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DNP and Weight Loss

author image Janet Renee, MS, RD
Janet Renee is a clinical dietitian with a special interest in weight management, sports dietetics, medical nutrition therapy and diet trends. She earned her Master of Science in nutrition from the University of Chicago and has contributed to health and wellness magazines, including Prevention, Self, Shape and Cooking Light.
DNP and Weight Loss
Scientists warn that the risks of DNP outweigh the benefits. Photo Credit: Hemant Mehta/IndiaPicture/Getty Images

Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration banned 2,4-Dinitrophenol, or DNP, in 1938 because of severe adverse health effects, the supplement can still be found online marketed as a weight-loss aid sold under various names. Avoid this dangerous supplement.

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About DNP

DNP is a substance found in some supplements targeted toward bodybuilders looking to burn fat while retaining muscle. It's found for sale primarily online and commonly advertised as a safe weight-loss aid. Despite the advertising claims, DNP is anything but safe, according to the New York State Department of Health.

Metabolism Changes in Mice

DNP causes weight loss by increasing metabolism, or the amount of energy your body uses. In animals fed a high-fat diet, DNP increased metabolism by 17 percent without a change in food intake, according to an animal experiment published in the July 2014 edition of "The Journal of Biological Chemistry." After two months, the mice fed DNP weighed 26 percent less than the mice not treated with DNP. Researchers found that DNP led to fat loss without a decline in muscle mass.

Dangerous Side Effects

DNP can lead to a combination of dangerous side effects such as overheating, rapid heart rate, profuse sweating and faster than normal breathing, which can eventually lead to death. "The Journal of Analytical Toxicology" published a report in 2006 of two deaths -- one in Tacoma, Washington, and the other in San Diego -- caused by DNP. DNP was being used for weight loss in both cases and caused this dangerous combination of side effects.

Weight-Loss Supplement Safety

"Consumer Reports" urges you to steer clear of supplements containing DNP and avoid any diet product that advertises it can guarantee weight loss without diet and exercise. Long-term weight loss depends on making lifestyle changes, such as adopting a healthier diet and engaging in regular physical activity. Even prescription weight loss aids carry the risk of side effects.

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