Common Name: 2,4-Dinitrophenol (DNP)
CAS Number: 51-28-5
DOT Number: UN 1320
Other Commonly Used Names for DNP
Chemical Name: 1-Hydroxy-2,4-Dinitrobenzene
Other Names and Formulations:
Alpha Dinitrophenol; Aldifen; Fenoxyl Carbon N; Caswell #392; Solfo Black; Nitro Cleenup; 1 Hydroxy-2,4-Dinitrophenol; Nitrophen; Aldifen; Chemox.
Getting Leaner Through Chemistry
by Damian Bachs
DNP (2,4-Dinitrophenol), an industrial chemical with various
applications, has gained steady popularity as a fat loss tool. Boasting
an astounding 50% increase in metabolic rate, it is able to contribute
to reported fat losses of 10-12 pounds in 8 days of use. Classified as
an "uncoupler of oxidative phosphorylation" medically, it is quite
dangerous as there is no negative feedback system that may deal with
overdoses. Specifically, there is no upper limit to the increase in body
temperature that may be obtained with its use.
Competitive bodybuilders and many others are continually on a quest
for leanness. Used by the hardcore since
Dan Duchaine's reporting of it
a couple years ago, DNP (2,4-Dinitrophenol) has managed to steadily gain
popularity as a powerful tool for weight loss. Interestingly, DNP was
first used to ignite TNT in the early 1900’s. In 1931 a study released
by Stanford University declared that DNP was able to cause amazing
weight loss; subsequently it found its way into many diet potions and
medications; regulation was much less strict during this time than the
present, and many of these products were available over the counter. Two
years later DNP was banned by the FDA as a dieting agent due to its
inclusion in many OTC dietary supplements. The FDA was a new
organization at this time and acted in a rather brazen manner, with the
absence of any set procedures for taking substances off the market.
Granted, there was only a 1% incidence of cataracts over a large
population (around 100,000); nonetheless it happened (although
interestingly, exclusively women). However, there are now ways to
counter this which will be covered thoroughly.
The comparisons to the current drugs used for dieting are astounding,
at least in terms of thermogenesis. While the ECA stack has been shown
to provide approximately a 3% increase in metabolic rate, DNP can
deliver a relatively controlled 50% elevation in resting metabolic rate.
The thermogenic aspect of clenbuterol, while sometimes overestimated due
to the high CNS stimulation that yields a "wired" feeling, can vary
according to prior exposure to various amphetamine-like compounds and
certainly is not much greater than that of ECA. DNP does not have the
anorectic effects of ephedrine or other thermogenic agents; rather, it
tends to increase hunger, particularly appetite for carbohydrates. This
problem is easily solved with appetite suppressants, and one may even
use ECA itself for this purpose while on DNP.
Molecular Basis for Efficacy
DNP accomplishes the astounding boost in metabolic rate via
inhibition of the F0F1 ATP synthase molecule, located in the inner wall
of each mitochondrion. While the electron transport chain still
functions to pump hydrogen ions into the intermembrane space, the
coupling of the proton gradient to ATP production is rendered impossible
by DNP. As a result, ATP production is dramatically reduced, and the
energy is instead thrown off as heat. This results in an astounding
production of heat; when using dinitrophenol, the athlete will radiate
so much heat that it is uncomfortable to be within any proximity of
them. Luckily, this heat does not fully contribute to body temperature
increases, and is instead thrown off from the entire body surface,
particularly the head. As a result, adequate doses of DNP will usually
only elevate body temperature by about 1-1.5?C. This is a good thing for
your central nervous system and other delicate tissues; if the heat
produced by ATP contributed in a more direct matter to body temperature,
effective doses for fat loss would cause supraphysiological body
temperature increases on a level unwitnessed at this time. Nonetheless,
overheating is a very real danger; this and other side effects shall now
Hearing all of these wonderful things probably has you wondering what
the side effects and risks are. They are quite formidable and contribute
to making DNP one of the most intolerable (though effective) drugs used
in bodybuilding. Starting with the most significant, and descending in
importance, are the following risks and side effects of DNP use.
Overheating - There is no upper limit to DNP's body
temperature increase, meaning that one may literally "cook from the
inside" if they take too much. Dosage considerations will be given
later, but even an overdose of 4-6 times the recommended dosage may
be lethal. Much smaller overdoses may result in damage to the brain
and/or other body systems.
Carcinogenesis - Phenols in general are reputed to be
carcinogenic. Although 2,4-dinitrophenol has never been implicated
in a cancer diagnosis, some are nonetheless concerned, and
understandably so. In addition to the inherent carcinogenic
potential caused by its status as a phenol, production of free
radicals and the release of various compounds stored in adipose
tissue stores during DNP's rapid oxidation of fat may also
potentially be harmful.
Death - This is self-explanatory and has occurred with
several bodybuilders who chose to use this compound.
Discomfort and sweating - This is the single most
noticeable effect of DNP use, both by the user and those around
him/her. Even in the winter, while indoors at ambient temperatures,
one may expect his or her shirt to be completely soaked through with
sweat. Those with jobs requiring formal or semi-formal apparel are
advised to consider other means of fat loss (or a new job, if
preferred). Other obvious considerations lie in the areas of social
life, personal appearance, etc. and the user must prioritize.
Insomnia - Second in frequency of reports to sweating
and discomfort is insomnia; this may be at least partially
attributed to discomfort. Possible means of countering this include
such supplements as Valerian root or melatonin. Alternatively, one
may deal with this via prescription or OTC sleep medications or GHB-A
precursors. However, these may be addictive if used on a regular
basis and if their use may be avoided, by all means abstain from
Yellow bodily fluids - Some don't notice this, but
others find that all of their bodily fluids take on a yellowish
appearance. Urine is a darker yellow, and even semen and vaginal
secretions may be affected. According to current knowledge, this is
not known to be harmful in and of itself.
Muscle Soreness - This is yet another thing that may be
minimized via cerebral function. Dan Duchaine has recommended using
a weight such as to allow no fewer than 15 reps per set of any
weight training workout; judging from anecdotal reports and personal
experience, this seems to be good advice. Low levels of ATP are a
cause of muscle soreness in and of itself; the additional factor of
encumbered recovery mechanisms make extreme soreness (and if not
careful, catabolism) quite possible.
Allergic Reactions – These are highly individualized but
may be summarily discussed. Various reactions are common with DNP
use, and approximately 10% of users will be extremely allergic to
it. Allergic reactions can include hives, blisters, and/or
inexplicable rashes. If you suffer any of these side effects, and
they are extremely bothersome, it is the recommendation of the
author to cease usage immediately. If so desired, another trial may
be made at a later date with a lower dosage, but do not attempt to
continue the drug cycle at that point.
Carbohydrate Cravings - To counter this, some methods
will be touched on later. As with most diets, willpower is sometimes
the single most important factor.
Obtaining DNP and Making Capsules
If, given these considerations, you still are ready to take the
plunge and use DNP, you will need to learn how to obtain and/or make
your own capsules. DNP is shipped industrially in large metal tins
holding a glass jar containing the wet DNP, which is wetted with enough
water to total 15-35% of total mass to prevent explosion while in
transit. Ample cushioning material around the glass jar is included to
further prevent ignition of DNP (it is highly flammable) and the obvious
possibility of breaking the jar. Chemical sellers will not sell this
chemical to individuals or any other entity without an account. However,
if you are resourceful enough to get some, the following are
instructions on how to properly prepare capsules.
Extreme caution is necessary when making the caps. DNP is bright
yellow and will even go through gloves. This stain will not go away
for up to 2 weeks. If it does get on your hands or other parts of
yoru house, you can usually get it off with 2(3H) Furanone dinitro (butyrolactone).
It usually will come out of clothes with laundering.
Care is of the utmost importance when measuring out the amount
one would need. Dan recommends 5 to 8 mg/kg bodyweight in Dirty
Dieting #0, assuming that the person is under 15% BF. He
subsequently told me that he was really suffering on 6-8 mg/kg, and
that is excessive in his opinion. Note that the calculation is
bodyweight, not lean body mass. With the exception of obese persons,
this method is sufficiently accurate.
Obtain a reliable scale, a Cap M. Quik device, and some size "O"
caps ($30.00-$100.00 minimum, approximately $5.00, and $1.00 respectively).
Corn starch, available at the grocery, is also needed. Since DNP
ships at about either 15% or 35% water by weight, it is necessary to
dry out the material overnight before attempting to deal with it. No
matter how dry it looks, this step is absolutely necessary for
The next day, mix 15 grams DNP with 10 grams corn starch, and
pound it into a fine powder. Spread resulting mixture into the Cap
M. Quik, finish the capping process, and you have 50 caps of 300mg
potency. Repeat as above with 10 g DNP and 15 g corn starch in order
to make 50 caps of 200mg each, or with 12.5g DNP and 12.5g corn
starch to make the same number of 250mg caps.
Bear in mind that the preparation process, in the absence of a
laboratory equipped with a chemical hood, will destroy the immediate
area. It gets in the air, and fine particles will stain everything. Wear
clothes that are dispensable, at least 2 pairs of gloves, and a fume
mask. Preferably, do this outside on an extremely calm day, or
alternatively, place protective covering everything in sight if it is
necessary to perform the encapsulation indoors.
Timetable of Effects and Symptoms
The following table describes the condition most users will find
themselves in during a typical DNP cycle; it is by no means complete and
mainly intended to drive home that users typically look at their best
3-5 days following cessation of DNP use.
None; possibly elevated carbohydrate cravings and/or
T4-T3 conversion has begun to decrease; lethargy possible.
Temperature should be elevated, and radiation of heat is
Body temperature is elevated, with all the effects that one
expects from DNP use. In addition, water retention usually
becomes manifest here.
Definite water retention, along with other symptoms of use;
user most likely feels fatter due to having "flatter" muscles
(mainly the result of glycogen depletion) and holding water.
Final DNP dose taken in the evening of Day 8.
DNP is clearing the system slowly. All symptoms are still
Water should be gone by now, or getting there. Mild
diuretics will expedite this. The user will probably notice
perceived greater cardiovascular and muscular endurance.
This is when someone tends to look their best. Their
glycogen stores are usually compensated at this point and the
retained water should be gone.
As touched on previously, getting the right dosage of DNP is rather
easy to do although the importance of proper dosage cannot be
overstated. It is far better for one to err on the side of too little
rather than too much, certainly in the case of the novice who does not
know if they are allergic to the substance. As stated before, the
commonly used dosage by bodybuilders and other reasonably lean persons
is 3-5mg/kg of bodyweight. This would mean that a 100-kilogram
bodybuilder would use anywhere from 300-500mg per day. Experienced users
commonly are found using up to 800mg/day relatively safely, and
beginners sometimes find that they enjoy 3-5 pounds of fat loss per week
with as little as 200mg/day. Dosing is highly individualized and most
generalizations tend to collapse quite quickly; as a result, none will
be attempted. Start on the low end of the scale and see how you react.
It is not recommended to take more than 300mg at any one time; a larger
man taking 600mg per day should divide the dose into a 5:00PM portion
and another portion taken approximately 30 minutes before bedtime.
Someone taking 300mg/day could easily take one dose in the evening. The
typical cycling program is to do 7 or 8 days on, followed by 7 or 8 off;
this should not decrease thyroid output dramatically and makes use of T3
(triiodothyronine, brand name Cytomel) unnecessary in most cases. T4-T3
conversion does decrease dramatically in the liver due to excessive
heat; this begins within 24 hours of the first dose. However, there is
usually adequate active thyroid hormone to make it through 8 days of
using it while maintaining elevated body temperature. After
approximately 3-5 days, the user may find themselves with a waking
temperature that is no longer elevated, even though they are still using
DNP. This is due to the decrease in T3 and may signal the necessity of
either the use of exogenous T3 in subsequent cycles or shorter cycles of
the drug. In addition, the schedule given works nicely because the user
is able to enjoy the anabolic rebound effect on a relatively regular
basis. Also, longer cycles might leave the muscle fibers in a state of
relative dehydration and "starved" of ATP for too long; both of these
readily contribute to catabolism.
While using DNP, supplements can greatly aid both in the
effectiveness of the therapy and the comfort of the user. Of particular
importance are antioxidants and the following quantities are
Vitamin C (3000mg in divided doses)*
Vitamin E (1200 IU in divided doses)*
Glutathione (200mg in divided doses)***)
NAC (various amounts)**
T3 (dose according to personal preference)**
Calcium (2000mg not taken with the Magnesium)
5-HTP (if not on antidepressant medication) (various
Meridia, Redux, or Fenfluramine (various amounts)****
Hydroxycitric Acid (particularly in the evenings to curb
Pyruvate (2-6g/day in divided doses)
Glycerol (3 tbsp/day in divided doses)
Alpha-Lipoic Acid (500-1000mg daily in divided doses)
* =Integral component of DNP program
** =Of questionable (although possible) importance)
***=Of particular importance to women for prevention of cataracts
****=For the purpose of appetite suppression (may not be needed)
Given all of this information, there are nonetheless more things to
know before you undertake your first DNP cycle. The following tips and
tricks gathered from personal experience and consultations with users
are presented for your aid:
Aim a fan at your head at night. Your head is the most precious
thing on your body and is a prime site for heat loss. Any air
flowing over it will aid in cooling via convection.
Wash your bedding daily. It is a good idea to have some spare
pillowcases on hand, if nothing else. Most likely, you will be
sweating profusely while you sleep, and this will make your bed
smell as enticing as a locker room. Cleanliness is also essential in
the prevention of disease, not to mention the fact that you are
breathing out DNP "fumes" all night and they collect on your
Prevention of disease goes beyond washing your clothes, and
includes all of the normal precautions that you would make to avoid
infection, although in a more exaggerated way. DNP depletes your
body of energy needed to battle pathogens and weakens your immune
system, leaving you ripe for infection and incapable of fighting off
most diseases once they have taken hold.
This is rather intuitive, but be certain to wear loose, light
clothing, preferably of a light color.
Similarly intuitive is the desire to remain in a cool area … be
CERTAIN not to overheat.
Proper hydration is necessary – I have personally consumed up to
8 liters of water per day. Glycerol specifically aids in muscle
hydration, so its use may be very important, particularly when
considering that muscle cells in even a semi-dehydrated state are
prime sites for catabolism.
Cardiovascular work while on DNP – This is a strange issue that
I have been asked about regularly, but am undecided in the direction
to take and generally recommend that the user decide for themselves.
My personal preference is to do cardio with a fan focused on me for
30-35 minutes at a relatively high intensity. This is an area for
personal preference; barring other considerations, just see if you
can handle it or not and go from there. Always be ready to stop if
you feel yourself getting extremely overheated or weak.
Diet - One may wonder why this issue receives such limited
attention; after all, most methods of fat loss require a restrictive
diet of some nature. However, there is no set diet that one must use
to achieve good results with dinitrophenol, only certain factors
that allow the user to decide intelligently how to eat:
Insulin - DNP blunts the effects of insulin; this is a
huge boon for dieters because insulin blocks lipolysis and causes
the storage of adipose tissue. This means that carbohydrate intake
does not need to be strictly limited, although it should stay
reasonable for optimal results.
Body Temperature and Comfort - A general guideline is
that the more carbohydrates eaten, the hotter the user will get
while on DNP. Similarly, overfeeding also produces extreme heat; any
excess calories are thrown off as heat quite readily. For this
reason, along with certain hormonal factors, Duchaine espouses an
Isometric diet while on DNP, and I have followed this personally
with good results.
CKD's - These are extremely impractical while on a
cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD), and are especially dangerous. This
brings up blood glucose considerations; it is important to try to
maintain relatively stable, or at least not severely depressed,
blood glucose levels. If this guideline is not followed, the user
may experience blurred vision and/or extreme fatigue possibly
augmented by fainting or lightheadedness.
Anabolic rebound effect – I still remember the first time I
spoke to Dan Duchaine regarding DNP, and he told me about what, at
the time, seemed impossible. But I have experienced this phenomenon,
and it indeed happens. Possible causes include, but are not limited
to, either an anabolic effect from glycogen supercompensation-induced
cellular expansion, or due to increased mitochondrial density.
Increased mitochondrial density is an adaptive mechanism of the body
and takes place surprisingly quickly in the presence of an uncoupler
such as DNP (or anything else that inhibits oxidative
phosphorylation). Whatever the mechanism of the anabolic rebound
effect may be, the user can expect to gain about 5-7 pounds of
intramuscular water or muscle and lose about the same amount of
subcutaneous and intraperitoneal water within a week after their
last DNP dose. This is probably the most pleasant aspect of using
DNP; the user not only experiences unrivaled fat loss, but also
enjoys a fair amount of hypertrophy without any other supplements or
drugs. Muscle retention, and possibly gain, is improved with careful
attention to several previously discussed considerations such as
proper hydration and intelligent cycling.
Currently, DNP is the most powerful weapon against fat loss in the
bodybuilder's arsenal; however, this does not necessarily mean that it
is right for everyone or is by any means safe. The possibility also
exists that PGF2 may be better for some people, particularly when taking
the fact that it may kill fat cells into consideration. However, the
guidelines given here will allow the user unrivaled fat loss, and will
do so quite safely provided that precautionary measures are taken. While
certainly quite dangerous, it is nonetheless the most effective tool
available today for the loss of bodyfat.