T Nation

Usnic acid

Who did the research on usnic acid? My friend and I were going to take some diet pills until she read that it contained usnic acid and had not heard of it before. We would like what information we can get on it.

Brock wrote an article on this some time back, maybe in the spring I guess, with a title like “The Most Dangerous Supplement.”

To summarize, aside from the compound working
in an inherently dangerous way (same as DNP)
and having a long half life, so if you
take too much you are stuck with the overdose
for days, there are people who are allergic
to it, which has been a problem simply with
trace amounts in perfumes and the like and
could logically be a severe problem when
taken orally in large amounts, especially
given the long half-life in the body; the
compound is a spindle-apparatus inhibitor
which could potentially have serious
consequences to reproducing cells in the body
such as blood marrow cells; and worst of all,
there is evidence that it may cause
chromosome damage at doses not high enough
to cause thermogenic problems. (This evidence
was seen in mice and no one has looked in man.)

The dose being recommended for fat loss
purposes is 10 times the dose used in herbal
teas, which themselves have been considered
by herbal practitioners to be rather harsh
and something to use for only a few days,
so safety at the higher dose is hardly
demonstrated by the herbal usage.

I would not touch the stuff with a 10-foot
pole, and it should never have been released
to the market without studies to see if it
is safe at this high dose.