These imbalances are caused by accumulations of toxins in the body. Treatment involves removing these toxins and strengthening the immune system and biochemical processes.
The origins of metabolic therapies are as varied as the therapies themselves. One of the best-known proponents was Harold Manners, a biology professor who claimed in 1977 to have cured cancer in mice using injected laetrile, vitamin A, and digestive enzymes. Manner left the academic world and started a clinic in Tijuana, Mexico before he died in 1988.
In addition to cancer, metabolic therapies have also been used against arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and other diseases believed linked to metabolic imbalances.
Metabolic therapies are an eclectic and controversial mix of treatment protocols, including the following:
- American biologics: Abstinence from caffeine, sugar and refined carbohydrates, as well as excess animal protein; enemas and colonic irrigation; laetrile; embryonic live cell therapy involving adrenal and cerebral tissues; vitamin C and other dietary supplements.
- Evers therapy: Laetrile; magnetic field therapy; hyperbaric oxygen; diet; Eversol chelation therapy; shark cartilage; Koch vaccination; injections of frozen thymus and other cells; detoxification.
- Gerson therapy: Low-salt vegan diet; hourly intake of fresh fruit and vegetable juices; three or four coffee enemas a day; dietary supplements including thyroid extracts, pancreatin, pepsin, niacin, and potassium.
- Issels’ whole body therapy: Removal of mercury dental fillings and infected teeth; vaccines; organic diet with acidophilus support; abstinence from coffee, tea, tobacco; hyperthermia (provoking a fever to strengthen the immune system); hemotogenic oxidation therapy (to stimulate an immune response within the blood); informal psychotherapy.
- Kelley-Gonzalez diet: Individualized diet, often including large quantities of raw fruits, juices, raw and steamed vegetables, cereals, and nuts; abstinence from red meat, white sugar, chicken, refined grain products, and soy; freeze-dried pancreatic enzymes; frequent coffee enemas and laxative purging; as many as 150 dietary supplements a day.
- Manner metabolic diet therapy: Laetrile; enzymes; daily coffee enemas; vitamins, minerals, and other supplements; direct injections of enzymes into tumors; psychological counseling.
- Revici therapy: Intravenous doses of selenium, oxygen, copper, calcium, and other substances intended to balance body chemistry.
Generally the controversial and unproven nature of these therapies, combined with the seriousness of the diseases they are intended to treat, make the ongoing involvement of a competent medical professional strongly advisable. One major drawback to trying alternative cancer therapies is that opportunities may be lost for timely application of other, more effective therapies.
Concern has been expressed that patients on some metabolic diets may risk electrolyte imbalances or even death. Further concern exists about the safety of enzyme injections and the toxicity of megavitamin therapy. Laetrile has been linked to life-threatening cyanide toxicity.
Research and general acceptance
Most metabolic therapies for cancer are well outside the comfort zone of traditional medical practitioners. Some proponents have experienced considerable opposition from regulators and law-enforcement officials.