you have any studies showing how nutrition affects ovarian cancer? Specifically, what are good foods for fighting/avoiding ovarian cancer?

  • teresa

    I have essential tremors,I have been looking for a good diet

    • Jane

      I’ve been on a low fat vegan diet for a year now and am feeling amazing and no more tremors.

    • Skeptic

      I’m a long time severe ET sufferer. The diet has helped me a lot. And its also highly effective against most every other health challenge. Do this diet; its absolutely win-win. It should probably be Dr supervised for any diabetic though.

  • salbers

    Could this study implicate meat consumption in restless leg syndrome? It is sort of a muscle tremor.

    • TCB Health

      Theoretically it is possible, although there does not appear to be studies on it yet. The underlying cause for RLS would be pertinent, as there is no one cause. While they manifest similarly and often co-exist, essential tremors and restless leg syndrome are different disorders.

    • Skeptic

      My wife has restless leg. She’s been a vegan for almost 10 years. Whether prior meat consumption contributed to the current condition is anyone’s guess.

      • reva

        drink tonic water, it work wonders. the quinine.

    • William Dwyer

      I’ve noticed that restless leg syndrome is brought on in me with ice cream. It may be the sugar or the calcium or a combination. But ice cream does it almost exclusively. I haven’t noticed it with any other food, meat and fish included.

  • debbie

    Hi Dr, thanks for the great videos. I really want to help my ~Dad, he is vegan, hasnt ate meat for 30years and has Essential Tremor badly in his hands. Would it help to find out his B12 levels? Ive heard a low B12 could contribute towards this. What else can he do?

    • Skeptic

      ET is in my lengthy, personal experience, very responsive to diet, though not entirely reversible. Here’s a quick list to consider:

      Never drink caffeine, it makes it much worse; alcohol has a “rebound effect” and makes it worse; eat very low-fat, down around 10% and no trans fat; eliminate all animal products; do take B12 supplements if vegan; focus on high nutrition foods with lots of antioxidants; eliminate most or all processed food; make fruit and veggies the core of diet, supplemented with some nuts and legumes and small amounts of whole grain. Basically, eat like this site says sans the coffee.

      I appear to have stopped the progression and manage the tremors. At this point, some of it appears to be irreversible. We in the ET community need to advocate for diet studies to see what can be done.

  • Sid Young

    Dr. Greger,
    I am 70 years old and my tremors began at age 19. Sometimes now, my hands flutter uncontrollably like butterflies. Beef has been a staple of my diet. Quite accidentally, I found that large consumption of watermelon, (seeds and all) brought almost total relief the following day. I have tried watermelon seed extract with lesser success. I have just now found watermelon seed for sale by the lb. from a seed vendor and roasted watermelon seeds by the lb. from nuts.com which I am going to try.

    Have you ever heard about relief with watermelon before?

    My father had the same problem as did his mother. I had decided that it was hereditary, but we all were consumers of cooked meat mostly beef.

    I have also investigated getting my brain zapped with radio waves in Virginia.

    • Skeptic

      ET has not been proven to be familial or hereditary. In fact, over half of patients have no first degree relative with the disease. The President of the IETF states that “the cause of ET is currently unknown.” Dr Louis, who led the study cited here, is very prominent in ET research and writing. He knows from prior studies and evidence that environmental factors, like diet, may be the causal agent for ET.

      Try the diet Sid. I’ve had extremely good success with it, though it has not eliminated all tremor, it may have halted the progression, and the tremor is less severe. And the general benefits of low-fat veganism are a big bonus. I started off becoming a vegan to manage ET, and found out nutrition is the key to most health issues. Its win-win!

      One of these days, we’re going to get our intervention study. Then we’ll know if diet can manage symptoms and progression, and maybe prevent the disease altogether.

  • gb0138

    Any updates on the tremors and meat connection? In particular, if cutting out meat has any effect on reducing or elimination tremors? My brother in law has tremors and can no longer work.

    • Skeptic

      I’ve been using a low-fat, vegan diet for almost 10 years to manage what was once severe ET. While the diet has not eliminated the ET, I don’t appear to be “progressing” and my tremor is less severe.

      I’ve been trying to get researchers to do a intervention study to see if putting an experimental group of ET patients on a low-fat plant diet would measurably reduce symptoms. So far I’ve gotten some nibbles, but no takers.

      Definitely try the diet for a few weeks. The improvement was very noticeable for me, and of course it helps with over all health in general, which strengthens a person’s coping capacity.

  • Skeptic

    The photo used in this video is also inaccurate, since it depicts a resting tremor test. ET is a kinetic tremor and is tested with movement tasks, like writing or lifting a glass of water to drink.

  • Nostents4me

    Without knowing the confounding variables, the short video is meaningless.. .The reality is that most meat in the US today is consumed with the worst of the worst: In hamburger joints where meat is mixed with wheat and sugar to stick together and last, with sweet sauces, drinks and french fries cooked in vegetable oil. Any salad is destroyed by sugar-mixed dressing with vegetable oil again. The last two one may be the worst: Our nerves are isolated with myelin sheets that are made of fat.
    It degrades over time and need to be changed like engine oil in a car. High quality long last engine oil or fat for us is essential. The lowest quality fat that can be used is the vegetable omega-6 fat, because it oxidizes much faster than the fats that used to be most common: saturated and monounsaturated fats. When the oil come embedded in French Fries part the high temperature exposure has already degraded the oil before we eat it. Not even olive oil should be used for frying! .

    But another connection to meat is meat from CAFOs, beef and especially Pork, since most meat is produced this awful way today:
    It contains much more omega-6 than before because grain and soya is used to feed the fast growing animals. Even if it wasn’t GMO it would be the last I for one eat. Grass fed and grass finished beef is the only real thing. If obtained direct from small farmers it can come at reasonable prices.

    • reva

      Most cattle are fed in a pasture setting females, and the bulls… I know this first hand. Then they give birth, and get pregnant again, at the same time though they raise this calf in that pasture eating grass, and hay… mineral blocks, and we also have tubs that have extra nutrition that we give them in the winter, and yes they are treated with a spray across their back that treats for lice, ticks and intestinal parasites. When the calves are big enough to go to sale, then they will be bought by a cattle buyer from a big meat co. and that’s when they will put them in a feed lot and feed them up for slaughter, Most of the Ranchers in this Country do it this way, , you can’t afford to any other way, you’d go broke. You are getting grass fed Beef.

      • Nostents4me

        Check out how US farmer Joel Salatin and others are doing it !

        It is grass fed all the way and good money is made from it.
        Here a link to a presentation made by a Canadian farmer.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75nwvIK2AMs

        Because the number of animals per acre is and grass productivity is going up immediately and also year on year the systems become profitable , combined with higher prices on superior produce.
        Especially in drier areas the system extends growing periods significantly as the soil improves and thickens and bind both more nutrients and water. The usual comment is “if it is that simple why isn’t it used allover” Check out the video and see what you think. It all makes sense!

        • reva

          Thank you for this very informative film, I learned allot from it and I will pass it on. Yes there is parts of the Country that do experience drought conditions, so they are forced to sell there herds or to feed hay. or do what they have to. we have multiple pastures, so we do not have a problem with overgrazing, but I know exactly what you mean by it. Thank you again.

          • Nostents4me

            Great that it can come to more use!
            Thanks.

  • karen

    Excuse me! I have hand essential tremor all my life I am 55. I am a total vegetarian and I have never eaten meat ! How do you explain this?

    • Toxins

      Do you consume eggs or dairy?