To successfully fight cancer, we need to rebuild the immune system.
The Two Parts of the Immune System
There are two parts to the immune system –
- The cell mediated immune system or Th1 that fights cancer
- The virus and the humoral part of the immune system or Th2 that fights bacteria
A weak cellular immune system (Th1) is responsible for the emergence of cancer, whereas a weak humoral immune system (Th2) will be responsible for autoimmune disease such as multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis. It is interesting to note that about 20% of cancers are known to be associated with infectious agents such as viruses or bacteria. For instance, gastric cancer is associated with helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). H. Pylori initially cause gastric ulcers which later on develop into cancer in some cases. The human papillomavirus (HPV) has been known to cause cervical cancer and anal cancer and more recently oral cancer. Nasopharyngeal cancer and lymphomas have been associated with the Epstein-Barr virus. Both cancer and infections are the signs of a weak immune system, in particular Th1, the cellular immunity.
It is necessary to use treatments that will strengthen and balance the two parts of the immune system. To win the fight against cancer, the immune system needs to be restored. Nutrition is the best place to start and the best medical/therapeutic nutrition that we have found is the Gerson Therapy diet. It is rich in antioxidants, beta-carotene, essential fatty acids and enzymes. It has always been a joy to see many long term side effects from chemotherapy, such as neuropathy, dry skin and hair loss disappear quickly. Sometimes just after a few days of following the Gerson diet and supplement regimen.
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 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 breakfast juice is an orange juice that we replace by a grapefruit juice or a noni juice in case of high blood sugar. Only one citrus juice is allowed at breakfast. We are very fortunate due to our location to have access to organic noni fruit trees that grow in our garden. We choose to make our own unpasteurized fresh noni juice and include it in our comprehensive cancer treatment program. Morinda citrifolia (noni) has been studied and it has been reported to have many beneficial properties including antitumor activity.
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 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 Diet High In Vitamins and Minerals and Low in Fat and Protein
A diet high in nutrients such as vitamins and minerals and low in fat and proteins shows less chances of cancer according to “The China Study” the most recent and extensive research led by Dr. T. Colin Campbell. The China Study recognized by The New York as the “Grand Prix of epidemiology” and the “most comprehensive large study ever undertaken of the relationship between diet and the risk of developing disease” is very conclusive on the link between high protein diets and cancer. “People who ate the most animal-based foods got the most chronic disease … People who ate the most plant-based foods were the healthiest and tended to avoid chronic disease. These results could not be ignored,” said Dr. Campbell.
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.