DNP — Dinitrophenol

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.

Brand name DNP, Dinitrophenol, Solfo Black, Nitrophen, Aldifen, Chemox

Dinitrophenol History

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.

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.

Author’s Note: I was hesitant to even include a profile of dinitrophenol in this book, 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.

How is Dinitrophenol Supplied

DNP is not supplied in a form prepared for human or veterinary consumption. It is available as a research or industrial chemical only.

Structural Characteristics of Dinitrophenol

DNP (2,4-Dinitrophenol) is a cellular metabolic poison with the chemical designation 1- hydroxy-2,4-dinitrobenzene.

Dinitrophenol Side Effects

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 death.

Dinitrophenol Administration

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.

Dinitrophenol Availability

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.

Bodybuilders reference

This was truly reported as chemical exercise. Normally the mitochondria process that converts ADP (adenosine diphosphate) into ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is about 60% efficient, which means there is a great deal of energy wasted. Those who have read the creatine section ahead of this are well aware of our good friend ATP. When we exercise, this process accelerates and raises our metabolic rate. (More calories are burned as a result) The process is called oxidative phosphorylation. Since ATP is the high-energy chemical our bodies utilize for intense training, anything that compromises this process will make cellular mitochondria work harder and expend more energy as heat. (Body temperature rises).

DNP is an oxidative phosphorylation uncoupler. It makes the process only about 40% efficient by uncoupling a high energy phosphate molecule from ATP and therefore turning ATP into ADP. To maintain an adequate supply of ATP, the body must step-up production. For this reason metabolism is significantly increased and an incredible amount of calories are burned. During this accelerated metabolic state, and due to the need for ATP production, most of the calories come from fatty acids (adipose/fat tissue). So little or no muscle is lost (With adequate protein intake).

Users experienced elevated body temperatures and perspiration even while sitting around. Simply stated, metabolic rates elevate 100-200% in only a few hours. Sounds great, but DNP can be deadly. Since increased energy is dissipated as body heat, too high of a dosage of DNP for to long of a period can actually COOK ORGANS!!!. No joke, I mean medium well done.

The issue of body temperature is of interest here and is a relevant point to discuss further. Clenbuterol and ephedrine are fairly easy to chart for effective results by checking body temperature. However, DNP is much different in this sense. When an athlete (Or anyone) used DNP, increased respiration, heart rate, and skin dilation occurred. Thus heat is quickly dissipated. This means that a person using DNP could feel warm but a thermometer can fail to show an increase in body temperature. According to available literature, in most cases a body temperature of near 100 degrees indicate a metabolic rate of about twice normal. It also means that the individual is in the very near the danger zone. This is wholly unnecessary, and it is the low cellular ATP level induced by high dosage DNP use that was most dangerous. The temperature or heat issue is secondary by comparison. Most reported users of DNP ingested a daily dosage of 6-8mg per kilogram of body weight. Realistically speaking, I can say from personal experience that this is not only an uncomfortable experience, but dangerous and unnecessary as well. My experience has been that 3-5mg/kg daily provided better results and did so even without a calorie decrease. Personally I feel a body temperature of 99.5-99.7 degreases was preferable also.

Before going on, I would like to say a few related points. Now we know that the mitochondrial process of converting ADP into ATP is called oxidative phosphorylation and that the process is normally 60% efficient. We know DNP is an oxidative phosphorylation uncoupler that will reduce the process efficiency to 40% and that this burns fat while raising metabolic rates 100-200% while increasing body temperature. (We also know misuse can cook our guts!). There are several products on the market, such as Usnic ACID using these terms and comparing their products to DNP.

Well, bull shit! Usnic acid even in pure form taken orally failed to raise metabolic rates significantly at the reported average dosage. Okay, second: DNP cannot be sold for supplemental use by law because idiots will think more is better and the media will again have a field day. (Funny how we see so many media interviewers in bars).

How did polled athletes utilize DNP? Well, pretty simple actually. 4-mg per kg of body weight divided into 4 equal dosages, take 4 hours apart was a common practice. So using a 220 LB bodybuilder, 220 lb = 2.2 = 100-kg. 100-kg x 4-mg = 400mg daily total, at 100mg taken every 4 hours. Using an oral thermometer, (rectal if preferred) the athletes temperature was taken upon waking before the first 100 mg DNP dosage and record. At one hour and again at hour 4 before the second dose the temperature was taken again and recorded. Any temperature above 100' was considered over kill on dosage, and therefore dosage was reduced or periods between dosages were increased due to half-life over lapping from previous dosages. Simple?

I did use DNP and followed a few obvious rules for personal use:

*I was always absolutely sure of the DNP quality and dosage I purchased. A mistake could have made me a cannibal's lunch.

*I never took DNP within 3 hours of bed time. If I made a mistake and I was awake, a cool bath tub of water could have saved my life.

*I drank atleast 1 gallon of pure water daily to aid in proper body cooling and to aid in removal of metabolic wastes.

*7mg per kg was the absolute maximum dosage of DNP and only for 5 days at this dosage. 7mg per kg was too high of a daily dosage and usually resulted in lean muscle mass loss, which sucked. 3-5mg/kg was wiser.

*I ate 2g of complete protein per pound at body weight daily, divided into 6-8 meals with at least 1g of carbs per pound of body weight daily.

*Never used DNP for more than 21 days consecutive. I lost about 11-18LBS of fat this way. Note of interest: DNP also appeared to clean out androgenic receptor-sites and may have caused receptor-site up regulation!

Another factor of danger to consider is that after 48 hours of DNP use the liver experiences severe ATP depletion resulting in, among other things, almost all circulating T-4 thyroid hormone to be come unbound and excreted out of the body at a much higher rate. TSH, TRH, and thyroid gland secretion remain normal or above. But the body receives very little T-4 or T-3. This is why most DNP only users reported a decline in body temperature after two days of continuous use.

*It should be noted that DNP use causes an increase in free radical production. Those who used DNP supplemented their diet with additional anti-oxidants such as vitamins C & E, glutamine, and glutathione.

Anabolic Steroid Guide reference

The substance; 2, 4-Dinitrophenol has many other brand names such as, 1 Hydroxy-2,4-dinitrophenol, Solfo Black, Nitrophen, Aldifen, and Chemox are just a few and is among many things, a metabolic stimulant. That is it's popularity here in our world, it burns fat like no other. Let me just tell you of it's other uses before I continue. First, it is a toxic dye, chemically related to Trinitrophenol (Picric Acid), second, it is found in insecticides, wood preservatives, herbicides, explosives, and is also a hazardous material. Third, it is used in science to couple or attach to DNA molecules. All of this should tell you that it is not a run-of-the-mill metabolic stimulant, like Clenbuterol or Triacana or Ephedrine or any other for that matter. Here is DNP's tox faq's from the international chemical safety cards to you give an idea of what it is considered to be; Combustible. Gives off irritating or toxic fumes (or gases) in a fire. Risk of fire and explosion. DO NOT expose to friction or shock. MAY BE ABSORBED! Redness. Roughness. Yellow staining on the skin. PHYSICAL STATE; APPEARANCE: YELLOW CRYSTALS ROUTES OF EXPOSURE: The substance can be absorbed into the body by inhalation, through the skin and by ingestion. PHYSICAL DANGERS: Dust explosion possible if in powder or granular form, mixed with air. INHALATION RISK: Evaporation at 20C is negligible; a harmful concentration of airborne particles can, however, be reached quickly. CHEMICAL DANGERS: May explosively decompose on shock, friction, or concussion. May explode on heating. Shock-sensitive compounds are formed with alkalis, ammonia and most metals. The substance decomposes on heating producing toxic gases including nitrogen oxides. EFFECT OF SHORT-TERM EXPOSURE: The substance may cause effects on metabolism, resulting in very high body temperature. Exposure may result in death. EFFECTS OF LONG TERM OR REPEATED EXPOSURE: Repeated or prolonged contact with skin may cause dermatitis. The substance may have effects on the peripheral nervous system. The substance may have effects on the eyes, resulting in cataracts. Boiling point: sublimes C, Melting point: 112C, Relative density (water = 1): 1.68. Solubility in water, g/100 ml at 54.5C: 0.14. Relative vapor density (air = 1): 6.36. This product is handled and shipped in a 15% solution of water, making it a paste, so that it will not explode due to shock or friction.

DNP is an uncoupling agent that inhibits the flow of electrons and the pumping of H+ ions for ATP synthesis. Fifty years ago it was used for weight loss, however, in 1938 the FDA removed it from the counter, as it caused cataracts and even sometimes death. If electron transport does not produce ATP, then much more sugar must be metabolized for energy needs. Very low production of ATP would be lethal. In oxidative phosphorylation, the flow of electrons from NADH (the reduced form of NAD+, oxidized from NAD. This enzyme is important in accepting electrons in the course of metabolic reactions. When NAD+ gives up it's electron, it is converted to it's reduced form NADH) and FADH2 (the reduced form of FAD) to oxygen results in the pumping of H+ from the matrix to the inner membrane space of the mitochondria. This gradient of H+ can produce ATP by flowing through ATP synthetase in the mitochondrial inner membrane. Dinitrophenol disrupts the H+ gradient reducing ATP synthesis. Under these conditions, much of the food that we eat could not be used for ATP synthesis and we lose weight. However, too much inhibitor and we could make too little ATP for life. The difference between weight loss and death is only a small concentration change in dinitrophenol, making the drug dangerous. Simply put, this means that while eating your normal diet, you will have somewhere between 20% and 40% reduction of calories.

You may now be wondering just what kind of dose would be effective, but not harmful. A dose of 2mg/kg/day (or two mgs per kg of body weight per day) would be an effective dose, causing the loss of about 5 to 10 pounds in a 10 to 14 day period, maybe less. So, a person weighing 200 lbs would weigh about 91 kgs, so 2mgs per kg of body weight would be the equivalent of 182 mgs of DNP per day, but since it typically comes in 200 mg capsules, you would take one cap per day. Since DNP has this inhibiting effect, glycolosis is inhibited as well, causing a diabetic effect due to the conversion of glucose without insulin, so you may have heard that people take insulin with DNP. This will counter act the symptoms of lethargy and lack of energy due to DNP's use.

Finding DNP, this may be a little difficult as there are only two manufacturers of it. Sigma and Springfield scientific, though they do not generally sell to the public, it is still available. If you cannot find someone with capsules, you may try to get some bulk (somewhere around $20.00 - $30.00 per lb I think), but since this is considered a hazardous material, it cannot be conveniently or inconspicuously shipped (which for consumption is a felony), however, it is possible. However, to get use of the bulk/raw form, you will need to make your own capsules, which is a meticulous process.


Wlliam Llewellyn (2011) - Anabolics
L. Rea (2002) - Chemical Muscle Enhancement Bodybuilders Desk Reference
Anabolic Steroid Guide

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