Dinitrophenol (DNP): DNP is an industrial chemical that was discovered in the 1930s to cause rapid weight loss by uncoupling oxidative phosphorylation in cells, increasing metabolic rate. It was banned in the US in 1938 due to its severe side effects, including cataracts, skin lesions, and fatalities due to hyperthermia. DNP remains illegal and is not used in medical practice.
A petri dish containing powdered dinitrophenol (DNP). Note bright yellow color.
Era of Discovery
Mechanism of Action
Uncouples oxidative phosphorylation, increasing metabolic rate
History of Use in the United States
Used briefly in the 1930s, banned in 1938
Benefit of Weight Loss Agent or Medication
Rapid weight loss
Possible Side Effects
Cataracts, skin lesions, hyperthermia, and fatalities
Current Regulatory Status in US
Illegal for human consumption. Industrial chemical.