2, 4 Dinitrophenol’s Effect on Glycogen Stores- Why This Needs to Be Depleted Before Any Fat Burning Can Occur [DNP’s Fantastic Ability to Do So]

How DNP Depletes Glycogen Stores 

DNP and Glycogen

As more research surfaces, it’s undeniable that DNP is incredibly effective when it comes to inducing weight loss quickly, making it very popular amongst weight lifters, athletes, and models.

The “secret” of DNP is the way it depletes glycogen stores in the body, causing a chain reaction that results in rapid weight loss. While the process may sound simple enough, the science behind it can be complicated.

Understanding how DNP depletes glycogen and its pros and cons can help you determine whether or not DNP is the right move for you.

What is DNP, and how should it be used? 

2,4-Dinitrophenol, commonly referred to as DNP, is a chemical that aids in rapid weight loss. Ordinarily, when carbs are consumed, the body will gain fuel to continue operating at peak efficiency. DNP disrupts this process by stopping carbs from being converted into energy.

In more scientific terms, DNP lowers the rate that cellular mitochondria can produce ATP (the body’s primary usable energy source), a process known as uncoupling of oxidative phosphorylation.

During the process of converting glucose into ATP – a process known as cellular respiration – DNP prevents the absorption of phosphate molecules into mitochondria, thus forcing the body to work harder while simultaneously producing less.

The result is that your body won’t be able to use the energy from the food you consume, instead expelling it from your body in the form of heat.

The “overheating” problem 

DNP Sweat Heat

As explained, the energy that would typically be absorbed into the body from the food you eat is instead ejected in the form of heat. As such, there have been many instances of DNP users overheating after using the drug.

This overheating side effect can pose a real danger to users. Many of the fatalities linked to DNP usage has been tied to dehydration. This issue can be mitigated mainly by drinking at least two gallons of water per day while using DNP (this is the general consensus among many DNP users), though you should drink as much water as you need to stay hydrated.

It’s also recommended that DNP users adopt a low/zero carb diet, as it’s carbohydrates that cause heat to be expelled from the body in the first place. You should always take the recommended dosage of DNP at any given time to avoid potential complications.

Where does glycogen fit into the picture? 

DNP depleting glycogen fatloss

When we consume carbs, our bodies will convert it into a form of sugar called glucose which the body will use for energy. When the body no longer requires additional fuel, glucose molecules are linked together in links of 8 to 12 to form a glycogen molecule.

It should be noted that insulin plays a significant role in this process. When you consume carbohydrates during a meal, your blood glucose level will rise in response. When this occurs, signals are sent to the pancreas to produce insulin, a hormone that aids the body to absorb glucose from the blood for energy.

Insulin will then relay signals to liver cells to produce glycogen synthase. As long as insulin and glucose remain at healthy levels in the body, glycogen molecules can be delivered to muscle, liver, and even fat cells for storage.

Ultimately, glycogen is the predominant form of storage for glucose and carbohydrates in both humans and animals. Despite this, our bodies have a very limited capacity to store it. Even at such limited capacities, glycogen stored in muscles is responsible for 15 – 20% of overall energy production.

When the body is under moderate intensity – such as power walking or light jogging – glycogen usage could rise as high as 80 – 85% percentage, with levels rising even higher when the body is engaged at higher intensities.

The amount of stored glycogen in your body will largely depend on three primary factors:

  • The types of food you eat
  • How active you are
  • The amount of energy you burn at rest

It should be noted that glycogen stored in muscle is mostly used by the muscles themselves, whereas glycogen stored in the liver is distributed throughout the body, mainly to the spinal cord and brain.

How your body uses glycogen 

Generally, you will have around 4 grams of glucose in your blood at any given moment. When your glucose levels begin to drop – due to a skipped meal, for instance – your insulin levels will also decrease.

During this period, an enzyme in your body called glycogen phosphorylase will start breaking down glycogen to supply power to the body, and for the next 8 – 12 hours, the body’s primary source of energy will come from glucose derived from liver glycogen.

During periods of inactivity, your brain will consume more than half of the body’s blood glucose levels. Generally speaking, your brain will require at least 20% of your body’s overall energy needs.

How do your diet and weight affect glycogen? 

diet DNPYour diet can have a major impact on your body’s ability to produce glycogen. This is especially the case if you’re on a low-carb diet where you’re reducing the number of carbohydrates you’re consuming with each meal.

It should be noted that low-carb diets come with their own side effects, primarily because your body’s glycogen stores may not have the fuel needed to replenish properly, resulting in symptoms of mental dullness and fatigue. Over time, your body should adjust to these changes, and your glycogen stores should replenish, bringing your energy levels back up to normal.

In the same manner, you may experience a decrease in glycogen stores if you lose any amount of weight. As many people who have been on a diet may have experienced, weight loss may occur initially, but may eventually plateau and even begin increasing after a certain point.

This process occurs partially because glycogen is primarily made up of water, making up three to four times the weight of the molecule itself. Therefore, the sudden loss of glycogen at the beginning of a low-carb diet causes the loss of water weight.

Over time your glycogen stores will eventually renew, and the water weight will gradually return, thus causing weight loss to plateau.

Why do athletes focus on glycogen levels? 

Professional athletes require an immense amount of energy to keep their bodies at peak performance levels. In most instances (whether you’re an athlete or not), the body can store around 2,000 calories of glucose as glycogen.

These levels are more than enough for an average individual whose routine doesn’t require immense daily strain. For example, an office worker who sits in a cubicle all day would not need the same amount of glycogen as a construction worker or a workout instructor.

This is especially the case with athletes, as they’ll burn through 2,000 calories in only a few hours. Unfortunately, this is almost always to their determent, as when glycogen stores are completely reduced, their performance will immediately decrease – a state that’s popularly known as “bonking” or “hitting the wall.”

To fight the loss of glycogen, athletes generally find the following to be highly useful:

  • Eating a low-carb ketogenic diet – Consuming a diet low in carbs and high in fat can put your body in a keto-adaptive state. When ketosis takes place, stored fat will be accessed for energy as the body relies less on glucose as its primary source of fuel.
  • Carbo-loading – Carbs equal fuel. As such, some athletes try to load up on an excessive amount of carbs before an endurance event. While this method is largely useful as a way to store up on fuel to power the body for long periods, it has become unpopular over the years because it often leads to digestive issues as well as an increase in water weight.
  • Consuming glucose gels – Prior to an endurance event, athletes consume energy gels that contain glycogen, allowing the user to boost their blood glucose levels.

A closer look at DNP and its interaction with glycogen stores 

Ultimately, glycogen is a readily mobilized storage form of glucose that provides energy to the body. When DNP is in your system, it interferes with this process through uncoupling oxidative phosphorylation, meaning that it stops the oxidation (breakdown) of nutrients (fatty acids or glycogen) to create ATP.

DNP ATP Krebs Cycle

As you may have guessed by this point, this process leads to the rapid consumption of glycogen stores in the body. When these stores have been entirely consumed, the body will be forced to use adipose tissue – loose connective tissue that stores energy in the form of fat – to make ATP.

As such, the body will begin to rely on fat stores for energy, and start to burn through it rapidly. When this process is in full effect, you’ll find that weight loss will occur on an almost daily basis.

In this manner, DNP is incredibly useful at trimming away fat while leaving muscle definition untouched. This is one of the reasons bodybuilders use DNP to prep for shows and competitions. Models have also been known to use DNP for these very reasons.

While DNP, when used correctly, is often used to make the human body “presentation ready,” it can also be used by ordinary people who wish to burn off weight quickly.

How do you deplete Glycogen without DNP? 

Is it possible to deplete glycogen quickly from the body without using DNP? The short answer is “yes.” The long answer is, it takes an immense amount of work. DNP is appealing because it works fast, cutting through glycogen and inducing weight loss practically overnight.

When athletes attempt to deplete glycogen naturally, they avoid eating (or eat a small amount) prior to an endurance event or an intense workout session. For example, runners will engage in 90-minute runs with little to no fuel in their bodies.

depleting glycogen

Runners refer to these sessions as glycogen depletion runs, which were created in response to studies that show that endurance training with low muscle glycogen increases fat metabolism, making you a more fuel-efficient runner as a result.

While there are natural ways to deplete your glycogen stores, you’ll find that DNP simplifies the process, allowing you to cut through your glycogen stores quickly without the need to engage in endurance activities.

DNP isn’t for everyone, of course, and it comes with its fair share of dangers when misused. However, those who don’t have the time to engage in weight loss training or diets naturally may find DNP to be appealing.

What are the dangers of glycogen depletion? 

Before taking DNP, you should be aware of the dangers associated with depleting your glycogen stores. If you drain your glycogen levels too often without replenishing your body with carbohydrates, you may risk emptying your tank to the point where you have nothing left to give.

Of course, the goal of DNP is to empty your glycogen stores to burn through fat instead. However, you’ll eventually want to stock back up on carbs to restore your glycogen to healthy levels before repeating another dosage of DNP until you reach the weight results you’ve been seeking.

Signs and symptoms of glycogen depletion 

The question that begs to be asked is, how do you know when your glycogen stores have been depleted? Here are a few signs and symptoms that should give you a clear indication that your body is low on glycogen levels.

  1. Decreased strength and power 

Stored muscle glycogen acts as fuel for your skeletal muscles, powering muscle contractions during explosive activities, such as running or weight lifting.

Without ample carbohydrates in your body to get the metabolic process started, your body won’t have the ability to produce a large amount of energy so you can engage in forceful muscle contractions.

If you notice a decrease in strength and power, there’s a good chance your glycogen levels have been depleted.

  1. Increased rate of perceived exertion 

This is a common side effect when taking DNP. When DNP is at work in your system, every action you take burns away 11 – 33% more energy than usual. This causes feelings of perceived exertion and fatigue, even when you’re engaging in low energy tasks.

When your glycogen stores are depleted, you may notice your regular routine – such as weightlifting, for instance – is harder than average. Athletes who are unaware that they’ve burned through their glycogen stores may consider days of increased perceived exertion as a “bad day.” And while they could very well be having a “bad day,” it’s also likely they’ve burned through their glycogen stores.

  1. Lack of recovery

Typically, after a heavy workout session, a few hours of rest should get you back up and running again. However, if you notice you’re not recovering to normal levels after prolonged rest, there’s a good chance your body has depleted its reserves of glycogen.

You’ll find that during times of heavy exertion, such as working out, muscles are tasked to perform at higher intensities regularly. This can be bad if this was not your intention, but a surefire sign that DNP is at work in your system.

  1. Rapid weight loss 

Most people who take DNP are striving for one thing – weight loss. While a variety of factors can contribute to weight loss, depleted glycogen levels are one of the fastest methods of shedding pounds quickly.

This is the primary reason why DNP is so effective. By depleting glycogen levels, your body will rapidly shed weight. It should also be noted that this is the reason many low-carb diets produce significant decreases in weight loss initially, but eventually stall out.

  1. A feeling of muscle “flatness” 

One way to determine whether or not you have depleted glycogen levels is to self-examine your muscles in terms of how they look and feel. Muscles rich with glycogen will hold water, which will give them increased size and subsequent fullness. In some instances, decreased glycogen stores can make your muscles look and feel flatter. That said, you should look for other signs to ensure your glycogen levels are low.

Final thoughts 

DNP is highly effective due to its ability to drain your glycogen stores, which starts a chain reaction that ultimately leads to fast weight loss. When taken in proper dosages, DNP can provide satisfactory results without the need to work out or change your diet.

That said, DNP is not a replacement for healthy lifestyle changes. If you desire to keep the pounds off for the long-term, you should still make healthy diet choices and exercise on a regular basis.

DNP usage comes with its fair share of benefits and drawbacks. Consider these carefully before coming to a decision about whether or not DNP is the right choice for you.


  1. Goodman, MN. Amino acid and protein metabolism. In Exercise, nutrition and energy metabolism, Eds. E.S. Horton, R.L. Tertujn, 89-99. New York: Macmillan.
  2. Katz A, Broberg S, Sahlin K, Wahren J. Leg glucose uptake during maximal dynamic exercise in humans. Am J Physiol. 251(1 Pt 1):E65-70. 1986
  3. Ivy, JL. Regulation Of Muscle Glycogen Repletion, Muscle Protein Synthesis And Repair Following Exercise Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2004) 3, 131-138.
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20351596

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