Doctor's Note

Check out these videos on neurotoxins in animal products:
Preventing Parkinson's Disease With Diet
More Than an Apple a Day: Combating Common Diseases

And check out my other videos on meat

For further context, see my associated blog posts: Harvard’s Meat and Mortality StudiesBreast Cancer and Diet, and Estrogenic Chemicals in Meat.

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  • 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!

  • 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.

    • Sara

      Hi Toxins, I give you my two cents: I’m a 30 years old woman and occasionally have mild tremors on my hands. They began I’d say four years ago, when I became a vegetarian and increased milk consumption. They then were a lot reduced on a low fat vegan diet, but didn’t disappear completely until I went on a reduced gluten version of this diet, because of a sensitivity to wheat. For me it seems more a matter of autoimmune reaction.

    • Jeroen

      I’m 36 now and recently i’ve noticed that my fingers almost don’t tremble anymore at all when I hold them up stretched. They did for many of my meat-eating and vegetarian years, and I didn’t take it very seriously since it was so subtle. I assumed just because of stress. But since a year or two, I have become completely vegan and actively increased my consumption of cooked vegetables & legumes and the occasional green juice. Basically following the diet recommended by the science presented by Dr Greger. I’m wondering now whether I have maybe had essental tremor developing already in my late twenties and might have successfully reversed its progress with my diet.

      • Skeptic

        As a very long time ET patient and whole food plant based practitioner, it seems very plausable to me that a WFPB diet could halt ET progression and even reduce existing symptoms. WFPB nutrition has not reversed all symptoms in my case though.

  • 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.

      • Dr Jim

        RLS is a disorder that has been shown to respond to iron in those who have iron deficiency anemia, and also caused by those with chronic kidney disease.

    • 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 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.

        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!

    • Tom Goff

      This appears to be more pure wishful thinking from people who want to believe that grass-fed meats and saturated fat must be healthy despite any and all evidence to the contrary. Do you have any evidence for your beliefs or is it just the usual dodgy chain of shaky reasoning, false analogies and a strict habit of keeping your eyes firmly closed when it comes to what the facts show?

    • Skeptic

      If you read the study, you’ll see that like most studies it corrects for confounding variables and also tested for other dietary differences between cases and controls-none were detected except the difference in meat quantity consumption. Fat consumption between cases and controls was not significantly different.

      • Nostents4me

        Impossible. How can anyone distinguish between fresh meet bought in a butcher and consumed with a couple of potatoes and vegetables and sugar free sauce and meat consumed in McDonalds with bread, sugary sauces, soda ? Apart from that the meat in McDonalds is mixed with sugar before preparation in order to last longer frozen.

        • Skeptic

          Cases and controls ate about the same amount of fat. If controls (people without ET) were eating better cuts of meat (lower fat) then it would have shown in the results. The only significant differences between the ET cases and non ET controls, after adjjusting for confounding variables, was the amount of meat eaten.

  • 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?

  • Jet1956

    I actually learned more from the comments than the video. I am 57 and developed the tremor about two years ago, was told it was hereditary. I have spent many years eating lots of dairy, some meat, but lots and lots of bad fats and sugars. I am going to try this cleaner style of eating, as I am trying to undo some of the previous damage. Thanks for the info, I had an idea it might be related to diet.

  • VirginiaVegan

    A friend has neuropathy caused by too much protein in the blood. Is there a dietary solution for this?

  • Kims

    I have been having tremors all over my body for a couple of years, I’m 53 and have recently been diagnosed with fnd, I have many other disabilities to include Fibromyalgia and Sporadic Hemaplegic Migraine. If it wasn’t for a Neurologist seeing a photo of me with my walker, (sounds odd, I do a bit of modelling when I can) I would have never heard of this. I’m willing to try anything that could help me, so today is the start of a new diet for me. Very interested in this.

    • Thea

      Kims: Yikes, those are a lot of challenges. I hope your new diet gives you new life!

      Let us know if there is a way we can help/support you. The devil is in the details when it comes to getting success on a whole plant food diet. Best of luck to you.

  • 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 !

    • Thea

      allen cohen: Not bad at all! Nice!