Dr. Max Gerson was a Jewish German physician who escaped Nazi Germany in 1933 first to France, then to the United States where he settled in 1936 and where he worked as a physician. He began with his therapy as a student, researching ways to heal his own migraine headaches and as a physician expanding his treatment first to tuberculosis patients in Germany and then to cancer patients in other countries in Europe. He was part of a group of physicians at the turn of the 20th century who contributed to the understanding and treatment of the cause of modern disease. Rather than adopting the view of conventional medicine…
What is Gerson Therapy?
The Gerson Therapy is a detoxification and nutrition program, which strengthens the immune system.The intense detoxification program consists of juices, enemas, food and supplements. It was created by Dr. Max Gerson (1881 -1959). Dr. Gerson was suffering from severe migraine headaches while he was a medical student and healed himself with foods. When he became a doctor, he applied his therapy to tuberculosis and later on to cancer. Doctor Gerson believed that toxicity and deficiency were the two factors in the onset of cancer. Therefore, his therapy is based on a diet rich in nutrients and poor in animal proteins to help detoxify the body.
The Gerson Therapy seeks to regenerate the body to health, supporting each important metabolic requirement by flooding the body with nutrients from almost 20 pounds of organically grown fruits and vegetables daily. Most is used to make fresh raw juice, one glass every hour, 13 times per day. Raw and cooked solid foods are generously consumed. Oxygenation is usually more than doubled, as oxygen deficiency in the blood contributes to many degenerative diseases. The metabolism is also stimulated through the addition of thyroid, potassium and other supplements, and by avoiding heavy animal fats, excess protein, sodium and other toxins. As a result of detoxification and increased oxygenation, cellular regeneration of all organs occurs, in particular that of the liver, and the immune system is restored to its optimal function.
Degenerative diseases render the body increasingly unable to excrete waste materials adequately, commonly resulting in liver and kidney failure. To prevent this, the Gerson Therapy uses intensive detoxification to eliminate wastes, regenerate the liver, reactivate the immune system and restore the body’s essential defenses – enzyme, mineral and hormone systems. With generous, high-quality nutrition, increased oxygen availability, detoxification, and improved metabolism, the cells – and the body – can regenerate, become healthy and prevent future illness.
The Gerson Diet
The Gerson diet starts out as a strict vegan diet excluding animal products and oils except for flax seed oil. The diet evolves to include a small amount of protein after four weeks. Nuts and seeds, too high in oils are excluded at first, but they are reintroduced later on, as well as vegetable proteins such as lentils or rice.
The Gerson diet is composed of raw and cooked organic fresh fruits and vegetables, local if possible, taken in the form of juices or fresh whole foods. It consists of a large volume of fresh organic juice and three meals a day.
The Gerson Therapy diet is an alkaline diet rich in oxygen, enzymes and antioxidants. It promotes the avoidance of fats, animal proteins and carcinogenic compounds.
A Diet Rich In Oxygen
The typical American diet consisting of red meat, white sugar, white bread and processed foods is an oxygen-depleted and depleting diet that contributes to cancer. The Gerson diet on the opposite end, composed of a large amount of fresh raw carrot and green juice, is very rich in oxygen necessary to repair cellular damage. In 1931, Dr. Otto Warburg won his first Nobel Prize for proving that cancer is caused by a lack of oxygen at the cellular level. He stated in an article titled, The Prime Cause and Prevention of Cancer, that “the cause of cancer is no longer a mystery, we know it occurs whenever any cell is denied 60% of its oxygen requirements.” He theorized that cancer cells are oxygen-deprived cells that turned to fermentation, a glucose dependent type of metabolism, to continue producing energy. In the course of this process they became immortal, matching the shelf life of the processed foods that feeds them.
The Gerson diet contains large amounts of oxygen in the many juices consumed. The juice is composed mostly of water which is hydrogen and oxygen gas. Secondly, the green juices contain chlorophyll that releases oxygen. Finally, the diet is very rich in antioxidants which enhances oxygen uptake into the cells.
An Alkaline Diet
Oxygen in the blood and alkalinity are strongly related in that our body fluids must be alkaline to retain oxygen. Alkalinity is defined by a pH over 7.0 while acidity is defined by a pH under 7.0. The stomach is very acidic in order to digest food and to kill pathogenic bacteria entering the body with food, but the blood must maintain a constant pH of 7.4 to retain its oxygen. Foods have a different level of alkalinity or acidity. For instance, a steak is very acidic and a lettuce is alkaline. Numerous studies show that a solid cancer tumor and its environment are acidic and that altering the pH of a tumor, for instance by injecting bicarbonate in the tumor can prevent metastasis. A study found that ´Bicarbonate increases Tumor pH and inhibits spontaneous metastases´ at the Department of Pharmacology, Wayne State University, Detroit and the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center Florida.
It is possible to manipulate acidity and alkalinity with diet. The plant based Gerson diet rich in potassium and poor in sodium, is very alkaline and creates a hostile environment for cancer growth. In addition the Gerson program is low in sodium and contains additional potassium. Gerson patients often have a urine pH of 7.5 to 8.5 compared to the common 6.5 urinary pH in the general population.
A Diet Rich In Enzymes
Enzymes are necessary for the digestion of food, but also for the digestion of cancer cells. Enzymes are destroyed by high temperature, and a cooked food diet depletes our body’s stores of enzymes leaving no enzymes to scavenge abnormal cells in the blood stream. Modern research has found that following the ingestion of cooked or processed foods that there was an increase in the number of white blood cells in the blood. The large amount of raw juices in the Gerson diet reduces inflammation created by cooked foods. The trophoblast cancer theory first advanced by Dr. John Beard and later on by Dr. William Donald Kelley suggests that the lack of proteolytic enzymes is the cause of uncontrolled cell division in cancer growth. Dr. Beard stated, and later proved clinically, that cancer was the result of the failure of the pancreas to produce proper amounts of pancreatic enzymes.
An Organic Plant Based Diet Is Rich In Antioxidants
Antioxidants are molecules that protect the cells from free radical damage. Antioxidants also help the body use oxygen more efficiently. Examples of antioxidants include beta-carotene found in carrots or lycopene found in tomatoes and vitamin C in oranges or green pepper. The first large randomized trial on antioxidants and cancer risk was the Chinese Cancer Prevention Study, published in 1993. This trial investigated the effect of a combination of beta-carotene, vitamin E, and selenium on cancer in healthy Chinese men and women at high risk for gastric cancer. The study showed a combination of beta-carotene, vitamin E, and selenium significantly reduced incidence of both gastric cancer and cancer overall. The national cancer institute acknowledges the idea that antioxidants may protect from cancer.
A Non-Toxic Diet
The Gerson diet avoids carcinogenic compounds formed at high cooking temperature methods such as broiling, barbecuing, roasting or pan frying. Recent studies revealed that toxic carcinogenic compounds such as acrylamides or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are formed at high temperature.
|COOKING METHOD||CARCINOGENIC SUBSTANCES PRODUCED|
|1.||Burnt or overheated food||Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)|
|2.||Barbecued / grilled food||Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs),Heterocyclic amines (HCAs)|
|3.||Burnt food during broiling & pan-frying||Heterocyclic amines (HCAs, also called HAs)|
|4.||High temperature cooking of starchy plant products (e.g., frying, grilling, baking and roasting)||Toxic acrylamide|
A High Potassium Low Sodium Diet
In the Gerson diet any kind of salt (sodium) is eliminated and potassium is increased through juices, including ample potatoes in the diet and adding supplemented potassium to the juices. This high potassium diet reverses cellular damage and cellular edema caused by infiltration of sodium into the cell.
The Gerson Therapy program consists of a large volume of two types of fresh organic juices, the ‘carrot apple juice’ and the ‘green juice’. The juices are drunk throughout the day. The starting number and volume of juices is adapted to each case. For instance, patients who have received chemotherapy are on a maximum regimen of 10 juices while patients who have not done chemotherapy will receive 13 juices. It is important to start at a lower amount of juices and to build up to 8 oz per juice, to create progressive tolerance. This rule is of particular importance for advanced cancers of the digestive tract or for cancers involving the organs of elimination. Patients with pancreatic cancer, liver metastasis or any cancer involving the digestive tract may not tolerate large amount of juices right away and will suffer from nausea and vomiting. It is important for these patients to start with a low dose of juices and increase the dose progressively.
The gruel is a liquid form of oatmeal. It is added to juices when the patient has difficulty with drinking the juices.
In addition to the juices the Gerson diet consists of three meals a day. Breakfast consists of oatmeal and orange juice. The oat groats are freshly ground with a special hand tool, a flaker (can be purchased see our resources page) and soaked over night in fresh apple juice and or any cut up fresh local fruits available. This dish may be consumed warm or cold in the morning with soaked raisins and molasses. Variances of this breakfast depend on patient blood chemistry. If the patient’s blood sugar is high the orange juice is replaced with grapefruit juice or noni juice and raisins are eliminated. Molasses helps to fight anemia. Consult the list of fruits allowed.
Each lunch and dinner meal contains potatoes and the Hippocrates soup, also called the ‘Special soup’. Potatoes are the most important source of protein in the Gerson diet, especially at the beginning. Potatoes may be boiled, broiled or roasted in the oven in a covered pot. They are cooked in their jacket to preserve the integrity of their nutrients. Elevated cooking temperatures will form carcinogenic compounds and are eliminated. Steaming is also prohibited and lower oven temperatures, no higher than 350°F, are recommended. Boiling potatoes in their jacket yields the healthiest result.
For variety, potatoes may be cut into wedges, halves, French fries or cooked whole.
The Hippocrates soup is cooked for two and a half hours and contains leeks, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, celery root or celeriac and parsley roots. The soup is passed through a mill to remove potato peels and gross fibers or it may be consumed as is, in case of a strong healthy digestive system. The soup can be varied by adding fresh herbs (see allowed list of herbs) and finely chopped raw tomatoes, garlic and parsley before serving.
In addition to the soup and potatoes, fresh salads and other cooked vegetables may be added. See the list of vegetables allowed.
The diet is adapted to each individual’s specific needs, and we follow dietary guidelines indicated for specific secondary conditions. For instance, we will avoid raw tomatoes for gastric reflux or we will avoid foods known to be allergenic to a specific individual.
Raw foods are added as is tolerated.
The amount of juice is matched to the number of coffee enemas, usually three to five, administered throughout the day. The coffee recommended is a special lightly roasted coffee. Since Dr. Gerson’s death, multiple research studies have shown that high temperature roasting of coffee beans generates carcinogenic compounds called acrylamides and black coffee is on the top of the list. As part of the objective to eliminate carcinogens, we only use or recommend the lightly roasted coffee from s.a. Wilson’s. The coffee is prepared in a special manner to eliminate aromatic compounds thought to promote cancer. The coffee enema is a retention enema. It is used is to help with the excretion of toxins from necrotizing (dying) tumors and body tissues. The coffee enemas are also helpful to reduce pain. Whenever possible, painkillers are eliminated to avoid further toxic burden on the liver. Studies have shown that coffee enemas can also increase production of glutathione and promote the absorption of an estimated 100,000 IU of vitamin A provided by the absorption of beta-carotene from the carrot juices.
Castor Oil Enema
In patients who have not received chemotherapy, a castor oil enema is done every other day. The castor oil enema is a powerful treatment that consists in drinking three tablespoons of castor oil early in the morning and receiving a castor oil enema five hours later. The castor oil enema is eliminated in chemotherapy patients to avoid excessively rapid detoxification of the harmful byproducts of chemotherapy.
In case of a healing crisis, flare up, or diarrhea, the coffee enema is replaced with a chamomile enema. The coffee enema can also be mixed half and half, with the chamomile enema.
The Gerson therapy supplements such as potassium and lugol’s (potassium iodide) are added to the juices, or taken orally with juices and food: CoQ10, liver extract, digestive enzymes, niacin, flax seed oil.
The Gerson Therapy protocol also includes daily intramuscular injections of B12 and liver extract. There are two forms of vitamin B12. Cyanocobalamin and methylcobalamin. Cyanocobalamin is the synthetic form and methylcobalamin is the natural more absorbable form that we recommend and use. Liver extract was substituted about 20 years ago for the original liver juice prescribed by Dr. Gerson, as it became impossible to find healthy calf liver. Later on, just about a couple of years ago, the usual Mexican source of liver became problematic as well with the current contamination with mad cow disease and we replace it at this time with a New Zealand or Argentinean liver extract.
Potassium restore proper sodium-potassium balance in cells. Digestive enzymes facilitate proper digestion and assimilation. Pancreatic enzymes digest tumor tissue. Thyroid supplementation supports proper energy metabolism in cells and Lugol’s delivers iodine to the cells where it promotes the synthesis of thyroid hormones and promotes cell differentiation which helps malignant cells return to normal structure. CoQ10 increases energy production at the cellular level and as a powerful antioxidant repairs damaged cells. Liver capsules and crude liver injections provide minerals, enzymes…
Although opponents of the Gerson Therapy argue that no scientific studies exist and that the Gerson Therapy has not been scientifically proven effective, the basic components of the therapy such as enzymes, oxygenation, plant-based diet and antioxidants have been extensively studied separately by a large amount of scientists and shown to be effective in the treatment of cancer. However, there are only two studies on the Gerson therapy itself showing its success rate. They are reported by Gar Hildenbrand. The melanoma study and the report from Austria show significant positive results.