What is DCA?

Sodium dichloroacetate (commonly referred to as DCA) is a salt of sodium and dichloroacetatic acid. The formula of this compound is Cl2 CH COONa. The structure of the molecule is similar to a combination of table salt and vinegar.

Under normal conditions, the material appears in powder form, white color and is soluble in water.

Sodium dichloroacetate is not patentable and has no restrictions on being transported, it can be freely sold without serious regulations.

The compound can be synthesized in laboratories or found as a side product in chlorinated water. DCA can be naturally aquired in a variety of red algae such as Asparagopsis taxiformis.

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Sodium dichloroacetate has received a lot of its attention by having a beneficial biological effect on living beings.

Since 1973 Dichloroacetate has been used for treating children with congenital mitochondrial disorders (Ref.) which lead to metabolic lactic acidosis. DCA is able to treat the condition of congenital lactic acidosis and improve the life quality of such patients. The medication works by stimulating the Pyruvatdehidrogenase complex. This resumes the normal metabolism of carbohydrates through aerobic glucose and lactic acid oxidation. Children treated with DCA achieve lower concentrations of blood serum lactates as well as lower overall metabolic acidosis.

The clinical trials of DCA treatment for congenital lactic acidosis hold a significant role in determining the optimal and safe concentrations for therapeutic purposes. Furthermore, side effects and the overall safety of the drug were carefully observed during the research which permitted the use of Sodium Dichloroacetate in the future. (Ref.)

Since 1987 till now there are ongoing scientific studies on treating the harmful effects of brain ischemia with the use of DCA. In such conditions, Dichloroacetate can be useful in controlling the post-hypoxic lactic acidosis and the disturbed metabolism in the brain – thus lowering the chances of a poor outcome. (Ref.)

Since 2007 the anti-cancer effect of Sodium dichloroacetate has been noted. In the early scientific studies DCA had a positive response to implanted tumours of brain, breast and lung cancer. While on the influence of Dichloroacetate, the experimental rodents did not suffer any toxic effects, however, the tumours stopped growing and later on had a drastic size reduction. (link to all DCA studies)

The future in vitro and in vivo experiments had the same positive conclusions which finally lead to a clinical research in 2010. The verdict of the study - DCA has a positive effect on malignant disease outcome, the substance demonstrates potential in the treatment of cancer and it is recommended to continue further clinical observations. (Ref.)

Since 2009 DCA has been used as an alternative therapy for treating cancer in the first DCA clinics while under professional medical supervision.


You can find more information and fresh news about DCA on our site or in the online research databases.