Revision as of 13:50, 5 July 2018 by Sharon (talk | contribs) (Created page with "== Also known as == 2,4-Dinitrophenol, dinitro, nitrophen, dinosan, dnoc, solfo black, aldifen and chemox. == Overview == 2,4-Dinitrophenol, otherwise referred to as DNP, i...")
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)

Also known as

2,4-Dinitrophenol, dinitro, nitrophen, dinosan, dnoc, solfo black, aldifen and chemox.


2,4-Dinitrophenol, otherwise referred to as DNP, is an active compound that essentially disrupts normal cellular respiration [1]. DNP, or 2,4-Dinitrophenol, is a biochemically active organic compound that is capable of hindering cellular ATP production.

Medical usage

Due to the very severe side-effects, which includes death, there are no medical usages.

Other than medical usage

It is considered an industrial chemical. DNP is used in developing photography, killing fungi, and as an industrial pesticide. So while it does work well at burning fat, you're ingesting an industrial poison to do so, and that is no hyperbole [2].

What does it look like?

The chemical is a yellow crystalline powder that has a sweet, musty odour and is soluble in water. The dose of DNP per capsule varies from website to website but it is most commonly sold as either 100mg or 200mg capsules [3]


Nowadays, DNP is sold mostly over the internet under a number of different names, see Also known as. The dose of DNP per capsule varies from website to website but it is most commonly sold as either 100mg or 200mg capsules. Some internet sites have DNP available in bulk quantities, allowing users to purchase kilograms of DNP powder or hundreds/thousands of DNP-containing tablets, as well as offering free anabolic steroids and thyroxine to use in combination with the DNP [4], [5].

Websites often offer some advice for users around the use of DNP, although this is often targeted towards bodybuilders rather than for generic weight loss. A typical regimen would include starting with one capsule of DNP for the first few days followed by increasing doses to a recommended maximum of 400 mg/day, which is then used for up to 2 weeks in duration [4], [5]. These regimens may also include the use of anabolic steroids and/or thyroxine to increase muscle bulk. There is also the suggestion that 'crystalline' DNP is more potent than 'regular' DNP and therefore users should ensure they are aware of which type they are using and additionally, should limit the dose of crystalline DNP to no more than 200 mg/day. These websites additionally describe the potential toxicity associated with the use of DNP including the potential for hyperthermia and death. Advice is provided to users on how to prevent hyperthermia developing, including use of air conditioning/fans and only exercising in cool areas whilst on the DNP phase of a 'treatment cycle' and carrying a thermometer to monitor body temperature [2]. They recommend that should body temperature rise above 38.9'C/102'F, the user should lower the DNP dose, take a very cold bath and ensure adequate hydration with water and juice-based drinks [6].


DNP is not commonly available. You will not find the compound on any pharmaceutical market in any country around the world. This is strictly a compound found on the black market, and even then it can be hard to find. If you do happen to find it, there will be no way to determine if the labelled strength is accurate. You will also have no way to determine if any other ingredients are in the compound. This presents another risk when buying DNP. You will find some steroid suppliers who carry it, but not most, and very few of the generally respected large suppliers will carry the compound [7].

Street price

The website offered DNP at various prices, with 200mg capsules selling at €160/£134 for 100, and 250g of the powdered form, enough to make 1,150 capsules, for €300/£250 [6].


Mechanism of action

As previously mentioned, this drug disrupts normal cellular respiration leading to an increase in oxygen consumption and metabolic rate at 11% per 100mg [8].

DNP works via increasing heat production in cells - a process known as uncoupling. This making cells less efficient with energy and at completing respiration of ATP - this our energy currency and we rely on it for all bodily functions.

Within our cells we have specialized components called mitochondria - these essentially soak up energy so that we can use it for autonomous functions - DNP doesn't allow this process to occur effectively. The consequence of this is that metabolic rate - and body heat - increase dramatically causing weight loss.

There is no question that its effects are effective - with the increase in metabolism of 11% per 100mg come drastic weight loss - some have reported up to 1.5kg of weight per week [1].

Chemically, DNP interacts with the body to raise the core temperature to extremely high temperatures. So in effect, DNP is cooking your insides to such a high degree, it is directly burning bodyfat and inducing lipolysis, the process in which fat cells are used and expended. It induces a process called oxidative phosphorylation which means your body breaks down lipids so it can be converted into chemical energy, but it executes this process is a drastic way. So rather than it naturally occurring, the DNP expedites the process and forces it to start [2].

How is it taken?

There is no hard data available on dosing DNP because it's been banned for almost a hundred years. There is no legitimate testing available so most dosage recommendations are the consequence of trial and error [2].


One of the risks of DNP is that it accelerates the metabolism to a dangerously fast level. Our metabolic system operates at the rate it does for a reason - it is safe. Speeding up the metabolism may help burn off fat, but it can also trigger a number of potentially dangerous side-effects [9], such as -

  • fever,
  • dehydration,
  • nausea,
  • vomiting,
  • restlessness,
  • flushed skin,
  • excessive sweating,
  • dizziness,
  • headaches,
  • rapid breathing,
  • rapid or irregular heartbeat, known as tachycardia [9].
  • yellow bodily fluids,
  • shortness of breath,
  • depletion of electrolytes,
  • insomnia,
  • increase in appetite,
  • shortness of breath,
  • decreased insulin production,
  • decreased T3 levels,
  • yellow skin [10].

The combination of these side-effects can have an extremely damaging effect on the body and can result in coma and, especially, death.

Long-term use can lead to the development of cataracts and skin lesions and may cause damage to the heart and nervous system. There is also evidence from animal studies that DNP is carcinogenic and increases the risk of birth defects [9].

It should be noted that these side-effects are far from mild. Most individuals who take DNP experience most of these side-effects [10].


Is it legal?

No. It is illegal to sell DNP as a weight loss drug and doing so could place you at risk of criminal sanctions in the UK [11]. And in the USA the picture is similar with it being deemed illegal, and it is illegal to purchase and also to distribute at the risk of criminal conviction. It has been an FDA banned drug since 1938 [1].

What if you're caught?

UK sellers of DNP can be prosecuted for offences under the Food Safety Act 1990 and potentially more serious criminal charges. Those selling this dangerous chemical may find themselves serving long prison sentences [12].

Harm reduction

The risks from taking even small amounts of DNP massively outweigh any benefits you may get. It is not a long term solution to weight loss, and it's incredibly dangerous and unregulated, avoid it at all costs [1]. The UK Food Standards Agency go further and state "DNP is poisonous to humans" [13].


DNP has led to the death of at least eight people in the UK since the start of 2015, with a number of others becoming seriously ill [13].


Originally used as an explosive, a pesticide [14], as well as a range of other industrial processes including - dye, wood preserver, herbicide and photographic developer [3].

It was discovered to cause rapid weight loss in 1933 by Stanford University researcher Maurice Tainter who subsequently marketed the drug as an over-the-counter dietary aid [15].

DNP was, after a very short period on the market, classed as 'extremely dangerous and not fit for human consumption' by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938.

In 1981 it made a reappearance when a product called Mitcal became available via private practice [16] - however, the comeback did not go well and many side-effects, as well as one death, were reported. In 1986 the physician who was administering the drug was convicted of drug law violations, and finally jailed for fraud in 2008 due to unsubstantiated medicinal claims [1].

The French used DNP in the manufacture of munitions during the First World War [17], [18]. Since then, it has also been used as a dye, wood preserver, herbicide and photographic developer. It was Maurice Tainter at Stanford University in 1933 who discovered that the human consumption of DNP led to significant weight loss and soon it was popularised as a weight loss drug [15]. It was included in over-the-counter medications and was sold to the public without requiring a prescription.

Its use for those wishing to lose weight was encouraged by reports of rapid, safe weight loss [18], [15]. DNP can cause a significant increase in the basal metabolic rate [18], [15]. This leads to weight loss by burning more fat and carbohydrates [19], and weight loss of up to 1.5 kg per week is reported without significant side-effects. However, there seems to be significant variation in individual responses with an average metabolic rate increase of 11% for every 100 mg of DNP when taken regularly [8], [20], [21]. As more side-effects, especially cataracts, were reported, DNP was labelled as 'extremely dangerous and not fit for human consumption' by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938 [22], [23].

After 1938, medical prescription of DNP stopped and cases of poisoning due to medical intake were no longer reported, but case reports of deaths associated with the ingestion of DNP still emerged [24], [25]. It is anecdotally reported to have been prescribed to the Russian soldiers during World War 2 to keep them warm [26], [3].

In 1981, a physician named Dr. Bachynsky, in Texas, USA processed industrial DNP into tablets which he marketed/dispensed under the trade name 'Mitcal' through his private weight loss clinic [26]. He advertised that weight loss occurred using 'Mitcal' through a mechanism he called intracellular hyperthermia therapy. It is alleged in subsequent court proceedings that over 14,000 people were treated by Dr. Bachynsky. Individuals using Mitcal started reporting adverse effects, such as fever, shortness of breath and sweating, to the US Food and Drugs Administration in late 1982. Additionally, there was a fatality associated with an intentional overdose of 'Mitcal' in 1984. Following further investigation, Dr. Bachynsky was convicted in 1986 of drug law violations, fined and prohibited from dispensing DNP to any patients. However, he continued to use DNP for a variety of different 'medicinal claims' and was eventually jailed for fraud in 2008 in the USA in relation to the marketing of a company that was developing DNP being used in Europe as a cancer treatment known as intracellular hyperthermia therapy [27].

The UK Food Standard Agency issued a warning in 2003, labelling DNP as 'not fit for human consumption'. This warning was aimed specifically at bodybuilders, to avoid its use due to significant potential for short-term and long-term harm, following the hospitalisation of a Finish bodybuilder after having taken DNP [13].

Despite this, DNP remains widely available and can be purchased over the internet, particularly from online pharmacies. As noted above, DNP has been banned as a weight loss drug in the USA, and in the UK, it has been labelled as a hazardous chemical under the Clean Air Act [22], [13]. Despite this legislation and warnings of harm associated with its use, reports of deaths due to the use of DNP have increased in the last few years, and the last decade has seen the highest number of case reports from death due to intentional dinitrophenol overdose [3].


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 instantknockout, Is DNP Safe?: The Side Effects, 2016,
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Chaiet, D., DNP (2,4-Dinitrophenol), 2017,
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Grundlingh, J. and Dargan, P.I. and El-Zanfaly, M. and Wood, D.M., 2,4-dinitrophenol (DNP): a weight loss agent with significant acute toxicity and risk of death, Journal of Medical Toxicology, 2011, 7, 3, 205-212, 10.1007/s13181-011-0162-6,
  4. 4.0 4.1, Buy Dinitrophenol, 2011,, NB The site is no longer available
  5. 5.0 5.1, Welcome to, 2011,
  6. 6.0 6.1 Sawer, P. and Mendick, R., The deadly trail of the killer slimming drug DNP, 2013,
  7., DNP (2,4-Dinitrophenol), 2018,
  8. 8.0 8.1 Dunlop, D.M., The use of 2:4-dinitrophenol as a metabolic stimulant, British Medical Journal, 1934, 24, 1, 524-527,
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 NHS, Warnings issued over deadly DNP diet drug, 2013,
  10. 10.0 10.1 Shaw, S., Are Bodybuilders Dying for DNP?, 2015,
  11. NHS, New warnings issued over deadly DNP diet drug, 2014,
  12., 2,4-dinitrophenol (DNP), 2017,
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 FSA, Food Standards Agency issues urgent advice on consumption of 'fat burner' capsules containing DNP, 2011,
  14. McFee, R.B. and Caraccio, T.R. and McGuigan, M.A. and Reynolds, S.A. and Bellanger, P., Dying to be thin: a dinitrophenol related fatality, Veterinary and Human Toxicology, 2004, 46, 5, 251-254,
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Tainter, M.L. and Stockton, A.B. and Cutting, W.C., Use of dinitrophenol in obesity and related conditions, Journal of the American Medical Association, 1933, 101, 19, 1472-1475, 10.1001/jama.1933.02740440032009,
  16. Kurt, T.L. and Anderson, R. and Petty, C. and Bost, R. and Reed, G. and Holland, J., Dinitrophenol in weight loss: the poison center and public health safety, Veterinary and Human Toxicology, 1986, 28, 6, 574-575,
  17. Perkins, R.G., A study of munitions intoxications in France, Public Health Reports, 1919, 34, 2335
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 Cutting, W.C. and Mehrtens, H.G. and Tainter M.L., Actions and uses of dinitrophenol, Journal of the American Medical Association, 1933, 101, 193-195
  19. Tainter, M.L. and Cutting, W.C. and Hines, E., Effects of moderate doses of dinitrophenol on the energy exchange and nitrogen metabolism of patients under conditions of restricted dietary, Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, 1935, 55, 326-353,
  20. Tainter, M.L., Treatment of acute dinitrophenol poisoning, Journal of the American Medical Association, 1935, 104, 1071-1072,
  21. Harper, J.A. and Dickinson, K. and Brand, M.D., Mitochondrial uncoupling as a target for drug development for the treatment of obesity, Obesity Reviews, 2001, 2, 255-265,
  22. 22.0 22.1 Colman, E., Dinitrophenol and obesity: an early twentieth-century regulatory dilemma, Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, 2007, 48, 115-117,
  23. atsdr, Toxicological profile of dinitrophenols, 1995,, Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry
  24. Gisclard, J.B. and Woodward, M.M., 2,4-Dinitrophenol poisoning; a case report, Journal of Industrial Hygiene & Toxicology, 1946, 28, 47-51
  25. Cann, H.M. and Verhulst, H.L., Fatality from acute dinitrophenol derivate poisoning, American Journal of Diseases of Children, 1960, 100, 947-948
  26. 26.0 26.1 Kurt, T.L. and Anderson, R. and Petty, C. and Bost, R. and Reed, G. and Holland, J., Dinitrophenol in weight loss: the poison centre and public safety, Veterinary and Human Toxicology, 1986, 28, 574-575,
  27. Miami FBI, Helvetia defendant sentenced to 14 years on wire and securities fraud, 2008,