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Gerson Therapy for Cancer?

Gerson Therapy is a largely diet-based alternative treatment for cancer that was invented by the late Dr. Max Gerson. What has 65 years of medical research concluded about its efficacy and safety?

According to a recent review out of Sloan-Kettering in the journal Oncology, for about $16,000, you can fly to a clinic in Mexico, and spend three weeks “consuming fresh raw fruit and vegetable juices” and “eliminating salt from the diet.” Sounds pretty benign. Patients are also given a number of supplements, including pancreatic enzymes, as well as coffee enemas to “stimulate metabolism.” I do not deny that coffee enemas would be stimulating, but I don’t recommend them, given the case reports I note in my two-minute video, Gerson Therapy For Cancerin which they’ve killed people. Is oral coffee okay? See my video Coffee and Cancer.

To their credit, modern Gerson practitioners have moved away from the original tenets of the plan—which included feeding people raw calf liver smoothies—after too many people died from systemic blood infections. (These infections were from the same fecal bacteria in chicken that I cover in my video Poultry and Paralysis.) After learning of the outbreak, staff at the Gerson Institute decided that the policy of drinking blended liver was to be altered, and they apparently started injecting raw liver instead.

But, hey, conventional cancer treatments are no walk in the park, either! The reason people choose them is in hopes that they work. How does the Gerson therapy compare? The first formal investigation into the treatment was back in 1947, and in the 65 years since, there have been over a dozen studies published. Most came to the same conclusion: Gerson therapy is useless or worse.

These negative reviews of Gerson Therapy were written before a head-to-head trial was published of a Gerson-style (Gonzalez) regime versus chemotherapy, in terms of survival and quality of life for pancreatic cancer patients. That’s the study I profile in my three-minute video Gerson-style Therapy vs. Chemotherapy. You can read the study for yourself here (you’ll note that I always list links to all of the papers I cover in my videos in the “Sources Cited” section beneath each video).

How do you prevent pancreatic cancer in the first place? See my video Largest Study Ever.

Dietary strategies associated with prolonged cancer survival can be found in my videos:

I’ve got dozens of other videos on alternative medicine in which I do my best to relay the balance of evidence. Just because it may be the best available science, though, doesn’t mean the science is particularly good (as demonstrated in my video, Gerson-style Therapy vs. Chemotherapy). But, how else can we make decisions, except with the best evidence available?

Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here, and watch my full 2012 – 2015 presentations: Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death; More than an Apple a DayFrom Table to Able; and Food as Medicine.


Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.

26 responses to “Gerson Therapy for Cancer?

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  1. Would love for you to read and review the book Cancer Healing Odyssey by Sarto Schickel. His uncle was one of the gerson stage iv vancer cases of healing that lived until his late 90’s in Max Gerson’s 50 cases of documented cancer healing. His wife healed from Stage IV ovarian cancer. She did do surgery and 6 months of chemo-but they attribute the recovery to the combo of what she did and especially gerson since Sarto ( Cornell, university penn graduate) could find no cases as advanced was his wife with ascites that had healed with conventional treatment alone.

  2. I love Dr Greger’s Videos. He is one of the reasons I am a plant based Vegan… In saying that I can not support his belief that properly administered coffee enemas are harmful. I was diagnosed with colitas in 2009 and had a cancerous pollup removed durring that time via endoscopy exploration of my colon. I have done 1 coffee enema every morning for years now. And it has literally changed my life for the better. My health is the best its ever been, all my blood numbers are better then optimal and my colon and digestion is the best its ever been. Coffee enemas when done properly with the proper organic light roast coffee (Wilson enema coffee) are benificial. There are many, many people who do daily morning coffee enemas that would agree with me. I beleive modern medical establishments will never review Dr. Gersons office medical records or ever give coffee enemas a true test. Sadly we get these types of reviews that highlight improper administration and mega dosing electrolight imbalances. Heaven forbid someone does a real clinical trial dealing with “only” properly administered light roast coffee enemas without muddying the results with combined treatmens meant to scew the pure results of the enema. Very disapointing…


      Folks need to understand the potential therapeutic efficacy behind this alternative treatment. And not abuse it for secondary gain like quick energy fix or weight loss or chronic constipation. I would gladly do this and hyper nutrition over poisoning my body and hoping to survive my chemo or radiation anyday. Chemo may give you 5 years but at what cost? People can LIVE with cancer if the body is provided the best environment and natural FOOD as MEDICINE for healing itself.

      I use green, un-roasted, organic coffee beans that I soak several days in filtered water, then place in a dehydrator on 108 degrees.

      Detoxification Mechanism of the Coffee Enema-

      The Gerson Therapy explains that caffeine and palmitates (chemicals in coffee) work synergistically to stimulate and cleanse the liver and blood. Without entering the digestive tract the caffeine is absorbed through the bowel wall, via blood vessels, and makes its way directly to the liver.

      The caffeine exposure causes the liver’s portal veins and the bile ducts to expand which increases the release of diluted toxic bile. The enema fluid triggers peristalsis (intestinal muscle contractions) and the efficient removal of wastes from the body.

      Palmitates in the coffee stimulate and increase the production of a liver enzyme called glutathione-S-transferase (GST), which removes free radicals and cancer cells from the bloodstream and facilitates detoxification of the liver. As a result of the enema the liver becomes less congested with debris, which makes room for the filtering process of yet more bodily toxins.

      Ideally, the coffee enema should be retained for twelve to fifteen minutes during which time the body’s blood supply circulates and passes through the liver approximately five times (Every three minutes). Since the blood serum is detoxified as it flows through the caffeinated liver, the enema is essentially a form of blood dialysis (filtering) across the colon wall. Drinking coffee has no such therapeutic benefits and is in fact counter-productive.

      Learn more:

    2. I agree. I’ve been on a modified Gerson protocol over 3 years now with one coffee enema per day. Prostate cancer is 90% gone.

          1. You’re welcome Dr Belus! On the Gerson Therapy after the first 6-8 weeks additional protein is brought in in the form of organic nonfat plain yogurt. So that’s the only deviation from vegan. The lower initial protein is designed to jump-start the immune system (search Gar Hildebrand How the Gerson Therapy Heals)

      1. Hello Alan I have been looking into the Gerson treatment for my mother she has cerviacal cancer that has metastasized in her lungs. I would love to hear about the success you have had with the Gerson method if you could reach out my email is Thank you in advance for your help.

    3. Amen! I agree with coffeetime. Importantly, I do respect Dr. Greger’s work and support his work. However, he, like other evolution believing doctors and scientists, do make errors. As long as we remember that and regard his work as that done by another human, we will benefit from his work without being influenced by weaknesses and errors in his work. Keep in mind, only Jesus had a perfect humanity. The rest of us try to be as accurate with truth as possible. That said, the method used to evaluate the Gerson method that involves several components, two of which Greger espouses in his book, plant based nutrition and a non toxic inside, was faulty. To be fair, each of the Gerson components must be evaluated on its own merits as it contributes to its own ends or reasons or purposes. It is unfair to take a protocol that is many faceted, examine one part and conclude that the whole is wrong or ineffective, High quality nutrition into the human body (13 glasses of fresh raw juices daily) will always be effective. I still respect Dr. Greger though as we all have our own achilles heel.

  3. I recently spoke with the daughter of one of Gerson’s Miracle recoveries. Taken by her husband from Mt. Sinai Hospital, NYC unconscious and dying from a brain tumor over 60 years ago, was literally raised from the dead as they say. She was in her forties when she was dying, but thanks to Gerson lived healthfully until she passed in her 90’s of old age! Gerson works for many. Orthodox medicine’s toxic crap cannot restore health. Watch the documentaries on Gerson at I’d bet my life on Gerson’s therapies.

    1. Hello Alan I have been looking into the Gerson treatment for my mother she has cerviacal cancer that has metastasized in her lungs. I would love to hear about the success you have had with the Gerson method if you could reach out my email is Thank you in advance for your help.

  4. The only people that I can find saying negative things about the Gerson Therapy are those getting kick backs from pharmaceutical companies!! Thanks Dr. for your sad advice! No matter what how can taking all the chemicals out of our diet be bad, and what were the long list of side effects again?? Oh, yeah that’s right there weren’t any!

  5. The authors’ description of proteolytic enzyme treatment is interesting and maybe was a good idea but it does not seem to parallel the procedure of Gerson. Yes it had coffee enemas, but the procedure did not include the frequent juicing that is another hallmark of the Gerson protocol. Only 70% was raw or minimally cooked instead of–I believe–100% only raw. The food was supposed to be organic, but was it all plant based? I assume not or that would have been stated. Further I don’t recognize the administration of supplements and enzymes and Papaya Plus or magnesium citrate as part of Gerson therapy either. So it appears that this study is very valuable in demonstrating that one particular allopathic treatment was inferior to standard drug treatment, but it seems rather irrelevant to the issue of Gerson therapy specifically.

    1. That’s my understanding as well. This study was just mock Gerson therapy, with missing/different elements. How can we know if they didn’t follow the Gerson therapy? Very disappointing they did the study that way and are now saying Gerson therapy doesn’t work.

  6. AMA brownie points for Dr. Gregor. If you are regretably, the one with cancer, watch the full length documentary, “Dying To Have Known,” free on line. You do not need a post doctoral degree in medical research nor should you blindly trust anyone with one (in America.)

  7. Im so sick of our medical system. Ppl are becoming aware of what the fda has done. People know they have ran off at least two and probably more people by suing them repeatedly (and losing), but finally making them go bankrupt, leave the country and try to discredit them. Its all about money. If theres no money to be made then get out. Not interested. And how long has it been since we have had a CURE for ANYTHING? ppl used to find cures. Now we have multi millions put into research for what…medicines that treat we keep the disease and you make money off of us all til we die. I know most in the medical field blindly believe what they are taught but you ppl at the FDA and drug companies know better. We know why there arent cures anymore and we know what your doing. Some day yoy will pay for all the ppl you have let die whether its here or in the next world.

  8. My wife has been suffering from thyroid cancer which was confirmed to be stage four, the doctor told me there was little he could do since she wasn’t responding to treatment but a friend of mine came to our rescue by ordering this hemp oil from RICK which he said has been helping some patient fight against cancer of various types so we decided to give it a chance, so far my wife is improving perfectly very well and presently she can walk around the house all by herself. I felt its necessary i let others who are suffering from this acute disease that once you have a good hemp oil it can really give one a sound second chance of living. by chance if you happen to be in need of this hemp oil you can contact RICK who supplied I and my wife with this email:

  9. my wife has been suffering from thyroid cancer which was confirmed to be stage four, the doctor told me there was little she could do since she wasn’t responding to treatment but my brother in law came to our rescue by ordering this hemp oil from rick Simpson foundation which he said has been helping some patient fight against cancer of various types so we decided to give it a chance, so far my wife is improving perfectly very well and presently she can walk around the house all by herself. I felt its necessary i let others who are suffering from this acute disease that once you have a good hemp oil it can really give one a sound second chance of living. if you happen to be in need of this hemp oil you can contact the foundation who supplied my brother in law with this email:

  10. all that I can say is that the hippocrates health institutes diet and gersons diet and Dr. Lorraine Days diet took me from bed ridden to alive. I kept falling off the diet and would have to nurse myself back to health. It works very well although with any cancer patient you must not eat to much food and go big on juices.

  11. I think that it is very important to speak with an oncology trained naturopath before beginning any “natural” treatment. There are some forms of cancer that this diet would be a death sentence for. One is ovarian cancer (I’m stage 4) which feeds on sugars. The amount of naturally occurring sugars in juiced carrots is TOO MUCH for us, even when blended with other vegetables. You might as well have a big piece of cake. I don’t discount this diet, but I believe working with an oncology naturopath is imperative if you are really trying to save your life.

    I will also add that every type of cancer is different and none of them respond to the exact same treatments. Some people who have been “cured” by some natural treatments, may have had a very minimal chance of reoccurrence after initial traditional treatment or surgery.

    Please do your research. There is way too much false information on many “cure(d) cancer” type of websites and blogs, and that includes natural and holistic sites.

    1. Dear Native Girl, I was suffering from systemic candida over a many year period. I went to a Gerson clinic in 1995 after a breast cancer diagnosis (also with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity).
      When I got there, I panicked due to the carrots and what I perceived as too much sugar. Doctor said”you ate in a hospital, try it. Within 2 weeks the long-term candida began to recede (a little at a time) as I was getting stronger. I had breast cancer and all cancers do badly with added sugar. But carrots are food. I am mow a 23 year survivor, but Gerson alone did not ‘heal/cure me. I still do 1 coffee ‘break’ a day.

      1. Hello Ann I have been looking into the Gerson treatment for my mother she has cerviacal cancer that has metastasized in her lungs. I would love to hear about the success you have had with the Gerson method if you could reach out my email is Thank you in advance for your help.

  12. Thank God Almighty that lead me to Dr.Sebi in Dubai, My brother lungs cancer has been cured by Dr.Sebi. My brother has been through chemo 3 times, but this time his condition was getting worse that I was afraid it will kill him. When a friend of mine directed me to Dr.Sebi at: ( where I could buy the medication from, because the Dr.Sebi has help cured his own Brain tumor and he strongly recommend that he would helped me with my brother cancer and cure it completely, I never believed the story, but today, with thanks giving in my heart, My brother lungs cancer has been cured within the Dr.Sebi oil and I want you all to join hands in appreciation of the great work that is been done by Dr .Sebii , he is the man that saved the life of my brother with hemp oil, thanks to him. for all those who have problem relating to cancer and other diseases should contact him through his emai( ) I’ll keep thanking him because his God sent to save my family that was at the stage of collapsing all because of my brother cancer, if you have cancer is time to save your life thanks everyone again bye…

  13. Hello my name is Robert , My wife was suffering from Breast Cancer and the doctor told me that there was nothing that they could do to save my beloved wife. Then a friend told me about the Rick Simpson hemp oil that can cure cancer, i told him that my wife’s breast cancer was in the last stage that i don’t think the hemp oil would cure it and he persuaded me to try it, for the love of my wife, i decided to give it a try. I did some research and i found a doctor who helped me with the cannabis oil to cure my wife’s breast cancer and he assured me that after 3 months the cancer would be no more, and For the past one year my wife is fine now, here is the email to contact:, I bought it and she used it, it worked exactly as the doctor prescribed it. Thanks to Dr, Mehmet Oz for taking away sorrow in my life. what would i and my wife have done. God will bless Dr, Mehmet Oz for helping me with cannabis oil and for his support and care. contact:, i will keep on help you to fight cancer in the World, all i have to say is THANK YOU LORD.

  14. My name is Elizabeth Debra Warren, i am from Florida USA. I never knew cannabis oil was indeed wonderful and very effective in treating canceer diseases.’ To hell with the govbernment and thier insane policy,if not for the government and their so called rules in regulating cannabis my husband would have still been alive. Thanks to the newly policy for legalizing cannabis in my state i would have also lost my son to kidney cancer, i was really touched and surprised when i watched lots of documentary on how cannabis oil had helped lot of people whom their family members never thought they could make it after undergoing several ”Chemo”. From the dept of my heart i must say a word of appreciation to the Rick Simpson Team for the timely intervention in the life of my son suffering from Kidney Cancer. as i am writing this testimony on this Blog my Son is so strong and healthy in spite he hasn’t completed the total Dosage’ for your cannabis and medical consultation and information on how to get the oil try and get in touched with the Rick Simpson Team through email: ( so he can enlightened you more.

    Feeling so Deligthed.
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  15. You forget to mention the 495/500 cancer patents cured by Dr. Gerson, which he testified before congress. The truth is that Gerson Therapy works and I’ve seen it first hand. If you speak against Gerson Therapy as a medical professional, you either do not understanding it or you are intentionally misleading people. And this worries me because it only leads to pain and suffering.

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