Tremor treatment with vitamins, herbs, supplements by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
Feb 6 2014

 

Tremor, a rhythmic, involuntary, oscillatory movement of body parts, is the most common movement disorder.

 

Microscopic brain lesions that are too small to be detected using brain imaging technology may be the cause of many common age-related problems such as shaking hands, stooped posture and difficulty walking. Some are caused by blockages in tiny blood vessels.

 

Classification

They are classified as rest or action tremors. Rest tremor occurs when the affected body part is completely supported against gravity. Action tremors are produced by voluntary muscle contraction and are further divided into postural, isometric, or kinetic tremors.

 

Common tremors
Six common tremor syndromes include essential tremor, physiologic tremor, Parkinson's tremor, toxic and drug-induced tremor, cerebellar tremor, and psychogenic tremor.

 

Essential tremor

This refers to a movement disorder that can't be attributed to any other condition, as opposed to the tremor that accompanies Parkinson's disease. Essential tremor is one of the most common movement disorders and although it may be disturbing, it is usually not debilitating. Essential tremor that starts after 65 years of age is associated with an increased risk of dementia, particularly Alzheimer's disease. However, when essential tremor onset is earlier, there appears to be no increased risk. Essential tremor, a progressive neurologic disease, is among the most prevalent movement disorders.

 

Classic essential tremor is a clinical syndrome of action tremor in the upper limbs (at least 95 % of patients) and less commonly the head, face/jaw, voice, tongue, trunk, and lower limbs, in the absence of other neurologic signs. However, the longstanding notion that essential tremor is a monosymptomatic tremor disorder is being challenged by a growing literature describing associated disturbances of tandem walking, personality, mood, hearing, and cognition. There is also epidemiologic, pathologic, and genetic evidence that essential tremor is pathophysiologically heterogeneous. Misdiagnosis of essential tremor is common because clinicians frequently overlook other neurologic signs and because action tremor in the hands is caused by many conditions, including dystonia, Parkinson disease, and drug-induced tremor. Thus, essential tremor is nothing more than a syndrome of idiopathic tremulousness, and the challenge for researchers and clinicians is to find specific etiologies of this syndrome. What is essential tremor? Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep. June 2013.

 

Parkinson's disease tremor
For more information on natural ways to treat or prevent Parkinson's tremor, see the website. It is possible that the herbal supplement mucuna pruriens could be helpful.

 

Diagnosis

The history and physical examination remain the most important diagnostic tools available to clinicians in identifying and classifying these syndromes.

 

Natural treatments
It is possible that there could be vitamins, herbs or supplements that could be helpful for certain types of non-Parkinson's type tremors, but I am not aware of any at this time. The B vitamins could be helpful in alcoholics who are deficient in certain B vitamins. I will post information here regarding natural remedies when I come across such research.

 

Drug or medication induced tremor
Drug induced tremors are quite common when a medication or drug is taken at a higher than recommended dosage.  Drugs that can cause tremors include:

Mood stabilizers such as lithium carbonate
Bronchodilators such as theophylline and Alupent
Anticonvulsants such as valproic acid and Depakote
Immunosuppressants such as cyclosporine
Stimulants such as caffeine

 

Higher risk for dementia
Essential tremor is associated with both prevalent dementia and incident dementia. Dr. Elan D. Louis of Columbia University, New York, examined the association between essential tremor and dementia among community-living subjects age 65 and older residing in northern Manhattan. The participants underwent a battery of neuropsychological tests, including measures of abstract reasoning, learning and memory, language, visuospatial ability, and orientation. Handwriting samples were used to diagnose baseline essential tremor. Dementia was diagnosed at baseline and during follow-up using DSM-III-R criteria. Neurology 2009.

 

Questions
Which supplement capsules, if any, are designed specifically for benign tremor? If so, what are the contents, and where do I get them?
   I am not yet aware of a natural treatment for benign tremor.

 

Are there any specific nutrients people should avoid with essential tremor problems?
   I am just guessing since I have not seen studies, but I would avoid tyrosine, phenylalanine, SAM-e, and herbs such as guarana that have a lot of caffeine.

 

I would like to know if valerian would help orthostatic tremors which I have been told that it is essential tremor. I can walk fine but I cannot stand without shaking. At time I feel like I am going to fall backwards. I cannot take the beta blockers as I do not have high blood pressure and when I take them I feel light headed. They say it is in the genes. It gets worse as I get older. It is impossible for me to do my housework.
   We have not seen any research regarding the role of valerian root and essential tremor.

 

I wondered if you would care to comment on possible approaches to essential tremor. Having suffered two bouts of trauma 1) at age 21yrs when I was pulled from my racing cycle by a “drunk”, fractured my skull and put back together by the pre eminent neuro surgeon in the uk at that time. 2) at the age of 60 yrs I suffered a heart attack possibly triggered by stress related consultancy I was engaged in at that time. i first became aware of the subject when one of my grand children pointed out that I was shaking! The truth of youth ! I am now 75 intend to live to 100. The tremors are getting progressively worse and my researches have shown propanalol or primidone (topiramate) as the medical establishments preferred treatments for essential tremor. Having weaned myself off beta blockers and calcium channel blockers because of the undesirable side effects I can see my doctor and I being at loggerheads. My current medications are 150 mg l- thyroxine 75 mg aspirin and 3 mg warfarin. I supplement with Co q10. B6, B12 Folic acid and TMG epa fish oil taurine and zinc together with a multi vit and mineral tab.
   We are sorry but we are not able to offer individual advice, we can only provide general information on supplements and their research.

 

What kind of herbs would be good to take if someone's hands shake all the time and don't drink alcohol and they don't know why.
    I don't have a good answer at this time. Tremor can be caused by a number of conditions.