Parkinson's Movement
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Alcohol, sugar, and tremors

I recently asked if anyone else had noticed alcohol reduced tremors, and 3 others said yes (rhyspeace, becky, rons). Has anyone else noticed this effect? Has anyone else tried to check it and noticed that it did NOT have an effect?

I tried testing with glucose, but the effect did not seem as strong, but I have not finished testing. Half a glass of wine is enough for me to see the effect, but 1 glass of wine (150 ml, 2/3 cup) is better, and 2 glasses is kind of nice. It also seems to help my mood. To see if sugar has as large an effect, it requires 26 grams (7 level teaspoons) to be comparable to a glass of wine, a little more than half a 16 ounce soda.

Has anyone notice a reduction in tremors after a large soda?

I'm curious if it's a diabetic-like effect (insulin insensitivity, syndrome x) or if alcohol is assisting the impaired cells by a different mechanism. Does it get into the cells more easily? Does alcohol not need the mal-functioning complex 1 in the mitochondria of the injured cells whereas sugar needs complex 1 in order to be turned into ATP energy?

In looking at genetic disorders that have complex 1 not functioning, alcoholism is very common. This indicates that alcohol helps their condition, but I have not been able to confirm it. Alcohol is associated with decreased incidence of PD, especially beer, which increases uric acid which is also associated with decreased incidence of PD. So a beer a day, or maybe once in the morning and one at night, might be a good idea. Once every 4 hours might show short term benefit, but very likely not long term benefit.

PD patients are well-known to be "serious" personality types for most of their life. So it is possibly no coincidence that cigarrattes, coffee, alcohol, gluttony (uric acid diet leading to gout) and weed all help prevent PD. But as one researcher said, whatever is causing the serious personality might be the cause of PD, not necessarily that avoid fun stuff is what caused their PD.

13 Replies

After 2 glasses of wine you still have tremors it just you don't care LOL!!!


So much makes me feel nauseous just reading it. I think I shall stick to a little of what you fancy does you good...all things in moderation....etc etc

*the first comment is not meant to be taken too seriously although I am a serious person maybe something to do with PD?


I go to the pub twice a week, plus a glass or two during meals. Have not notice any reduce tremors. Do not have any sugar in tea or coffee, but I like a chocolate bar. albert


Years ago my husband's neurologist told him, possibly part in jest, that if he didn't have his Madopar with him for any reason then a glass of red wine would help. Seems to help a bit, but he doesn't drink very much now.


I have read somewhere that it is an essential tremor wime responds that way. You can have Parkinsons and an essential tremor.


If alcohol has an effect on your tremors, it's likely your tremors are indicative of a case of Essential Tremor, not of Parkinson's:

"Small amounts of alcohol can reduce an essential tremor. But they usually have no effect on tremor caused by Parkinson's disease."


I have some essential tremor, most notably teeth chatter. But there is also a feeling of full-body essential-like (fast and small) tremors, which I have read can occur in PD . But the alcohol helps the classic PD tremor in my thumb, at rest. And seems to make the essential tremor worse when it wears off. And I have a lot of other symptoms (sleep, anxiety, mood, concentration, smell, balance) that seem to be PD-only. I have not checked if my essential tremor reduces with alcohol. It's hard to check because it comes and goes, most notably if I do not eat enough, suggesting a connection to insulin insensitivity. Maybe the general well being it promotes is a result of reduce "essential tremor" that could be connected with anxiety.

I have not been able to see after 4 attempts if L-dopa reduces the PD tremor within 4 hours of taking it, but the days following a test dose seem to be better. I do not know what a good dose schedule is for using L-DOPA to testing for PD is. I could try the 2 drugs for essential tremor to see what happens, but since 20% of people first diagnosed with essential tremor end up getting PD, my treatment plan might be for both, or at least keep doing anything that seems to help.

It's important to check since essential tremor is 8 times more common.

I could not find any research to support what the essential tremor web sites are saying about alcohol not affecting PD.


I definitely find that alcohol reduces my tremors.

And Metacognito is wrong (what a surprise!). I have been diagnosed by two top PD neurologists as having PD (not essential tremors). And they have told me that moderate drinking can have positive effects.

Now the physiology may simply be that stress makes PD tremors worse and alcohol relieves stress particularly in a social settings. Bottom line: Don't drink because you have PD... Drink in moderation because you enjoy it.

By the way my drink of choice is Tito's glutton free vodka. Glutton has been linked to aggravating PD in some people. I believe I am one so I am on a low glutton diet.


He was just quoting the essential tremor web pages. As I said, I can't find any research to support the web sites, and certainly the 6 people here reporting alcohol reduces tremors is a pretty good indication to offset what non-Parkinson's web sites say.

I found only 2 research papers that indicate gluten intolerance can theoretically be a cause of PD. A Japanese paper said out of 7 PD patients, only 1 seemed to allergic to gluten.

But a lot of PD cases may be hyperactive immune systems, such as in an underlying allergy. The inflammatory response can initiate the problem, which might be related to why PD patients are less likely to get cancer: a strong immune system. Alcohol suppresses the immune response even in the short term level. I am much more likely to get sick if I drink a beer or two. Yesterday I finally started getting the bug my family has had for weeks as a result of the 3 glasses of wine. So it would not surprise me if alcohol were affecting the immune system in a way that reduces tremors.

But the immune response should be too slow to affect tremors. Alcohol and marijuana reduce cerebral pressure. But more likely they reduce tremors because they release dopamine.

I have often thought I might have some kind of pressure in the brain causing a parkinsonism. Normal pressure hydrocephalus (a blocking of the water draining from the brain) that physicians have a hard time distinguishing from PD. It does not respond to L-DOPA, but it would respond to these things that reduce water on the brain.


1st of all... one out of 7 is fairly significant. And most things are not binary (glutton effects you / glutton doesn't effect you). The question is how much does it effect you. There are a number of things I am doing including regular exercise, low carb/ low glutton diet, meds, supplements (Ashwagandha, D3) and Tito's martini after 5:00. I seem to be in much better shape and have significantly less symptoms than when I was diagnosed ~ 4 years ago. Trouble is I don't know what is working but something is.

2nd... and I repeat... stress aggravates PD... alcohol lessens stress. Perhaps it is as simple as that. Walking back and forth to the bar might also help. :)


Definitely! Beer is the best.


I don't drink soda but I definitely see reduction of tremor w/ alcohol. The problem is over the last yr it takes more to do the same. Last yr one 6-8 oz mixed drink would do it and now it's pushing 3 and I can't function well.


It seems I remember reading somewhere along the way that the large neutral amino acids - LNAAs (I can't remember which of the amino acids are the LNAAs) interfere with absorption of levodopa. However, sugar raises insulin, and insulin blocks the LNAAs. If that's the case, then sugar might cause a more friendly environment for levodopa absorption.


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