The Rising Toll: U.S. Death Rates Increase

Cancer research is progressing, medical technology is constantly improving, and new knowledge about disease is being produced each day. As the world of healthcare continues to revolutionize, it seems that average life expectancy should increase at the same rate. However, this is not the case. According to recent reports, the U.S. death rate rose 1.2% from 2014 to 2015. This may seem like a small number at first, but broken down, this means 86,212 more U.S. citizens died in 2015 than in 2014—a statistic that is much more difficult to grapple with. Just as well, it is important to note that out of all U.S. citizens, the newest generations have the lowest life expectancy. So why is it that the U.S., a global leader who has seen success in so many other areas, is now ranked 49th out of 52 industrialized countries for life expectancy?

The following is a list of the top 10 causes of death in the U.S:

1. Heart disease

2. Cancer

3. Chronic lower respiratory disease

4. Accidents (unintentional injuries)

5. Stroke

6. Alzheimer's disease

7. Diabetes

8. Influenza and pneumonia

9. Kidney disease

10. Suicide

The rates for most of these causes of death have increased in the past two years. Making matters worse, these rising rates are accompanied by rising healthcare costs, which only add to the stress of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. So the question presents itself—is the U.S. healthcare system to blame for these increasing death rates, or are there other factors we’re missing?

In a study conducted by, it is hypothesized that the U.S. healthcare system is indeed to blame for our nation’s deteriorating health. This is primarily due to the fact that, as health spending rises, so does the number of people without health insurance. Just as well, increased health spending diverts federal money from public health, education, public safety, and community development programs—all important aspects of a country’s survival rates. The researchers in this study suggest that, in order to both save money and save lives, meaningful healthcare reform is necessary.

However, regardless the state of the U.S. healthcare system, there are still many ways we can take our health outcomes into our own hands. One such example is the prevention of obesity. Of all high income countries, the U.S. has the highest obesity rates, with over one third of the population being obese. What’s worse, this rate is projected to rise to 50% by 2030. Since obesity is a leading predictor of deadly diseases such as cancer and heart disease, it is imperative to take preventative measures such as daily exercise and healthy eating. It is especially important to instill healthy habits in young children, as changing health patterns throughout generations is the only way to efficiently resolve our nation’s health.

Another rising cause of death in the U.S. is suicide. Every year, 30,000 people die of suicide in the U.S. out of 650,000 attempts—outnumbering the number of yearly homicides 3 to 2. The highest predictors of suicide are depression and alcoholism. Suicide rates are also commonly correlated with social, political, cultural and economic forces. With this in mind, it is important to note that the best way to prevent suicide is social support. In other words, those who have close relationships are less likely to succumb to stresses like job loss, illness, or bereavement. If you or someone you know seems to be isolating themselves or acting strangely, do not hesitate to ask for or offer help.

As the rates for causes of death such as suicide and obesity continue to rise in the U.S., it is now more important than ever to learn more about how to avoid these risks. Even if the modern healthcare system is to blame, it is still up to U.S. citizens as individuals to take responsibility for their health and well-being. If we take the initiative to learn more about the diseases that are killing us at a quickening rate, we will have the ability to stop them in their tracks. The greatest form of disease prevention is knowledge, so do not hesitate to become the catalyst that sparks your individual journey to healthy living. 

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Yes, You Can Predict the Future

I’m excited to inform you all that I’ve recently formed a relationship with the Cleveland Heart Lab—a branch of the renowned academic hospital, the Cleveland Clinic, located in Cleveland, Ohio. 

Cleveland Heart Lab specializes in predicting inflammatory issues, diabetes, and other things that can impact the quality of your life. In particular, it offers many different tests that are used across North America, Europe, and Asia in the management and prevention of heart disease—the number one killer of men and women in the US. A recent study published in the Journal of Medical Economics predicts that Cleveland Heart Lab’s inflammation testing could reduce the average heart attack and stroke rate by 10% over the coming years. That translates to about $187 million dollars saved and thousands of healthier, happier people. 

Cleveland Heart Lab can predict the future of your health by measuring the level of inflammation in your body, an often over-looked indicator of health problems either now or to come. People with higher levels of inflammation are more likely to suffer from heart attack, stroke, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and hypertension, amongst other things. 

What sorts of life choices might cause the body to become inflamed? Namely, poor diet. Certain foods are naturally pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory, which means that what you choose to eat can have a serious impact on your inflammation responses. Eating sugary, processed foods and trans fat, which tend to be found in fried foods, snack foods, industrial seed oils and baked goods, is one of the best ways to put your body on track to chronic inflammation.

When you eat inflammatory foods like the ones mentioned above, chemicals called “cytokines” are released into the blood and tissues. Cytokines are known to be destructive to our normal cells and, if the inflammation is chronic, they often wear down tissues and lead to further systemic inflammation. The result? Cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s, to name a few. Even if you manage to evade the worst outcome, studies have shown that inflammation of internal organs also leads to mental and emotional imbalances, digestive disorders, skin problems, and more.

This brings me back to the Cleveland Heart Lab. If you want to know the future of your health as it stands with your current lifestyle, consider getting one of the many tests offered by the Lab. Here is a quick summary of some of the tests available and how they can help you:

  1. C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) test: often used in combination with a lipid profile to evaluate an individual’s risk of cardiovascular disease. CRP is a protein found in the blood that increases with inflammation. The hs-CRP test is used to detect low but persistent levels of C-reactive protein in the blood, thereby indicating low levels of inflammation that could result in heart disease given enough time. The consensus within the medical community is that this test can be used to target people who have a moderate risk of heart attack over the next ten years. Very high levels of hs-CRP, especially in combination with high levels of LpPLA2 (an enzyme that produces inflammation in the artery walls) can be used to predict an adverse cardiac even within the next one to six months.
  2. TMAO test: another incredibly powerful way of predicting heart attack and stroke risk in individuals who seem otherwise healthy. This test measures the level of trimethylamine-N-oxide in the blood, a compound produced by the liver.
  3. Adiponectin test: targets individuals at risk of metabolic syndrome and diabetes due to poor life choices. People with low adiponectin levels have a 3X greater risk of developing metabolic syndrome and a 9X increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  4. Fibrinogen test: Fibrinogen is a protein essential for blood clot formation. Low levels of fibrinogen can indicate a bleeding disorder or disseminated intravascular coagulation. 
  5. Vitamin D test: Vitamin D deficiencies are known to lead to a host of health problems including osteoporosis, some forms of cancer, stroke, heart disease, arthritis, and more—even in people who seem perfectly healthy. 
  6. Hemoglobin A1C test: used to monitor the glucose control of diabetics, helping to prevent the health complications that can come from long-term high glucose levels. This test can also be used to diagnose diabetes and pre-diabetes in individuals with or without symptoms.
  7. Homocysteine test: helps target individuals at high risk of myocardial infarction or stroke or individuals with a family history of coronary artery disease. A homocysteine test can also reveal Vitamin B12 or folic acid deficiencies. 

Finding out this information now can help you pursue the most promising and tailored path of preventative care—before it’s too late. Yet, your doctor is likely not going to recommend any of these tests to you. While conventional medicine often focuses on the treatment of present illness, Cleveland Heart Lab saves lives every day by revealing prophecies of ill health before they become a reality. With this information so readily available, patients can make informed decisions about how to ensure disease prevention based on their personal situation and disease risk. The Lab offers many more tests than the ones mentioned here for people at all different places in their health. Chances are there is at least one test that can help illuminate the future wellbeing of you and almost anyone else.

The effects of inflammation on your body may not always be obvious—but that means you have even better reason to seek professional help to predict the future of your health. It is crucial that you monitor low, but persistent levels of inflammation on your body now before the effects start to appear. To find out more about the services offered by Cleveland Heart Lab, please contact Gary Merel at or call 734-222-8210.

When Cancer Hits Home: Finding a Path When None Exists

Many of the people who are close to me, including my friends and many of my patients, know that my wife, Mariah, is being treated for a fairly aggressive form of breast cancer. In addition, my older sister Sharon passed away last fall (2015) from a long-term battle with leukemia. As you can imagine, cancer hitting this close to home has been a lot for me to take in. Like many others, I find myself challenged to understand the indiscriminate nature of this terrible illness. My healing and dealing (or coping) process is to kind of “put it all out there;” to share the gist of what I am feeling, share my life and explore what works and what doesn’t. I want us all to learn together; to let go of the “right and wrong,” black-and-white illusion of the decisions and judgments we have to make.

I want to make this the first article in a series about my experience with cancer. I want to open up about creating a support system for my wife and I want to share how my process of coping and self-discovery has evolved over time in this very stressful place. Most importantly, I want to create a space to explore, support and create a community where we can stumble together towards a deeper understanding of life and ourselves. 

The story begins 4 years ago, when Mariah was first diagnosed with Her 2 Positive breast cancer. She chose to treat what was then a fairly large tumor in her right beast with some aggressive holistic therapy. She decided on a month long program in a holistic cancer treatment center in Arizona called Sun Ridge Medical Center—a program that was not covered by insurance.

Forced to grapple with the cost of treatment, there was a second when my mind went through this futile process of trying to calculate just how much my wife’s life was worth. Of course I would have paid anything; I would have given anything in the world. But coming up with over $60,000 is not easy, especially when we had to borrow a good deal of it. 

At Sun Ridge Medical Center, Mariah received daily IV treatments of large doses of glutathione, vitamin C, and Ozone to name only a few types of infusions. From what we read about Sun Ridge and their success, we were to say, at the very least, quite optimistic. In those days, I was overwhelmed with anticipation for the future. I was certain these treatments would cure Mariah. In no time, she would be out of the “woods” and all this uncertain spending would come to an end.

Mariah returned after her 30-day stay with little to no improvement. One thing was certain: the tumor continued to grow.

From the moment Mariah was diagnosed, I felt a dire need to understand why this was happening to my family. Things like this usual happen to other people--not my wife; not us. I just wanted a path to follow; a neatly paved path that would lead us to a clear and concise understanding of what went wrong.

Mariah and I are fundamentally good people. We do not lie, cheat, steal or hurt anyone. I would say we are generally nice people who treat others with respect and kindness. We live a healthy life. We mediate. We exercise. We eat organically. We do all the things you’re supposed to in order to support your health and your body as a whole. But when Cancer struck home, I found the core of my beliefs challenged. At the time, it looked like the beliefs that saw me through most of my life were not really working so well.

My journey of continual understanding led me to one night. I came across a book by Pema Chodron called “When Life Falls Apart”. I found her to be real and grounded in the reality of what a person can go through when life turns to complete shit. That book held a deep resonance for me. It was almost as if Chodron was talking to me about me. 

Two things really stuck out to me from Chodron’s writings. First, she said to give up hope. Now, that doesn’t mean to be hopeless, mind you. She explains that hoping for something better in the future takes you out of the present moment. For her, and I think myself, the answers I am looking for need to be found here, now. Who knows what the future may bring? Maybe something good…but also maybe something not so good. Life, and especially my wife, is here now. That is where I want to be: with my wife in the present moment. 

The second piece of advice Chodron gave me is not to look to God for “The Answer”. She called it being a “non-theist.” She was not asking me to give up belief in God. I do believe in God, and I often pray. I think what she means, rather, is not to ask God for a certain outcome, or a certain event that might or might not happen. Looking to someone or something else all the time is another factor that can separate from you the present moment, or from the reality of you and your loved ones. 

Both giving up hope and not looking to God for an answer helped me find my way in the present moment and helped me to stop projecting all my energy into the future. These 2 simple practices tend to work for me in my darkest times. I welcome your thoughts, comments and suggestions on these coping mechanisms and your own experiences. This is only one man’s journey of trying to understand what often seems incomprehensible.



Why Go Paleo?

Need more reasons to go Paleo? Just look at the Tokelau, an indigenous population of the South Pacific. Tokelauans are characterized by two extraordinary things: 1) their reliance, for centuries, on a limited diet of coconut, seafood, wild fowl, and fruit and 2) remarkably low rates of heart disease, hypertension, obesity, and diabetes among the population.

In fact, as a general rule, the most common killers of modern times (cancer, heart disease, etc.) are absent or barely present in most indigenous peoples across the globe. What might account for the disparity in health between us and them? Well, we know that these people generally don't consume modern foods like wheat flower, industrial seed oils, and sugar. We also know that when these populations are introduced to the foods listed above, we see disease rates rise significantly within their communities.

To be sure, diet is not the only relevant factor when it comes to disease prevalence. But the fact remains: some of the healthiest people in the world tend to eat a nutrient-rich diet of grass-fed meat, seafood and starchy vegetables; otherwise known as the Paleo diet! To find out more about going Paleo, see this link.

Gary’s Story: Coping with the impossible. Cancer hitting home.

Many of the people that are close to me know that my wife Mariah is being treated for a fairly aggressive form of breast cancer. My older sister Sharon passed away last fall (2015) from a long term battle with leukemia, and overall it has been a lot for me to take in.

I am challenged to understand the indiscriminate nature of cancer. My healing and dealing (or coping) process is to share my story and kind of put it all out there. To share the grist of what I am feeling. Share my life. Explore what works and what doesn’t work. Learn together. Let go of the “right and wrong” of the decisions and judgments we have and make.

So, on National Women’s Day, I would like to start the first of a series dedicated to my wife and her strength. I want to share my journey of supporting my wife and my process of coping and self-discovery in this very stressful place. I want to create a space to explore, support and create a community where we can stumble together towards a deeper understanding of life and ourselves.

My hope is that many of you who have also been affected by cancer may engage in this conversation. Look out for some future posts, and please feel free to reach out to me at any point if you have stories to share.

The Unbiased Truth About Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners continue to be a controversial public health issue, and the research keeps coming. In fact, a new study on artificial sweeteners and weight loss was just published on Monday, and the FDA approved a new artificial sweetener (advantame) last Wednesday.

On one hand, many people are adamantly opposed to the use of artificial sweeteners because of the purported link with increased risk for cancer and other diseases. But on the other hand, artificial sweeteners are becoming increasingly popular as people try to reduce calorie consumption and lose weight.

There’s too much research out there to cover comprehensively in a blog article, but I’ll try to cover the basics: will artificial sweeteners give you cancer or other diseases? Do they actually help with weight loss, or do they hurt? And ultimately, should you be eating them?


Artificial sweeteners were first tied to cancer risk in the 1970’s after a study showed that a combination of saccharin and cyclamate (another early artificial sweetener) caused bladder cancer in lab rats. The mechanism behind these effects was later found to be specific to rats and not generalizable to other animals or humans (in these rats, comparable doses of vitamin C can also cause bladder cancer), and further studies demonstrated that neither sweetener is carcinogenic.

However, this study cast a shadow of doubt over artificial sweeteners, and thanks in part to the media’s penchant for blowing things way out of proportion, the reputation of artificial sweeteners has never recovered.

A later study suggested a link between aspartame consumption and brain tumors. The authors based this hypothesis on the fact that both brain cancer and aspartame consumption had increased since 1980 – despite not knowing whether the people getting brain tumors actually consumed artificial sweeteners – and on a rat study where aspartame supplemented diets led to the formation of brain tumors.

This association has been more or less dismissed by the research community because three case-control studies have found no association between brain tumors and aspartame consumption, and subsequent animal studies haven’t been able to replicate the aspartame-induced brain tumors found in the original rat study.

Artificial sweeteners have also been implicated in the development of lymphoma and leukemia, and one observational study found a weak link between artificial sweetener consumption and development of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and multiple myeloma in men, but not in women. The study authors concluded that due to the inconsistency in their results, there isn’t likely a causal link, although it can’t be ruled out.

Artificial sweeteners have also been tested for associations with other cancers, including breast, pancreatic, stomach, colon, and endometrium, with no correlations found. Based on the evidence, I don’t think artificial sweeteners are a huge risk factor for cancer, although the possibility can’t be ruled out and caution is warranted.

Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Metabolic Syndrome

Artificial sweeteners have also been increasingly tied to increased risk for developing metabolic syndrome and related diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Numerous observational studies have attempted to parse out a consistent association with disease risk, but for every study that has linked artificial sweetener consumption with metabolic syndrome, heart disease, or diabetes, there’s another that has found no association.

This inconsistency shouldn’t come as a surprise, given the inherent limitations of observational evidence, but because there’s little to no clinical evidence in humans to test these hypotheses, the effect of artificial sweeteners on risk for these diseases remains inconclusive.

Pre-term Delivery

There has been concern in recent years over a potential link between artificial sweetener consumption and pre-term delivery, prompted by two observational studies published in 2010 and 2012. These studies have significant limitations: the associations are small and not linearly dose-dependent; not all artificially-sweetened beverages were accounted for; and women who consume more artificially sweetened drinks also tend to smoke more, have higher BMI, and lower socioeconomic status. All told, the risk seems small, but I would advise pregnant women to avoid artificial sweeteners just to be on the safe side.

Weight Loss

For most people, the primary motivation for consuming artificial sweeteners is a desire to reduce calorie consumption and lose weight. But do artificial sweeteners actually help achieve that goal? Yet again, the evidence is mixed. Many observational studies have found a positive association between artificial sweetener intake and obesity, but in this situation, reverse-causality is particularly likely.

In other words, while it’s possible that artificial sweeteners contributed to weight gain in these studies, it’s also possible that people who are overweight are more likely to choose diet beverages and other artificially sweetened foods in an effort to lose weight. We also have a decent number of clinical trials testing the weight loss effects of artificial sweeteners in humans, although many are too short-term to have much practical significance.

In one study, overweight subjects were given supplements of either sucrose or artificial sweeteners for 10 weeks. At the end of the trial period, subjects in the artificial sweetener group on average had experienced a reduction in weight, fat mass, and blood pressure, while subjects in the sucrose group gained weight and had increased blood pressure.

A study just published this week on weight loss and artificial sweeteners was surprisingly positive: over a 12-week period, participants who were instructed to drink 24 ounces of artificially sweetened beverages every day actually lost more weight than participants who were instructed to drink 24 ounces of water daily. (It’s worth noting that this study was fully funded by The American Beverage Association.) Other trials have also shown successful calorie reduction and weight loss in participants who consumed artificial sweeteners (usually in the form of beverages).

Based on this evidence, it seems that artificial sweeteners can be helpful for weight loss in some circumstances, at least over the short term. However, due to the limited nature of these studies and the evidence I’ll present next, I hesitate to draw any conclusions.

Do Artificial Sweeteners ‘Confuse’ The Body?

For most of human history, sweeteners were inextricably tied to caloric density. If our sweet taste receptors evolved primarily to help us identify calorie-rich food sources, how will our bodies respond when our taste receptors are consistently bombarded with sweetness, but with no concomitant calorie surge?

Animal models certainly indicate that artificial sweeteners can impair the innate ability to regulate caloric intake. Rats who are fed with artificial sweeteners consistently gain more weight than rats who are fed with glucose or sucrose. Additionally, the rats don’t tend to lose the excess weight, even after their diets are switched back to glucose or sucrose to re-establish the calorie-predictive nature of sweet taste.

Interestingly, rats who were given stevia solutions gained significantly more weight than the glucose-fed rats, and similar amounts of weight to the saccharin-fed rats. Rats fed with artificial sweeteners also develop an impaired ability to respond to sugar-containing foods. In one study, rats who had been fed artificial sweeteners were unable to compensate for the calorie content of a sugar preload by eating less chow afterwards, while rats who had been fed sugar-containing food compensated almost perfectly for the extra calories in the preload by eating less chow.

Rats that have been conditioned with saccharin also display a reduced thermic effect in response to consumption of a caloric sugar-containing meal, as well as higher blood glucose, compared with rats who had been conditioned with glucose. Additionally, saccharin-fed rats secreted less GLP-1 (which is implicated in satiety and glucose homeostasis) when given a sugar-containing test meal.

Unfortunately, although the animal evidence is fairly robust, evidence in humans is limited. However, two interesting studies that used MRI to measure brain responses to sucrose solutions indicate that artificial sweeteners may alter the brain’s response to sweet tastes in humans. In one study, people who regularly consume artificially sweetened drinks had higher reward responses to both saccharin and sucrose compared with people who don’t consume artificial sweeteners.

Additionally, people who don’t consume artificial sweeteners had different brain responses to the saccharin and sucrose, while those who regularly consume artificial sweeteners responded the same to both sweeteners. Another study found that the amygdala’s response to sucrose consumption was inversely related to artificial sweetener use. (The amygdala is part of the brain that is involved with taste-nutrient conditioning.)

Should You Be Eating Artificial Sweeteners?

My conclusion might seem a little anticlimactic after all that information, but the point I’d like to drive home is that artificial sweeteners are extremely new to the human diet, and for modern, industrial foods, the operating principle should always be “guilty until proven innocent.” We’ve conducted what are essentially population-wide experiments with the introduction of other industrial foods (such as high omega-6 vegetable oils) because the initial evidence seemed promising, and we can see how well that worked out.

Despite some successful short-term weight loss studies, I don’t think the potential therapeutic effects of artificial sweeteners have been demonstrated clearly enough thus far to warrant widespread consumption, especially given the conflicting links with disease risk and the questionable influence on appetite regulation and weight control. Ultimately, while artificial sweeteners are perhaps not as scary as some might believe, I don’t recommend including them in your diet.

Please call 734-726-0153 to schedule a free consultation and evaluation. At Digestive Health Ann Arbor we are known for providing professional and compassionate care. We strive to guide people towards a comprehensive and holistic healing strategy. Restoring your body to health will restore the quality of your life.

The Dangers of Gluten

Modern medicine is preoccupied with cleaning up messes.

Once we have cancer, how can we cure it? Once we have high blood pressure, how can we reduce it? Doctors and medical scientists spend lifetimes isolating specific genes, mixing new molecular cocktails. The solution for the problem seems so...complicated. Einstein once said that “the fundamental ideas of science are essentially simple, and may, as a rule, be expressed in a language comprehensible to everyone.” This simplicity exists in all sectors of science, including the biochemical processes critical to human health. Instead of cleaning up messes, we can stop making them in the first place. Health can be more than just disease management. Sometimes it just takes a change in the conversation to learn to live truly well.
One of the biggest food allergy culprits is a protein found in most all baked goods - gluten. Gluten is what makes baked goods doughy and delicious, but our bodies have not evolved to eat as much gluten as we do today. The New England Journal of Medicine listed 55 “diseases” that can be caused by eating gluten, among them osteoporosis, irritable bowel disease, cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis. Gluten was also linked to many psychiatric disorders such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, dementia, epilepsy and autism.

Do you have a gluten allergy

Curing Power of Food: Holistic Cancer Therapy Diet

There is no one way to cure cancer. To face down one of our nation’s top killers, we need the support of an integrated, multidisciplinary team. The newest developments in medicine and the latest advances in thermogram, ultrasound and mammography technology are extremely useful. Supporting these efforts with a healthy immune system can make a world of difference.

The Gerson Therapy is applicable to most any chronic ailment. It's another example of the curing power of food, and the innate healing capabilities of our own cells. These days it is difficult to navigate grocery stores to build healthful dinner plates. Our lifestyles and food options are not always conducive to promoting vibrant, complete health. The Gerson Therapy is an extreme elimination diet, necessary for those who are very ill and in great need of detoxification, or an option for those who wish to live a very pure lifestyle in order to prevent the onset of disease. Wherever you are in your path of healing, we hope these stories inspire you to trust in the power of your own body.

At Digestive Health Ann Arbor we provide professional and compassionate care guiding people towards a comprehensive and holistic strategy of healing. Restoring your body to health will restore the quality of your life.

Call 734-222-8210 to schedule a free consultation and evaluation today.

Gerson Therapy Holistic Cancer Treatment

The Gerson Therapy

Dr. Max Gerson was lauded by Dr. Albert Schweitzer, a Nobel Laureate and a former sufferer of Type II diabetes who was cured by the Gerson Therapy, as “one of the most eminent geniuses in the history of medicine.” Dr. Gerson began what it is now known as the Gerson Therapy, a natural treatment for cancer, arthritis, heart disease, allergies, and other chronic ailments. The therapy stimulates the body's own ability to heal itself through

  1. an organic, vegetarian diet
  2. raw juices
  3. coffee enemas
  4. natural supplements

1. Why an organic, vegetarian diet?

Organic vegetables pack a stronger nutritional punch than their genetically modified, conventional counterparts. Also, conventional produce is usually sprayed with potent pesticides. The chemicals found in these pesticides are proven carcinogens. The Gerson Therapy is extremely low in sodium, fats and proteins. Though protein is required for growth, too much creates acidity and strains the kidney, thereby slowing down the detoxification process. All fats except for flaxseed oil are entirely eliminated. Salt, which increases blood pressure and can lead to heart disease, is also cut out.

2. How and why juicing works:

Juicing is a critical element of the Gerson Therapy. The vegetable or fruit is pulverized to rip open the fibrous cells, allowing nutrients and living enzymes to flow out. These nutrients and vitamins instantly hit our bodies, whereas many nutrients are burned during the digestion of solid foods. By drinking more than a pint of juice a day, toxins are dislodged into the bloodstream and absorbed by the liver. The dislodging of toxins can be overwhelming and damaging for our liver if not properly supported. This is where the coffee enema comes in.

3. Coffee enema?

Though the idea of coffee enemas is more than a little off-putting, many savvy doctors have pointed out that chemotherapy and radiation are much more invasive procedures. The coffee enema stimulates the bioducts and liver to dump poisons into the colon for expulsion through the rectum. The enema works in tandem with the juicing, which pushes toxins into the bloodstream and then on to the liver. These enemas eliminate the lifelong buildup of toxins in the liver.

4. What kind of natural supplements?

The medications used in conjunction with the Gerson Therapy are classified as biologicals, organic substances that are supplied in therapeutic amounts to treat specific deficiencies. Some examples are Potassium compound, Lugol's solution, Vitamin B-12, Thyroid hormone and pancreatic enzymes.

Stephanie's Story: A Perspective on Fighting Cancer

Stephanie was diagnosed with cancer at the age of six. She had a Wilms tumor, a kidney cancer found only in children. Removal of her right kidney led to the terrifying discovery that the cancer had spread to her lungs and most alarmingly into the right chamber of her heart. After 16 surgeries, numerous drugs and countless bouts of radiation, Stephanie was a wisp of a girl and the cancer was still there. The doctors said she wasn't going to make it. Her family was desperate. They would do anything to save her, but none of the new drugs worked. Stephanie's body was so weakened by all the treatments that she could barely stand, let alone dream of going through another bout of chemotherapy or radiation. Stephanie's parents braced themselves for her death, but refused to give up.

After researching alternative healing methods, Stephanie's parents discovered the Gerson Method. The Gerson Method seemed like the best way for Stephanie's body to gain strength and heal before the next round of treatments. Stephanie and her mother stayed at the Gerson Institute for a few weeks. They came home and continue the therapy today, six years later. Stephanie never once returned to the hospital for radiation, chemotherapy or drugs. Her body is now on the road to recovery. Her hair has grown back and she can finally attend school. Though her body has been stunted from the years of drugs and radiation, she has a luminous smile and an incredibly upbeat attitude. Her parents, who remember holding Stephanie in their arms when she weighed a mere 60 pounds on her 11th birthday, consider the Gerson family dear friends.


The Gerson Method, which was meant to be a breather between more rigorous treatments, saved Stephanie's life. When I watched Stephanie's interview in The Gerson Miracle, a documentary about the Method, I was stunned. The whole documentary, in fact, seemed unbelievable to me. Where was the proof? And if people like Stephanie could be cured with such a simple, straightforward method, why wasn't the whole world lining up outside the Gerson Institute's doorstep? In my line of work I need to see the facts before I am willing to try something myself, or recommend it to my friends and patients. I had to find evidence in other ways, through the testimonials of actual survivors. There are thousands of complete medical files on cancer patients who have experienced total recovery on the Gerson Therapy. 

Support Children: Discover the Truth Behind our Nation's Agribusinesses

Wealthy Nation, Sick Citizens

Though the United States is one of the wealthiest countries, our citizens are not exempt from chronic health issues. How can a country with such an impressive list of accomplishments still struggle to maintain it's health? Most alarming for parents are mounting public health epidemics among children, such as Type II diabetes, obesity, and asthma. Our nation is increasingly burdened by healthcare costs and children suffering from chronic illness. The security of our families and our nation depends on building our strengths, not managing our weaknesses. We must demand our health back.

Frankenfoods: What Agribusiness Isn't Telling Us

Robyn O'Brien, a new champion of food reform, learned how powerful and insidious the industrial food complex truly is when her youngest daughter suffered an acute reaction to a food allergen. Desperate to help her child in any way she could, she armed herself with as much information as possible in order to uncover what could be causing such devastating health changes in her infant daughter. O'Brien was horrified to learn that our food system provides subsidies for genetically modified (GM) crops, or foods that have synthetic proteins genetically hardwired into their DNA. No clinical human trials have ever been published. Our children are ther test subjects, and our very own home is the laboratory.

Milk: It Doesn't Do Your Body Good

According to CNN and the Wall Street Journal, milk is the most common of all food allergens. This seems unsurprising when examined alongside the chemical make-over the dairy industry received 15 years ago. In 1994, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new synthetic growth hormone (alternately called recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH) or recombinant bovine somatropine (rBST)) to help cows produce more milk. Unfortunately, it also made the cows sick. Besides growing at a monstrous rate and falling under the weight of their own udders, dairy cows also developed ovarian cysts, skin disorders, and udder infections. To get a few more years out of a chronically ill cow's life, industrial dairy farmers feed the cows a steady diet of antibiotics, too.

Monsanto Bullies the FDA, dairies in Maine, and Fox News Investigative Reporters

With all these horrendous side effects, how did the FDA ever allow it to pass inspection? Apparently the effects of rBGH were never properly studied. The FDA relied solely on one study administered by Monsanto, the very company that produced the growth hormone in the first place. The study was never published. Instead of pushing for more analysis, the FDA accepted the results, stating that they showed no significant problems.

Cancer and dairy allergies are increasingly linked to rBGH, and the consumer public now demands answers. Monsanto, however, did and does not want to relinquish their grip on the dairy industry. Investigative journalists from a Fox News station in Tampa, Florida were fired for producing an unflattering story about the hormones after ensuing pressure from Monsanto.

Oakhurt Dairy, one of the largest dairy operations in Maine, was forced to change it's labels from “rGBH-free” to adding the statement “FDA States: No significant difference in milk from cows treated with artificial growth hormone.” It has even been proven that there is a so-called revolving door between Monsanto and the FDA. Many former Monsanto employees now work for the FDA, and vice versa. Who is working for the American public?

“How Many Cereal Bowls Have I Filled With This Milk?!”

Governments around the world no longer except meat or dairy products from the United States. They say these new proteins and hormones have yet to be proven safe. Our government, on the other hand, says they have yet to be proven dangerous. Robyn O'Brien, and many others, disagree with them.

Take A Stand for Your Family

Agriculture is greatly influenced by enormous corporations bent on squeezing every last cent out of the consuming public, even if it means putting families at risk. It is up to us to educate each other and take a stand against large corporations. The strength of our nation's children depends on it.