The Best Vitamins for Hand Tremors

Jesse Feder, RDApr 20, 2022

The Best Vitamins for Hand Tremors

What are hand tremors?

Tremors or involuntary shaky hands can be due to several underlying conditions or even certain medications. They can also be simple physiologic hand tremors due to muscle fatigue, stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, and excessive caffeine, which are completely normal for most individuals. However, it is always recommended to consult with your primary healthcare provider if you are concerned about your hand tremors for professional medical advice. [1]

What health issues can cause hand tremors and which vitamins can help?

Hand tremors or shaking hands can be caused by several health conditions. The tremors can be neurological symptoms from a neurological disorder or they can also be from certain movement disorders. It is also quite possible that they are from a mild vitamin deficiency. Here are some of the health conditions that can cause hand tremors:

Multiple sclerosis or MS- This degenerative disease causes hand tremors in an average of 60% of the people affected by it. The disease attacks the brain, nervous system, and spinal cord, making it difficult to properly relay nerve messages throughout your body, leading to poor motor control. There have been some studies showing a potential link between vitamin b12 deficiency and those with multiple sclerosis. This is why it is important to check your vitamin levels with your primary care doctor. [2,3]

Dystonia- Due to an improper functioning part of the brain, one can develop dystonia. This causes involuntary jerky muscle contractions and postures. Dystonia can also cause hand tremors in those affected by it. Interestingly, some studies have reported positive outcomes in regards to decreased dystonic symptoms with vitamin E as well as vitamin d supplementation. [4,5]

Stroke- Depending on the severity of the stroke and areas of the brain that were potentially injured, the development of hand tremors can occur. If the stroke has already occurred, research shows that supplementation with omega 3 fatty acids, B complex, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamin C, have been beneficial in recovery. For those at risk for stroke, preventative vitamins, as well as antioxidant vitamins, should include beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E, and folic acid. [6]

Traumatic brain injury or TBI- Though uncommon, severe damage to certain parts of the brain can result in hand tremors. Research has shown that supplementation with zinc, magnesium, omega 3 fatty acids, B-complex vitamins, and vitamin E, can benefit people in recovery. [7]

Parkinson's Disease- This disease leads to a loss of nerve cells and nerve damage that oftentimes causes hand tremors. Research has shown supplements with B-complex vitamins as well as vitamin E, vitamin D, and vitamin C, have all been useful in decreasing the severity of hand tremors from Parkinson's Disease.[8]

Hyperthyroidism- This condition occurs due to an overproduction of thyroxine or the thyroid hormone. This causes a significant increase in our metabolism which can lead to increased heart rate, weight loss, nervousness, and hand tremors. Vitamin B12 and vitamin D supplementation have been shown to reduce the severity of hand tremors in hyperthyroidism. [9,10]

Alcohol withdrawal- One of the first symptoms of alcohol withdrawal is hand tremors or alcohol shakes. These can be due to hyperactivity of our nervous system after a few hours to a few days of no alcohol. Physicians generally recommend taking a daily multivitamin that contains B-complex, vitamin C, and magnesium, to help replenish any deficiencies that can be causing symptoms.[11,12]

Essential tremors- Essential tremor is a nervous system disorder. Symptoms of essential tremor most often present as hand tremors, although they can manifest in other parts of the body as well. High doses of Vitamin B-12 have been shown to reduce tremors in people affected by essential tremor.

What medications can cause hand tremors?

Medicine can be a lifesaver. There are numerous types of medications out there, however, no medication comes without side effects. These side effects can range from mild to severe. Although research is conflicting, some vitamin supplementation may help alleviate these side effects. It's always best to consult with your doctor if you begin to experience any side effects from your medications. Here are some medications that can cause hand tremors:

Anti-seizure medications- Valproate, Carbamazepine, and Phenytoin, are anti-seizure medications that most commonly cause hand tremors. [14]

Blood pressure medications- Beta-blockers are a common type of blood pressure medication that is prescribed for people with high blood pressure. This type of medication oftentimes can either be a solution for shaky hands or cause them. [15]

Antidepressants- SSRIs are a popular class of antidepressants most commonly prescribed today. They can cause hand tremors in up to 20% of the people who take them. [15]

Asthma medications- Inhalers that cause bronchodilation such as Albuterol, Ventolin, and Maxair to name a few, have been known to cause mild hand tremors within the first hour of inhaling them. [15]

Cancer medications- Chemotherapy can cause nerve damage during treatment. Hand tremors are a known side effect of these medications. This nerve damage often gets better after treatment is finished. [15]

Vitamins for tremors in hands.

In order to maintain healthy nerves in both adults and children, you need to make sure you are having the recommended dietary allowance of your vitamins. You can do this by having a diet rich in a variety of foods or through a dietary vitamin. Vitamin supplements can oftentimes help fill in the gaps of vitamins and other nutrients you may not be getting through your diet alone. If you are experiencing hand tremors it is always best to get medical advice from your primary care doctor before starting any new dietary supplements. Some of the most important vitamins for tremors in your hands include:

  • Vitamin B1
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin C

It is important to note that you may need one or all of these vitamins to help your tremors. You might also have a mild deficiency or severe deficiency that can be causing hand tremors. Your doctor can check your vitamin levels and offer prescribed supplementation specific to your needs. Rootine can customize the vitamin to fit your needs to make sure you are getting what your doctor told you rather than buying an over-the-counter supplement that may not have everything you need.

Can food help your hand tremors?

Food can be a form of complementary and alternative medicine for shaky hands. Most vitamins can be found in a diet that consists of many foods such as the Mediterranean diet. If you feel like your diet is lacking variety, it might be time to start a new diet. Food alone can be used to treat hand tremors treat that are due to a mild or severe lack of certain vitamins. In fact, those who change to a diet that provides them with all of the necessary vitamins and minerals they were missing, have noticed their hand tremors have significantly subsided or completely disappeared altogether. [16]

Bottom Line

Hand tremors can be caused by a variety of reasons. There is ample research showing the benefits of specific vitamins in treating hand tremors. It is never a bad idea to get your vitamin levels and diet evaluated by your doctor to see if you could benefit from dietary supplementation.

References

  1. Habib-ur-Rehman NA. Diagnosis and Management of Tremor. Arch Intern Med. 2000;160(16):2438–2444. doi:10.1001/archinte.160.16.2438
  2. Koch M, Mostert J, Heersema D, De Keyser J. Tremor in multiple sclerosis. J Neurol. 2007;254(2):133-145. doi:10.1007/s00415-006-0296-7
  3. Reynolds EH, Bottiglieri T, Laundy M, Crellin RF, Kirker SC. Vitamin B12 Metabolism in Multiple Sclerosis. Arch Neurol. 1992;49(6):649–652. doi:10.1001/archneur.1992.00530300089014
  4. Becker AE, Vargas W, Pearson TS. Ataxia with Vitamin E Deficiency May Present with Cervical Dystonia. Tremor Other Hyperkinet Mov (N Y). 2016;6:374. Published 2016 May 17. doi:10.7916/D8B85820
  5. Homann CN, Ivanic G, Homann B, Purkart TU. Vitamin D and Hyperkinetic Movement Disorders: A Systematic Review. Tremor Other Hyperkinet Mov (N Y). 2020;10:32. Published 2020 Aug 25. doi:10.5334/tohm.74
  6. Vitamin Supplementation and Stroke Prevention. Graeme J. Hankey, MD, FRCP, FRCP Edin, FRACP
  7. Lucke-Wold BP, Logsdon AF, Nguyen L, et al. Supplements, nutrition, and alternative therapies for the treatment of traumatic brain injury. Nutr Neurosci. 2018;21(2):79-91. doi:10.1080/1028415X.2016.1236174
  8. Zhao X, Zhang M, Li C, Jiang X, Su Y, Zhang Y. Benefits of Vitamins in the Treatment of Parkinson's Disease. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2019;2019:9426867. Published 2019 Feb 20. doi:10.1155/2019/9426867
  9. Delhasse S, Debove I, Arnold-Kunz G, Ghika JA, Chabwine JN. Erratic movement disorders disclosing Graves' disease and paralleling thyroid function but not autoantibody levels. J Int Med Res. 2019;47(3):1378-1386. doi:10.1177/0300060518816873
  10. Sworczak K, Wiśniewski P. The role of vitamins in the prevention and treatment of thyroid disorders. Endokrynol Pol. 2011;62(4):340-4. PMID: 21879475.
  11. Trevisan LA, Boutros N, Petrakis IL, Krystal JH. Complications of alcohol withdrawal: pathophysiological insights. Alcohol Health Res World. 1998;22(1):61-66.
  12. Kattimani S, Bharadwaj B. Clinical management of alcohol withdrawal: A systematic review. Ind Psychiatry J. 2013;22(2):100-108. doi:10.4103/0972-6748.132914
  13. Costantini A. High-dose thiamine and essential tremor. BMJ Case Rep. 2018;2018:bcr2017223945. Published 2018 Mar 30. doi:10.1136/bcr-2017-223945
  14. Zadikoff C, Munhoz RP, Asante AN, et al. Movement disorders in patients taking anticonvulsants. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2007;78(2):147-151. doi:10.1136/jnnp.2006.100222
  15. Morgan JC, Kurek JA, Davis JL, Sethi KD. Insights into Pathophysiology from Medication-induced Tremor. Tremor Other Hyperkinet Mov (N Y). 2017;7:442. Published 2017 Nov 22. doi:10.7916/D8FJ2V9Q
  16. Scarmeas N, Louis ED. Mediterranean diet and essential tremor. A case-control study. Neuroepidemiology. 2007;29(3-4):170-177. doi:10.1159/000111579
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