December 5th, 2013 (VOXXI) – The word ‘cancer’ can be one of the scariest out there, especially if treatment options are limited and an individual’s outlook is less than optimistic. In situations where few other options exist, patients may turn to alternative therapies, but not all are created equal. In fact, some, like Gerson therapy, are considered potentially dangerous by the American Cancer Society.
Developed by Max Gerson, M.D., who was born in Wongrowitz, Germany in 1881, Gerson therapy, sometimes known as the Gerson diet, is a detoxification program based on coffee enemas, supplements,juicing, and a special diet. According to the official Gerson therapy website, the program is designed to “break down diseased tissue in the body, while coffee enemas aid in eliminating toxins from the liver.”
Individuals on the program are required to consume 15- 20 pounds of organically grown fruits and vegetables daily, the majority of which are used to make fresh raw juice, up to one glass every hour, up to 13 times per day. Raw and cooked solid foods are generously consumed, and the following supplements are mandatory in the plan:
In addition to these supplements, individuals on Gerson therapy use up to five coffee enemas a day in “assisting the liver in eliminating toxic residues from the body for good. Gerson therapy also utilizes castor oil to stimulate bile flow and enhance the liver’s ability to filter blood.”
The protocol is defined as a metabolic therapy, one that is based on the theory that disease is caused by the body’s accumulation of toxic substances. According to this train of thought, detoxification is the ideal way of curing any number of illnesses; in fact, Gerson therapy is used for treatment of cancer, arthritis, heart disease, allergies, migraines, skin tuberculosis, and diabetes.
The ultimate goal of all metabolic therapies is to boost the body’s immune system so it can fight off debilitating conditions like cancer.
Despite the claims of those who support Gerson therapy and a film detailing case stories of individuals claiming it cured them of cancer, the American Cancer Society indicates Gerson therapy is not approved for use in the United States and there are no accepted mainstream, large-scale studies supporting its purported benefits.
“In a review of the medical literature, researchers from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center identified 7 human studies of Gerson therapy that have been published or presented at medical conferences. None of them were randomized controlled studies. One study was a look-back study (retrospective review) conducted by the Gerson Research Organization in 1995,” states the organization. “They reported that when patients with melanoma, colorectal cancer, and ovarian cancer were treated with surgery and Gerson therapy, survival rates were higher than would normally be expected, but they did not provide statistics to support the results. Other studies have been small, had inconclusive results, or have been plagued by other problems (such as a large percentage of patients not completing the study), making it impossible to draw firm conclusions about the effectiveness of treatment.”
Aside from the lack of large-scale research, the primary reason Gerson therapy is considered risky is due to the use of coffee enemas that are associated with serious infections, dehydration, constipation, inflammation of the colon, electrolyte imbalances, and even death.
What’s more, Gerson therapy is not actually a balanced diet, and no single food item–even fruits or vegetables–should be eaten in excess without other food groups to provide balance.
“There is very little scientific evidence to support the use of other components of the Gerson regimen, such as consuming only fresh, raw juices prepared in a certain way, eliminating salt from the diet, and “detoxifying” the liver through coffee enemas and injected liver extracts. These methods have very little scientific evidence to support their use against cancer,” says the American Cancer Society.
While there is emerging evidence which suggests a diet high in fruits and vegetables can help prevent cancers and may prove beneficial during the treatment process, research into this area has been speculative at best, and no foods have definitively been prove to be “anti-cancer.”
Originally published by VOXXI as “Gerson therapy: Dangerous alternative cancer treatment”
and is republished here with permission.