Muscle Tremors & Diet

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

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Breast cancer has been the traditional target of these cooked meat carcinogens, but now, there’s also prostate, stomach, colon, and kidney cancer concerns, as well. We also knew these cooked muscle chemicals are neurotoxic, and so, last year, researchers looked into meat consumption and “essential tremor”—which is one of the most common neurological conditions in the world.

These tremors can start as early as our 40s, and it 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 lead. 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 our 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.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

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

Breast cancer has been the traditional target of these cooked meat carcinogens, but now, there’s also prostate, stomach, colon, and kidney cancer concerns, as well. We also knew these cooked muscle chemicals are neurotoxic, and so, last year, researchers looked into meat consumption and “essential tremor”—which is one of the most common neurological conditions in the world.

These tremors can start as early as our 40s, and it 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 lead. 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 our 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.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

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

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.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

66 responses to “Muscle Tremors & Diet

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    1. 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.

      1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

      1. 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.

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

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. I’ve been tested for iron deficiency anemia and they said my iron levels are great. It maybe my kidneys? Well maybe, but I never have the issue when I wake up and it almost always comes at night. Perhaps before I sleep; I turn a daylight or full spectrum fluorescent light on that would cure the problem because it seems to be associated with my brain and the amount of sunlight is outside.
          I get restless leg syndrome and I’m a vegan so that sugar component may be a link and/or calcium.

    3. 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.

  2. 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?

    1. 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.

      1. Skeptic, old though this is, I have appreciated reading your comments. My father had rather severe ET and I appeared to be developing it at about the time I changed my diet due to arthritis (which the wfpbd completely cured). The tremors continued for about 2 years after the diet change but did not get worse. Finally I have not had a single case of tremors in the past year and half. I know this is only suggestive but the other observations on this topic seem to be pretty compelling when taken together.

        Your point about stopping the progression and management gives me a sense of my having a narrow escape. I guess my psoriatic arthritis which forced me to look at diet has turned out to be a very good thing for me for many health reasons including barely escaping ET.
        I can only second your call for diet studies.

  3. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. I would get my DNA tested with 23&me and then have those results Run through strategene to see if you have a methylation challenge. Methylation is key to hormone and neurotransmitter production. One billion methylation processes occur per second.

  4. 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.

    1. 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.

        1. Hi, Kris! There has been some further research suggesting that meat consumption (particularly beef, pork, fish, and especially chicken) is linked to essential tremor (see here: https://nutritionfacts.org/2015/12/01/do-dietary-toxins-contribute-to-hand-tremors/). The “sources cited” tab on this video – https://nutritionfacts.org/video/essential-tremor-and-diet/ – contains a list of relevant studies that you might like to check out as well.

          1. If it appears to be genetic, can essential hand tremors be reversed?

            Susan Johnston, Ed.D 714-658-6970 *sjohnston94129@gmail.com * Compassion & Choices Communit y Outreach Volunteer

            *https://www.compassionandchoices.org **http://www.susanjohnstonphotography.com *

            *http://www.botanicalphotoart.com *

          2. Thanks, Lea! One follow-up… The idea of ET coming on bc of these dietary things is interesting, but how does that fit in a case where a child was literally born with it (and both grandmas have ET, though they didn’t get them til they were in their 50s and 60s)? Thanks.

            1. That is exactly my question also. Thank you.

              Susan Johnston, Ed.D 714-658-6970 *sjohnston94129@gmail.com * Compassion & Choices Communit y Outreach Volunteer

              *https://www.compassionandchoices.org **http://www.susanjohnstonphotography.com *

              *http://www.botanicalphotoart.com *

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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!

        1. 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.

    2. 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?
      http://healthylongevity.blogspot.com/2013/10/Cardiovascular-Disease-in-Ancient-Civilizations.html
      http://donmatesz.blogspot.com/2012/04/harvard-meat-study.html
      http://plantpositive.com/44-humanity-past-and-future/

    3. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

  7. 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?

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

    1. 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.

  10. 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 !

  11. I have had tremors all my life. I have been a vegetarian for 5 years – that did not help. I went on the gluten-free diet and it did nothing. The ET was getting worse with each passing year. This year at age 65 I went on the ketogenic diet and am seeing improvements (although minimal) everyday.

  12. Found this when searching for a connection between sugars and refined carbs and ET. I have had ET for over 20 years now. I went on a ketogenic diet (lots of meat) last year and my tremors were greatly reduced. I did not go on the diet for my tremors but it seems to have helped. I went off the diet over the holiday season and my tremors went back to being as bad as ever. This certainly isn’t scientific but I have been back on the diet for a few weeks and my tremors have already subsided significantly again. So, is meat the problem or are sugars and refined carbs the problem? Or, none of the above? With as many people as there are with ET, it is shocking that simple diet studies have not been conducted.

    1. That’s interesting. I found this page with a google search using the keywords “ketogenic ‘essential tremor’ “. And the reason I did that search is that I recently started a ketogenic diet (with just moderate protein by the way) together with intermittent fasting (fasting 16 to 18 hours per day) for purposes of just reducing my weight, and maybe my blood pressure. I also have ET that is somewhat bothersome, but not severe. I’m 62. When I started the diet, I was in no way looking for any improvement in ET, because I never made that association. But the improvement in ET, apparently, was enough for me to notice the improvement (during this ketogenic diet) without my having made a point to watch out for any improvement. I now have found that there is some research about this. So you and I are not alone in noticing this.

      Other info: I have used a strict ketogenic diet on other occasions, in 1997, 2001, and 2006, and I generally eat a somewhat low carb diet at other times. But my weight crept up again anyway, for various reasons. The better I adhere to low carb, the better my weight is.

  13. I have a friend who has MS type neuro symptoms moving to different places in his body causing muscle atrophy, pain and numbness
    He is a vegan, eats no meat or dairy
    BUT he supplements his protein needs mostly with WHEY protein and SOY meat substitute products
    Is there truth to the facts that these powdered proteins are dried with hexane which is a neurotoxin?
    Internet is a bit sketchy with the production methods of these non-meat protein alternatives
    Thanks

    1. Hi Steward,

      I am a volunteer for Dr. Greger. Thanks so much for your question.

      I could not find any published research on the topic of hexane used in the production of whey or proteins, but that does not mean it’s not true. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if it was used. Regardless of whether it is processed with hexane or not, I would minimize use of such protein supplements, as their safety and efficacy are questionable. There are many other sources of protein, and vegetarians and vegans have been shown to get more than enough protein. Check out this video for more on plant-based eaters and protein:https://nutritionfacts.org/video/do-vegetarians-get-enough-protein/

  14. I’m 35 now and have been suffering ET for over 20 years. Though initially mild, it is getting significant as I’m getting older. At about 30 the situation became worse. Presently, I sometimes find it very difficult to even write my name on register at work – a great threat to my career.

  15. I’m 43 now and my tremors began at age 12. I don’t know how much meat I ate as a kid but I don’t think it was a lot.

    My theory is that it isn’t just meat, it’s anything that includes or promotes glycation, which links it to aging. I’ve been trying literally everything I can to fight the progression of this tremor which began getting significantly worse in my late 30’s. At this point in the game I’m willing to try anything, but I’m probably going to go at it differently than most here. I’ve been fasting, intermittently for up to 72 hrs one time but generally 36 hrs twice a week. I’m considering a 5 day fast once a month when I get back next week from vacation. When I eat I plan to get plenty of fruits and veggies, cut out meat, but I don’t think I will cut out all meat. Not fish or fish oil or olive oil. I don’t think it’s the meat itself but what comes with meat in the majority of cases. Advanced Glycation End Products.

    I think the problem is one of increased glycation. Though the WFPB diet addresses that, I don’t think that necessarily means the need to drop fats. Olive oil is mostly monounsaturated fat. It has a tad bit (a little less than 17% of the fat content) of sat fat and about the same amount in omega 6 polyunsaturated fats. The most important thing are the polyphenols. EV Olive Oil and Green Tea both have an effect on autophagy which should be looked at along with fasting and essential tremor patients as avenues for some reversal. Their effect on glycation prevention, along with L-Carnosine (which happens to be in meat) is well known. I’m just starting my experiments with this. There is so little effort in research towards finding a cure or root cause (thus a cure) for this that it seems we’re all having a go at it on our own. Weirdly, despite the fact that polyunsaturated fat oxidation creates the majority of glucosepane based AGE’s in humans, good quality, well sourced genuine Extra Virgin Olive Oil may have too little PUFA to matter compared with what it does have in abundance.

    This is yet another age related disease that would best be investigated from an anti-aging angle. If that means WFPB diet that’s fine but I think that diet is too religiously restrictive to address the other needs towards that end. That said, there are far too many FDA restrictions on anti-aging research to warrant much from investors. Aubrey De Grey’s SENS Foundation would be a very good place to put your money right now, especially where tremors are concerned and you can specify it to go towards a means of breaking glucosepane crosslinks and other efforts into understanding glycation. This is what causes people to age. I don’t understand why none of the money is going here other than the fact that big companies want to profit off treatment over prevention and cure.

    As I approach this from that angle, I’ll come back here and report my progress. Also be aware of the Reddit group, I post there.

  16. I am a 68 year old, white male who was diagnosed with Essential Tremor in both hands about 20 years ago. It progressively got worse until earlier this year I had to use weighted utensils along with additional wrist weights in order to eat. After a while even those aids were no longer sufficiently helpful and I wasn’t sure what to do. As further background, 10 years ago I had a triple bypass and went on a very low saturated fat, no cholesterol diet. I never ate meat, eggs or dairy. I ate what most would consider a “healthy diet”: whole grains only, little to no sugar (occasionally I would cheat!), foods high in omega 3’s like salmon, ground flax seeds, and lots of vegetables, salad, tofu, etc. Basically I followed a vegan diet but I ate fish. I also exercised regularly, mainly walking and biking. My tremor only got worse.

    After extensive research, 6 months ago I went on a Ketogenic Diet. For the first 2 months nothing happened but since then there has been a slow gradual improvement. I no longer eat with weights and can now do many things I was not able to do before. Sometimes it feels like the improvement has stopped but then I suddenly realize I can do something that I couldn’t do previously.

    In addition to a few comments on this blog about ET and the keto diet, see this link for anecdotal accounts of how the keto diet has helped others with ET — https://www.reddit.com/r/keto/comments/46to0a/science_keto_diet_and_essential_tremors/

    My diet: I eat relatively little meat (pasture raised only when I do) or chicken, but I do eat some eggs (pasture raised only) and wild caught fish high in omega 3’s once or twice a week (never farm raised fish). I eat a lot of high fat dairy — cheese and sour cream (homemade)— from goats, sheep or pasture raised cows (whenever possible from casein 2 cows such as Jersey cows). I buy only organic vegetables and nuts, and usually eat 2 green salads a day. I supplement with at least several tablespoons of fresh ground flax seeds, lots of olive oil and good balsamic vinegar on salads, and I take one tablespoon of MCT oil (pure Caprylic Acid from Bulletproof Brain Octane). It’s basically a low to moderate protein, high fat diet with lots of salad and mostly green vegetables — and extremely low carbs.

    In addition to much reading and research on the internet, I also have adapted my diet by taking suggestions from the following four books:
    – “The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living” by Volek and Phinney (Some call this the “bible” of the keto diet)
    – “The Wahl’s Protocol” by Terry Wahls, MD
    – Two books by Steven Gundry, MD: “Dr. Gundry’s Diet Evolution” and “The Plant Paradox.” The latter book emphasizes healing our intestinal lining and microbiome (the bacteria in our gut) thru diet. I have begun emphasizing this and increased my intake of gut friendly food.

  17. My husband has essential tremor in his head and hands. His mother and grandmother (both vegetarians who avoided all meat) also had it. This makes me think that there is an obvious genetic component, but that was not mentioned in the video. I have two questions: 1) Can essential tremor be genetic? 2) Can essential tremor (for a 73 year old) be reversed at all through diet?

    1. There is a possibility that there is a genetic component but we don’t know. Vegetarianism is not enough to protect against disease as this group of people will not necessarily avoid eggs, dairy or processed food which can cause disease. In addition, B12 supplementation may very well be needed. Available evidence suggests that a person eating only unprocessed whole plant foods, getting enough B12, sunshine and significant exercise supports total health more than any other lifestyle.

      Dr. Ben

  18. I want to follow up on my post regarding ET and being on a Ketogenic Diet from last September 24th. The improvement in my ET seemed to plateau late last fall but I didn’t want to discontinue the keto diet since it had stopped some chronic digestive problems I had for decades. So I continued my research into diet and ET and thus discovered the Bredesen Protocol.

    Dr. Dale Bredesen is a respected neurologist with a research lab at UCLA. His protocol is designed to reverse early stage Alzheimer’s and general age-related cognitive decline for those without an Alzheimers diagnosis. Except for this protocol, there is no treatment for Alzheimer’s — it’s a death sentence. Although the Bredesen Protocol is quite involved, the core of it is a ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting (which is discussed in other comments above).

    Over 2 months ago I read Bredesen’s book published last summer, “The End of Alzheimers”, and decided to adopt his protocol on the theory that Alzheimer’s and ET are both conditions caused by the problematic functioning of neurons in our brains (I realize that is a vast over simplification). The result since being on this protocol is a slow improvement in my tremor. I am encouraged and hope it continues.

    See this link for a lecture by Dr. Bredesen about his research and the protocol: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6D5aA_-3Ip8&t=52s
    I am convinced that this protocol leads to better overall health, not just for neurological conditions. Bredesen has trained over 400 health care providers on his protocol and you will need to consult with one of them to determine what specific treatments you will need. I think many functional medicine doctors have been trained (see the Institute for Functional Medicine at https://www.ifm.org/) or you can do an internet search for Bredesen Protocol and your local area to see if you can find a local trained practitioner.

    I hope this is of help.

  19. Hey Allen,

    I hope you are progressing nicely with the Bredesen Protocol. I have a young relative with ET and I will refer him to that book. I love the work of Dr. Steven Gundry, and Dr. Jason Fung too. Both advocates of Ketogenic dieting and fasting. But keep in mind the idea of plant lectins as Gundry really knows a lot about how plants can negatively effect people. Also don’t use flaxseeds because the thiocyanate in those little seeds is quite negative on thyroid function. That toxin packed into my thyroid gland and slowed down my thyroid production and I felt terrible, weak and wobbly. Yes it happens with the over consumption of certain plants. There is nothing good about flaxseeds. I was only eating about 2 tablespoons a day milled and organic. Just forget that health food fad, almost killed me. Beans are full of some bad stuff too unless pressure cooked. But Gundry mentions some sort of a chemical added to bread about 50 or more years ago to help the yeast make a smoother rising dough. He says that chemical is in almost every bread and cracker in America and it is not labeled. He says it is looked at as the cause of ET! I don’t remember what he said the name of it is but I am going to start making my own bread from non enriched rice flour when I feel I need a piece of bread now and then.

    Also, for the mysteriously ill out there. We just found out that my husband has hemochromatosis. He is in his mid 60s and has had tiredness, joint pain, and back pain for years, also his blood sugar was high normal for a guy who never eats sugar, doesn’t snack, almost doesn’t drink alcohol, and exercises religiously. Truly virtuous compared to me and my health habits. He looked slightly anemic on labs and doctors wanted him on iron at times (that can kill people with hemochromatosis, lucky he had one good gene reducing some of the ferritin). Well long story short hemochromatosis is genetic and all your iron is hiding in your ferritin. No doctor tests for ferritin levels, just regular iron in your blood. If you have high ferritin it will degrade your health severely because the iron is in you oxidizing and ruining your liver and other organs. Thankfully a weight/loss integrative medicine clinic in our town tests for ferritin, they discovered my husbands problem when I made him go with me for a wellness check. His was nearly 2x higher than the highest level! He saw a blood doctor after that. They changed his diet and have him on a schedule to donate blood. He must eat plants and meats lower in iron and the blood donation lowers the ferritin pretty fast. Also no additional vitamin C because the C helps you suck up iron. He now feels like a million bucks, his mood is great, and his pain has vanished completely unless he eats iron laden foods for a week or more, or eats anything in the nightshade family. All his inflammation markers are down. Get that ferritin tested folks. It is a genetic problem for about 1 in 150 people, or 1 in 200. We found doctors are told in med school that it is a rare genetic disorder so don’t bother testing! Well think of all the diabetics, joints ruined, livers and hearts shot because doctors were told the wrong thing. Get tested. Our kids are all getting tested too.

    1. Hi Jo, Sorry for the delay in responding to your comments. First, I continue to show slow but steady improvement in my Essential Tremor while following the Bredesen Protocol — even though the protocol is not designed to treat the Essential Tremor but rather its purpose is to reverse early-stage Alzheimer’s. I now am doing this while under the care of a Functional Medicine physician who also was trained by Dr. Dale Bredesen on his protocol. It’s hard to follow the full protocol on one’s own because you really need to have a full battery of tests to discover what issues need to be addressed.

      Regarding the potential danger of eating flax seeds that you mentioned, I can’t find much information on the web to back that claim. I’ve eaten several tablespoons of ground flaxseed for many years and my thyroid function is normal (was just tested 2 months ago). I also found these links for those interested.

      This is from a biased source, the Flax Council of Canada but it is a fairly comprehensive review of the topic you raised.
      https://flaxcouncil.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/FlxPrmr_4ed_Chpt8.pdf

      Here is an independent website where I have learned to trust the research of the writer. She does a good, comprehensive job and cites her sources. Scroll down for discussion about flaxseed and thyroid issues. (By the way, this website is an excellent source for information about a ketogenic diet.) https://ketodietapp.com/Blog/lchf/is-flaxseed-healthy-safety-concerns-benefits-and-recommendations

      And finally, here is an abstract of a study done on flaxseed and diet. In the last sentence of the Results it states that eating flaxseeds did not change thiocyanate levels.
      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11857049

      Jo, this is not to discount the problems you may have with flaxseed but I’m not sure your experience can be generalized to the larger population. You indeed may have some kind of a sensitivity that others do not have.
      Best of luck.

      1. Hi Allen, So glad you are doing well.  It makes such a difference when the right things are done.  About the flaxseeds.  I never found any research done about flaxseeds at the time of my trouble with them, and that is about 18 years ago.   The only talk about them at the time was from the health food gurus and dieticians.  So, I put “flaxseed toxin” in the google search bar, and an article from a journal for farmers popped up.  The article was from long ago when the Agriculture Department was doing research on farm animals to find good feed seeds for them on farms.  Well, it was shocking to see them say how sick the animals got from those little seeds and they advised no one feed them to their farm animals!  That was the first time I ever heard of thiocyanate.  Political correctness and the health food industries had not taken off yet in the 1930s when I think they made their findings about flaxseeds being poisonous to farm animals.  Then I did find research from plant scientists studying foods that inflamed the thyroid, cassava can do the same but cassava can also cause a problem with the pancreas.  The scientist studying this points to all plants high in thiocyanate.  Flaxseeds are near the top of the list.   If you search Ag Department or Annals of Agriculture you may see the unvarnished truth about flaxseed experiments that I saw.   I figure the flax did nothing good for the animals for sure, so I crossed it off my list, and started recovering my health slowly but surely.  Now my thyroid is fine.
        Hope that you can get a full recovery.
        Blessings to you and yours,Jo

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