How Dietary Toxins are Linked to Essential Hand Tremor

Essential tremor, affecting 1 in 25 adults over 40 and up to 1 in 5 of those in their 90′s, is one of the most common neurological diseases. In addition to the potentially debilitating hand tremor, there can be other neuropsychiatric manifestations, including difficulty walking and various levels of cognitive impairment.

Might beta-carboline neurotoxins play a role in essential tremor? Harmane is one of the most potent of the tremor-producing neurotoxins. Expose people to harmane, and they develop tremors; take it away, and the tremors disappear. What if we’re exposed long-term? A recent study at Columbia University found that those with essential tremor have much higher levels of this toxin in their bloodstream compared to those without tremor. Furthermore, the higher the harmane levels, the worse the tremor. The highest levels are found in those who have both essential tremor and cancer, suggesting harmane may be playing a role in both diseases.

How did folks get exposed to these chemicals? Primarily through meat: beef, pork, fish, and especially chicken. So if this potent, tremor-producing neurotoxinis concentrated in cooked muscle foods, is meat consumption associated with a higher risk of essential tremor? Another Columbia University study found that men who ate the most meat had 21 times the odds of essential tremor. To put that in context, if we go back to the original studies on smoking and lung cancer, we see that smoking was only linked to like 14 times the odds, not 21.

Blood levels of this neurotoxin may shoot up within five minutes of eating meat. Five minutes? It’s not even digested by then. This rapid uptake is indicative of significant absorption directly through the mouth straight in the bloodstream, bypassing the stomach and, most importantly, bypassing the detoxifying enzymes of the liver. This may lead to higher exposure levels in peripheral organs, like the brain.

Due to its high fat solubility, harmane accumulates in brain tissue, and, using a fancy brain scan called “proton magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging,” higher harmane levels are linked to greater metabolic dysfunction in the brains of essential tremor sufferers.

Harmane is also found in certain heated plants, like tobacco. A broiled chicken breast has about 13 micrograms of harmane, and cigarettes average about one microgram, so a half pack of cigarettes could expose us to almost as much of this neurotoxin as a serving of chicken. Harman is created when tobacco is burned, and also when coffee beans are roasted. However, coffee intake has not been tied to increased risk (and neither has tobacco for that matter), so it may be something else in meat that’s to blame for the 2,000 percent increase in odds for this disabling brain disease.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live year-in-review presentations Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death, More Than an Apple a Day, and From Table to Able.

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Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill3 years ago


Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Teresa W.
Teresa W3 years ago

well said, Charmaine

Charmaine C.
Charmaine C3 years ago

Thank you for an article that discusses and delivers information based on substantial research and delivered in a public spirited way to pass on information to those who may have an interest in the subject or a health concern. At no point is there a recommendation to stop consuming animal products and become a vegan.

Knowledge is power. Don't shoot the messenger because you don't like the message.

Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgen3 years ago

Thank you

Vicky P.
Vicky P3 years ago


Janis K.
Janis K3 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Feather W.
Feather W3 years ago

thanks or the info..

Cynthia Lee
Cynthia Lee3 years ago

so is all chicken and fish bad or is there a safe chicken and fish such as chicken that are not given antibiotics etc...

Cynthia Lee
Cynthia Lee3 years ago

so what can you do to avoid this? I am mainly a vegetarian but do eat chicken and fish on a weekly basis ? Is there a certain chicken or fish that are safe ex:non antibiotic etc... or is all chicken and fish bad for you?