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 by which harmful pharmaceuticels are used to attack the disease, they viewed the healing process as a strengthening of the natural function of the body and in particular those of the immune system.
Dr. Gerson was part of a philosophical movement in medicine including doctor Bragg, Dr. Shelton and many others who acknowledged the adverse effects of environmental pollution, depleted sources of nutrition with the advent of processed foods and sedentary lifestyle and correlated these harmful changes to “chronic degenerative” disease. They adhere to a theory of degenerative disease (including cancer) the vis medicatrix naturae or healing power of nature (Neuburger, 1926 and 1944; Warner, 1978). Note that at this time the self-healing power of the body has been defeated by “chronic disease” because it is the first time in history that the environmental toxicity overwhelms the body self- protecting mechanism.
In 1958 Dr. Gerson published his book, A Cancer Therapy: Results of Fifty Cases and the Cure of Advanced Cancer.
Dr. Gerson’s therapy was not valued by the American Medical Association (AMA) and Dr. Gerson’s therapy died with him until it was revived by his daughter Charlotte Gerson who founded the Gerson Institute in 1977. The Gerson Institute is a non-profit association with the goal of educating the public about the therapy by the ways of books, talks, webinars and films.
The doctor’s original protocol included 13 juices a day and 5 coffee enemas for cancer patients.
There was no chemotherapy then and this regimen has been adapted for today’s higher toxicity levels from chemotherapy by Dr. Dan Rogers who helped to establish the Gerson Institute. He created the modified Gerson therapy for patients who received chemotherapy. Gar Hildenbrand contributed much in research and founded the Gerson Research Organization. In 1995, the Gerson Research Organization did a retrospective study of melanoma patients treated with the Gerson therapy. The study reported that patients who had stage III or stage IV melanoma lived longer than usual patients with these stages of melanoma.
Cancer is a Systemic Metabolic Problem
Dr. Gerson as many other physicians of his generation such as Otto Warburg, thought that cancer cannot be resolved by surgery and radiation. But rather that: the cancer tumor is a positive effort of the body to remove toxic material from circulation. It is a commonly recognized fact that removing a cancer tumor alone does not prevent recurrence. This is why chemotherapy is prescribed in cases of large tumors, to eliminate the possible spread of cancer and the possibility of metastasis. Dr. Gerson thought that cancer was due to a metabolic imbalance at the cellular level between sodium and potassium. Modern diet low in potassium and high in sodium is the major reason for this imbalance.
K+ is an intracellular ion and Na+ is an extracellular cation. The excess sodium attracts water and loss of potassium in the cell. Potassium is slowly replaced by sodium and water. Therefore, cellular edema and difficulty to produce energy or ATP by the mitochondria which favors cancer growth. Therefore, Dr. Gerson eliminated salt in his diet and created a diet rich in potassium.
Gar Hildenbrand notes “As early as 1933-34, while living in Vienna, Dr. Gerson had begun giving injections of liver extract, as another means of stimulating the patient’s liver (Gerson, 1958, 31 -32). In later years he had patients drink two to three glasses daily of the juice of calves’ liver pressed with carrots. In addition to beta-carotene/vitamin A, this would supply iron and copper, both of which affect peripheral T cell functions and other peripheral lymphocyte subpopulations (Keusch, 1983, 345-347)”.