How DCA Promotes Cancer Cell Death

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Conventional medicine views cancer as a genetic disorder, originating in DNA, where genes that control growth and division of cells begin to behave abnormally.  In a cancerous state, cells behave erratically, quickly multiplying, altering the normal metabolic activity and cell production.

Mitochondria, found in all normal cells, create necessary energy for living organisms to properly function. For this reason, the mitochondria are known as the “powerhouse” of cells and are essential for activating natural cell death, known as apoptosis.

Cancer cells produce energy differently than normal cells. In cancer cells, reduction of mitochondrial function is observed. This allows for inhibited apoptosis, proliferation of cancerous cells, and produces energy through fermentation using very high rates of glycolysis occurring outside the mitochondria, instead of normal energy production inside the mitochondria, known as oxidative phosphorylation. This phenomenon is known as the Warburg effect. This aerobic fermentation of glucose in cancer cells causes a dramatic rise in glucose uptake, stealing glucose from the rest of the body, leading to severe exhaustion in the patient.

What is DCA?

DCA (Dichloroacetate sodium) is an inexpensive, simple compound that shares similarities with vinegar and salt, combined together. It is not a new drug and has been used widely and safely for decades in human beings to treat a variety of conditions including cancer. It works against cancer naturally to prompt the demise of cancer cells.

How DCA Promotes Cancer Cell Death

DCA is non-toxic to healthy cells and targets cancer cells by disrupting the fermentation cycle of those cells, protecting the body from lactate, a metabolic by-product of energy production in a cancer cell. The lactate produced during the fermentation process converts surrounding tissue to cancer and promotes spreading or metastasis. DCA turns that mechanism off by inhibiting lactate production.

Unlike chemotherapy which targets cells that grow and divide quickly, DCA restores natural cell termination, known as apoptosis. To accomplish this, it blocks the function of the enzyme pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase (PDK), critical for cancer cell proliferation. DCA encourages apoptosis, reversing the Warburg effect, typically suppressed in cancer cells, and allows these to die on their own. Cells are then returned to a state of normal cellular metabolic activity, producing their energy normally via oxidative phosphorylation.

DCA interferes with the cancer cell’s use of glucose, removing the source of energy for those cells. DCA does not, however, deprive glucose to healthy cells in the body.

DCA and Oxidative Therapies

As DCA interferes with the energy production of cancer cells, they become very vulnerable to the impact of oxidative therapies including Vitamin C IV, artesunate IV, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, chemotherapy, and radiation.

An example includes Neuroendocrine pancreatic sarcoma; a reduction in tumor size with IV DCA was noted in conjunction with high-dose IVC (intravenous Vitamin C).

The long-term stabilization of metastatic melanoma with sodium dichloroacetate, Vitamin C, and other adjunct therapies has also been observed in numerous studies.

DCA is ideal for combining with the Ketogenic diet, a metabolic therapy. While conventional medicine regards cancer as a condition caused by DNA mutations in cell nuclei, metabolic views of the disease assert that the majority of cancers develop due to cellular respiration dysfunction, and that glucose restriction can be a favorable method to starve cancer from its energy source. The Ketogenic diet removes glucose, lowers protein consumption, and achieves ketosis via a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet. The focus is on elimination of carbohydrates, a primary energy source of cancer. Normal cells can use ketones as an energy source while cancer cells cannot.

Does DCA Have Side Effects?

According to Akbar Khan, M.D., accepted safety levels of oral DCA use in humans have been demonstrated. The drug has been found to be relatively safe, with no cardiac, hematologic, or renal toxicity found. Some patients have experienced peripheral neuropathy. Stopping DCA therapy reverses the condition. To minimize the occurrence of this possible side effect, practitioners have supported the nervous system with vitamin B1 and Alpha Lipoic Acid. An asymptomatic but reversible elevation of liver enzymes can occur in a small percentage of patients.

Learn more about DCA or contact us to schedule a consultation to see if incorporating DCA into your cancer prevention routine is a good fit.

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