By Josh Hodnik
Like many of the chemicals used today by bodybuilders and athletes in all sporting codes, 2,4-Dinitrophenol (DNP) was introduced to the market by the late steroid guru Dan Duchaine. After researching a compound and basing a theory on his findings, Duchaine often tested these compounds 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, including DNP.
It was 1998 when I first started reading about DNP and this substance really intrigued me. It was a chemical that seemed to melt fat at a rate of at least a pound a day, without the prerequisite drop in calorie consumption. Users also seemed to experience little or no muscle loss while using DNP. 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, but this is not the case with DNP. It is primarily used in the manufacturing of dyes, wood preservatives and as a pesticide. A study released in 1931 by Stanford University clearly highlighted DNP’s ability to shed 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 after taking it.
How it Works
This drug works by inhibiting the F0F1 adenosine triphosphate (ATP) synthase molecule in your body. ATP is used in cellular energy production as your mitochondria converts adenosine diphosphate (ADP) into ATP through a cyclical process known as oxidative phosphorylation. DNP inhibits this synthesis and excess energy is expelled as heat. This resultant spike in thermogenesis burns up to 50% more calories – a scenario that every dieter dreams of.
How it is used
Tolerance is often built up when taking diet drugs and supplements (or any drugs for that matter). This means that the body’s receptors won’t respond to a drug like they 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 eight days at a time. During this time the user can expect to lose up to 12-14 pounds. This usage cycle is only eight days long because, instead of developing a tolerance to DNP, the fat burning effects and side effects grow more intense over time. You may only feel slightly warm the first few days, but when you get to the last few days of your cycle you will likely feel horrible. You will sweat constantly, no matter how cold the air is and you will feel extremely lethargic. This drug has the potential to generate so much heat that it can literally cook you from the inside out, which will result in death, and dying by having your insides cooked is not a pleasant way to go.
If you thought that the constant sweating, lack of energy and the chances of cooking your insides were bad enough, there is still more to this drug. Phenols are reputedly carcinogenic and while DNP has never been proven to cause cancer, 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 also a chance of cataracts forming in your eyes while using DNP, which is most probably attributable to the flood of free radicals that are produced. Low levels of ATP are also associated with muscle soreness, so this should be expected when taking DNP. Other side effects one might expect are allergic reactions, carbohydrate cravings and insomnia.
I have gone a few rounds with DNP, in 2001 and 2002 and I will say that the fat loss was beyond belief. Once I was able to fully rehydrate myself and when my muscles looked full again I was extremely lean. The results were great, but the side effects while taking DNP were worse than what I had read about. It is hard to describe the constant feeling of being hot and overheating to another person. It was so hectic that you are constantly drenched in sweat. I also found myself changing my sheets every day due to the night sweats.
I was also so lethargic and drained that I found it hard to complete many of the daily tasks that one would normally do and I definitely didn’t have the energy to go to the gym. 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. In my experience taking DNP is a roll of the dice. You may end up with less body fat at the end of a cycle, but you may also end up in hospital or, worse, in the morgue. While I believe that DNP is the most potent drug for fat loss ever produced, it is by far the most dangerous too.