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Is there Convincing Evidence behind the Budwig and Gerson Cancer Cure Claims?

In a post debunking the supposed cancer cure-all “Matthew 4 Protocol”, more than one person has left a comment singing the praises of two other protocols: the “Budwig protocol” and “Gerson therapy,” both proclaimed to rid the body of cancer. “Anna” writes:

“Gerson therapy and Budwig protocol check out Tamara St John’s testimony, she too had endstage breast cancer/ believing Gods word for you concerning healing.”

“DG” chimes in:

“Budwig and Gerson diets may also help according to numerous cancer winners.”

I don’t doubt that these people are meaning to be helpful, and they’re surely not alone. Charlotte Gerson, for one, sells a book titled “The Gerson Therapy: The Proven Nutritional Program for Cancer and Other Illnesses.” Bill Bodri includes the Budwig protocol as one of his “Super Cancer Fighters: Proven Natural Remedies” in the book he sells online.

What’s all the hub-bub about? What are the Gerson and Budwig “cancer cures”? Is there really convincing evidence behind them?

Fortunately, the National Cancer Institute maintains an exhaustive information pages regarding “Gerson therapy”, and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center keeps a thorough watch on the “Budwig protocol.” Here’s what they are, and here’s the systematic evidence regarding their effectiveness:

“Gerson therapy” involves drinking 13 glasses of juice a day and taking multivitamins and a cocktail of other supplements like flaxseed oil. Then there are the coffee enemas. There have been no clinical trials to document the effectiveness of “Gerson therapy.”

The “Budwig protocol” is a diet plan involving flaxseed oil and cottage cheese plus, yes, coffee enemas. You know what I’m going to say: there have been no clinical trials that document the effectiveness of the “Budwig protocol.”

On the other hand, there are documented cases of people being killed by coffee enemas.

From a scientific point of view, there is no convincing evidence that “Gerson therapy” or the “Budwig protocol” do anything to stop cancer. If you believe that scientific evidence through clinical trials provides “convincing evidence,” this should pretty much answer your question.

If, on the other hand, you prioritize stories about someone’s uncle’s mother shared by people you don’t know on the internet, you might decide that Gerson-Budwig-Coffee-Cottage-Cheese therapies are really “convincing evidence” after all.

The popularity of the Gerson-Budwig coffee-enema treatments, even though there is no scientific proof they do anything to help with cancer, is a testament to the power of rumor over systematic observation in our culture. It’s understandable that such rumors can be fueled by desperation and a need for hope, but false hopes are perhaps more cruel than no information at all.

24 thoughts on “Is there Convincing Evidence behind the Budwig and Gerson Cancer Cure Claims?”

  1. Korky Day says:

    Most people believe they are eating a moderate diet. Which means they have a moderate risk of getting cancer and other degenerative diseases. Which means that many of them will get them.

    If they wanted to reduce that risk, they’d eat a radical diet, not a moderate diet. By radical, I don’t mean all brown rice and almonds. I mean as healthy as you can imagine: no infant formula in their lives, no poisons (such as the coal tar dyes that most people eat), no added sweetening, no white flour, no white rice, little if any organic meat, a wide range of organic whole foods, etc. Common sense is radical. Most people have common sense. They know how to eat, but they are weak-willed.

  2. Tom says:

    Korky: have you ever heard of Fukushima? Well, it’s spewing cancer causing radiation (and has been for the past 3 years) into the atmosphere and Pacific Ocean, and it travels all over the world on air-currents and through the sea. In fact, a little checking shows that atomic waste has been dumped into the seas as long as we’ve had nuclear capabilities. A single microscopic particle finding its way into the food chain directly (via fish, kelp, sea weed), or through the soil it lands on (after washing out of the atmosphere via rain or snow and then being taken up by any food crop plants), or being breathed in will cause cancer. There’s no safe dose and its the accumulation throughout ones life that increases the risk. Chernobyl was bad enough, but this meltdown is orders of magnitude worse.

    Common sense would have been to never build even one nuclear power plant. Now we have over 400 (and counting). It takes decades to decommission them and there’s no safe place to put the toxic waste that stays radioactive for thousands of years.

    1. Korky Day says:

      Yes, ‘Tom’, people are also too weak-willed to vote Green Party in order to stop nuclear.

    2. DKantz says:

      1) Fukishima is long-term devastated; even so, short-term, we may need more nuclear plants (see 4)*{8} below). If only there were impartial assessments of impacts on sea life as food.
      2) Chernobyl, Fukishima, WIPP, etc. … wake-up calls to exactly what? Maybe to creating impartial assessments that now elude us? … Extend the record of Citizens Deliberative Councils (Citizens Conferences, Citizens Juries, etc.). ; to impartially weigh alternatives and submit findings to The People.
      3) Nuclear’s potential promise (1957) for electric generation was helped by the Price-Anderson Act (catastrophic nuke accidents U.S. taxpayers’ liability ). Still, disposal problems remain unsolved, costs of nuclear mining and plant operations are exorbitant, etc. Yet Price-Anderson has routinely been renewed.
      4) Atmospheric CO2 likely to double (compared with before Industrial Revolution). To avoid even more, accomplish AT LEAST 8 from T.Friedman’s MENU (per Hot, Flat and Crowded 2.0, 2008, pg. 252): •{1} Dbl fuel efficiency of 2 billion cars; 30 MPG to 60 MPG •{2} Drive 2 billion cars only 5,000 miles/yr rather than 10,000 •{3) Raise efficiency at 1,600 coal-fired plants from 40 to 60% •{4}Replace 1,400 large coal-fired plants with natural-gas facilities •{5} Install carbon capture and sequestration (below ground) at 800 coal-fired plants •{6} Install carbon capture and sequestration at new coal plants producing hydrogen for 1.5 billion vehicles. •{7} Install carbon capture and sequestration at 180 coal gasification plants. •{8} Dbl current global nuclear capacity to replace coal-based electricity. •{9} Increase wind power 40 fold to displace all coal-fired power. •{10} Increase solar power 700 fold to displace all coal-fired power. •{11} Increase wind power 80 fold to make hydrogen for clean cars. •{12} Drive 2 billion cars on ethanol using 1/6th of the world’s cropland to grow the needed corn. •{13} Halt all cutting and burning of forests. •{14} Adopt conservation tillage worldwide (emits much less CO2 from the lands) in all agriculture. •{15} Cut electricity use in homes, offices and stores by 25%.

  3. Tom says:

    Korky: in fact, now we have problems here in the U.S. too

    WIPP update – 03/25/2014

    Radiation Expert: 5 types of plutonium were released from WIPP

    •Officials not informing public

    •Caldicott: “I predict that facility will never be able to be used again”

    •Inhaling a millionth of a gram of plutonium will induce lung cancer

  4. Tom says:

    Voting is what got us INTO this mess! It’s all rigged! Just look at Obama – who we all thought was the second coming of JFK – he turned out to be WORSE THAN BUSH (who was beyond belief at the time).

  5. Tom says:

    Public Service Announcement: Mass Surveillance Is ALWAYS About Crushing Dissent

    500 Years of History – and 40 Years of Warnings by Top U.S. Officials – Confirms that Government Spying On One’s Own People Is Always About Grabbing Power and Stifling Criticism

    Given all of the hooey coming from the spymasters and their shills in the mainstream press, here’s a very brief reminder of what mass spying is really about: [the following are all links]

    ◾500 Years of History Shows that Mass Spying Is Always Aimed at Crushing Dissent
    ◾High-Level US Government Officials Have Warned for 40 Years that Mass Surveillance Would Lead to Tyranny in America
    ◾In 1972, the CIA Director Relabelled “Dissidents” As “Terrorists” So He Could Continue Spying On Them … And Nothing Has Changed
    ◾“These Programs Were Never About Terrorism: They’re About Economic Spying, Social Control, and Diplomatic Manipulation. They’re About Power”
    ◾2 former presidents, a vice president and a judge all warn that NSA spying is tyrannical

  6. Tom says:

    Hey look Jim – we have a nuclear energy proponent! I wonder which lobbying group he works for?

    DKrantz, we’ve already seen what the “nuclear promise” has brought us with Chernobyl and now Fukushima. These plants are not built with materials able to handle the corrosive effects of radiation, they have many problems operating throughout their lifetimes (stuck valves, leaking pipes, cooling problems with warmer outside water and also life-forms clogging intake tubes, and others involving workers and the too-cozy relationship with ‘regulators’), most of them are built on earthquake fault lines (problems waiting to happen), they all routinely vent radiation to the atmosphere as part of their daily operation, are used beyond their design lifetime, and there’s still no safe place for the waste.

    The problem is we’re not going to be able to even decommission these plants, which take decades to accomplish, due to peak oil and the fact that our environment is degraded beyond repair now. We’ve built these death-spewing machines and now we can’t turn them off. In addition, we could look at individual plants like Hanford, San Onofre, Indian Point and many others and expose even more troubles.

    Here’s Helen Caldicott from 2005:

    Nuclear Power is the Problem, Not a Solution


    There is a huge propaganda push by the nuclear industry to justify nuclear power as a panacea for the reduction of global-warming gases.

    In fact Leslie Kemeny on these pages two weeks ago (HES, March 30) suggested that courses on nuclear science and engineering be included in tertiary level institutions in Australia.

    I agree. But I would suggest that all the relevant facts be taught to students. Mandatory courses in medical schools should embrace the short and long-term biological, genetic and medical dangers associated with the nuclear fuel cycle. Business students should examine the true costs associated with the production of nuclear power. Engineering students should become familiar with the profound problems associated with the storage of long-lived radioactive waste, the human fallibilities that have created the most serious nuclear accidents in history and the ongoing history of near-misses and near-meltdowns in the industry.

    At present there are 442 nuclear reactors in operation around the world. If, as the nuclear industry suggests, nuclear power were to replace fossil fuels on a large scale, it would be necessary to build 2000 large, 1000-megawatt reactors. Considering that no new nuclear plant has been ordered in the US since 1978, this proposal is less than practical. Furthermore, even if we decided today to replace all fossil-fuel-generated electricity with nuclear power, there would only be enough economically viable uranium to fuel the reactors for three to four years.

    The true economies of the nuclear industry are never fully accounted for. The cost of uranium enrichment is subsidised by the US government. The true cost of the industry’s liability in the case of an accident in the US is estimated to be $US560billion ($726billion), but the industry pays only $US9.1billion – 98per cent of the insurance liability is covered by the US federal government. The cost of decommissioning all the existing US nuclear reactors is estimated to be $US33billion. These costs – plus the enormous expense involved in the storage of radioactive waste for a quarter of a million years – are not now included in the economic assessments of nuclear electricity.

    It is said that nuclear power is emission-free. The truth is very different.

    [her conclusion to the well-written article]

    Because nuclear power leaves a toxic legacy to all future generations, because it produces global warming gases, because it is far more expensive than any other form of electricity generation, and because it can trigger proliferation of nuclear weapons, these topics need urgently to be introduced into the tertiary educational system of Australia, which is host to 30 per cent to 40 per cent of the world’s richest uranium.

  7. Tom says:

    Lastly, on nuclear power:

    Fukushima: MULTIPLE Pathways to Catastrophy ALL Active! Deagle/Harris 3/20/14 (20 min. video)

  8. MIkeP says:

    What specific study exists to show that the Budwig protocol has been tested? Who did the test? What were the results?

    1. Jim Cook says:

      Exactly the question to ask, Mike P. The answer, according to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, is NONE:

    2. Joseph Quilantang says:

      Would you do a double blind on a group of cancer patients knowing half of them will die? No results because it’s unethical. Survivors trump science. Truth is simple.

      1. Jim Cook says:

        Actually, double-blind studies are commonly carried out in cancer research.

  9. Cailyn Harley says:

    “It’s understandable that such rumors can be fueled by desperation and a need for hope, but false hopes are perhaps more cruel than no information at all.”

    This is true. It’s not that I’m taking any sides although I prefer Holistic Treatments, but everyone should know that not all claims of “alternative cure” is true. It is still important to research and consult what science and the evidence has to say. That’s why I disagree to call Holistic treatments a “miracle cure” because that’s just an exaggerated claim.

  10. Kathryn Hahn says:

    I am living proof of the Gerson Therapy healing pancreatic cancer. I know hundreds of people having cured or are curing from terrible diagnosis’ of cancer, all holistically. The fact that you and the National Cancer Institute don’t want to believe it is 1. for them it would cost them billions of dollars and lots of jobs if they believed anything natural worked. And second, you keep saying there is no scientific evidence. There is TONS of evidence and TONS of documents but if it is going to cost the cancer industry money they don’t want to read it. AND so goes the same reason, they won’t do their own study on this subject. Or if someone does do it, it will be sabotaged and thwarted. God provided all that we need to heal and He made our bodies to heal themselves when given the right fuel.

    1. J Clifford says:

      No individual is living proof of the medical efficacy of any therapy. That’s not a reasonable standard of proof.

    2. Jim Cook says:

      Show me the rigorous evidence, Ms. Hahn. Show the documents that conclusively demonstrate the truth. Anecdotes and stories told by people don’t count, because anecdotes and stories aren’t proof. Show me the definitive tests that control for other factors and demonstrate that the “Gerson Therapy” — coffee enemas, juice and frills — cures pancreatic cancer.

      You say there’s TONS of evidence and documents. So come on — show them to me.

      I’d also like you to provide the list containing the HUNDREDS of people you say you know who “have cured or are curing from terrible diagnosis of cancer” by using the Gerson therapy. Name their cancers, list whether they’re “cured” or “are curing” from cancer, and provide a link to evidence demonstrating that the Gerson therapy is the reason for the cure.

      Show me the evidence and documents. You say they exist. Show me. Post a link to the proof right here. I promise I’ll read the posts you link to providing that they contain rigorous tests empirically demonstrating the curative powers of the Gerson therapy.

      Here’s your chance, Ms. Hahn. I’m ready to read your proof. Go for it.

      P.S. I suspect you might link to studies like this — — which are not blinded, controlled trials. In this study there is no variation in treatment — everyone got it — and so there is no demonstration of the unique effectiveness of the Gerson therapy, as opposed to selection by researchers, self-selection by subjects, or other factors. When I say I want “rigorous tests” I mean I want blinded, controlled trials, because that’s the standard of proof. Hildenbrand’s speculative work doesn’t qualify.

      1. Jim Cook says:

        Still ready to read your TONS of evidence if you’re willing to provide it, Ms. Hahn.

        1. Jim Cook says:

          … and notice that we haven’t seen Ms. Hahn’s “evidence.” I don’t think we will see it.

      2. Thomas Wiegmann says:

        Right, right, right!!! As German physician (Internal ad General Medicine), I can confirm the lies organized medicine spreads about any nutritional therapy, including Budwig-, Gerson-protocol, M.O. Bruker, J.G. Schnitzer, Bircher-Benner, Kollath, G. Schatalowa (Russia)” There are studies, studies, studies! IT’S A LIE TO CLAIM THAT “THERE ARE NO STUDIES!” THERE ARE NO STUDIES WHICH PROVE THAT NUTRITIONAL THERAPIES ARE INEFFECTIVE! Experience proves: they’re working! The medical associations and chambers claim that they won’t work – without any studies! “THERE ARE NO STUDIES!” How to prove that nutritional therapies won’t work – without studies! RIDICULOUS! Classical own gear! Start with Francis A. Pottenger’s cat studies!'s%20Cats%20book%20review.pdf The pharmaceutical industry commented Pottenger’s cat studies:”Animal studies can’t be interpreted for humans!” RIDICULOUS! Billions of innocent animals sacrificed for the pharmacological and cosmetic industry, and “Animal studies don’t work for humans!” Not only ridiculous, but stupid! :-)

        1. Jim Cook says:

          All-caps shouting doesn’t make you right. All but one of those links is to something other than an actual study. The one study you link to is neither double-blinded nor controlled. It is a publication in an “alternative health journal” that simply describes some cases retrospectively without any comparison group.

  11. Chris Wiseman says:

    To Jim Cook if you are still reading here. The Budwig protocol obviously must work! Why, because if you understood the common denominator conditions whereupon all cancers thrive, which is low oxygen and high sugar levels for fuel! Having studied for long enough I also know that the cottage cheese/flax oil mixture at the core of such a regime along with strict avoidance of certain other foods (all of which are obvious) will raise the oxygen level, lower intake of sugars and with the additional aim of raising the blood alkalinity a smidgeon above neutral completes the truly viable scenario to destroy cancer altogether without leaving a trace in many a case. You can check these issues just about everywhere in the medicinal and scientific world at large. Clearly you refuse to look which is precisely just how easy it is to see how such basic sense can be lost. It is also a solid fact that current treatments such as chemotherapy is proven to kill the vast majority of cancer sufferers. That fact too was recognised during the first decade of its implementation. Finally, it IS true that no official establishment has actually LOOKED at this to see for themselves. Frankly I personally don’t care the reason for that, but anyone would be hard pressed to call this ‘absense’ of research an accident over the last fifty years or more and further that if there was an overnight cure for cancer, it would effectively destroy the biggest and wealthiest industry on this planet. Pharmecutical! For me, if contracting cancer and based on my studies would indeed use conventional welfare for diagnosis and prognosis because it does have the best method in this area but never the treatment because I do have sufficient knowledge so don’t keep prodding Ms Hahn just because you are in denial yourself.

    1. Jim Cook says:

      So the entire medical establishment is engaged in a grand conspiracy against cottage cheese. Right.

      Come back when you have a controlled double-blinded experiment demonstrating the efficacy of this. Until then, all you have is words and curds.

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