Nearly 10 million Americans are affected by essential tremor causing involuntary shaking. And the typical treatment includes a variety of medications, but now, Italian researchers studied a possible more affordable and effective treatment, using vitamin B1 injections. Take a look at these patients’ before and after videos from the case report that was published in the British Medical Journal. Wow!
That’s a big difference Yeah
So that’s a huge improvement Isn’t that remarkable? So what they did in this study, the patients received two really high dose, we’re talking mega-dose injections of thiamine, vitamin B1 per week. The trial tracked them for three years, they continued to receive the injections through that period, and the marked improvement started after just three months of treatment. I mean this is really fascinating research. Granted, this was only two people, and this is 100 times the recommended daily dose of thiamine or vitamin B1, but it really raises some fascinating questions, because we know this vitamin is so important in nerve function and central nervous function specifically, and these types of essential tremors we really don’t have a lot of good medication options. In fact, typically people can take beta blockers, or Botox, but there are a number of medications all of which tend to fall short; I think less than 60% of people who use these medications really achieve any benefit. Well and a lot of side effects with the beta blockers, and as doctors, we all see this condition in our practice. And it’s men, women, it’s old, it’s young, they have this essential tremor and it affects them. They get very embarrassed by it, it affects them socially and possibly even professionally if it comes into play in the workplace. Obviously you don’t want your surgeon with an essential tremor
(laughter) Well I think that’s the interesting thing is that when we talk about a Parkinson’s tremor, then that occurs at rest. But the big problem with essential tremors is it occurs when you use your hand. Exactly
So that’s, that’s… An intentional tremor
Yeah In other words sitting here I don’t do it, but then when I go to grab my cup, I start shaking a little bit whether it’s… whereas somebody with Parkinson’s, they’re shaking all the time. I want people at home to remember we also talk about super-therapeutic doses of vitamins and things a lot on this show, and we say you wanna be careful when you do that because there can be unwanted side effects. So until we have larger studies, you really do want to be careful, and you wanna talk to your doctor. Don’t just go to the store and say give me all your vitamin B1 and then go home and say Grandma take this, it’s gonna cure your tremor. You really want to make sure you’re having a conversation with your doctor. Absolutely
Such a good point. And people don’t realize vitamins fall into two categories: the water soluble and the fat soluble. Fat soluble, A, D, E, K; there if you consume too much, you can OD on it. Right, so just to clear for our audience, what Dr. Ordon is talking about is when they’re fat soluble, like a vitamin A, E, D, K, it stays in your body. And your fat stores it and it can be incredibly toxic. But something like a vitamin B1, you do just pee it out. So if you did take a mega-dose, you could still have an allergic reaction, it could still interact with your other medications, certainly it can cause problems, but you’re not likely to store it in your body and have a toxicity from that. So really important point. Like you said, we need more studies, but this is very very promising, because this is a problem for a lot of people.