DNP stands for 2,4-dinitrophenol. This is a chemical that was once used in the early 20th century to ignite dynamite and cast a yellow dye on wood and other handcrafts. A few years later demographical statistics showed that employees who worked with DNP everyday tended to lose weight, often rapidly. One fall out from this was a study conducted by Stanford University in 1920 showing that the ingestion of DNP does in fact cause weight loss. This prompted physicians to prescribe DNP to obese patients of that era. DNP was on the market for 2 decades as a weight loss drug and was eventually taken off the market and banned for human consumption by the FDA because there was a report of cataract formation among female users of this drug which turned out to be false. This chemical is still deemed too dangerous by the FDA to allow it to come back to the pharmaceutical marketplace. Over the decades of research on DNP, scientists have never shown it to have the ability to cause cancer or any other mutations despite the fact that itís a phenol and that most phenolic compounds are carcinogenic. DNP is now only used as a research chemical and as a pesticide in a few states that still approve of its use. It is not illegal to own DNP, but it is illegal to market it for personal consumption.
MECHANISM OF ACTION:
DNP exerts its effects within the cell, more specifically within the membrane of the mitochondria. The advantage of intracellular mechanisms of action such as this is that a tolerance to DNP cannot develop. To make a long story short, DNP makes the process of ATP formation very inefficient. Why is this important? Because ATP is the energy unit needed to drive all our biochemical reactions in our body that is necessary to keep us alive. The cells in our body constantly need energy (ATP) to stay alive. The amount of ATP needed to keep a person alive depends on his/her basal metabolic rate. By making ATP formation inefficient, a personís basal metabolic rate can increase indefinitely, but for practical uses, basal metabolic rate can safely increase by 30-50% without putting oneís life in danger. It is not unheard of for people to lose up to one pound of pure fat per day while on DNP.
If youíre not familiar with ATP, itís what the Calories that are stored in carbs, fats, and proteins are eventually turned into. In other words, the energy that is stored in the macromolecules are transferred to the ATP molecule, but DNP disrupts this process. Instead of making ATP from macromolecules in the presence of DNP, the potential energy is just turned into heat. This is very significant because ATP levels in the body will quickly diminish and cells want to replenish that storage by breaking down more fats, carbs, etc. As you can see, a patter quickly develops where ATP levels will constantly be below normal and the body will always be trying to burn more fats, carbs, and proteins to help replenish the ATP levels. This is no different than doing aerobic exercises such as jogging, biking, etc, except while on DNP, the body is doing the aerobic exercise non stop 24 hours a day.
DOSES AND CYCLE RECOMMENDATIONS:
DNP is not a drug for everyone, definitely not the beginner who just wants to lose a couple of pounds to look better with the shirt offÖ Without proper education on its use, DNP can be deadly.
There are 2 forms of DNP currently on the market, pure crystalline (100% dry) DNP, and powdered DNP (usually 5-10% moisture). The crystalline version is stronger and more effective, but more caution needs to be used while using it. It acts much faster, and the side effects also subside faster as well.
I recommend between 2-6mg/kg-bw per day for crystalline DNP and 4-10mg/kg-bw for powdered DNP. A beginner should always start off at the low end to assess tolerance. Trying this for the first time 2 weeks before a competition can be disastrous. A 220lb man is 100kg exactly. This means that if he is a first time user of crystalline DNP then he should take 200mg per day. I suggest staying with this dose for at least 3 days to keep it safe, then slowly increase the dosage. 400mg/day can be used, but never take it all at once. Always split up the doses as far as possible, so for 400mg/day that would mean taking 1 200mg capsule every 12 hours. Only on rare occasions should someone attempt 600mg/day with the crystalline capsules unless itís used by a very experienced user and all the vital signs are closely monitored.
Cycle length depends largely on the individual. At first it was thought that a DNP cycle should be limited to 10 days at the most because the thyroids shuts down and t4 to t3 conversion in the liver becomes nil, however, this is not the case. 10 days is a very arbitrary number. A person taking 200mg/day would have almost completely normal thyroid function at day 10 whereas if s/he took 600mg/day, t3 would be non existent after 3 days. While the t3 hormone plays a very large role in determining fat loss, it should not be a big concern while on DNP because the fat burning capabilities of DNP will more than compensate for the suppressed t3 levels. An advantage to suppressed t3 levels is that the body will burn much less muscle while still burning fat on DNP. Normal t3 and thyroid function is restored within a week of stopping DNP.
Ok, so how long should you do it? I suggest playing around with it and just go by how your body feels. It is not a bad idea to just take 2-3mg/kg-bw for 3-4 weeks. This causes less side effects and will have the same overall effect, but it will just take a bit longer. After you get used to 2-3mg/kg-bw, then another option is to up the dose by 1 cap and carrying that out for as long as your body can handle it because fatigue and a host of other side effects will eventually overtake you. If 2 caps/day is still too mild then repeat the above step with 3 caps per day spread out into 8-hour intervals.
Because of some water retention caused by DNP, users typically find that they look their best 4-7 days after finishing their cycle when the water has normalized.
Take the last DNP capsule 8 days prior to the competition date. Carb deplete after 3 days after the last cap. Carb load immediately 2 days prior to competition and stop fluid intake. This should allow for excellent glycogen super compensation within the muscles for a fuller look.
1. Carb deplete for 3 days prior to DNP because DNP will take a good 2-3 days to deplete the body's glycogen stores before it can efficiently burn stored fat.
2. Once on DNP eat an isocaloric diet (33% prot, 33% fat, 33% carbs) and keep the calories at around maintenance level. Restricting carbs will put the body in a state of hypoglycemia and can be dangerous to the health and also the mental well being. DNP also mimics insulin in that it shuttles glucose into the cells in the absence of glucose. This is great for fat burning, but when carb intake is too low the blood glucose can be at dangerously low levels as well. a more experienced user can switch up this ratio a bit. Either way it won't make a huge difference because it's mostly about the total calorie consumption.
This is what Iím proposing to be the optimal DNP diet (for a high dose short cycle(s) and the end of a low dose extended cycle only):
50% carbs, 35% protein, 15% fat. Itís not a misprint; carbs are essential for DNP to work properly. Keep in mind that itís only the percentage that changes and not the total calories. From this point it will get a bit complicated, but read over it a few times and you will get the gist of it. Iíll also try to keep it as simple as possible.
When fatty acids are broken down they need to be fed into an energy cycle for a complete break down so that more can be broken down later. The beginning of this cycle is called the citric acid cycle. Fats enter the citric acid cycle as a 2-carbon molecule called acetate and to start off this cycle it needs to bind to another 2-carbon molecule called oxaloacetate. Without enough oxaloacetate this cycle cannot proceed. With little oxaloacetate this cycle is slowed down, thus fat burning is slowed down. Where does oxaloacetate come from? Several sources, but the main one is from pyruvate, the end product of the first step of glucose (carbohydrate) metabolism. Without enough glucose in the blood, fat burning becomes very inefficient.
This is not to say the more carbs we eat the more pyruvate we can generate, therefore the more fat is burned. We only need adequate levels of pyruvate to supply the citric acid cycle of the necessary starting material for fat to enter, and then it will eventually proceed to be completely oxidized in the electron transport chain.
Donít worry about eating too many carbs while on DNP because these carbs cannot be stored and are immediately used for fuel to try to replenish cellular ATP. While keeping the calorie level at maintenance level, it would be most beneficial to eat about 55% calories from carbs, 35% protein and 10% fat (mostly unsaturated). It may be optimal for fat burning to raise the carbs a bit more, but the protein should be high enough so that muscle catabolism is kept at a minimum when DNP creates the huge calorie deficit in the body.
The least effective form of dieting while on a DNP cycle is a fat diet, or ketogenic diet, but the high amounts of fat helps to slow gastric emptying, so you feel more satisfied for a longer period of time. This is one reason why I first recommended the isocaloric diet to beginners who may have trouble controlling their appetite while on DNP.
Heat- you will feel very hot while taking this. It is very similar to jogging a slow pace all day long, so be prepared to sweat a little. In some people a lot of sweat is not too uncommon. Body temperature will rise to about 101 degrees and sustain there. This is not too out of the ordinary. This increase in core body temperature causes a vasodilation effect throughout the body to help cool you off. However, evaporative cooling with the aid of vasodilation will not be effective when the surrounding environment does not allow for proper cooling. For example, being out in the summer sun when itís 90 degrees and high humidity can cause you to rapidly overheat to dangerous levels. Avoid hot environments at all costs. Stay indoors if you choose to use it in the summer and only go outside briefly when itís absolutely necessary. Dehydration can cause the body to not regulate temperature properly and rapidly overheat as well. Drink 1-3 gallons of water daily depending on DNP dose.
Water retention- this is very closely associated with heat. When the vasodilation occurs due to the rise in body temperature, blood vessels expand, causing an increase in blood volume and subsequent water retention. Also, an increased blood volume leads to decreased pressure, which would lead the body to try to store more sodium and cause even more water retention. All the water retention will subside within a week after stopping the DNP dosage, but often sooner than that. Popular diuretics are not very effective against DNP induced water retention because these diuretics mainly focus on one aspect of diuresis and that is suppression of the anti diuretic hormone (ADH), but the cause of water retention from DNP is independent of ADH. While diuretics will get rid of some naturally stored water, it isnít getting rid of enough water that would make a competitor presentable on stage and would put the user in jeopardy of death or serious health complications due to potassium depletion.
Lethargy- This is the biggest problem associated with DNP and is somewhat associated with the insomnia that I will cover later. As you have learned DNP depletes the body of ATP and without ATP you have no energy. It literally feels like youíre jogging a marathon all day long without a break. Of course the extent of the lethargy will depend on the dose, but it is not uncommon for people to be almost bed ridden. Walking to the kitchen to get food will be a chore. Even eating the food can become very laborious. This will subside within 24-36 hours of stopping the doses.
Insomnia- sleeping will be very difficult for some people, not because of the familiar central nervous stimulation experienced with ephedrine and caffeine supplementation, but because it gets so damned hot. Many people including myself find it very difficult to sleep when weíre sweating in our beds. The best way to combat this is to sleep with 2 fans from both sides of the bed and the air conditioner cranked up. Obviously if you have a significant other that you sleep with then it would be wise to sleep in separate beds for parts of the cycle.
Shortness of breath/ rapid breathing- this is common when the dose is at the upper limits. The breathing will seem like youíre jogging even while youíre sitting down and doing nothing. It will seem like you can never catch your breath. Doing anything active will make you even more out of breath and this can become dangerous. When breathing becomes irregular, you should avoid doing any aerobic or strenuous activities. This means no working out (not like youíll have any energy to do so anyway).
Dehydration- a very serious side effect. If hydration levels are not adequate it can predispose the body to severe overheating and possibly death. Water needs to be replenished on the order of 1-3 gallons per day.
Electrolyte depletion- this is caused by excessive water and salt loss through sweating. Drinking water will replace fluids, but not electrolytes. Best way to replenish salts is to drink v8 juice. This can lead to a host of other problems if not remedied including excessive lethargy, low blood pressure, poor cardiac function, nausea, diarrheaÖ
Nausea- This is a common side effect that afflicts roughly around 30% of the users. There could be several causes to this: dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, low blood pH, and other unknown (by me) mechanisms.
Diarrhea- possibly due to electrolyte imbalance and undissolved DNP that passes onto the large intestine causing osmotic imbalances. If this becomes too problematic the only thing to do is just to decrease the dosage or stop completely.
Headache- largely due to dehydration. In most people, forcing down a liter of fluids will alleviate the headaches.
Dry/ sore throat- I donít know the cause of this one, but it is pretty common among users and seems to manifest itself the most during sleep and may contribute to the insomnia.
Allergies/ dermatitis- this is relatively rare. Iíve been in contact with nearly 500 people who have used DNP and I would estimate about 30-40 of them have experienced allergic reactions to DNP. The allergies manifest themselves first as phantom itches (itching without any rashes or redness) around the torso in some people. It will later develop into rashes and or hives around the body and possibly spread to the face, neck, lips, and scalp area in severe cases. Any over the counter or prescription allergy medication (anti histamine) will cure the allergies. Also if youíre allergic to DNP it doesnít mean you canít use it in the future. Allergies to DNP seem to have a tolerance factor. It first gets worse, then better with successive cycles. So if you are allergic, stop immediately and start again 7-10 days later and repeat until you are no longer allergic to DNP anymore. Allergies are also dose and length dependent.
Yellow vision- This is even more rare than allergies. Iíve only known about 15 people who have experienced this out of all the people I have come in contact with who have used DNP in the past. It seems to be most apparent when you look at a white surface and yellow spots will appear on the white that you see. Iím not sure what exactly causes this, but it doesnít seem to harm anything and goes away within 1-2 days of stopping the doses.
1. Never start your first cycle with an optimal dose. Always play it safe and start low.
2. Never use DNP if youíre going to be in a hot environment for an extended period of time.
3. Never take any diuretics while on DNP. This includes excessive alcohol. While mild diuretics like alcohol will make you much more uncomfortable and hotter, a harsh diuretic like lasix will kill you when taken with DNP.
4. If oral temperature rises to 103 then discontinue use until temp is completely down to normal.
5. Do not attempt to work out very intensely. When itís hard to find the energy to go to work, donít push yourself thinking you can get a good workout in. Long cardio sessions can be especially harmful for your health. It would also raise cortisol levels through the roof and will be very catabolic to muscle. Donít sweat the cardio when on DNP because DNP will make you burn fat. Stay away from the treadmill!
6. If allergies arise take some allergy medication and if that isnít strong enough then stop the doses for at least 10 days before restarting.
7. Watch your electrolytes. Carry a bottle of v8 juice with you. One 8-ounce serving of v8 has 900mg of potassium compared to 35mg of potassium in 8 ounces of Gatorade. Aim for 3000-5000mg of potassium (not all from v8) per day. Fresh meats and vegetables also have a lot of potassium in them. Sodium is very important too, but is usually not hard to get in the diet. Magnesium can be obtained from supplementation.
8. Hydration. I canít emphasize this enough. Not only will proper hydration levels make you feel better and prevent overheating, but it will also make the cycle more effective at burning fat.
Antioxidantsóone of the most effective will be the fat soluble vitamin E. I recommend 800 to 1000 iu of vitamin E per day of the cycle to combat the host of free radical damage caused by increased fat oxidation.
Glycerolóthis can be important to help maintain muscle hydration and prevent catabolism. It comes in liquid and can be bought over the counter. Take 3-4 tablespoons per day.
Potassium citrateóif blood acidity becomes a problem then potassium citrate can help buffer the acid. About 2-3 grams will be very effective, but 1 gram will do the trick as well.
DNP is the most effective fat burner and perhaps the most complicated drug in the bodybuilding community and should not be taken to lightly by average dieters striving to lose a couple of pounds. The side effects are serious and numerous, but if used correctly, none of the side effects are permanent. Despite these numerous side effects people still use it because it works when nothing else will. I hope this article sufficiently educated you on DNP. If you choose to use it please do so with caution and use this and other literature as a guide to help you on your way to a new physique.
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