Dr. Max Gerson Therapy For Cancer
How It Works
Gerson therapy is one of the metabolic therapies, using a special diet, plus supplements, and a coffee enema to cure terminal cases of cancer. 90-95% of his cancer cases were far advanced (terminal), and overall his cure rate was about 50%, which for his day was quite exceptional among alternative practitioners. This percentage is far higher than current day orthodox treatments!!
He stated: "... this percentage could be higher if there were better cooperation from the family physician, the patient himself and less resistance from the family against such a strict regime." (page 33) Apparently some things never change. Gerson is also known for his very high cure rate of tuberculosis, which is caused by a bacteria.
Having said that, there is a reason that Gerson's cure rate might actually be closer to those of Kelley and Binzel, as examples, than surface statistics might imply. Both Kelley and Binzel did not include in their statistics those cancer patients who came to them who were simply too far gone to help. Gerson apparently included everyone.
The theory and implementation of his treatment can be found in his book: A Cancer Therapy - Results of Fifty Cases and The Cure of Advanced Cancer by Diet Therapy. This article will be based on the 5th Edition. His book is quite long and at times very technical. Nevertheless, it is recommended reading, especially for those using his treatment. A medical dictionary sitting by your side will be very helpful.
Gerson was well aware of soil issues, the electricity of cells, how cancer cells ferment glucose, oxidizing enzymes, sodium/potassium balance, connective tissue, and many other technical issues related to cancer. His treatment and approach was a "whole body" approach, meaning he did not consider that treating only the localized area of concentrated cancer cells, as orthodox medicine does, is a good idea.
One point of focus of Gerson's interest was connective tissue. Quoting Professor Pischinger:
A related, and just as interesting, concept in his book is related to the issue of inflammation. To him, the body's ability to create an inflammation to the afflicted area of the body was critical to the treatment of cancer. "...that slices of tissue, taken from malignant rat tumors or human cancer tissues, are killed fast in an inflammation exudate simply because the specific metabolism of the cancer cell cannot be maintained in those surroundings." (page 43) "There is no other way but to kill these [cancer] cells to dissolve and absorb them. I believe the surest way to achieve this end is to restore to the body its ability to produce non-bacterial inflammatory reactions." (pages 125-127)
In addition to this, he felt the diet should be designed to avoid allergic reactions. "It became necessary to find means of excluding all allergic reactions as far as possible. We succeeded in excluding the nutritional allergies by adding large doses of potassium and simultaneously applying a strictly saltless diet." (page 139) Coffee enemas and castor oil treatments were also part of this approach.
It seems that the collagen matrix (a critical part of the connective tissue, and which Gerson refers to as mesenchym), the immunity system, and the ability of the body to create inflammations are all highly related issues.
Gerson was very interested in the potassium group of minerals versus the sodium group. He favored the potassium group for treating cancer and his diet absolutely forbid adding any salt to foods. The ratio of potassium to sodium was something he emphasized several times. This, in spite of the fact that some of his contemporaries came to a different conclusion about salt. He probably talked about potassium more than any other single subject. He was also interested in other minerals as well, along with some vitamins.
Gerson was also aware of the electical component of cancer. "All investigators found that malignant tumors are characterized by a considerable electronegativity in the tissues and fluids." (page 106) In fact, this is one reason why he was so interested in potassium and other minerals. "The late G.W. Crile, and his collaborators, M. Telkes and A.F. Rowland, found a decreased electrical polarization and an increased electric conductivity in malignant tumors which may be caused, in my opinion, by the greater sodium content in the growing part of the tumor." (page 107)
One vitamin Gerson liked was niacin. It "helps to bring back sufficient glycogen into the liver cells," (page 209) open[s] the small arteries and capillaries;" (page 209) and "raises the electrical potentials in the cells." (page 209) He also recommended discontinuing taking niacin in cases of bleeding. (page 209)
As with Moerman, Gerson was very interested in iodine, a nutrient our FDA has made difficult to obtain in therapeutic quantities. "Iodine is a decisive factor in the normal differentiation of cells, and can be used in order to counteract the decrease of cell differentiation as seen in the cancerous tissues. Iodine is also regarded as counteracting some adrenal hormones." (page 32)
As with several other alternative health practitioners (e.g. Kelley, Hulda Clark, etc.) Gerson required a coffee enema. Generally, his enemas were given every four hours - day and night. However, in cases of discomfort (i.e. flare-ups), they were given every two hours! As he notes on page 236a: "However, physician must monitor serum electrolytes frequently."
Gerson had excellent results treating tuberculosis cases. The significance of this is that tuburculosis is caused by a bacteria. His first cancer treatments were essentially his tuberculosis treatment plan (see page 31). This lends credibility to the theory that cancer is related to some type of parasite, felt now to be a fungi/mould/yeast. Gerson himself discounted the possibilty that cancer was caused by a microorganism (see page 35).
Gerson was also well aware, even in the 1950s, of the importance of organic foods (because general farming practices left the plants without enough nutrients), such as carrots, and the damage done to foods by the way they were processed and packaged. Think how much worse things are today!!
Gerson twice mentioned that his "most drastic" mistake was giving a number of patients "opposite sex hormones," based on the recommendation of another doctor. This mistake caused a number of deaths among his better patients. (see page 219)
Gerson was not a fan of orthodox medicine. He noted that cure rates were the same even after better diagnostic techniques and a myriad of new orthodox treatment protocols (see page 87).
If someone is going to go on the Gerson diet, I would suggest that before they read the book, they write down (or become familiar with) the diet as presented in pages 236-248 (5th edition). Then as they read the book from the beginning they can compare the comments in the book with the diet itself.
One thing that must be remembered is that the book was written in pieces, meaning at more than one time. Dr. Gerson did not have a word processor, in which he could quickly make changes to old chapters. Thus, the book is a mix of old chapters and new chapters. There is a lot of redundancy and a lot of poor organization. But this is a reflection of the time period in which he wrote the book. It is a large book, and very technical at times.
I have seen testimonials of the Gerson treatment on the internet, however, details were not given of their treatment, except that they apparently drank more carrot juice than his book suggested.
Gerson kept his cancer patients on his diet for at least one and a half years, and frequently two years. "In more advanced cases it takes a long time, about one to one and a half years, to restore the liver as near as possible to normal." (page 196)
In short, his treatment is fairly weak by today's standards, which would typically include more than half a dozen "major" treatments. Also, by today's standards, there are some errors in his diet, such as his exclusion of berries and pineapple. This is VERY understandable!! He was working before the discovery of phytonutrients, glyconutrients, and so on, thus he had little knowledge of modern nutrition.
In spite of that, if someone wants to go on his
diet, I think that would be fine for a cancer patient.
However, I would visit my article on evaluating alternative
cancer treatments and add at least a half-dozen "major" treatments
and/or immunity building treatments to his treatment!
Examples would be to add the Rath Cellular Solution,
Essiac Tea, etc. more info can be found at:
We give a fresh glass of juice every hour: five glasses of apple-carrot juice, three glasses of plain carrot juice and we give liver capsules with it, four glasses of juice from leafy type greens rich in chlorophyll, iron, nutrients, enzymes, everything the body has been lacking over the years.
We also give three full vegetarian meals and a fruit plate every day. By drinking the juice, you get an enormous flooding of nutrients, minerals, enzymes, and vitamins which start to flush out the kidneys. The nutrients go into the tissues, into the cells and force out the poisons, and all those poisons are released into the blood stream. The liver filters them out. You have to help the liver get rid of them, and there is only one way - by opening the bile ducts", and Dr. Gerson did this with the famous and much joked about coffee enemas which is the key to successful treatment.
Gerson Therapy: Excess protein in the diet is carninogenic
Cooked meat is strictly a carcinogen. Now if you like meat for the taste, that is a different story, I won't argue about tastes. The latest research done at the University of California at Irvine, showed that children who eat as few as three hotdogs a week had 10 to 12 times higher incidence of leukemia and brain tumors. Sausages are perhaps the worst food. They are chemically treated, dyed and preserved. They have nitrates and nitrosamines.
Potassium versus sodium in the Gerson Therapy
Gerson found that sodium stimulates tumor growth. It interferes with body function. According to Gerson you need high potassium and low sodium, the same ratio which can be found in fresh live foods. All processed foods contain reduced potassium and raised sodium. Sodium is necessary for tumor growth. The Gerson Therapy supplements the body with potassium.
Liver regeneration and the Gerson Therapy
So when the tumor, the cancer, arthritis or other disease symptoms are gone, that doesn't mean the body is cured. The body isn't really restored until the liver goes back to its full activity of somewhere between 90 and 100%. We never really know how long it takes to get there, but we can estimate it takes at least 1 1/2 year or 2. If you go back to eating average food right away, the foods you used to eat, candies, ice cream, cheese and meat, the cancer will come back rather quickly because the liver is not able to deal with these things.
Flaxseed oil and the Gerson Therapy
He searched and searched and tried every kind of
oil he could think of, everything from olive oil,
sesame oil, safflower oil to sunflower oil. None
of them were usable because in each case the tumors
would regrow. Fats stimulate tumor growth. But after
the book came out, he came across the work of Dr.
Johanna Budwig in Germany who showed that one may
use flaxseed oil and that it is well tolerated by
cancer patients. It helps to stimulate the immune
system, and kills the tumor tissue. He used two tablespoons
of flaxseed oil per day - one at lunch and one at
dinner, and after a month on the therapy, he cut
it down to one tablespoon a day. He advised against
cooking with oils. You can't cook with flaxseed oil
because if it is heated, it deteriorates and causes
problems. So the flaxseed oil must only be used raw