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DNP – the magical fat loss pill

Let me preface this article with a statement that I don’t sell or promote the use of DNP, so dont bother contacting me about it. This is a informational article only.

At the end of the day, you should be smart enough to decide what is a good idea, and what is not.


Everyone that has at least some basic knowledge on fitness and nutrition knows, there is no easy way out. No one simple trick, exercise or supplement to magically lose weight or gain muscle.

So we tend to laugh or at least let out a chuckle every time someone tells us, or even worse, tries to sell us a supplement that does.

You may try as many as you wish, in the end none of them work – just your good ol’ snake oil.

Sadly, we know that to achieve the goals we want to achieve, we need to put in effort and work. We need to train and keep our diet at least somewhat in check – some of us more than others.

But that elusive magic fat loss pill that we all know doesn’t exist. That magical pill I just told you doesn’t exist, well it kind of actually does exist.


DNP or 2,4-Dinitrophenol is an organic compound with the formula C6H4N2O5. It is yellow in colour, crystalline solid that has a sweet, musty odor.

It is a precursor to other chemicals and is biochemically active, inhibiting energy (adenosine triphosphate, ATP) production in cells with mitochondria.

Like caffeine or nicotine, it is a mitochondrial uncoupler (more on this later) only to a much larger degree. That’s why I recommend using them in your own pre-workout.

And due to this it promotes or should I say can produce massive fat loss.

The magic powder, no not cocaine!

Study of its pharmacologic properties shows that it has the power to increase metabolism to very high levels without causing important damage to vital organs and functions (Tainter 1933).


The French used DNP in the manufacture of munitions during the First World War. Since then, it has also been used as a dye, wood preserver, herbicide and photographic developer.

Kind of doesn’t really sound like something you would want to ingest, and yet people do.

It was Maurice Tainter at Stanford University in 1933 who discovered that the human consumption of DNP led to significant weight loss.

There were studies showing that a daily dose of 300–400 mg for 2 weeks resulted in 36–95% increase in an individual’s basal metabolic rate.

So of course it was soon popularised as a weight loss drug and it was used extensively up until 1938.

It was included in over-the-counter medications and was sold to the public without requiring a prescription.

After only its first year on the market Tainter estimated that at least 100,000 persons had been treated with DNP in the United States, in addition to many others abroad.


DNP acts as a protonophore, allowing protons to leak across the inner mitochondrial membrane and thus bypass ATP synthase.

This in turn makes ATP energy production less efficient and it greatly increases metabolic rate. 

In laymans terms, part of the energy that is normally produced from cellular respiration is wasted as heat. You could say, the calories burn away.

Your body becomes less efficient. It’s like having a car, and suddenly it burns more petrol per mile. Every action you do, from sitting to running burns more calories than before.

The inefficiency is proportional to the dose of DNP that is taken. As the dose increases and energy production is made more inefficient.

Metabolic rate increases (and more fat is burned) in order to compensate for the inefficiency and to meet energy demands.

Individual responses with an average metabolic rate increase of 11% for every 100 mg of DNP. And considering the “recommended” dose is 500mg, the increase of metabolic rate is around 50%+.

The building are your fat, and how you feel on DNP


Mitochondrial uncoupling is an effective way to reduce body weight in humans, but using uncouplers such as DNP can be problematic because the toxic dose is close to the therapeutic dose.

Overdosing on it leads to toxicity via excessive heat production, and mitochondrial dysfunction resulting in death. To date, there have been 62 published deaths (with two deliberate suicides) in the medical literature attributed to DNP (Grundlingh et al., 2011).

Some other side effects are:

  • dehydration
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • restlessness
  • flushed skin
  • excessive sweating
  • headaches
  • cataracts
  • death


Should you rob a bank beacuse you’re broke?

Depends which way you lean on. If you feel that if you’re not shreded you might as well be dead, have a blast at it.

I personally think you should use your head, and be smart, but to each their own – you’re old enough.


  1. Tainter, M. L., Stockton, A. B., & Cutting, W. C. (1933). Use of dinitrophenol in obesity and related conditions: a progress report. Journal of the American Medical Association101(19), 1472-1475. http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/245872
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3550200/
  3. Grundlingh, J., Dargan, P. I., El-Zanfaly, M., & Wood, D. M. (2011). 2, 4-dinitrophenol (DNP): a weight loss agent with significant acute toxicity and risk of death. Journal of Medical Toxicology7(3), 205-212. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21739343

Author: Ivan Vlahinić

I am not a scientist. But i don’t have to be a scientist to be able to deftly use the scientific method in your daily life. In fact, you can be one helluva ‘thinker’ (in the scientific sense) and not be a scientist. For instance, nutritionists and personal trainers like me, who use and embrace science and the scientific method are better trainers because of it. Why? Because rather than just being a parrot and telling my clients what to do, because that’s what I have been told when I was younger I understand the "why" of my advice. And if I dont? Then I fully admit that i don't, and that's fine. The more you learn in the field of fitness and nutrition, the more you realize there is a lot of stuff that you dont know. But this is something that is true of all fields of work or life. The scientific method is the single most powerful way of thinking, that's why I embrace it. Anecdotes are nice, but data and facts trumps anecdotes.

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