DNP (2,4-Dinitrophenol) Description:
DNP is one of the most controversial drugs in use by bodybuilders. This agent is not sold for human use anywhere in the world at this time, but is readily available as an industrial chemical. Among other things, it is used as an intermediary for the production of certain dyes, for photographic development, as a fungicide, in wood pressure-treatment to prevent rotting, and as an insecticide. It is technically classified as a poison. Although quite incongruous with this list of strong industrial/chemical uses, this chemical was sold during the era of patent medicine as a diet drug for humans. It is this property of dinitrophenol that remains of interest to some bodybuilders today.
Dinitrophenol induces weight loss by uncoupling oxidative phosphorylation, thereby markedly increasing the metabolic rate and body temperature . While this is an extremely effective way of producing rapid weight loss, there seems to be no ceiling to DNP’s temperature increasing effect. Herein lies perhaps its most dangerous trait; it may allow body temperature to rise to level that can be damaging, even fatal. Writer Carl Malmberg made perhaps one of the earliest and most famous quotes about this danger back in the 1930s when he told of a physician who was “literally cooked to death” from using it. This was far from an isolated case, and deaths associated with DNP have continued over the decades. For example, a recent highly publicized story concerns a man that died on Long Island, NY in 2001 after taking DNP for only four days. The dose used was reported to be 600 mg per day, just three 200 mg capsules.
The fat-loss properties of DNP were reportedly first noticed during World War I, when overweight men working with DNP in munitions plants started losing substantial amounts of weight. It did not take very long for this chemical to be identified as the cause. Soon after, it was packaged as a drug product. By 1935, more than 100,000 Americans had already used “patent medicine” remedies that included DNP. In fact, DNP was the first synthetic drug that was ever used for weight reduction in this country. While it was available, it was being widely advertised as a new, safe, and effective way to get thin. Popular brand names for DNP included Dinitriso, Nitromet, Dinitrenal and Alpha Dinitrophenol. At the peak of DNP’s popularity, the drug could be found in pharmacies all across the country.
Author’s Note: I was hesitant to even include a profile of dinitrophenol on this site, for fear it might entice someone who otherwise may not have known about it to use it. But ultimately I decided it would be better to include the historical information about the drug. The true story of DNP is a scary one and needs to be remembered. Bodybuilders must understand that the reemergence of underground DNP in the late 1990s was not a revolutionary new achievement in fat loss, but a scary repitition of one of the biggest mistakes of the patent medicine era. It is a drug from a time when an unregulated market was allowing dangerous chemicals like this to harm the public. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) exists today to protect the public from such scenarios. Almost all experts today agree that DNP is a dangerous drug, and is not recommended for weight loss.
While the drug may have worked for the intended purpose, it was also introduced at a time before government review and approval of drug safety. In this regard DNP had some very strong shortcomings, and it didn’t take long for reports of side effects to began pouring in. One such incident involved a dozen women in California who were temporarily blinded by the drug. Numerous reports of DNP-linked cataracts began coming in from as far away as France and Italy. It was said to be happening with doses as little as 100 mg daily when taken for long periods. Reports of more serious injury, even death, from DNP use followed. With such highly unfavorable safety reports, the drug was soon pulled. By 1938 it was off the market for good. It has never returned as a medicine for human or animal consumption. Even so, reports of death associated with DNP use continue to this day.
DNP is not supplied in a form prepared for human or veterinary consumption. It is available as a research or industrial chemical only.
DNP (2,4-Dinitrophenol) is a cellular metabolic poison with the chemical designation 1-hydroxy-2,4-dinitrobenzene.
There are many potential side effects associated with DNP use including increased heart rate, increased breathing rate, nausea, elevated body temperature, insomnia, profuse sweating, rash, skin lesions, decreased white blood cell count, cataracts, coma, and death¹.
DNP is not approved for use in humans. Prescribing guidelines are unavailable. A common dose used among bodybuilders is reportedly 2mg per kg of bodyweight per day. This calculates to a dosage of 200 mg per day for a person of approximately 220 pounds of bodyweight. Note that this population tends to retain more lean muscle mass than the average (sedentary) person of the same bodyweight, which may substantially alter the results and side effects of a given dosage. Admittedly, fat loss due to DNP use is highly rapid and extreme, with some people losing as much as .5 to 1 pound of fat weight per day. This can equate to a drop of 15 or 20 pounds in only a few weeks. Given the high risks associated with DNP use, however, it is usually taken for only a few weeks at a time. The strong incidence of side effects is also regarded as an indicator that the drug should be discontinued immediately. Note that most experts regard DNP as a drug with inherent dangers that far outweigh its potential benefits.
DNP is not available as a human or veterinary medication in any part of the world. Availability of products intended for human use is entirely in the underground realm, where products, dosages, and safety are not the subject of government approval.
1. Warnings issued over deadly DNP ‘diet drug’. U.K. NHS. Thursday September 19 2013 ave there been changes to the local availability of pharmaceutical anabolic steroids in your country, or can you photograph an item we don’t have? Please Contact Us so that we may update our database and let others know. Anabolic.org is a community effort. Thank you! Be safe. – WL