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Investigating the Various Uses and Applications of Dichloroacetic Acid



Dichloroacetic acid, sometimes called bichloroacetic acid, is a combination of the elements CHCl2. Its structure is similar to acetic acid, except that two of the methyl groups are replaced with chlorine atoms. Many different forms of dichloroacetates, its salts, and its esters can be used for many different purposes. Recently, there has been research done to investigate whether dichloroacetates could be used as a possible medication, as it has the ability to reduce pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase.

Studies done on animals and in labs suggest that DCA may be able to slow down the progression of certain cancers, but there is not enough evidence at this time to advocate its use to treat cancer. This language is based on the contrast between the northern and southern parts of the world, and is noted for its unpredictability.

Dichloroacetic acid is part of the family of halogenated organic acids. It creates the dichloroacetate ion when it is combined with water, having a quite robust pKa of 1.35. It is sadly dangerous to breathe in, potentially damaging respiratory system mucous surfaces and air passageways.

It has been discovered that Asparagopsis taxiformis seaweed contains a minor level of dichloroacetic acid (DCA). Chlorination of drinking water produces this material, and it is also a consequence of the metabolism of chlorine-based drugs and substances. DCA can be reduced from trichloroacetic acid, or another method is to mix chloral hydrate, calcium carbonate, water, and sodium cyanide together and then put hydrochloric acid in. Alternatively, DCA may be generated by uniting hypochlorous acid and acetylene.

The effectiveness of treating an area through the application of heated chemical agents is demonstrated through the use of sodium dichloroacetate and TCA in various contexts which include medical treatments like getting rid of genital warts and aesthetic treatments such as dermabrasion and tattoo removal. Also, these chemicals are frequently used in laboratory settings to transition macromolecular substances from a liquid to a solid form. Furthermore, such agents can be used to obliterate healthy cells.

The results of a randomized study demonstrated the safety of DCA, but it was proven to have no positive impact on babies with congenital lactic acidosis. 15 children with a mitochondrial disorder (MELAS) were tested and the medication had a serious adverse effect on their neurological health and no beneficial results, resulting in the trial being terminated prematurely.  Nonetheless, in cancer patients, it reduced their lactic acid levels, but this did not translate to improved overall health or extended lifespan.

Therefore, multiple tests that compared DCA with other things have proven that it does not do anything to help this condition despite some reports and experiments that made it seem like it could help lactic acidosis. In addition, the amount of drug toxicity was too high for people to be able to take it as part of any tests.

In 2007, researchers from the University of Alberta led by Evangelos Michelakis discovered that giving sodium dichloroacetate (the salt form of dichloroacetic acid) decreased tumors in rats and eliminated cancer cells during lab tests. This sparked considerablereader interest, as highlighted in an article in New Scientist, showcasing a simple, safe and potentially effective treatment for a variety of different cancers.

In the editorial that accompanied the study, it was suggested that without the ability to legally secure it, pharmaceutical companies have no motivation to attempt to receive approval to utilize it as a cancer treatment. Later in the same publication, potential negative reactions, such as nerve damage, were investigated. As of now, offering substances represented as cancer remedies in the US isn’t allowed until proper authorization from the Federal Drug Administration has been granted.

The American Cancer Society stated back in 2012 that there were insufficient proofs that DCA should be used for the treatment of cancer. Doctors advised that anyone who wanted to make use of DCA needed to take special care and it should only be used inside a clinical trial under control. People who are interested in obtaining the chemical may face difficulties. A con artist was sentenced to 33 months in jail because he lied to cancer patients, telling them the white powder he sold had DCA while it was just ordinary starch.

Although a limited amount of individuals with glioblastoma were included in the only study concerning the application of DCA to living beings, this research was not done to research the effectiveness of DCA as a treatment for the disease. Instead, it was conducted to verify if it was possible to administer a certain dosage with no adverse effects, such as neuropathy.

The five people studied all were being treated for different conditions. Feedback from lab trials and experiments on animals indicate that DCA could be a potential means of eliminating glioblastoma tumors by pushing the mitochondria to become handicapped, causing the cancer cells to self-destruct. Research in a lab environment on neuroblastomas, which featured deficient mitochondria, indicated that DCA was effective against malignant cells that never aged.

In 2016, a case report was conducted to explore whether DCA could be used as a treatment for cancers impacting the central nervous system. Two years later, a study was conducted and the results showed that DCA could make tumor cells switch from using glycolysis to using mitochondrial OXPHOS (the Warburg effect) and raising the concentration of oxidative stress. This increased reaction was not observed in healthy cells.

Neuropathy caused certain DCA clinical studies to be stopped, however a 2008 paper in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology demonstrated that other DCA experiments did not see the same problem. It is still mysterious what the cause of DCA-provoked neuropathy is.

Research into neurons grown in test tubes has revealed how DCA can lead to adverse neurological effects. Data acquired suggests that DCA is capable of producing dose- and time-dependent nerve damage (caused by a loss of the protective covering around the cells) that can be regained following cessation of the medication. Nevertheless, in 2008 a review of the same material signalled that this nerve damage was akin to a length-dependant problem that targeted the axons of sensation nerve cells and not the myelin. The study by Kaufman et al. conducted in 2006 is referenced in the same report to provide support.

DCA Guide – Studies have been done to find out if DCA would be a beneficial treatment for those with chronic heart failure caused by blocked blood vessels. Additionally, DCA increases metabolism by increasing NADH levels, but when there is oxygen available it can reduce NADH.

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