Dr Max Gerson
Dr Max Gerson was born in 1881 in the German province of Posen to a Jewish family in Wongrowitz. He chose medicine as a career because it was open to Jews, while science was not. While as a resident physician, Gerson suffered migraine headaches. He altered his diet and eliminated many staples of the German diet and said he no longer had migraines. When he entered into private practice in Bielefeld, Germany he prescribed his migraine diet to his patients.
A migraine patient reported that his lupus vulgaris, or skin tuberculosis, also called tuberculosis luposa, had cleared up while he was on Gerson’s diet. Dr. Gerson treated other lupus vulgaris patients with his diet and he claimed success. Ferdinand Sauerbruch, a pulmonary surgeon, heard of Gerson’s success with tuberculosis luposa and invited him to conduct a clinical trial at Sauerbruch’s tuberculosis ward in Munich, Germany. He placed 450 tuberculosis patients on his diet and claimed 446 of them completely recovered. Gerson’s diet became popular therapy with Sauerbruch’s backing. Currant advocates of the diet claim that many Swiss tuberculosis sanatoriums closed because of Gerson’s discovery and are now ski resorts, including the ones at Davos, Switzerland and Gstaad, Switzerland.
His career in Europe included supervising tuberculosis sanatoriums in Bielefeld, Berlin, Kassel, and Munich, Germany; Vienna, Austria; Ville d’Avray (near Paris), France. He published medical journals and lectured at universities and to medical society audiences. Despite all this, his peers weren’t convinced of his success. They declared that he had faked x-rays, treated patients who never had tuberculosis and engaged in other unethical activity.
Gerson stated he had treated a woman in 1928 after she had requested his help. She had incurable bile duct cancer and according to Gerson, recovered as well as two of her friends who also had cancer. He postulated that artificial fertilizer and pesticides were stimulating an epidemic of degenerative diseases. He began to advise the government of the region on agricultural practices. He claimed he was on the verge of presenting the results of his study when he was forced to leave in 1933, because he was a Jew. The Nazis had risen to power and were arresting Jews. He fled with his family to Vienna, then to Ville d”Avray and then to London. He finally settled in New York City in 1936. He was granted a license there to practice medicine. His father, mother and seven brothers remained in Germany and perished in concentration camps.
In 1945, Gerson published a preliminary report of his results in treating cancer in the Review of Gastroenterology . Senator Claude Pepper (D-FL) summoned Gerson in 1946 to testify about cancer therapy before a Congressional Subcommittee. The subcommittee was to appropriate $100 million for cancer research and Gerson was expected to play a major role. Gerson presented the cases of five terminal cancer patients and they testified they had been healed. He received little media coverage and the appropriations bill died in the Senate. Later, Dr. Gerson lost his hospital privileges and malpractice insurance, receiving a two-year suspension from the New York County Medical Society, because he advertised his “secret” treatment on a radio talk show.
In 1958, Dr. Gerson published a book titled A Cancer Therapy: Results of 50 Cases in which he claimed he had cured 50 terminal cancer patients. Proponents of the Gerson Therapy say the medical authorities conspired to keep him from publishing in any peer-reviewed literature in the United States.
On the Gerson Therapy the patient was required to eat a raw plant based diet and drink 8-ounces of fresh organic juice every hour while awake, or thirteen times a day. The diet prohibited drinking water and consuming berries and nuts. The use of aluminum dishes and utensils was also prohibited. Initially the patients were required to drink several glasses of raw calf liver extract daily, but later carrot juice was substituted when an outbreak of Campylobacter infection was linked to the liver extract.
Dietary supplements included vitamin C and iodine. Animal products, fats and oils weren’t allowed except for the raw calf liver extract and flaxseed oil, because they were considered toxic. Other toxic substances included alcohol, tobacco, salt, food additives, fluoride, pesticides and pharmaceuticals. All foods had to be organically grown and couldn’t be processed. Another part of the therapy was coffee and castor oil enemas. Some patients were given hydrogen peroxide orally and rectally and ozone was also given rectally. His therapy was said to reverse the ill effects of environmental toxins over the course of six to eighteen months by removing them and replacing excess salt in the body’s cells with potassium. It was said to boost the immune system and stimulate metabolism.
Gerson believed that insecticides, herbicides, fertilizers and other chemicals contaminate food by lowering its potassium content and increasing its sodium content. Food processing and cooking adds even more sodium. This changes the metabolism of the body’s cells leading to cancer. Or in other words the person has too much sodium which leads to the cancer.
Gerson believed the therapy to be effective in treating most chronic diseases- tuberculosis, most cancers, both osteo and rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and fibromyalgia. The fruit and vegetable part of the therapy is to correct the sodium imbalance. The coffee enemas are to relieve pain and eliminate liver toxins. Liver extract injections, pancreatic enzymes, and other supplements such as vitamin B12 and thyroid hormone are to stimulate metabolism. Laetrile,which is also called vitamin B17, may also be recommended. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables and limiting fat intake are part of a healthy eating habit, but as in everything they shouldn’t be taken to the extreme. You can get too much of anything, fresh fruits and vegetables offer
and some of the
is needed in the diet.
Few clinical studies of the Gerson Therapy have been published. It hasn’t been independently tested or no randomized studies have been conducted. The Food and Drug Administration of the United States hasn’t approved the Gerson Therapy and the treatment is illegal in the U.S. The American Cancer Society states there isn’t any reliable scientific evidence that the Therapy is effective in treating cancer. Its principles aren’t widely accepted by the medical community. The use of coffee enemas has contributed to the deaths of at least three people in the United States. Coffee enemas can cause colitis or, inflammation of the bowel, fluid and electrolyte imbalances, infections, dehydration, and in rare cases septicemia.
Gerson's claims of success attracted a few high-profile patients and alternative medicine practitioners. After his death in 1959, Gerson's daughter, Charlotte Gerson Straus, continued to promote the therapy and founded the Gerson Institute in 1977. The Gerson Institute does not own or operate any medical facilities. It refers patients to clinics that it licenses. Presently the only licensed clinic is located six miles south of Tijuana, Mexico on the old Ensanada Road. It is called the Hospital La Gloria and is one of six major alternative cancer clinics in the area.
The facilities are on several acres with lush vegetation and many palm trees. There is a two-story motel wing with spacious rooms, which overlook a patio and swimming pool. The motel can house up to 28 patients at once with the average being 15. Other buildings on the property include a treatment facility, lounge, and a combination dining room and lecture room. A small store sells literature and other products that relate to the Gerson Therapy. Clinic fees often are over $4,000 per week. Treatment can last from a few months to 10 years or more. For cancer patients, treatment is recommended for at least two years. The Gerson Institute also offers a home therapy package. There are about 60 employees who include physicians, nurses, maids, kitchen staff, chauffeurs for the patients and guards for the gates. About 600 patients are treated every year.
Mrs. Straus is president of the Institute and editor of its bimonthly newsletter. She keeps a busy lecture schedule, while traveling throughout the United States. She sponsors and speaks at alternative health care conventions, and appears on talk shows.
In 1948, Jay Kordich contracted bladder cancer at the age of twenty-five. He was a football star at the University of Southern California. Kordich traveled across the United States to New York City to be treated by Dr. Gerson, who prescribed to him an all-juice diet. The result was that Jay’s life took a drastic turn for the better within only three months.
In 1989, Kordich started his national television career, making appearances with his juicer. By the end of 1990, Jay Kordich and juicing were widely known. His infomercials aired for over thirteen years and he used the Juiceman name for his own line of juicers. The Juiceman line of juicers is now being distributed by Salton Inc. and is no longer endorsed by Jay Kordich. Kordich announced that he would soon be endorsing a new juicer called The Juice Daddy extractor.
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