DNP: The most effective and dangerous drug for fat loss

by: Josh Hodnik

Like many of the chemicals used today by bodybuilders and athletes of all sports, 2,4-Dinitrophenol was introduced by the late steroid guru Dan Duchaine. After researching a compound and basing a theory, Duchaine often tested these compunds on himself and other people in his circle. For decades Dan treated himself as a lab rat, taking in chemical after chemical that he thought would be useful in the sport of bodybuilding, with DNP being one of the chemicals tested.

It was 1998, unemployment was low and economic growth was the best it had been in years, the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal was plastered across every major news outlet, and John Elway led his Denver Broncos for their second Super Bowl victory over the Atlanta Falcons. This is the year when I first started reading about DNP. This substance is something that really intrigued me. A chemical that seemed to melt fat at a rate of at least a pound a day without caloric change, and there seemed to be little to no muscle loss with users. This seemed like magic in a little yellow capsule to me.


The history and use of DNP is quite interesting. Almost every other compound used by bodybuilders to build muscle and burn fat has a medical use in this country or another country throughout the world. This is not the case with DNP, as it is primarily used in the manufacturing of dyes, wood preservatives, and as a pesticide. A study released in 1931 by Stanford University clearly stated DNP’s effects on shedding body fat. By 1933 DNP became a popular diet pill. However, it was removed from the market in 1938 after many people died or became ill from taking it.

How it Works

This drug works by inhibiting the F0F1 adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, synthase molecule in your body. ATP is used in cellular energy transfer, transporting energy within your cells. Your body converts adenosine diphosphate into ATP and converts it back to adenosine phosphate after it is used. DNP inhibits this synthesis, and excess energy is expelled as heat. This results in burning up to 50% more calories. This is what every dieter dreams of.

How it is used

Tolerance is often built when taking dieting drugs (or any drugs for that matter). The body’s receptors don’t respond to a drug like it did during the initial use after it has been taken for a lengthy period of time. This is the complete opposite with DNP. Generally, a user will not take DNP for any longer than 8 days at a time. During this time the user can expect to lose up to 12-14 pounds. If you are one of the many that have not taken DNP you are probably wondering why no longer than 8 days. Instead of growing a tolerance to DNP, the fat burning effects and side effects grow more intense as time passes. You may only feel slightly warm the first few days, but when you get to the last few days you will be feeling horrible. You will sweat constantly no matter how how cold the air is, and you will feel extremely lethargic. This drug is putting off excess heat and too much of it will definitely cook you from the inside out (meaning you'll die) and dying by having your insides cook you is not a pleasant way to go. Internet bodybuilder Zyzz (the guy in the picture) is reported to have used DNP starting in 2009 to help get his extremely ripped look (prior to his dying from chemical misadventures, of course).

Users generally start out with 200mg on the first day while working their way up to 600mg with a 200mg dose increase every 2-3 days. I have heard of people going beyond this dose, and I have heard of people going to the hospital over this as well.

Side Effects

You probably thought that the constant sweating, lack of energy, and the chance of cooking your insides were bad enough, but there is more. Phenols are reputed as carcinogenic. DNP has never been proven to cause cancer but there is reason for concern. The production of free radicals and the release of various compounds stored in fat tissue during DNP’s rapid oxidation may also be harmful. There is a small chance (1%) of getting cataracts while using DNP. I am assuming this is due to the flood of free radicals. Low levels of ATP are associated with muscle soreness, so this will be expected when taking DNP. Other side effects one might expect are allergic reactions, carbohydrate cravings, and insomnia.

My Experience

I have gone a few rounds with DNP in 2001 and 2002. I will say that the fat loss was beyond great. Once I was able to fully hydrate, my muscles looked full again, and I was extremely lean. The results were great, but the side effects while taking DNP were worse than what I read. It is hard to describe to another a person the feeling of constantly being so hot that you are always pouring in sweat. Not only did I not want to go to the gym, but I found it hard to complete any daily tasks that one would normally do. You are constantly drained. I found myself changing my sheets every day due to the night sweats. During the time that I took DNP my diet was poor, and I used this to compensate for it. Since then I have gained a greater understanding of diet and supplements, and I know that drugs do not make up for lack of discipline. Taking DNP is a roll of the dice. You may end up with less bodyfat at the end of a cycle, or you might end up in the hospital or dead. I do believe that DNP is the most potent drug for fat loss, but it is by far the most dangerous!