Ask the Doctor: Should I Use Gerson Therapy?

Posted on Apr 10, 2013 in Research

Q: What is Gerson therapy? Can it help me?


Gerson therapy is an alternative cancer therapy that was developed by Dr. Max Gerson. It is available through clinics in San Diego, California and Tijuana, Mexico. Typical cost is about $15,000.

Gerson therapy attempts to change a person’s metabolism so that the cancer will no longer grow. The program includes: vegetable juicing, a low-salt and high-potassium diet, potassium supplements, coffee enemas, and calf liver extract injections.

Dr Gerson published several case reports. There have been no clinical trials to date regarding the efficacy or safety of Gerson therapy. Cancer journalist Ralph Moss notes that he was not able to verify any contemporary cases of cancer cures or remissions from Gerson Therapy. There has been an outbreak of systemic blood infections that was associated with calf liver extract used at a Gerson clinic.

Some elements of the Gerson therapy are supported by modern science. For example, green vegetable juices can target tumor stem cells. Additionally, preliminary research indicates that balancing sodium vs potassium may discourage tumor growth. And, Dr. Gerson’s early organic gardening experiments were well ahead of the organic food movement.

So, while I do encourage my patients to juice vegetables and eat a plant-based high-potassium diet, I do not encourage them to pursue Gerson therapy.