DCA (Sodium Dichloroacetate)


What is DCA?

Sodium dichloroacetate, or more commonly referred to as DCA, is a synthetic chemical compound that has recently gained attention because of positive studies involving cancer cells that were performed at the University of Alberta, Canada.

Dr. Evangelos Michelakis

Dr. Evangelos Michelakis

Dr. Evangelos Michelakis, conducted the studies which were based on the idea that DCA might be able to “repair” the defective mitochondria of cancer cells, more specifically in the area where glucose is converted into energy through a process called glycolosis, and cause “programed cell death.”

This programmed cell death is something that happens to normal cells regularly, but not to cancer cells because the abnormal mitochondria appears to keep cancer cells alive. Because sodium dichloroacetate can affect an important enzyme within the mitochondria, the researchers theorized it might also help to normalize the mitochondria in the cancer cell thereby rendering it noncancerous.

His preliminary research was published in the January 2007 issue of Cancer Cell, (you can link to the PDF with the link provided below)  which indicated that rats given DCA-enhanced water experienced much slower tumor growth than rats that were not given this type of water. The “Cancer Cell” study found that dichloroacetate effectively kills brain, breast and lung cancer cells. Furthermore, breast cancer cells did not spread as much in the rats that were given this substance, and mild to moderate invasive endometrial cancer cells were more prone to die off when exposed to the dichloroacetate.

These results received extensive media attention, beginning with an article in New Scientist titled “Cheap, ‘safe’ drug kills most cancers.” Subsequently, the American Cancer Society and other medical organizations began receiving a large volume of public interest and questions regarding DCA. Clinical trials in humans with cancer have not been conducted in the USA and are not yet finalized in Canada.

How to obtain DCA

There are several ways to obtain DCA since it has been used to treat metabolic diseases in children.  A naturopathic doctor can prescribe it to be used “off label” allowing you to get the pharmaceutical grade DCA from your local pharmacy.

Your insurance will not cover it as you are not using it for the condition that it has not been approved for, but it is inexpensive enough because the patent on this product has expired years ago.  Your ND can also direct you on the correct dosing for this.  Other people have been able to obtain this by participating in clinical trials with DCA, and still others have been able to obtain it from online vendors.
Use caution  when purchasing from online sources as some suppliers sell only industrial or technical-grade sodium dichloroacetate, which is not manufactured with the same quality standards as the pharmaceutical-grade form, and may contain harmful chemicals.  Never buy or use dichloroacetic acid which will burn tissue even if it is diluted.  Dichloroacetic acid is prominently displayed on the Canada TV news clip, but they did not use the acid in the lab. They used it only as a precursor to make the dichloroacetate. They are 2 different substances and should not be assumed to be the same. 
Contraindications:  DCA should not be taken while pregnant or nursing. 
Side effects of use may include: mild peripheral neuropathy, numbness in toes or fingers, shaking or tremors in hands,  weakness in legs, mild nausea, swollen ankles, more urination, dizziness, anxiety,  depression, sleepiness, breathing heavier than usual,  tingling (neuropathy) in the lips. Caffeine use may exasperate these symptoms.  All symptoms appear to stop when DCA is discontinued.  Please read all information in the links before considering this therapy.

News report on DCA


Additional Reading

British Journal of Cancer -DCA study

DCA inhibits neuroblastoma growth

DCA for Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

More info on DCA and dosage

Online vendor of DCA

Combine this therapy with a healing diet and lifestyle changes

Cancer is a wake up call which needs to be addressed on multiple fronts.   It is the result of an overly toxic body with an overwhelmed and collapsed immune system due to eating nutritionally depleted diets and having poor lifestyle habits.   Research an anticancer diet, adding supplements, detoxing the body, and making lifestyle changes so you can address a cancerous situation with a multifaceted approach.

Read more about an anticancer diet
Cancer cannot survive in an alkaline oxygenated environment
Read more about an alkaline diet
Read about sugar and cancer
Various detox therapies


  Cancer: Step Outside the Box




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