Disclaimer: Consult with a doctor before deciding on a treatment plan for cancer or any other disease.
NOTE: This article was written specifically about using the Gerson Protocol to treat cancer, but this protocol can also be used to treat the following diseases:
- Heart Disease
- Migraine Headaches
- Diseases of the digestive system and liver
On the Gerson Diet, patients consume up to 13 fresh fruit juices daily. Patients also take a variety of supplements and flush the digestive system with coffee enemas on a prescribed basis. The Gerson protocol is difficult (but not impossible) to implement solo. Juices must be produced throughout the day because they must be made fresh. As such, it can be helpful to have someone help you implement this protocol. There are Gerson Clinics in both Mexico and Hungary and clinics throughout the United States that offer modified versions of the diet. Modifications are justified because the latest nutrition research has demonstrated that certain aspects of the classic Gerson diet could benefit from modifications to achieve better cure rates.
The Gerson diet is a well-known cancer diet that helps improve the health of patients while simultaneously targeting the root cause of the cancer to kill cancer cells and stop their growth. Dr. Max Gerson developed this treatment based off of his observations on how diet affected cancer cell growth and death. The basic concept is that cancer is caused by toxicities and nutritional deficiencies in the body, and that eating a diet of fresh and organic foods in combination with juicing, natural supplements, and the use of coffee enemas can cure cancer. Many diseases are caused by toxicity and nutritional deficiency, and thus the Gerson Diet has worked to cure diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and other common ailments in addition to cancer .
Initially developed by the early 20th century as a cure for Dr. Gerson’s own severe migraine headaches, the Gerson Diet was used successfully to treat a bile duct cancer patient in 1928. Dr. Gerson then treated 12 more patients (7 successfully) shortly afterward. Dr. Gerson treated individuals with various types of tuberculosis, asthma, allergies, and diseases of the digestive system, and liver .
The complete Gerson Therapy is illegal to administer in the United States. Some treatment centers offer a variation on the Gerson Diet, but they’re not permitted to call the treatment “The Gerson Therapy/Diet.” The Gerson Protocol has not been approved by the FDA. The Gerson Institute’s Mexico location is in Tijuana, close to the Mexico-US border, making it possible for Americans to still easily access the treatment center. There is also a Gerson Treatment Center in Hungary .
The Gerson Therapy has been referred to as an “unproven,” treatment . Though the Gerson Protocol hasn’t been studied extensively, many patients have profited from it nonetheless. There are a number of anecdotal reports describing excellent results using the Gerson Protocol .
A large part of the reason why the Gerson Diet has been ridiculed in the modern medical world has to do with the low priority that is placed on nutrition by medical schools and establishments. Early in the 20th century, the Rockefeller and Carnegie families offered the top medical schools in the United States grants so long as they agreed to only teach an allopathic medicine based curriculum with little to no discussion of subjects like healing plants and nutrition. Today, although doctors do sometimes encourage patients to eat healthy, very few doctors receive even the minimum of 25 hours of nutritional training during their schooling. For example, cardiology doctors aren’t required to take any classes in nutrition counseling. Additionally, on the board examination requirements for the internal medicine certification, the word “nutrition” does not appear anywhere. .
Because of this minimal education in nutrition, doctors today who tell their patients that the Gerson Diet isn’t an effective cancer treatment or who claim that diet and detox isn’t effective in fighting cancer are often making an uneducated statement. However, even without the lack of nutritional education in medical schools, Big Pharma has taken active steps toward suppressing instruction of alternative therapies (like the healing power of plants) in schools. This lack of education in medical schools has made it very difficult for patients to get the information they need to heal themselves by making diet and lifestyle adjustments .
Safety and Effectiveness
The Gerson Institute website recommends that patients work under the supervision of a Certified Gerson Practitioner to ensure maximum effectiveness and safety (visit the Gerson Institute website to find a practitioner). Some individuals or people with particular ailments may require modifications to the standard Gerson protocol, and thus they may need a professional working with them. The following cancer-relevant situations require certain modifications to the standard protocol :
- Acute Leukemia: This is a fast moving cancer that negatively affects the immune system. Because the Gerson Diet requires a longer time period to work and depends on the immune system’s ability to function, the standard Gerson protocol doesn’t work for this cancer and requires modification.
- Use of Prescription Medications: The Gerson Diet may interfere with the functioning of some medications or with how the body responds to them. In this case, a practitioner will look at the patient’s medications to determine which medications the diet may interfere with and how to modify it to work for the patient’s situation .
Cancers That Don’t Respond to the Gerson Diet
The following cancers don’t respond well to the Gerson Diet:
- Brain Tumors or Metastasis to the Brain: The Gerson Diet causes healing inflammation and swelling at the site of the tumor. This swelling indicates that the immune system is working as it should be. However, swelling in the brain or in the skull can cause seizures, blackouts, and other serious effects. The Gerson Diet should only be carefully used in these cases, and always under the observation of a Gerson practitioner. The nutritional guidelines may help the patient manage their cancer, but it’s not expected that the reduced protocol will cure the cancer .
- Multiple Myeloma: The Gerson Diet has not been entirely effective on this type of cancer; multiple myeloma patients often experience initial benefit from the treatment, but the benefits aren’t sustained. The Gerson Institute recommends that patients with this cancer who want to use the Gerson Diet work with a practitioner who will help them incorporate other beneficial alternative therapies in addition to certain conventional medications (like bisphosphonates) to slow the breakdown of bone tissue .
- Pancreatic Cancer After Chemotherapy: Damage to the pancreas causes decreased digestive function, thus reducing the effectiveness of the Gerson Diet and its food-based treatment. In some cases, it may be possible for these patients to work with a reduced/modified version of the Gerson Diet, but they should always work with a practitioner to ensure safety. The effectiveness of the treatment with chemotherapy-treated pancreatic cancer may be low .
Three Basic Priniciples of the Gerson Diet
According to Dr. Gerson, the Gerson Diet is based on 3 principles/components:
- Toxin elimination and the return of the sodium-group to those areas where it is supposed to be, and away from those where it doesn’t belong.
- Returning the “lost” potassium-group (along with vitamins, enzymes, ferments, sugars, etc.) back to where it belongs. This principle sees that through this process iodine is made effective again and may be absorbed by the body again.
- Restoring differentiation, tonus, tension, oxidation, and other regular body functions through the use of activated iodine. Tumors and their metastases disrupt these functions and thus struggle to survive in an environment where proper functioning is effectively supported .
Because these principles apply in a variety of situations with a variety of diseases, Dr. Gerson was able to treat patients not only with cancer, but also with other severe diseases such as tuberculosis .
How the Gerson Protocol Is Administered
The Gerson Diet is a complex strategy that requires that patients leave out certain foods from their diet while eating more of other foods. At its core, the foods in the Gerson Diet consist primarily of fresh fruits and vegetables, which are prepared most frequently in soups, salads, and juices (although other recipes can be made as well). The diet is non-toxic, and oxygen, enzyme, and antioxidant rich. It is also an alkaline, diet that’s high in potassium, low in sodium, and filled with vitamins and minerals .
Some of the guidelines that patients follow on the Gerson Diet are outlined below:
- Patients with collagen-related diseases may not consume citrus fruits or juices on the Gerson Diet, but other patients are allowed to have one citrus juice per day.
- Sweeteners are kept to a minimum; honey, blackstrap molasses, and maple syrup may be used, but only in small quantities (up to 2 tsp/day).
- Grains are limited as well; 1-2 slices of rye bread are allowed each day, and quinoa can be eaten once a week.
- Salt/sodium-rich foods, most fats, fragrant spices (pepper, paprika, oregano, etc.), nuts and seeds, meat, and soy are among the foods that are prohibited during the Gerson Diet treatment.
- No processed/manufactured foods are allowed.
- Meats and animal products are prohibited. Dairy is allowed only in the form of plain, organic, non-fat yogurt after 6-8 weeks of the treatment. Liver is consumed.
- Aromatic foods like spicy peppers, pineapples, and berries are prohibited .
Consult the following link for more information about the specifics of the Gerson Diet: https://gerson.org/pdfs/Foods-For-The-Gerson-Diet.pdf .
Patients who are following the Gerson Protocol drink 13 juices each day, which are divided into 2 categories: the carrot-apple juice and the green juice. In the morning, patients may drink an orange/citrus juice as breakfast. Patients do not drink water during the treatment. Rather, they consume only juice to fulfill their liquid needs (some decaffeinated teas may be allowed as well). The Gerson Diet allows 3 meals per day that adhere to the diet requirements of the treatment .
Below is a list of supplements patients must take while following the Gerson Protocol:
- Thyroid supplement
- Vitamin B12 Drops
- Colostrum Capsules
- Vitamin D3-5000
- CoEnzymeQ -10 60 mg
- Bovine Defatted Liver
- Milk Thistle Extract
- Vitamin C
- Oxbile Extract Powder
- Potassium Compound Powder
- Clay Powder
- Coffee enema buckets and supplies
Coffee enemas have been used for thousands of years to restore health. The Gerson diet uses coffee enemas to clean out the lower intestines, flushing out heavy metals, pathogenic bacteria, fungi, and yeast. By restoring optimal digestive function to both the liver and the colon, coffee enemas help cancer patients through the ongoing process of detoxification while various other aspects of the dietary protocol kill cancer cells. It is vital that detoxification continues unhindered by problems like constipation while cancer patients are killing cancer cells. The coffee in coffee enemas is absorbed into the bloodstream and travels directly to the liver to detoxify the patient .
Gerson Diet Goals
The Gerson Diet aims to alkalinize the body. Cancer cells thrive in an acidic environment, and when the body is made alkaline these toxic cells are unable to survive. Additionally, alkalinity in the body reawakens and reactivates pancreatic enzymes and allows red blood cells to continue functioning properly. The immune system functions less efficiently in an acidic environment, so the alkalizing Gerson Diet strengthens the immune system as well . A variety of other pH cancer therapies also aim to alkalinize the body using other, non-dietary methods.
More information about the Gerson Diet can be found at the Gerson Institute website: https://gerson.org/gerpress/
Other Important Information
There are two official Gerson clinics that offer patients the Gerson treatment; one is located in Tijuana, Mexico and the other is in Budapest, Hungary. In Tijuana, the cost is $6000 for 1 week with a 2-week minimum stay. In Budapest the treatment costs around $8000 (plus 27% tax) for two weeks, with an additional $1000 for one companion. In Budapest, the companion is taught about the Gerson therapy so that after the two-week session is over they can continue to support and treat the patient at home using the same guidelines. 
Other treatment centers that offer the Gerson Diet treatment are:
Dr. Baylac at the Hawaii Naturopathic Retreat – Hilo, HI
The Hawaii Naturopathic Retreat – Aloha Wellness Center
239 Haili St.
Hilo, HI 96720
Sedona Wellness Retreat – Sedona, AZ
Sedona Wellness Retreat (Hosted at The Lodge at Sedona)
125 Kallof Place
Sedona, AZ 86366
NOTE: This center had a disclaimer on its home page saying that they’re not allowed to call their “juice fast” treatment the Gerson Diet/Therapy because they would not be allowed to practice in the United States. The treatment offered at this center is a diet that can help patients heal from cancer.
The Conners Clinic — Lake Elmo, MN
The Conners Clinic
8519 Eagle Point Blvd.
Lake Elmo, MN 55042
This clinic practices in the United States, but they don’t deliver the full Gerson Therapy. Rather, the Connors Clinic offers its patients a Modified Gerson Program.
The Natural Healing Center– Myrtle Beach, SC
The Natural Healing Center
4810 N. Kings Hwy.
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
This clinic offers its patients a wide variety of alternative cancer treatments including IV therapies and more. Coffee enemas and detox diets are also listed, and the site Cancer Tutor cites this location as one that offers the Gerson Therapy. This is an American clinic so they likely offer a modified version of the Gerson Protocol. Inquire for more information.
Gerson Diet Supplements and Supplies – Midwest Health and Nutrition
Midwest Health and Nutrition
Tarpon Springs, FL
This company offers all of the supplements and supplies patients need to get started using the Gerson Protocol (except for thyroid). The products are offered at a reduced rate.
Gerson Diet Books and Other Resources
 Gerson Institute (2018). About Us. Retrieved April 25, 2018 from: https://gerson.org/gerpress/about-us/
 Gerson Institute (2018). Clinics. Retrieved April 25, 2018 from: https://gerson.org/gerpress/clinics/
 Gerson Institute (n.d). Foods For The Gerson Diet. Retrieved April 25, 2018 from: https://gerson.org/pdfs/Foods-For-The-Gerson-Diet.pdf
 Gerson Institute (2018). Contraindications and Cautions for the Gerson Therapy. Retrieved April 25, 2018 from: https://gerson.org/gerpress/contraindications-and-cautions-for-the-gerson-therapy/
 Hawaii Naturopathic Retreat Center (2014). Nutrition in Cancer Treatment. Retrieved April 25, 2018 from: http://www.hawaiinaturopathicretreat.com/programs/medical/alternative-cancer-treatment-gerson-therapy/nutrition/
 Sedona Wellness Retreat (2019). Non Medical Juice Fasting Retreat Where We Treat the Whole Person and Embrace the Healing Power of Nature. Retrieved April 25, 2018 from: http://sedonawellnessretreat.com/juicefast.html
 Gorski, Robert (2008). The (Not-So-)Beautiful (Un)Truth about the Gerson protocol and cancer quackery. Retrieved June 1, 2018 from: https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/the-not-so-beautiful-untruth-about-the-gerson-therapy-and-cancer-quackery/
 Cross, Duane (2018). Gerson Therapy: Separating fact from fiction. Retrieved June 1, 2018 from: https://www.cancertutor.com/gerson-therapy/
 Dr. Axe (2018). Fight Cancer & Detoxify with a Coffee Enema. Retrieved June 7, 2018 from https://draxe.com/coffee-enema/