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DNP (2,4-dinitrophenol)

DNP was first introduced to the bodybuilding world by Dan Duchaine. In the late 90s, the body building magazine Muscle Media 2000 was offering this special deal to anyone who subscribed to their magazine. If you subscribed, you got a bunch of audio cassettes containing interviews with 10 bodybuilding experts. Those cassettes included interviews with noted bodybuilding experts, and Im sure they were very interesting. I only listened to two of them, and the other eight collected dust in a drawer somewhere in my bedroom, Im sure. But one of the two I listened to had an interview with Dan Duchaine on it, which ended with him promising to tell the bodybuilding world about a new substance which would revolutionize the bodybuilding world. Fast forward a year, and there was a question in MM2K asking him to let the cat out of the bag.

What he did was tell us about DNP. Since then, we have a lot more experience with it, due to feedback from bodybuilders who have used it, and figured out the optimal doses and such from trial and error. The first thing that I will tell you about DNP is the first thing Mr. Duchaine said about it:

DNP Side Effects

DNP is Dangerous.

If you screw up using it, you may go blind, or end up in the hospital on an ice bed receiving ice-water enemas as the doctors frantically try to make the temperature of your yellow and sweaty body go back down. And no, Im not joking. On the positive side, very few people have died from DNP use, although it remains a distinct possibility, as some DNP related fatalities have been reported. (14)(23)

Outside the Bodybuilding world, DNP is used to make certain dyes, break open a capsule of it and youll see that the distinct color you get on your hands is nearly impossible to wash off. It can also be used as a fungicide, herbicide, and insecticide. Before that, in the early part of the 1900s it was used as an explosive.

Clearly, this is stuff you dont want to take lightly.

DNP works by uncoupling oxidative phosphorylation, which increases the bodys temperature and metabolic rate (1). Synthesis of fatty acid in adipose tissue requires cooperation of mitochondrial and cytoplasmic enzymes. Mitochondria release energy from food molecules and transform energy into useable form via the production of ATP. ATP is the primary carrier of energy within your cells, and most cells die quickly in the absence of it. ATP in turn powers your muscles. What does DNP have to do with all this? DNP depletes your muscles ATP(4), thus requiring your mitochondria to convert more energy from food molecules, and thus create more ATP to replace what was lost. This makes your body use more energy to do anything from walking the dog to benching 315lbs. In addition, since cellular levels of all these metabolites depend on the efficiency of mitochondrial energy conversion, a mitochondrial proton leak via uncoupling proteins (UCPs) could modulate Fatty Acid synthesis.(8) Paradoxically, DNP inhibits muscle contraction, even though it accelerates the ATPase activity activity of isolated myosin(13). ATPase is the enzyme that causes ATP molecules to release the energy they store, and myosin is a protein that (along with actin) is responsible for both muscular contraction and relaxation.

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DNP Weight Loss

All of this tells me that your body will need to create more energy than usual to keep up with the demands DNP is placing on it. In addition, it will have to use more of the food you take in to produce that much-needed energy, and less of that food to create and store fat. In fact, youll start using stored fat as energy to attenuate the energy deficit DNP creates. Ive seen studies on animals where a +60% increase in metabolic rate is achieved with DNP use (9), although I feel that in humans, the rate may actually be higher. My speculation is that proper DNP use in humans can net a 40-80% rise in BMR (basal metabolic rate). This is all from hypermetabolism, or the increase in metabolism or your bodys need to use more energy to perform tasks.

So what happens when your body requires more energy to do today the same things it did yesterday? You lose more fat today than you did yesterday...in this case, a lot more. What else? You get tired more quickly as your body struggles to convert food into energy. Your endurance will suffer. Your staying power in the last few reps of a set will vanish. Your ability to complete the same amount of sets as you did yesterday, with the same intensity and weights will suffer. But that wont seem like much of a big deal to you at the time, because you probably wont get much of a "pump" at all from the workouts you are completing because DNP reduces the amount of available glycogen in your muscles(4) (5)(6). DNP will also increase your rate of ventilation, as your lungs try to get oxygen into your muscles (16). Your blood will be moving a bit slower than usual, as DNP will increase the viscosity (thickness) of it. Basically, it will increase your bodys need for oxygen as well as your blood viscosity (3), and it nearly doubles the rate of oxygen consumption in muscles (11). Thus, your body will have to work much harder to oxygenate your blood, and then transport it to working muscles. Cardiac output will then increase proportion to this new rate of oxygen consumption (15).If you are an athlete, youll play like garbage on DNP because of all that stuff I just mentioned. For these reasons, I see it as very useful for a bodybuilder (who only has aesthetics to be worried about, not functional ability or performance), but not very useful for an athlete. If (and this is a big if), you are badly out of shape and fat before you have training camp for your sports preseason, then I suppose you can try to use this stuff to lose some fast weight. But in all honesty, a 20 day cycle of DNP, no less than a month away from training camp is all Id risk. Youll lose some weight, and only have to keep it off for a month until training camp starts. I really want to stress, though, that this stuff is an exceptionally poor choice for use by an athlete. And remember that part I told you about earlier, about DNP inhibiting muscle contraction? Yeah, thatll make you weaker, also.

DNP Fat Loss

Speaking about getting weaker, DNP will lower Thyroid (T3) and Thyroid Stimulating Hormone levels (7). Lower thyroid levels are positively correlated with lethargy (tiredness) and muscle weakness. So its pretty fair to say that just as DNP makes you lose fat via several mechanisms, its just as fair to say that it will make you feel like garbage through several mechanisms. Dont get me wrong, not everyone feels like total garbage on DNP, but its by far the most common side effect Ive heard of, next to bad breath. No, really. Oh, and I almost forgot yellow(ish?) sweat and body odor thats brutal. Then theres this weird taste in your mouth .On the bright side, were talking about fat loss of almost a half a kilogram per day (1lb/day), when DNP is properly used.

One of the most worrying side effect of DNP use is its ability to cause vision problems (19)(20). Realistically, you should be alright if you keep your doses and duration of use reasonable.

A lot of the side effects (at least the more dangerous ones, including the ones associated with vision problems) need to be addressed before I tell you how much DNP you can use, and for how long. First of all, you will want to make sure you are taking in enough carbs. Yeah, thats right, a ketogenic diet (thats a diet with no carbs, essentially) is too dangerous to consider with DNP use. In fact, I recommend taking in a good amount of carbs after your workouts, at least 1-2g/kg of bodyweight. Glucose metabolism is enhanced in less than a week (21), and Im wary of depriving your body of carbs while using DNP. All of these extra carbs are going to make you sweat more, as your body literally burns them up. Id still say you can take in as many carbs as you want& and youll want a lot (carb-cravings are a side effect of DNP use).

The other thing you want to use is pyruvate, which at the very least will have occularprotective properties (yes, I made that word up, and it means something that protects your eyes)(22). Pyruvate will also have some other cool effects on your bodys energy production ability, but here, were primarily concerned with not developing cataracts or floaters in our vision.

Thankfully, DNP is not particularly hard on your heart, blood pressure, or liver. The only reason youll experience increases in cardiac output is as a response to the increased ventilation DNP will cause while you are exerting any kind of muscular force, and even then it isnt particularly dangerous (3)(6)(11)(15). Most DNP users feel this effect only vaguely, certainly nothing compared to what would be experienced with use of Ephedrine or maybe even caffeine. So were really only dealing with the lowering of thyroid values and the possible eyesight problems. Oh& and that pesky "death thing"&

So far, we know we need to keep some carbs in our body, and take some pyruvate. I can only assume you will also be taking a multivitamin/mineral while using DNP, just to keep all of our bases covered. Theres also some good reasons to take an energy supplement with DNP use, since it will sap energy out of you. I recommend something in the morning, and pre-workout, as a minimal insurance against feeling too tired all the time. Also, you want to take some T3 with your DNP, because of DNPs aforementioned ability to lower conversion of T4 into T3, 50-100mcgs/day should suffice. Taurine and potassium are popular additions to a DNP cycle for many experienced users& they may not help, but if cramping becomes an issue, then they could help. Because wed never even consider using DNP and not taking in enough water, right? Id suggest water intake be kept obscenely high, and as close to two gallons per day as you can get.

So now that you know all about DNP, and how to avoid most of the negative side effects, Ill tell you how much to take. From my research, Id say 2mgs/kg-5mgs/kg is optimal. If I were going to use this stuff personally, Id stay on the low end of that, but I am aware that the "Underground Standard" is 600mgs/day. Thats still a reasonably safe dose, for most. Ill also say that were I to personally use DNP, I would limit its use to less than 3 weeks, 20 days is the longest Im comfortable recommending.

Buy DNP

Even at a high(ish) dose, this stuff is very cheap, the UnderGround Lab most popular for this stuff sells it for around a dollar per 200mg pill, so youre looking at $20-60 to lose 10-20lbs of fat. Its a bargain, by any standard, if you do it properly and safely.

DNP References:

  1. Effects of salicylate and 2,4-dinitrophenol on respiration and metabolism. J Appl Physiol, Oct 1982; 53: 925 - 929.
  2. Role of peripheral tissue receptors in stimulation of ventilation by 2,4-dinitrophenol. Journal of Applied Physiology, Vol 47, Issue 5 1066-1073, Copyright 1979 by American Physiological Society
  3. Regional hemodynamic responses to hypoxia and hypermetabolism in polycythemic dogs. Journal of Applied Physiology, Vol 67, Issue 1 96-102, Copyright 1989 by American Physiological Society
  4. Effect of prolonged anaerobiosis on 125I-insulin binding to rat soleus muscle: permissive effect of ATP. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol, Dec 1978; 235: 606 - 613.
  5. Effect of prolonged anaerobiosis on 125I-insulin binding to rat soleus muscle: permissive effect of ATP Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab, Dec 1978; 235: 606 - 613.
  6. Studies on the Effects of 2:4 Dinitrophenol on Liverless and Diabetic Dogs. Am J Physiol -- Legacy Content, Sep 1951; 167: 224 - 232.
  7. Dnitrophenol--a dangerous doping agent. Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2002 May 30;122(14):1363-4. Norwegian.
  8. Decreased fatty acid synthesis due to mitochondrial uncoupling in adipose tissue. FASEB J. 2000 Sep;14(12):1793-800.
  9. The effect of 2,4-dinitrophenol on the metabolic rate of bobwhite quail. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 1993 Dec;123(2):226-33.
  10. The mitochondrial uncoupling agent 2,4-dinitrophenol improves mitochondrial function, attenuates oxidative damage, and increases white matter sparing in the contused spinal cord. J Neurotrauma. 2004 Oct;21(10):1396-404.
  11. The mitochondrial uncoupling agent 2,4-dinitrophenol improves mitochondrial function, attenuates oxidative damage, and increases white matter sparing in the contused spinal cord.J Neurotrauma. 2004 Oct;21(10):1396-404.
  12. Mitochondrial coupling in vivo in mouse skeletal muscle. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2004 Feb;286(2):C457-63. Epub 2003 Oct 1.
  13. Probing actomyosin interactions with 2,4-dinitrophenol. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2005 May 15;1748(2):165-73. Epub 2005 Jan 19.
  14. Dying to be thin: a dinitrophenol related fatality. Vet Hum Toxicol. 2004 Oct;46(5):251-4.
  15. Regulation of cardiac output during 2,4-dinitrophenol-induced tissue hypermetabolism in the dog.Clin Sci Mol Med. 1977 Jul;53(1):17-25.
  16. Role of tissue hypermetabolism in stimulation of ventilation by dinitrophenol. J Appl Physiol. 1977 Jul;43(1):72-4.
  17. Comparison of cardiac output responses to 2,4-dinitrophenol-induced hypermetabolism and muscular work.J Clin Invest. 1973 Sep;52(9):2283-92.
  18. Mitochondrial uncoupling as a target for drug development for the treatment of obesity.Obes Rev. 2001 Nov;2(4):255-65.
  19. Energy substrate requirements for survival of rat retinal cells in culture: the importance of glucose and monocarboxylates.J Neurochem. 2005 May;93(3):686-97.
  20. 2,4-Dinitrophenol pharmacologically promotes retinal detachment in rabbits. Retina. 2005 Apr-May;25(3):339-44.
  21. Effect of 2,4-dinitrophenol on the energy metabolism of cattle embryos produced by in vitro fertilization and culture. Reprod Fertil Dev. 2002;14(5-6):339-43.
  22. Energy substrate requirements for survival of rat retinal cells in culture: the importance of glucose and monocarboxylates. J Neurochem. 2005 May;93(3):686-97.
  23. Tainter, M. L. et al., "A Case of Fatal Dinitrophenol Poisoning," JAMA 102, pp. 1147-1149 (1934).

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