Contraindications and Cautions for the Gerson Therapy

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While the Gerson Therapy is effective in treating a surprisingly wide range of chronic and degenerative diseases, there are limitations to what types of conditions the therapy can effectively treat.

There are a number of conditions the Gerson Therapy cannot treat, or that require significant modifications to the standard protocol. We strongly recommend all patients work under the guidance of a Certified Gerson Practitioner who will provide a personalized protocol and ongoing case management. For a list of certified Gerson practitioners, click here.

Furthermore, there are other conditions that certified Gerson practitioners and the licensed Gerson clinics simply have not had adequate experience treating, particularly rare diseases and diseases of a genetic origin. These conditions may present unique challenges and it is unlikely that there would be reversal or complete recovery from using the Gerson Therapy as a stand-alone treatment.

Please read the information below to learn more about common contraindications and cautions for some health conditions.


Diseases that Do Not Respond Well to the Gerson Therapy

The following is a list of conditions that the Gerson practitioners have not seen positive responses by applying the Gerson Therapy alone. We encourage patients with the following illnesses to consider partnering with a naturopathic doctor to discuss other natural treatment options. You can search for one in your area at: www.findanaturopath.com.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Parkinson’s Disease
Neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) and Parkinson's disease, if diagnosed at an advanced stage, will already have extensive damage to the nervous system. While the detoxification and nourishment provided by the Gerson Therapy can certainly be helpful, clinical experience has not shown that the therapy makes significant improvements with this disease. However, applying a Gerson foundation along with other alternative approaches, such as IV glutathione and other antioxidants, may be a good combination.
Arthritis or Lupus (SLE) after long-term steroid or chemotherapy use
Arthritis and lupus are conditions that respond exceptionally well to the Gerson Therapy, except in those cases where steroid medications, such as prednisone have been in used in excess of one year or in the event the patient has been previously treated with chemotherapy. In both cases, patients have a higher toxic load in their bodies making the Gerson Therapy difficult to apply.
Additionally, the kidneys could have been affected by the disease, making detoxification even more difficult for the therapy to succeed. The kidneys need to be able to cope with the amount of juices and the high potassium/low sodium diet, but if they are weakened, they may not be able to withstand such a treatment.
Patients in early stages of these conditions could potentially benefit from the Gerson Therapy. However, since healing reactions could be severe, it is highly encouraged that a patient works under the supervision of a Certified Gerson Practitioner.
Brain tumors or metastasis to the brain
Primary brain tumors and metastasis to the brain are very difficult to treat with the Gerson Therapy. One of the ways the Gerson Therapy works is to cause a healing inflammation at the site of a tumor, at the site of an old injury, or where there is scar tissue from previous surgery. Whether the tumor started in the brain or spread to the brain from another site, there can still be an inflammatory response at the site of the malignancy. This inflammation and swelling is due to reactivation of the immune system and is a desirable action, in most cases. However, inflammation poses a serious problem when it happens in the brain. Swelling in the brain or within the skull can cause seizures, blackouts and other adverse reactions, depending upon what area of the brain is affected. In certain areas, the swelling or resulting seizures could be life threatening.
Therefore, we do not advise anyone with brain cancer to do more than a very reduced version of the Gerson therapy, while being closely monitored by a Certified Gerson Practitioner. This reduced therapy would provide nutritional support, but would not be sufficient treatment. We do not expect a reduced protocol to reverse the condition and other treatment methods should be sought. For more information about this, please click here.
Multiple myeloma
Multiple myeloma is a malignancy of plasma cells, which are white blood cells that make antibodies. These cells invade and destroy adjacent bone tissue. Multiple myeloma produces non-solid tumors, and is somewhat similar to leukemia.
The Gerson Therapy has encountered challenges in dealing with multiple myeloma, especially since discontinuing the use of raw liver juice. A patient may initially reap some benefit from the nutrition and detoxification the treatment provides, but we have not seen sustained benefit. So, the Gerson Therapy may not be advisable as a sole treatment.
If someone decides to pursue the Gerson Therapy, they may be advised by a Certified Gerson Practitioner to integrate certain conventional therapies such as bisphosphonates, a line of prescriptions drugs that help to slow down bone breakdown as well as other alternative therapies.
Muscular Dystrophy
Only a few patients were treated using Gerson Therapy for Muscular Dystrophy. Therefore we have little experience, and are uncertain if this condition responds well. Unfortunately, even though some extension of life may be possible, a recovery using the Gerson Therapy is unlikely. The Gerson Therapy works slowly, and the deterioration of muscles make it difficult to meet the labor-intensive demands of the therapy.
Pancreatic cancer after receiving chemotherapy
For a patient diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and who was pre-treated with chemotherapy, the damage to the pancreas normally causes decreased digestive ability which affects the capabilities of a diet based treatment, such as the Gerson Therapy. However, an experienced Certified Gerson Practitioner may offer nutritional guidance to improve overall well-being.
While it may be possible to adapt some portions of the Gerson Therapy for overall health enhancement or use a very reduced protocol with caution; however, this may or may not provide sufficient therapeutic benefit.The Gerson Therapy would not be recommended as the primary treatment option for these conditions, and it would not be expected to reverse the disease.
We strongly recommend all patients work under the guidance of a Certified Gerson Practitioner, however patients with this condition require modification to their protocol and will be unable to begin the Gerson Therapy without medical guidance. For a list of Certified Gerson Practitioners, click here.

Conditions for which Gerson Therapy is NOT Recommended

The Gerson Therapy is contraindicated for patients who are diagnosed with the conditions below and should not be applied.

Allogeneic stem cell transplant recipient
When a person has had an allogeneic transplantation (also called Allo transplant), the transplant is from another person's stem cells. The patient receives modulation of the immunosuppressive regimen so that the patient does not suffer graft vs. host disease (GVHD) in which it sees the stem cells as a threat. This patient should not do the Gerson therapy. In these cases, we recommend nutritional support guided by a naturopathic doctor who may suggest other treatments.
Greater than 30 inches of the colon removed
The colon plays a major role in the administration of coffee enemas, which are required in order to implement the Gerson Therapy. When more than half of the colon is removed, there is not sufficient colon to hold the enema. Since the effects of coffee enemas cannot be omitted or replaced, the Gerson Therapy will not be suitable. In these cases, we recommend nutritional support guided by a naturopathic doctor who may suggest other treatments.
Ileostomy
When a patient has an ileostomy, they no longer have access to the large intestine and coffee enemas can no longer be taken. Patients with an ileostomy can’t do the Gerson Therapy due to this inability to take coffee enemas. In these cases, we recommend nutritional support guided by a naturopathic doctor who may suggest other treatments.
Kidney failure or on dialysis
The foundation of the Gerson Therapy is a potassium rich diet and detoxification. The organs necessary for detoxification are the kidneys and liver. Because the therapy propels more detoxification than usual, a patient must have healthy kidneys to use the Gerson Therapy.
The kidneys must have at least 15-20% of their normal function for a patient to be considered by a Certified Gerson Practitioner. They need the capacity to cope with the numerous juices and high potassium/low sodium diet. When the patient experiences kidney failure or is on dialysis, the kidneys are functioning at less than 15%. In these cases, we recommend nutritional support guided by a naturopathic doctor who may suggest other treatments.
More than 75% of stomach removed
Under these circumstances, it will be difficult to administer the Gerson Therapy because the patient will be unable to consume the large amount of fresh produce and number of juices necessary to induce healing. In these cases, we recommend nutritional support guided by a naturopathic doctor who may suggest other treatments.
Organ transplant
As the Gerson Therapy rebuilds the immune system, the body will identify foreign objects, including transplanted organs, and often causes a reaction leading the body to reject the transplanted organ. This rejection could be harmful or even life threatening especially if it affects a major organ. Furthermore, patients with organ transplants often require a number of immunosuppressant medications, which oppose the immune-strengthening by the Gerson Therapy. In these cases, we recommend nutritional support guided by a naturopathic doctor who may suggest other treatments.
Those referred to hospice
When a patient has been referred to hospice or is already in hospice, this indicates that the disease is far advanced. Only palliative care might be provided by a Certified Gerson Practitioner through basic nutritional support.

Conditions for which Gerson Therapy is NOT Recommended Unless Completely Resolved

The Gerson Therapy works slowly and a patient may not have the time required without medical intervention if the disease is progressing quickly. In some cases, it may be best to stabilize the condition with medical intervention in order to allow more time to restore the patient’s capacity to respond to the therapy. However, in certain cases, once these conditions get resolved, the Gerson Therapy may become a treatment option. But in most cases, other treatment options should be considered.

For patients with the following conditions, we recommend support guided by a naturopathic doctor who may suggest other natural treatments to help resolve these issues.

Acute bleeding
Most acute bleeding needs to be resolved for a patient to apply the Gerson Therapy. This is especially so if bleeding is present in any part of the gastrointestinal tract – stress ulcers, peptic ulcers or colorectal tumors – the bleeding needs to be under control before starting the Gerson Therapy. Internal bleeding such as this causes aspects of the Gerson Therapy, such as coffee enemas, to be contraindicated and therefore severely restricts its application.
Bedridden or paraplegic or non-ambulatory
In this state, the patient is often in a severely weakened condition and the Gerson Therapy would prove difficult to apply. Numerous coffee enemas as well as intense detoxification not only would require the support of a loved one, but may be more than a patient could handle in this state.
Blood clots
Thrombophlebitis and deep vein thrombosis (DVT) can occur in any cancer patient, especially in pancreatic, urogenital and lung cancer cases. A blood clot poses great risk of becoming dislodged during the therapy and there are aspects, such as some juices and foods, which increase blood clotting factors in the body. If the clot were to dislodge, it could then travel to the heart, lungs or brain causing severe harm or even death to a patient. If there is a blood clot somewhere in the body, this needs to be resolved before considering the Gerson Therapy as a treatment option.
Intestinal or bowel obstruction
If there is an obstruction in any part of the gastrointestinal tract, this needs to be addressed with your doctor before considering the Gerson Therapy as the treatment of choice. Because the Gerson Therapy depends upon a strong nutritional foundation, it cannot be applied if a patient is unable to eliminate properly due to an obstruction. The application of this therapy without resolving such an issue could exaggerate the problem.
Pericardial effusion (fluid around the heart)
Fluid build-up around an organ can become aggravated and present a dangerous situation due to the high-volume of fluids from the Gerson Therapy juices, soups and fresh produce. If this situation is not resolved, the Gerson Therapy is contraindicated and other forms of treatments should be considered.
Recurrent pleural effusion (fluid around the lungs)
Fluid build-up around an organ can become aggravated and present a dangerous situation due to the high-volume of fluids from the Gerson Therapy juices, soups and fresh produce. The large volume of liquids required on the Gerson Therapy can aggravate the condition, causing a patient’s condition to worsen. If the patient is able to eat, drink and sleep, certain aspects of the therapy might be administered through close monitoring of the patient by a Certified Gerson Practitioner. However, If the fluid around the lungs returns quickly, the Gerson Therapy should not be applied as a stand-alone treatment.
Unable to eat, drink or on a feeding tube
Being a nutrition-based treatment, the Gerson Therapy requires that the patient is able to eat, drink and eliminate normally. When any of these functions is not possible or compromised, the amount of therapy that could be administered would not be enough to significantly impact or reverse the disease.

Conditions for which Gerson Therapy Requires Modification by a Certified Gerson Practitioner

For patients with the following conditions, it may be possible to adapt some portions of the Gerson Therapy for overall health enhancement or use a very reduced protocol with caution; however, this may or may not provide sufficient therapeutic benefit.The Gerson Therapy would not be recommended as the primary treatment option for these conditions, and it would not be expected to reverse the disease.

We strongly recommend all patients work under the guidance of a Certified Gerson Practitioner, however patients with the following conditions require modification to their protocol and will be unable to begin the Gerson Therapy without medical guidance. For a list of Certified Gerson Practitioners, click here.

Pancreatic cancer after receiving chemotherapy
For a patient diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and who was pre-treated with chemotherapy, the damage to the pancreas normally causes decreased digestive ability which affects the capabilities of a diet based treatment, such as the Gerson Therapy. However, an experienced Certified Gerson Practitioner may offer nutritional guidance to improve overall well-being.
While it may be possible to adapt some portions of the Gerson Therapy for overall health enhancement or use a very reduced protocol with caution; however, this may or may not provide sufficient therapeutic benefit.The Gerson Therapy would not be recommended as the primary treatment option for these conditions, and it would not be expected to reverse the disease.
We strongly recommend all patients work under the guidance of a Certified Gerson Practitioner, however patients with this condition require modification to their protocol and will be unable to begin the Gerson Therapy without medical guidance. For a list of Certified Gerson Practitioners, click here.
Acute leukemia
Patients suffering from acute leukemia often have a short amount of time to treat their illness because it usually is aggressive. Because of the rapid progression of this illness, the Gerson Therapy may not have enough time to heal the body. Additionally, leukemias often affect immune function and this may prohibit the body from responding well to a treatment dependent on the immune system to heal the body.
Ascites, recurrent and advanced (fluid in abdomen)
Fluid build-up around an organ can become aggravated and present a dangerous situation due to the high-volume of fluids from the Gerson Therapy juices, soups and fresh produce. The presence of fluid buildup in the abdominal area often indicates that the case is far advanced. Due to the amount of fluids involved in the Gerson Therapy, it needs to be administered very carefully to see if the ascites decreases. Sometimes the use of conventional treatments are required to drain the ascites.
Autologous stem cell transplant
In autologous transplant, the patients get their own stem cells to treat the cancer. Because of the chemotherapy often used during this procedure, the Gerson Therapy would need to be greatly reduced. This in turn could lessen the chances of activating a healing response. It may be possible for someone to start a very modified version of the therapy under the supervision of a Certified Gerson Practitioner.
Bone marrow transplant
Before a transplant, surgery is performed to remove stem cells from the bone marrow. In the next step the patient is given a conditioning treatment to kill cancer cells in their body and suppress their immune system. This may include large amounts of chemotherapy and sometimes radiation. Following this, the doctors infuse or inject the healthy stem cells into the body to renew and repair tissue.
Because of the large amounts of chemotherapy and the immune suppression drugs used, the Gerson Therapy would need to be greatly reduced. This in turn would lessen the chances of activating a healing response. It may be possible for someone to start a very modified version of the therapy under the supervision of a Certified Gerson Practitioner.
Chronic kidney disease
The foundation of the Gerson Therapy is a potassium rich diet and detoxification. The organs necessary for detoxification are the kidneys and liver. Because the therapy propels more detoxification than usual, a patient must have healthy kidneys to use the Gerson Therapy.
The kidneys must have at least 15-20% of their normal function for a patient to be considered by a Certified Gerson Practitioner. They need the capacity to cope with the numerous juices and high potassium/low sodium diet. If the kidneys have less than 15-20% of their normal function, the Gerson Therapy will not be a good option for the patient.
Diabetes type I or II
The Gerson Therapy will not impact type I diabetes unless there is little damage to the pancreatic cells. It is also possible that the amount of insulin could be reduced if the- patient is able to tolerate the high carbohydrate diet involved in the Gerson Therapy. We recommend seeking further treatments. In terms of type II diabetes, there are a number of cases where this condition has been dramatically improved and in some cases overcome.
Heart disease
Patients with a heart condition need to be monitored closely to avoid any irregularities or undesirable symptoms. Their medical history along with their condition need to be evaluated by a Certified Gerson Practitioner to determine if the Gerson Therapy is a good option for them. If so, the Gerson Therapy would require some modifications in terms of supplements –particularly potassium, thyroid and fluid intake.
  • Atherosclerosis & Atrial Fibrillation - These conditions require modifications to the therapy guided by a Certified Gerson Practitioner.
  • Cardio-Respiratory Insufficiency - The Gerson Therapy can’t be applied since the patient won’t be able to tolerate the high amount of fluid intake or supplements that are required.
  • Congestive Heart Failure - The heart is in a weak state for patients suffering this condition and the Gerson Therapy could be a problem because it could stress or over stimulate the heart.
  • High Blood Pressure - Patients with this condition often respond exceptionally well to the Gerson Therapy. However, if the condition is severe, the Gerson Therapy might not be the best treatment to begin with.
Please also read “Heart stent, heart valve replacement or pacemaker” below.
Heart stent, heart valve replacement or pacemaker
In the presence of a heart stent, a heart valve replacement or a pacemaker, the Gerson Therapy has the potential to stimulate a healing inflammation at the site of this foreign body. This could cause a cardiac emergency and be very dangerous to the patient putting their life at risk. Furthermore, certain elements of the Gerson Therapy – particularly the potassium solution, thyroid medication, CoQ10 supplements, as well as caffeine in coffee enemas – could be problematic for heart conditions. However, it may be possible to follow a very reduced protocol at home under the guidance of a Certified Gerson Practitioner. Due to the limitations, we do not recommend relying upon the Gerson Therapy as a stand alone treatment.
If the patient is taking many prescription medications
Because the Gerson Therapy can affect how medications work in the body and how it responds, a patient taking prescription medications, especially a vast number of them, needs guidance from a Certified Gerson Practitioner. The practitioner will need to determine if any of the medications would cause complications when applying the treatment or if the medications could be affected by aspects of the therapy thus causing an undesirable outcome.

 

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