Is DNP Safe?: The Side Effects

Is DNP Safe?: The Side Effects

With so many fat burners on the market you need to do your research first to make sure you are getting something that will work, and more importantly that it is safe. The industry is rife with many supplements that use illegal components, have unrealistic ingredients and unverified claims about their benefits.

And a fat burner that fits that criteria a lot is 2, 4-Dinitrophenol, also known as DNP.

But what actually is this fat burner, and more importantly; is DNP safe?

In this article you will learn about one of the more dangerous fat burners around and the reasons why you need to avoid it.

  • What is DNP?
  • How does it work?
  • Why is it unsafe?
  • Is it legal?
  • Final word – Is DNP safe?
  • What safe alternatives are available?

What is DNP?

2,4-Dinitrophenol, otherwise referred to as DNP, is an active compound that essentially disrupts normal cellular respiration. It is also known as Dinitro, Nitrophen, Dinosan and Dnoc.

Originally used as an explosive, a pesticide, [1] as well as a range of other industrial processes including- dye, wood preserver, herbicide and photographic developer. [2]

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. [3]

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 [4] – 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.

How does DNP work?

As previously mentioned, this drug disrupts normal cellular respiration leading to an increase in oxygen consumption and metabolic rate at ~11% per 100mg [5].

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.

However, do these benefits outweigh the costs?Key Point: 2, 4-Dinitrophenol disrupts normal cellular respiration leading to increased metabolic rate and heat, and has caused several side effects including death.

Why is DNP so dangerous?

There are a large number of side effects associated with even low doses of 2, 4-Dinitrophenol including:

  • Tachycardia- irregular and rapid heart rate
  • Rapid breathing
  • Fever
  • Dehydration
  • Dizziness and headaches
  • High temperature, sweating and flushed skin
  • Nausea and vomiting

But there is a much more serious side effect you need to be aware of:

According to a study in the Journal of Medical Toxicology it is a supplement that is associated with an unacceptably high rate of significant adverse effects , and that up to 2011 there were 62 published deaths attributed to 2, 4-Dinitrophenol [3].

A number of deaths have been due to people wanting a quick fix weight loss method and some have been bodybuilder related.

As an example, one case study reported that a 22 year old male bodybuilder died after admission to hospital after a change in mental status 16 hours after ingesting DNP. He had a hyperthermic temperature of 102°F, and at the time of death showed signs of delerium and excessive heart rate [2].

Likewise, a case study in the Emergency Medical Journal reported a 46 year old man died 21 hours after ingesting dinitrophenol , presenting symptoms of  profound hyperthermia, acute renal failure, hyperkalaemia and metabolic acidosis [6].

In 2003 the FDA again reminded people that DNP was ‘not fit for human consumption’ following the hospitalisation of a Finish bodybuilder after purchasing yellow ‘fat-burner’ capsules containing 2, 4-Dinitrophenol from the Internet- they were found to contain 380mg of the drug.

A report in 2005 that discussed the symptoms prior to the death of a female teenager [7] who purchased DNP via mail order from the internet concluded that-

Her death, despite prompt medical treatment, underscores the danger of dinitrophenol…

…the easy accessibility and apparent resurgent interest in dinitrophenol as a weight loss agent is extremely timely and troubling.

Key Point: There’s no clearer way to explain the risks of using 2, 4-Dinitrophenol – this is an extremely unsafe supplement and should be avoided at all costs.

Is it legal?

No. It is illegal to purchase and also to distribute at the risk of criminal conviction. It has been an FDA banned drug since 1938.

Final Word – Is DNP Safe?

2, 4-Dinitrophenol, or DNP is a weight loss drug that has been banned since 1938. Whilst its effects are fast acting there are a number of serious side effects that occur, ultimately leading to death. The effects reported with this chemical are severe, with many users experiencing:

a.) Nausea

b.) Vomiting

c.) Overheating

d.) Irregular Heart Rate and more.

The risks from taking even small amounts massively outweigh the 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.

Is there a safer alternative for fat loss?

Yes there is.

It’s important that you choose ingredients that are proven to work but also safe.

Instant Knockout is an industry-leading fat burner that helps you achieve your fat loss goals. It boosts your metabolism in a safe way. It uses ingredients such as cayenne pepper and green tea extract alongside a host of vitamins as well as many other nutrients.

It’s even been endorsed by multiple MMA fighterswho have seen benefits such as:

  • Increased Calorie Burning – Lose fat faster and safely
  • More Energy – Work harder for longer
  • Appetite Control – Reduce food cravings and stay on strict diets with minimal effort
  • Day-Long Fat Burning – Keep that metabolic fire high


  1. McFee, RB et al. Dying to be thin: a dinitrophenol related fatality. Vet Huam Toxicol. 2004. 46(5): 251-4
  2. Grundlingh, J et al. 2,4-dinitrophenol (DNP): a weight loss agent with significant acute toxicity and risk of death. J Med Toxicol. 2011; 7(3): 205-12
  3. Tainter, ML et al. Use of dinitrophenol in obesity and related conditions. A progress report. JAMA. 1933;101:1472–1475.
  4. Kurt, TL et al. Dinitrophenol in weight loss: the poison center and public health safety . Vet Hum Toxicol. (1986)
  5. Dunlop, DM. The use of 2:4-dinitrophenol as a metabolic stimulant. Br Med J. 1934; 24(1): 524-527
  6. Bartlett J et al. Deliberate poisoning with dinitrophenol (DNP): an unlicensed weight loss pillEmerg Med J. 2010; 27: 159–160
  7. Hsiao, AL et al. Pediatric fatality following ingestion of dinitrophenol: postmortem identification of a “dietary supplement”. Clin Toxicol (Phila). 2005;43(4):281-5.