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Gerson Therapy (PDQ®)

  • Last Modified: 08/10/2012

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Overview

This complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) information summary provides an overview of the Gerson therapy as a treatment for people with cancer. The summary includes a brief history of the development of the Gerson therapy; a review of laboratory, animal, and human studies; and possible side effects associated with the use of this treatment.

This summary contains the following key information:

  • The Gerson therapy is advocated by its supporters as a method of treating cancer patients based on changes in diet and nutrient intake.
  • An organic vegetarian diet plus nutritional and biological supplements, pancreatic enzymes, and coffee or other types of enemas are the main features of the Gerson therapy.
  • The regimen is intended to “detoxify” the body while building up the immune system and raising the level of potassium in cells.
  • The regimen is empirically based on observations made by Max Gerson, M.D., in his clinical practice and on his knowledge of research in cell biology at the time (1930s–1950s).
  • No results of laboratory or animal studies are reported in the scientific literature contained in the Medical Literature Analysis and Retrieval System Online database.
  • Few clinical studies of the Gerson therapy are found in the medical literature.

Many of the medical and scientific terms used in this summary are hypertext linked (at first use in each section) to the NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms, which is oriented toward nonexperts. When a linked term is clicked, a definition will appear in a separate window.

Reference citations in some PDQ CAM information summaries may include links to external Web sites that are operated by individuals or organizations for the purpose of marketing or advocating the use of specific treatments or products. These reference citations are included for informational purposes only. Their inclusion should not be viewed as an endorsement of the content of Web sites, or of any treatment or product, by the PDQ Cancer CAM Editorial Board or the National Cancer Institute.