Gerson Therapy & Sodium Bicarbonate

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Sodium is an essential nutrient required by the body for maintaining levels of fluids and for providing channels for nerve signaling. Some sodium is needed in your body to regulate fluids and blood pressure, and to keep muscles and nerves running smoothly.

Without appropriate amounts of sodium, your body may have a difficult time cooling down after intense exercise or activity. When the body is hot, you sweat. If you do not have enough sodium, your body may not sweat as much and you may then become overheated. This could then result in a stroke, exhaustion and dehydration.

Sodium is an energy carrier. It is also responsible for sending messages from the brain to muscles through the nervous system so that muscles move on command. When you want to move your arm or contract any muscle in your body, your brain sends a message to a sodium molecule that passes it to a potassium molecule and then back to a sodium molecule etc., etc., until it gets to its final destination and the muscle contracts. This is known as the sodium-potassium ion exchange. Therefore, without sodium, you would never be able to move any part of your body.

Excess sodium (such as that obtained from dietary sources) is excreted in the urine.[1] Most of the sodium in the body (about 85%) is found in blood and lymph fluid. Sodium levels in the body are partly controlled by a hormone called aldosterone, which is made by the adrenal glands. Aldosterone levels determine whether the kidneys hold sodium in the body or pass it into the urine.

Thus I was very disappointed to hear Dr. Max Gerson’s daughter Charlotte Gerson saying, “That sodium is never good, never in any form!” I really have put Gerson in the best light in my writings and his organization does hold the high ground for organic raw juicing but there are some things they say that have no grounding in medical science or clinical reality. Talk to Dr. David Brownstein and he will tell you that often the first thing a patient needs is water and salt but its real salt not table salt he is talking about and prescribing for his patients.

An essential component of Gerson’s cancer therapy is the use of a low Na, high K diet. Dr. Freeman Cope wrote, “The high potassium, low sodium diet of the Gerson therapy has been observed experimentally to cure many cases of advanced cancer in man, but the reason was not clear. Recent studies from the laboratory of Ling indicate that high potassium, low sodium environments can partially return damaged cell proteins to their normal undamaged configuration. Therefore, the damage in other tissues, induced by toxins and breakdown products from cancer, is probably partly repaired by the Gerson therapy through this mechanism.”

“The Gerson cancer therapy is an integrated set of medical treatments which has cured many cases of advanced cancer in man. It was developed empirically by Gerson in the course of 30 years of clinical experimentation. Essentially, he tried many variations and combinations of treatments on cancer patients, always retaining that which was successful and discarding that which was not. Gradually he evolved an integrated pattern of treatment which cured many cases of advanced cancer, 50 of which are described in clinical detail in his book,” continues Dr. Freeman Cope.

This is all correct but does not help a person much from one day to the next, not to mention from one minute to the next, which emergency room and intensive care doctors have to deal with. Also it is obvious from the Gerson diet that it is not all sodium but high amounts of sodium that are frowned upon by Gerson as low amounts of sodium  come naturally from just about any kind of diet even that of raw foods. I think Charlotte got a little ahead of herself saying no sodium in any form because fruits and vegetables have sodium. If we took her literally we would have to exclude fruits and vegetables but that is obviously not what she meant.

Using sodium bicarbonate to brush ones teeth or use it as an emergency room medicine or as a quick and very inexpensive cancer treatment with the power to affect the body’s alkalinity in the same positive direction in days that it would take weeks and months to get to with raw foods is simply good medicine. And it does not send up sodium or blood pressure levels because it is not the type of sodium (sodium chloride) that we have to be careful about. Refined table salt is harmful in high amounts and should be replaced with unrefined Real Salt, Celtic Salt or Himalayan salt.

I like the work of Dr. Max Gerson but I find it more useful in principle than in practice. It is quite elitist in that it demands finances for two years of sustained full time therapy consuming almost all of one’s time and energy, when you think of the five enemas and 13 juices you need to make yourself each day. There is expensive equipment and special training and is quite restrictive in almost every sense. Obviously it is not for everyone.

In the week or two it takes to set everything up for starting the Gerson program one can already have changed their pH significantly with baking soda. Adding in the power of magnesium, iodine and selenium and even some cannabinoid medicine is not a central part of the Gerson protocol but it is with Natural Allopathic Medicine. I imagine poor Charlotte would get stroke if someone suggested drinking pure seawater as a medicine.

There are more than several options in this area of restrictive diet and I have written extensively about it in my book Winning the War on Cancer. Fruit and even water fasting is appropriate, even if it’s for one day! Fasting is an important subject as is the full hydration that one needs to quickly get to by either flooding oneself with water or certain juices starting from day one.

In reality each person needs to choose their own dietary path but it is important to know and understand what we are entering into when we take a person’s body onto the ropes of detoxification—healing crisis—and serious reformation of the body through radical but necessary dietary change.

Gerson Therapy also holds tightly to the axiom that excess protein in the diet is carcinogenic but this proved to be wrong. Many naturopaths and medical researchers found out with spirulina, one of the world’s highest protein foods that it is not just the protein but the type of protein or quality of protein that makes all the difference. In the case of spirulina, its 71% protein concentration consisting of simple amino acids that do not have to be broken down like beef and dairy protein does. Spirulina aids in reducing cachexia of cancer, is plant protein thus not in conflict with Gerson style practice but not principle.

Dear Dr. Sircus,

In the case of salt, in my studies on cancer I had interviewed Gerson patients that had experienced very good results on their therapy, and also read Max’s book, etc.  However, I noted that Charlotte only claims about 35% cure rates (recently) and I felt even though the cases were mostly extreme, the results could be a lot better.  So I personally eliminated all salt from my already very clean, raw diet, and watched carefully.  After a number of weeks my conclusion was that it caused a loss of energy and a possible loss of optimum water weight in the body, which I think could lead to other detrimental effects, as the right amount of water is needed for just about all functions.  As soon as I added back the salt (Himalayan) the energy immediately returned, along with the water weight up to what seemed optimum.  Endurance also improved back to normal.

- Richard Sacks

According to Dr. Rudolf Breuss, solid foods are what nourish cancer cells. He concluded that if a person with cancer lives on juice and tea for a period of time, the cancer growth will die, but the person will be able to live. Dr. Servan-Schreiber tells us that in rodents, severe caloric restriction has been shown to slow the progression of some cancers.

The dangers of restrictive diets should be managed with great care.- Dr. Servan-Schreiber

One can go with lemon juice and spirulina and imitate much of the Gerson dynamic and of course at super low cost with almost no effort though even that kind of approach can seem like a suggestion to go to mars for a meat and potato man.  Vegetables, legumes and fruits are good sources of protein. Generally, legumes have higher content of protein than vegetables and fruits. The advantage of plant protein sources over animal protein is that plant protein sources are lower in fat content and high in dietary fiber. Gerson of course was very strict about these things. Forbidden Gerson diet foods: no fats, no seeds, no nuts, no spirulina chlorella, no butter, only oil is flax seed oil, no coffee drinking!

With what we know now about selenium (and nuts high in selenium that can be used as medicine) no naturalist would want to deny a patient the selenium they need for any reason especially if they have cancer. The two best forms of selenium for oral consumption might violate someone’s fixed ideas because one is in yeast form the other in the form of a Brasil nut that contains almost 100 micrograms of this most valuable mineral for cancer treatment.

What the Gerson Institute recommends is not practical for the vast majority of people and certain illnesses. It does not work for good doctors who want to deliver results in a shorter time span than the two years the Gerson people insist on to totally heal on their protocol.

Thanks for your article Baking Soda Cancer and the Last Laugh, I work as a healer in Montreal, I have had great success using sodium bicarbonate in people diagnosed with cancer and many other ailments. I use raw garlic, pollen, unprocessed sea salt and of course baking soda and I see people’s conditions turn around right away (although the ones that have been poisoned by chemo and radiation are much more difficult). For diet I usually stick with fruits, berries and leafy greens, fasting, usually the patients decide what they want to eat depending on what their heart tells them.

The Bottom Line

The point is in helping people’s conditions turn around rapidly and completely, and that is what most people are looking for in cancer or in any kind of treatment. No one approach works perfectly for everybody. Even with the Gerson Therapy we see in their videos a woman cured one cancer, then cured another cancer, and then cured a third cancer. Sometimes not even the purest approach covers all the bases because sometimes the problem is not the poisons in our body but the poisons (conflicts) in our minds and hearts.

No matter what exact approach in terms of diet and nutrition one takes, the Gerson, Budwig or some other low-sugar anti-cancer diet, the fundamentals are essentially the same. The Gerson Institute has some good videos to key you into the importance of sticking to the program and what it means over the long haul to continue to restrict one’s diet to what is really healthy and life-serving.

What is missing from the Gerson approach is flexibility and the use of highly concentrated nutritional substances like magnesium chloride, iodine, selenium and sodium bicarbonate in high dosages that might yield more rapid results for late stage cancer patients. It is true that low sodium intake is desired but sodium levels are not raised significantly by the short-term use of sodium bicarbonate nebulized into the lungs, taken orally, intravenously and in baths full of baking soda and magnesium salts. Sodium bicarbonate can be problematic in some sodium sensitive people however and blood pressure and possibly sodium blood levels should be monitored during treatment and elevations reported to your health care provider.

All I have to say here Dr. is that baking soda saved my life! Anyone who doubts me should see me now! I had pancreatic cancer and was given 6-8 months to live with no hope… today I am pain free, and living a healthy lifestyle to keep it that way. Mrs. Gerson is wrong… dead wrong!!!! Plus, before I went on the protocol, my BP was 246/116. Today it was 114/68, and I haven’t taken any BP medication for 5 months! All I did was follow Vern Johnston’s protocol to a T, along with the alkaline diet and breathing.

- Kathie Walker

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Comments:

  • andrew

    Excellent article, thank you for taking the time to write this. Please investigate matcha green tea as a cancer treatment as has noticeable shrunk my tumors. It contains magnesium and I believe it is alkalizing as well. All the best.

  • Trina

    My father has just met someone who has told him to go on a diet consisting of barley or brown rice, bicarbonate soda (alkaline powder) and honey for 33 days. After this time he has to then eat a diet consisting only of vegetables (no spices) for 1 year in order to cure his stage 4 bowel cancer (diagnosed almost 5 years ago). I am concerned as I have not been able to find any information on this type of diet on the internet and was wondering if anyone has heard of anything similar and also if there are any dangers associated with only eating barley/rice for this length of time.

  • Iris Blue

    I have been doing the Gerson Therapy for almost a year now. The theory (I found clinical studies vindicating this) is that you need to eat a high potassium diet to get a transference between sodium and K in the cells so that K is much higher in the cell and NA is higher in the fluid outside the cells. It has been shown in studies that this kills cancer cells.
    Bicarbonate of soda would be very bad, because it is high sodium.
    I have had almst no salt for about 14 months now, and have no problem. I have a Gerson partitioner and have lab tests every 6 weeks. The program is not that expensive. $350 every 6 weeks and lots of greens, carrots, potatoes, oatmeal. I use an omega juicer– $259, instead of the expensive Norwalk.
    I have been researching all the reasons behind Dr Gersons protocol, and it is totally based on science, even though some things seem strange, like coffee enemas (which have been shown by studies that coffee enemas are a great liver and body detoxifier).
    I personally think high sodium is a big mistake, but, hey, I might be wrong.

  • concerned88

    Dear Claudia,
    thank you for your response. I will check it out on the website. Yes, actually we were using cellfood-concentrate at the same time as bakingsoda protocol to also get minerals and nutrients, (still using cellfood) and also we used fresh carrot-juice with red beetjuice and also manuka honey+cinnamon (Ceylon cinnamon) for 6 weeks and manuka honey+ginger/turmeric (still using). After the baking soda protocol, we switched to using barley grass powder (we used only one alkaline protocol at a time) but small doses.
    Also, we use a little hemp seed oil (cold pressed from healthshop) and some hemp seed shells for omega acids balance although hemp seed oil I just found out also stimulated catabolic metabolism (as does flax seed oil). Therfore perhaps we are thinking to supplement an increase of omega 3 with krill oil (although hemp seed oil have so many other good nuitirients). Finally we use about 4 Himalayan bitter apricot kernels per day and also include fresh squeezed lemon juice in the drinking water during the day and drink plenty of fluids. We use no refined salts, just Himalayan pink salt, no red meats, no dairy products (oat milk instead).

    Yes, as you mentioned, there was a weeks round of radiation therapy that was given as an emergency treatment to reduce swelling. This can cause I guess a temporary catabolic metabolic state. In addition there are statins used (simvastatin) and one possible side effect of that medication is also a breaking down of muscle tissue leading to a more catabolic metabolism. Also some weak anticoagulants (not warfarin, but fragmin) and trombyl are used as he is leg paralyzed. Urgh, all these medications unfortunately make it more complicated.

    Anyhow, the appetite is not always low, it varies from day to day alot of what is tasty and not influences in combination with the mood of the day. So, in between side effects of radiation, medication, depression and cancer, it is very difficult to deduce if the weight loss/muscle loss comes just from the cancer or not. The good thing is though that appetite gets better and better and he recently started asking for specific foods that he would like to eat.

    Thanks for the tip on Rejuvenate, will check it out now.

    All the very best wishes to you and to all on this forum
    -Concerned88

  • concerned88

    I think the baking soda idea sounds great and we have been trying it out (waiting for results of bone scan), However, one thing that I am alarmed about is that there may be cachexia involved in our case. Given such a state, I read and got the comment on another site that alkalizing in a state of cachexia is dangerous?? and also, that using barley grass powder for nutrients could also enhance a catabolic state. This is all very confusing. Is it dangerous to alkalize when one has cachexia? Also, would barley grass be a bad choice when experiencing cachexia. Also, we are thinking to use d-ribose to get ATP to the cells. But is there to your knowledge then a risk that the d-ribose as it is a sugar also feeds the cancer, or maybe it behaves different than other sugars?

    • http://drsircus.com/ Claudia French

      Dear Concerned88,

      Dr. Sircus employs the superfood Rejuvenate for treatment of cancers, including those with Cachexia. You can put Rejuvenate into a search box on our site to learn more about it. I contains some of the things you are questioning but also provides the ATP needed by cells to heal. Of course a balance is needed in all things and so it might be to your advantage to contact Dr. Sircus in a consultation to discuss further what your needs are and what other cancer treatments are being employed. Being alkaline is no help if the proper minerals are not also present in the body. All foods are broken down into some form of sugar which our brain needs for energy….that is a fact, and while certain sugars may be better than others we need to understand the other things such as drugs, radiation etc. that may affect this and affects the chachexia. There are many other things on Dr. Sircus’ protocol that may help in your situation.
      See : http://drsircus.com/consultations/

      for your options.

      Claudia French
      IMVA

  • http://www.facebook.com/alton.obriant Alton O’Briant

    I have been attempting to apply the principles of the Gerson diet in Korea ( a difficult venue to be sure) and frankly the no-salt/low-salt aspect of it has been liberating for me. I almost immediately lost many of my physical urges to eat things rich in sugar and salt after a few days. Now my results may not be achievable by everyone but they were extremely liberating for me. Since then I have lost 38 kilos, gained incredible improvements in my skin and blood work, and have decided to stop doing conventional therapy since this therapy has been working well for me.I do have issues with the enemas that I have not been able to work out yet, and have not been able to apply the supplements, but I support the therapy. It is very restrictive and challenging and not for everyone.

  • Living Soil Herbal-Farmacy

    Our bodies can hold to much sodium in the tissues, one way to test if this is so use 16 oz of distilled water and add 1 tablespoon of Potassium Gluconate twice within 10 minutes. If you begin to urinate or have a watery stool. That is the body releasing the excess sodium from our tissues. Best to do this once a month. We must have the proper balance of the electrolytes – this is one of the reasons the Gerson therapy is cautious of to much sodium

    • http://drsircus.com/ Claudia French

      Thanks for this information and where do we get potassium gluconate? Will this relieve edema in the body?

      • Living Soil Herbal-Farmacy

        Hi Claudia, I have found most natural health stores not not carry this vital Potassium. You can check to find out from your local area, if not my webstore does carry this at http://www.livingsoilherbalfarmacy.blogspot.com located at the right side where you see the Potassium listed. Hope this helps. Troy

      • Living Soil Herbal-Farmacy

        Hi Claudia, As to edema – it would have to be determined what would be causing the condition. From poisonous conditions from drugs, high metabolic acid conditions or are the kidneys from the lack mainly of magnesium or other mineral deficiencies. So potassium would only account for some relief depending on many factors. Hope this helps

  • Karrie Grant

    Cancer is a deadly disease that needs to be stopped from taking innocent lives. A disease that pays no respect to AGE nor FINANCIAL STATUS should not be allowed to reign instead it should be fight and eradicated.

    After the introduction of chemotherapy and radiotherapy the war against this deadly disease started but the probability that this war can be won using the methods above is not hundred percent certain.

    I was once a prisoner of cancer who used the methods above to begin the fight for my freedom which i got for sometime until the cancer returned with great determination to take my life and i was also determined not to allow it to take my life so i decided to sort for other solutions.

    I met with my doctor who told me about cannabis oil and she also told me about a friend of her’s who treats patients with it, she gave me his Email address( contacthospital_eastern.george@yahoo.com )and asked me to contact him. I contacted him and met him in person, i told him about my situation and asked him what i needed to do.

    He advised me, told me the quantity of oil i needed and how to use it. I followed his instructions and now i have finally gained my freedom.

    • Raul

      I heard a lot of very similar stories. Rick Simpson style Cannabis Oil is the closest thing we have to a silver bullet for curing cancer.

  • William

    You recommend Celtic salt or Himalayan salt. I use RealSalt brand and find it works very well. How do you feel about it.

    • http://drsircus.com/ Claudia French

      William,

      Redmond Real Salt is great and we do recommend it. I personally use it!
      Redmond Real Salt Pouch GRD (26z )

  • http://www.facebook.com/jefflswanson Jeff Swanson

    Would you recommend Ener G brand baking soda which uses calcium and magnesium bicarbonate instead of sodium?

    • http://drsircus.com/ Claudia French

      Dear Jeff,

      In looking at this product it has an extremely high amount of calcium and contains magnesium carbonate (not magnesium bicarbonate) but no sodium or potassium. It might be helpful if you are on dialysis and sodium sensitive with blood pressure problems but the research we have seen has lead us to believe that it is sodium bicarbonate that has an effect on kidney failure and does not elevate blood pressure when taken in the recommended amounts. A lot of dialysis patients use baking soda to help control acidity with no problem.
      This product looks to be used mostly in cooking and baking and is expensive and double the amount is needed over sodium bicarbonate, so not sure this would be as economical. But for cooking and baking it should be fine.
      Thanks for letting us know about this product and we’ll keep a watch for more research on this.
      Sincerely,
      Claudia French
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      Jeff Swanson
      Would you recommend Ener G brand baking soda which uses calcium and magnesium bicarbonate instead of sodium?
      2:50 p.m., Sunday March 24

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  • tammy

    Please don’t feel like you have to knock the Gerson therapy to give us more options. I think your options seem wonderful. However, I cured my stage 4 ovarian cancer with Gerson and spending the time was nothing compared to my life. Some people simply don’t want to put that time into their life, but it worked for me.

  • Mark Sircus

    I attempted the Gerson diet last March 2011 and did not use salt. I
    became so salt deprived I was admitted to the hospital and almost died going
    into a seizure without enough sodium in me. Thankfully the doctors were able to
    tell that my sodium levels were so low – I was given sodium intravenously and
    lived. This article should be read by anyone attempting the Gerson diet.

    Rosalinda Szliuga

  • Nic108

    Macrobiotics has long taught that vegetarians need more high quality salt than meat eaters. I agree with Dr. Sircus

  • peggyn

    i have to agree with you on this. in theory the gerson therapy might be good but i have never been drawn to it on a practical level. i am much more a ‘salt of the earth’ person. : )

  • http://www.facebook.com/miriam.v.mcdonald Miriam Vik McDonald

    Appropriately challenging. I think that treatments that can be done by lay people, in their own homes is what we need!. I am not saying Gerson’s is not helpful, just that it relies on medical intervention. Your advice in you E book treatment essentials, equips people with the knowledge and gives then skills to treat themselves!..

    I love the magnesium and Bicarbonate of soda baths, they are both relaxing and rejuvenating