Care During Chemotherapy and Beyond
Anti-cancer Diets You May Have Heard About such as the Macrobiotic Diet for Cancer
Note: This section, "anti-cancer" diets, is for informational purposes only.
The authors of chemocare.com do not endorse these diets and recommend that you discuss
any diet change, whether related to cancer or not, with your doctor.
- There is no special "anti-cancer" diet.
- There are many special diet regimes promoted to fight or treat cancer, including
programs such as Macrobiotics, Gerson Therapy, Livingston-Wheeler Regimen, Kelley-Gonzalez
Regimen, and Wheat Grass Therapy.
- These diets may propose health benefits in treating cancer, but can pose a risk
for inadequate nutrition or malnutrition in varying degrees, drug/nutrient interactions,
increased fatigue, and alterations in laboratory parameters.
- It is advised that you discuss any special diet regimen with your physician and/or
- These diets have not been proven to have anti-cancer effects.
- Here is an overview of their philosophy, diet principles, and areas for concern
Philosophy - The macrobiotic diet for cancer
incorporates the ancient Oriental concept or theory of yin and yang, and
is based on a prescription for health and balanced living. Macrobiotics has
now evolved to include recommendations for cancer prevention and treatment.
A macrobiotic practitioner first classifies the patient's cancer diagnosis as primarily
yin or yang or a combination of the two.
Regimen/Diet Principles - Once the patient's diagnosis
has been classified, a very restrictive macrobiotic diet for
cancer is recommended to correct the imbalances. Excess
consumption of fatty and cold/icy foods is discouraged, because it is thought to
accumulate damaging toxins in the body. Milk, milk products, eggs, and processed
foods are also discouraged, because one of the diet principles is to primarily consume
organically grown foods native to their climate and area. The standard macrobiotic
diet eliminates the use of animal products except for a small amount of white fish.
Macrobiotic Diet Philosophy
Dark, passive, feminine, cold and negative
Fruit, green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds, tofu and tempeh, fruit and vegetable
juices, jams made without refined sugar, and barley malt
Light, active, male, warm and positive
Whole grain cereals, root vegetables (e.g. potatoes, parships), fish and shellfish,
cottage cheese, beans, and peas, lentils, salt and miso
Areas for concern - This macrobiotic diet for cancer
poses a potential risk for protein malnutrition and weight loss, also a risk
for vitamin and mineral deficiencies due to diet restrictions.
If you are following this diet, the laboratory parameters that require monitoring
include albumin, transferrin, calcium, iron, zinc, vitamin B12, and ascorbic acid
Philosophy - Gerson therapy is based on a belief that nutritional
programs are derived from the evolutionary past, and that food has become less nutritious
over time. Gerson advocated that the balance of sodium and potassium at a
cellular level supports the regression of cancer and that, by returning to a basic
diet, diseases like cancer could be overcome.
Regimen/Diet principles - Gerson therapy includes sodium
restriction and potassium supplementation, thyroid extracts, pancreatic enzymes,
hourly consumption or organic raw fruit and vegetable juices, fat and protein restriction
through a vegetarian diet, and desiccated liver tablets (this replaced raw calf
liver juice). Coffee enemas are used to stimulate the bowel to assist in detoxification.
Areas for concern in Gerson therapy -
There is a risk for dehydration and loss of micronutrients from daily enemas.
Protein malnutrition is a risk and may result in calorie, protein, vitamin, and
mineral deficiencies. Flu-like symptoms have be reported about 7-10 days after
initiating the diet; symptoms include fever, nausea, weakness, dizziness or vertigo,
If you are following this therapy regimen, the laboratory parameters that require
monitoring include albumin, transferrin, vitamin B12, blood urea nitrogen, and folic
Philosophy - The Livingston-Wheeler
regimen proposes that a bacteria called Progenitor cryptocides is responsible for
cancer and that this organism became destructive in the body when the immune system
is weakened. The proposed primary goal is to restore the body's natural defenses
by strengthening the immune system.
Regimen/Diet principles - Livingston-Wheeler regimen includes
a modified Gerson therapy vegetarian diet, relaxation therapy, psychological intervention,
imagery, vaccines made from the patient's urine or blood, antibiotics, antiparasite
medicine, IV doses of vitamins, and other dietary supplements and oral digestive
enzymes. The diet is heavily based on vegetarian raw foods and the avoidance
of coffee, alcohol, refined sugars, flour, and all processed foods. Coffee
enemas may be used as needed for detoxification. Smoked meats and poultry
are forbidden. As recovery occurs, fish is allowed.
Areas for concern in Livingston-Wheeler regimen -
Possible reactions to vaccines, reported to include aching, slight fever, and tenderness
at the injection site. The regimen also poses a possible risk for calorie,
protein, vitamin, and mineral deficiencies. There is also a risk for sepsis
(life-threatening blood infection) and anaphylaxis (serious allergic reaction).
If you are following this regimen, the laboratory parameters that require monitoring
include albumin, transferrin, vitamin B12, blood urea, nitrogen, and folic acid
Philosophy - Humans are divided into three metabolic types:
- Sympathetic dominants, which reside in warm climates and require plant-based
- Parasympathetic dominants, who reside in cold climates and require meat-based
- Balanced types who reside in moderate climates and require mixed diets.
The regimen combines nutrition, detoxification, and supplements of pancreatic enzymes.
Regimen/Diet principles - This regimen is tailored to
the patient's specific metabolic type and reportedly includes 130-160 supplements
every day, consisting of vitamins, minerals, trace elements, enzymes, and glandular
concentrates from animals. Detoxification is accomplished through colonics,
fasting, diuretics, nasal irrigations, deep breathing, and sitz baths. Patients
are placed on a strict diet that includes large quantities of fresh fruits and vegetable
juices, and cereals.
Area for concern - This regimen may pose a risk for calorie
and protein deficiencies. Colonics (enemas) and diuretics may cause dehydration
and electrolyte imbalances, and possibly colitis (inflammation of the bowel).
It is important to be aware of the potential for a drug-nutrient interaction due
to the 130-160 supplements daily.
If you are following this regimen, the laboratory parameters that should be monitored
include albumin, transferrin, glucose, hematocrit, hemoglobin, folate, B12, and
Wheat Grass Therapy
Philosophy - Wheat grass is believed to provide substances
that will support the body's attempts to rebuild, detoxify, and enhance the function
of the immune system. Wheat grass therefore is believed to contain anti-cancer
Regimen/Diet principles - This regimen includes a three-day,
juice-cleansing fast, along with enemas, which precede therapy, to help detoxify
the body. The wheat grass diet excludes all meat, dairy products, and cooked
foods ad stresses foods such as uncooked sprouts, raw vegetables and fruits, nuts,
and seeds. Supplements are not considered necessary with this therapy.
Areas for concern - Analysis of this dietary regimen highlights
its lack of vitamins and other essential nutrients. A B12 deficiency
could result from the lack of this vitamin in the diet. The use of enemas
increases the risk for infection and perforation of the bowel.
If you are following this therapy regimen, the laboratory parameters that should
be monitored include albumin, transferrin, magnesium, vitamin B12, and phosphorus
It's important to be well informed about any special diet regimen, and discuss the
program with your doctor, nurse, or dietitian prior to initiating the program.
These diets propose many health benefits related to fighting cancer, but they can
pose a risk for inadequate nutrition to varying degrees, including drug/nutrient
interactions, increased fatigue, and alterations in laboratory parameters.
Be sure to discuss these diet protocols with your health care professional first.
As stated previously, we strongly encourage you to talk with your health care professional
about your specific medical condition and treatments, as well as any anti-cancer
diets you are considering, such as the macrobiotic diet, Gerson therapy, Livingston-Wheeler
regimen, and so on. The information contained in this website is meant to be helpful
and educational, but is not a substitute for medical advice.
Chemocare.com is designed to provide the latest information about chemotherapy to patients and their families, caregivers and friends. For information about the 4th Angel Mentoring Program visit www.4thangel.org