Why is 2,4 Dinitrophenol Dangerous- DNP Side Effects

2, 4 dinitrophenol dnp capsules 100mg 250mg

If you’ve been doing your research on 2,4-Dinitrophenol (DNP), you’re likely aware how dangerous it can be. A simple Google search will reveal a wealth of articles that break down all of DNP’s dangerous side effects.

Simply put, DNP is dangerous. Dozens of people have died after taking the drug, and many more have been hospitalized. It’s not for everyone, and you should give serious thought to whether DNP is the right option for you. 

You may be asking yourself why so many people are willing to risk their health to take DNP. Yes, DNP comes with a staggering amount of side effects. Still, its ability to induce significant weight loss very quickly makes it highly appealing, especially amongst bodybuilders and other groups that seek to eliminate fat while maintaining muscle mass. 

There’s no getting around the fact that DNP can be lethal. However, thousands of people successfully use DNP every day. Proper dosages and preparation are key to using the drug safely. Misuse and ignorance of how DNP will affect your body is typically where things go wrong. When using DNP, education can save your life.

2,4-Dinitrophenol, commonly referred to as DNP, is an active compound that disrupts normal cellular respiration leading to increased oxygen consumption and metabolic rate at 11% per 100 mg. 

As DNP works its way through your system, it produces heat production in cells, a process called uncoupling. This process makes your cells less efficient with energy and at completing respiration of ATP. 

Our cells house specialized components called mitochondria – think of these as batteries that we rely on to provide energy for autonomous functions – which DNP stops from doing their job correctly. As a result, DNP causes your metabolic rate (as well as your body heat) to increase significantly, which results in dramatic weight loss. 

DNP was never meant to be used as a weight-loss drug. It was developed for industrial purposes by the French in the manufacturing process of munitions during the First World War. 

It was eventually discovered that DNP had a variety of uses, such as wood preserver, herbicide, dye, and photographic developer. It wasn’t until 1933 that it was discovered that DNP could be used for weight loss purposes. 

Early clinical studies reported that DNP users experienced weight loss of 1.5 kg per week “without significant side effects.” In terms of health and safety, these findings were very misleading. 

It was later revealed that only a small dosage of DNP was needed to fall within a therapeutic range. An overdose could prove to be fatal, as many people unfortunately discovered over the coming decades. 

The same studies found there was a baseline metabolic increase of 11% per 100 mg of DNP. In other words, DNP users would require 11% more calories than average to maintain a consistent weight. 

The combination of severe side effects and fatalities led to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938, which labeled DNP as “not fit for human consumption.” Despite this, DNP has been making a comeback in recent years.  

What makes DNP dangerous?

Even low dosages of DNP can cause users to experience uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous side effects, such as: 

  • Fever 
  • Vomiting 
  • Rapid breathing 
  • Dizziness 
  • Headaches 
  • Flushed skin 
  • Nausea 
  • Dehydration 
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat 

These side effects, while severe in their own way, are considered to be mild when compared to the more severe reactions you may experience while taking DNP

A study in the Journal of Medical Toxicology found DNP to be a supplement that’s associated with an unacceptably high rate of significant adverse effects. By 2011, 62 deaths could be attributed to DNP use.

Many deaths can be linked to individuals who were seeking a “quick fix” weight loss solution, often taking more than the recommended dosage to induce faster results. As a result, many of these individuals succumbed to the more severe side effects of DNP

For instance, a case study found that a 22-year-old male bodybuilder died after a change in mental status 16 hours after taking DNP. After being admitted to the hospital, it was discovered he had a hyperthermic temperature of 102°F. Upon his death, he showed signs of excessive heart rate and delirium. 

Another case study found in the Emergency Medical Journal reported the case of a 46-year-old male who died only 21 hours after taking DNP. Before his death, he exhibited symptoms of hyperkalemia (high potassium levels), profound hyperthermia, metabolic acidosis, and acute renal failure. 

An In Depth Look at the Side Effects of DNP

When DNP is consumed, it supercharges your metabolism, resulting in rapid weight loss. This process is the primary reason DNP can be so dangerous – our metabolic processes already operate at safe levels. 

By speeding it up, we disrupt an intricate balance, which results in side effects. Let’s take a look at the most common side-effects associated with DNP use, and how you can prepare for them.

bodybuilding dnp

Cardiovascular failure 

When DNP is in your system, it greatly decreases the efficiency of ATP production. As such, the carbs you consume cannot be used as energy, but will instead be expelled from your body in the form of heat.  

This sudden and uncontrollable increase in heat can cause the user to experience cardiovascular failure, which is the most common form of death amongst DNP users. 

Though nothing can be done about this sudden influx of heat, you can typically keep yourself stabilized by drinking plenty of fluids to stay hydrated. You can also adopt a zero/low-carb diet to avoid significant heat flare-ups. 


Hyperthermia, as opposed to its more recognizable counterpart hypothermia, is your body’s response to a severe increase in body temperature. Hyperthermia is actually a blanket term that references a range of conditions that take place when your body’s heat-regulation system can’t handle a significant rise in temperature.  

Typically, you will experience hyperthermia when your body temperature rises above 104°F (40°C). To put this in perspective, a body temperature of 95°F (35°C) or lower is considered hypothermic, whereas the average body temperature generally sits around 98.6°F (37°C).

When you’re experiencing hyperthermia, and aren’t able to cool yourself through sweating, you’ll eventually experience the effects of heat stress that include: 

  • Headaches 
  • Dizziness 
  • Weakness 
  • Nausea 
  • Thirst 

All of the above signs of heat stress fall in line with the side effects experienced by someone who has ingested DNP. If you’re experiencing any symptoms of heat stress, immediately relocate to a cooler area and rest.  

Drink plenty of water or other fluids with electrolytes that will help to rehydrate you. If your symptoms worsen, seek medical attention immediately. 

Depleted electrolytes 

Whether you realize it or not, your body has electricity running through it. These electric charges maintain pH levels, water balance and muscle function, amongst other processes. 

The electric charges in your body originate from minerals known as electrolytes, the most common being calcium, potassium, sodium, phosphorous, and magnesium. Should all of the electrolytes in your system become depleted entirely, your body will no longer be able to function, resulting in death. 

One of the easiest and most common ways to lose electrolytes is through sweating and vomiting, which are common side effects of DNP. To counter this, drink plenty of fluids, such as water and sports drinks, which are rich in electrolytes.  

dnp sweats


Insomnia is a sleep disorder that is characterized by an inability to fall and/or stay asleep. More research is needed, but DNP usage has been tied to cases of insomnia. It can be reasoned that a combination of the various symptoms experienced by someone who has taken DNP can ultimately result in insomnia, though more studies are needed before a conclusive hypothesis can be made. 

Symptoms of insomnia include difficulty falling asleep, waking up throughout the night, feeling tired upon waking and waking up too early in the morning. There are two primary forms of insomnia: primary insomnia and secondary insomnia. 

Primary insomnia occurs when a person has trouble falling asleep when there are no health complications at play that may be causing the condition to occur. Secondary insomnia, on the other hand, occurs when an individual is experiencing problems falling asleep because of outside influence, such as DNP.

Unfortunately, there is no public record of how to combat insomnia while taking DNP. Your best bet is to wait for the chemical to pass through your system. 

Diaphoresis (excessive sweating) 

Diaphoresis occurs when you sweat in excessive amounts. As we know, DNP causes your body to heat up significantly, which in turn could result in excessive sweating. 

In most instances, diaphoresis will affect your entire body as opposed to just one section. This condition is sometimes called secondary hyperhidrosis. If you’re experiencing diaphoresis while taking DNP, don’t panic. 

As your temperature rises, your nervous system will send a signal to your sweat glands to release salty fluid that we know as sweat. Sweat is simply your body’s attempt to cool itself down when you become too hot. 

dnp sides

As sweat evaporates, it will cool the surface of your skin and reduce your core body temperature. If you begin to sweat excessively while taking DNP, move to a cooler location, and keep yourself hydrated. 

Elevated blood pressure 

In most instances, elevated blood pressure occurs from poor lifestyle choices. Outside influences can also cause your blood pressure to rise and serves as one of the unfortunate side effects of taking DNP. When left untreated, elevated blood pressure can lead to high blood pressure (hypertension). 

Both elevated blood pressure and high blood pressure can increase your chances of having a stroke, heart failure, or heart attack. The most dangerous aspect of elevated blood pressure is that it doesn’t have any discernable symptoms.

Furthermore, elevated blood pressure can only be detected with a high blood pressure test. As such, it falls upon the shoulders of the user to understand the potential risks of elevated blood pressure when taking DNP.

Occasional convulsions 

A convulsion is a sudden, violent, irregular movement of a limb or the body, caused by involuntary contraction of muscles. A number of factors come into play that can cause convulsions to occur, such as stroke, fever, head or brain injury, epilepsy, or certain medications. 

Because DNP works at the molecular level, it can be challenging to determine whether or not an individual will experience a convulsion while taking the drug. 

The primary danger posed by convulsions is that they’re generally unexpected and can be very alarming when they occur. The length a convulsion may last can vary; it may last just a few seconds, or it could go on for several minutes. 

This is one of the unfortunate side effects of taking DNP that can be difficult to prepare for. When using DNP, if possible, try to be around other people, as this will serve as your best defense should you experience a convulsion. Instruct those around you to contact emergency services and to stay by your side until help arrives. 

dnp vomiting

Nausea and vomiting

Nausea and vomiting generally occur when your body is attempting to reject something. If you feel nauseous or if you vomit after taking DNP, don’t panic. Nausea and vomiting, within itself, is harmless. It is often indicative, however, of a much more serious issue. 

While there are many factors at play that can cause nausea and subsequent vomiting, dehydration is the most likely culprit. Dehydration is a real threat faced by DNP users because it causes your body temperature to rise rapidly.  

As such, understand the signs of dehydration and act accordingly to rehydrate yourself. This includes sunken eyes, dry lips and mouth, and rapid breathing or pulse. Decreased urine may also be a sign of dehydration. 

What should you do if you experience severe side effects while taking DNP?  

There’s no getting around the fact that the side effects of DNP are downright unpleasant. You will be uncomfortable. Many DNP users have visited the emergency room in a panic, believing some of the common side effects of DNP, such as a rapid rise in body temperature, meant that something was wrong. 

Be mindful that many of the aforementioned side effects are normal after DNP has entered your system. While you can’t stop these symptoms from occurring, you can manage them through preparation. 

Unofficial sources suggest that a zero-carb diet helps to keep your heat levels down. You should also set up a room with plenty of air conditioning and water to keep yourself cool and hydrated. 

Don’t ignore your instincts. If you feel you need to go to an emergency room, have someone take you right away. That’s the risk of using DNP. It can be difficult to ascertain the difference between when you’re experiencing side affects you can ride out on your own, or side effects that require a trip to the emergency room. 

What is the recommended dosage of DNP? 

It’s generally recommended that users titrate up towards a dose of 200 – 400 mg per day with cessation after two weeks of use. These results have never been tested in a controlled environment, yet remains the consensus amongst a large number of DNP users.

That said, the FDA indicates that DNP is not recommended at any dosage due to its many side effects. Some fatalities have been reported from dosages as low as 4.3mg/kg up to 5g, suggesting that more research is needed.

Are the benefits of DNP worth the risk? 

Whether or not DNP is worth the risk is entirely up to you. There are many ways to lose weight, from weight loss supplements to more traditional methods (such as regular exercise and eating healthy). The appeal of DNP is that it delivers fast results much quicker than the vast majority of weight loss solutions currently available. 

That said, DNP potentially brings more to the table then its ability to quickly melt away fat. Its other potential benefits include: 

  • May combat liver disease 
  • May help with diabetes 
  • Decreases carb tolerance 
  • May have promising effects on age-related neurological disorders 

When it comes to the law, DNP exists in a grey area. It’s technically illegal for human consumption, but can be sold as fertilizer. As such, research is limited pertaining to its effects on health and wellness. 

Give careful consideration before taking DNP

DNP is dangerous. However, if it’s used correctly, it can deliver amazing weight loss results much faster than the vast majority of traditional methods currently available. If you do decide DNP is right for you, plan accordingly. 

Ensure you’re adequately hydrated, cut down on carbs to reduce heat flareups, and ensure someone is close by at all times just in case things go wrong, and always take recommended dosages. Never take risks while using DNP. Be smart. Be safe. 

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