Nutrition and Cancer: Therapies Promoted as Treatments and Cures 

Summary: There are many controversial therapies that involve nutrition when it comes to cancer and medical illness. These therapies are the less-heard, less-followed, but most easily found with a google search. None of these therapies should be started without medical intervention. Always be sure to research and educate yourself on any therapy that does not have proven test studies and statistics, or those that are not backed by the major cancer organizations in the United States.  

When it comes to cancer, scientific evidence now supports that eating a mostly plant based lifestyle that includes proteins, whole grains, vegetables and fruits as a way to prevent or better facilitate treatment for cancer. There are also numerous alternative treatments and diets that are not supported by scientific research or studies. Some of these unapproved therapies include enemas, fasting, or special dietary supplements, meal replacements or unnaturally large doses of understudies or unknown herbal remedies. At this moment in time, there is no evidence that a diet alone can treat or cure cancer (ACS). Relying on a food-based cure method only will likely not end well, and postponing cancer treatment can be deadly.

The information in this article is an outline of certain therapies that people turn to in this situation. You can find more information about these therapies and possible cures by visiting the American Cancer Society website. We do not recommend replacing your cancer treatment or medical care with the information within. Use this information to help to empower yourself with education about your condition and options. 

Livingston-Wheeler Therapy is an alternative cancer method including vaccines, antibiotics, vitamin and mineral supplements, digestive enzymes, cleansing enemas, a vegetarian diet, and support group therapy. The clinic that began offering this therapy has since closed downhowever there are still specialists that practice this around the United States. This therapy claims that, by using biotherapy and immunotherapy, a person’s body can better fight off cancer cells. There is no direct evidence to support this claim. The few studies that have been done also do not support this claim, nor do other methods first created by Dr. Livingston-Wheeler. The safety of this treatment has never been evaluated. Those experiencing this treatment have reported body aches, slight fever, and tenderness with any injections.

Metabolic Therapy Regimens are a type of therapy treatment that use a combination of special diets, digestive enzymes, digestive supplements, and other measures used to remove toxins from the body, and strengthening the body’s defense against disease. This therapy is based on the theory that toxic substances from our environment, foods, and chemicals build up in our bodies creating many of the worst diseases, including cancer. These therapies vary a great deal from specialist to specialist, but most all utilize diets that focus on whole foods, clean eating, and fresh foods and vegetables. 

Gerson therapy is a form of alternative therapy which uses coffee enemas, dietary supplements, and a special diet that claims to cleanse the body, boost the immune system, and increase metabolism. Practitioners of this therapy believe that fertilizers, chemicals and toxins from farming and agriculture causes diseases in the body. This therapy requires a strict no-salt, low-fat, vegetarian diet drinking the juice from twenty-pounds of fruits and vegetables each week. This diet is used to correct an imbalance between the sodium and potassium in the body, which is said to rid the body of cancer cells. 

Kelley’s Treatment and the Gonzalez Regimen are both metabolic therapies that use a combination of special diets and nutritional supplements to attempt to remove toxins from the body. Kelley’s treatment involves taking up to one-hundred-fifty supplements per day, with large dose of vitamins, minerals and amino acids, with fasting, exercising, using coffee enemas and laxatives, and praying. The Gonzalez method is similar but includes extracts and concentrates from animal organs such as the thymus and liver, and digestive enzymes. This method was developed by a physician in New York, Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez, for the purpose of treating advanced cancer.  

While there is a general consensus that metabolism variations do cause variations with how cancer grows and can be treated, these studies do have aspects that are considered dangerous and should be cautioned. There have been noted complications with the treatment with cells from animal organs, as well as off complications from drugs and supplements used during the therapy. Reports of illness and death have been reported. Those with autoimmune issues or serious gastrointestinal issues should not utilize this therapy. 

Vegetarian diets consist of mainly or entirely plant-based foods. These can come from vegetables, legumes, grains, and fruits. There are many different types of vegetarian diets, with varying levels of food availability. Some are: 

  • vegan- no animal products, like dairy or eggs 
  • lacto-ovo- includes dairy and eggs 
  • lacto– includes dairy, but no eggs 
  • pesca-includes fish, sometimes shellfish 
  • fruitarian- raw fruits and raw vegetables only. This diet is extremely limited on nutrients. 

These diets have reasonable statistics and studies showing that eating this way does help and benefit the body, as long as your medical care team can monitor your nutrient and mineral levels to make sure you are at a proper homeostasis. 

The Macrobiotic diet is largely vegetarian and consists of whole grains, cereal and cooked vegetables. People using this therapy are advised not to use microwaves or electricity in food preparation, and this diet does not use supplements. There are no published studies or evidence to prove or disprove this therapy, thusly proving that this is not a valid cure method. There have been complications from this therapy however, including deficiency and malnutrition. Check in with your doctor before beginning this therapy if it is of interest to you.

Fasting and juicing are methods of dieting and getting nutrients that have been used for years. Many people do this just because consuming smoothies and juice is easier than sitting down to eat a meal. Fasting is believed to be an effective way to enable and assist the body to rid itself of toxins and allowing a break on digestion and improving gut health. When fasting occurs, water and fat are lost, but the toxins actually remain. Fasting has proven to reduce inflammation, but long-term fasting depletes the immune system and can result in a dangerous ketosis. For people with cancer, fasting can pose a great risk. No evidence supports fasting to benefit a cancer patient. 

 
Juicing therapy encourages people to get nourishment from juiced fruits and vegetables. The health benefits of juicing are well documented, but this therapy is not always recommended to cancer patients. They are welcomed to juice alongside their treatment plan, and while eating a normal, healthy diet. There are no real downfalls to juicing as long as it is paired with a healthy diet. 

If you are interested in any of these unconfirmed and unstudied therapies listed, please check in with your medical care team before starting to ensure that you are not hindering or interfering with your cancer or medical treatments.   

  
Resources Used:
Reclaiming Intimacy
ACS
NIH 

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