The Surprising Health Benefits of Methylene Blue

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On this interview, Francisco Gonzalez-Lima, Ph.D., discusses a very highly effective technique to enhance your mitochondria, which generate the overwhelming majority of the power your cells produce from meals.

Gonzalez-Lima is an skilled on methylene blue, which helps mitochondrial respiration and improves mind power metabolism. By doing that, it may well enhance cognitive efficiency and forestall neurodegeneration.

“With methylene blue, we’ve got been in a position to present all of these [benefits],” Gonzalez-Lima says. “Our group was the primary to map the consequences of methylene blue within the mind of people and present its results on bettering mind metabolism, blood movement and reminiscence perform.”

What Is Methylene Blue?

Methylene blue is the guardian molecule for hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, off-patent medication generally used to deal with not solely malaria but additionally COVID-19. Greatest generally known as a fish tank antiseptic and textile dye for blue denims, it was really the primary artificial drug in fashionable historical past, developed in 1876. Since then, we’ve found it has many actually vital medicinal advantages.

The primary medical software of methylene blue was for malaria. In 1890, Paul Ehrlich, a scientist on the well-known Charité Hospital in Berlin, Germany, found methylene blue inhibits an enzyme that weakens the malaria parasite.

One of many first antipsychotic drugs was additionally produced from methylene blue. Different medication developed from or with it embrace antibiotics and antiseptics. Up to now, it was generally used to deal with urinary tract infections. It’s additionally been used as an antiviral agent in blood used for transfusions.

To this present day, methylene blue is present in each hospital on the earth, because it’s the one recognized antidote for metabolic poisons (any poison that interferes with oxygen transport or displaces oxygen, both from the blood or from the mitochondria).

For instance, in case you’re admitted for carbon monoxide poisoning, they’ll offer you methylene blue intravenously. Cyanide is one other instance. The one recognized antidote for cyanide poisoning is methylene blue. It’s additionally been speculated that methylene blue is perhaps helpful within the remedy of acute lung infections equivalent to SARS-CoV-2.

Importantly, methylene blue is a hormetic drug, which implies that low doses have the alternative impact as excessive doses. For instance, it’s primarily utilized in emergency rooms on the higher dosage restrict (3 milligrams to 4 mg per kilo of body weight) for methemoglobinemia, which is when a metabolic poison interferes with the transport of oxygen in hemoglobin, by the iron in hemoglobin being oxidized to +3 slightly than its regular lowered +2 state.

Nonetheless, in case you take too excessive a dose, you produce methemoglobinemia. At dosages in between, there’s no impact. Likewise, whereas low dosages have an antioxidant impact, excessive doses are pro-oxidative and may kill micro organism and tumor cells.

Methylene Blue, an Antioxidant and Vitality Producer

Gonzalez-Lima’s analysis has primarily targeted on low-dose advantages for nonacute functions over the long run — equivalent to neuroprotective advantages and cognitive enhancement. Whereas it has a number of mechanisms of motion, a novel function is that it acts on the extent of electrons. He explains:

“Our physique makes use of electrons as a part of the electron transport chain that occurs inside mitochondria, and these electrons, moved alongside by way of the mitochondria, are generated from electron donors that we produce by the meals that we eat.

All of the meals that we eat, the one manner they contribute to power is by producing electron donors. They donate these electrons to the electron transport contained in the mitochondria. The last word electron acceptor in nature is oxygen. That is why the method of eradicating electrons from a compound is known as oxidation.

In mitochondria, this course of is named oxidative phosphorylation. The electron transport is coupled with the phosphorylation of adenosine to finally produce the adenosine triphosphate molecule (ATP). Methylene blue is an electron cycler. It is an autooxidizing compound.

So, methylene blue donates its electrons on to the electron transport chain, it obtains electrons from surrounding compounds, and maintains oxygen consumption and power manufacturing. By doing this, it helps oxygen to be absolutely lowered into water.

So, it turns into two issues which might be usually not discovered collectively. It acts as an antioxidant, as a result of oxygen is neutralized into water by donating electrons to the electron transport, and it produces power, as a result of when the electron transport pumps are shifting alongside oxidative phosphorylation, you may have a rise in ATP formation.

Oftentimes, we’ve got issues that enhance power metabolism, however then they result in oxidative stress. Within the case of methylene blue, that is not the case.

You’ll be able to enhance oxygen consumption charges, enhance ATP manufacturing for power metabolism, and on the identical time cut back oxidative stress which, in fact, will result in discount in oxidative harm on the degree of mitochondria, then on the degree of the opposite components of the cells, and finally membranes of the cells, and reactions which might be cascades of this oxidative harm.”

Principally, as an electron cycler, methylene blue acts like a battery, however in contrast to different compounds that do the identical factor, it doesn’t trigger damaging oxidation within the course of. If something interferes with oxygenation or mobile respiration, equivalent to cyanide, methylene blue is ready to bypass that time of interference by way of electron biking, thus permitting mitochondrial respiration, oxygen consumption and power manufacturing to perform because it usually would.

Improved Mitochondrial Respiration Improves Well being, Cognition

Methylene blue may also be useful in cases the place you may have impaired blood movement that stops the supply of oxygenated hemoglobin to the tissues. On this case, methylene blue helps counteract the lowered blood movement by optimizing the effectivity of mitochondrial respiration.

Wholesome blood movement is especially vital for mind perform, and lots of older folks have power hypoperfusion that contributes to neurodegeneration and reminiscence issues. These points, Gonzalez-Lima says, may be prevented by methylene blue.

In abstract, contained in the electron transport chain in your mitochondria are 5 complexes, the first function of which is to conduct the electrons generated from meals, primarily carbohydrates and fats, within the type of acetyl CoA. Generally the electron transport chain will get blocked or impaired, and methylene blue is ready to bypass such blockages.

Once you’re completely wholesome, low doses of methylene blue will improve oxygen consumption, mitochondrial respiration and ATP manufacturing above baseline, principally optimizing the entire system. So, it acts as a metabolic enhancer and never simply an antidote for metabolic poisons and different inhibitory processes.

A very powerful complicated, Cytochrome c Oxidase, which catalyzes the response of oxygen turning into water, is blocked by cyanide. However methylene blue can insert electrons wherever there’s a blockage.

What’s extra, if you’re completely wholesome, low doses of methylene blue will improve oxygen consumption, mitochondrial respiration and ATP manufacturing above baseline, principally optimizing the entire system. So, it acts as a metabolic enhancer and never simply an antidote for metabolic poisons and different inhibitory processes.

Methylene blue’s motion on mitochondrial respiration can be coupled with biochemical upregulation of your oxygen consumption equipment on the whole, and hemodynamic processes that enhance native blood provide to tissues.

And, as detailed by Gonzalez-Lima within the interview, this upregulation stays even after the methylene blue is expelled out of your system (primarily by way of urination unchanged as your physique minimally metabolizes it), and over time, it may well really enhance the variety of mitochondria. In your mind, it will profit cognition, as your mind is probably the most energy-dependent organ in your physique.

Methylene blue additionally prompts the Nrf2 pathway. Nrf2 is a transcription issue that, when activated, goes into the cell’s nucleus and binds to the antioxidant response aspect (AREs) within the DNA. It then induces the transcription of additional cytoprotective enzymes equivalent to glutathione, superoxide dismutase catalase, glutathione peroxidase, part II enzymes, heme-1 oxygenase and lots of others.

Methylene Blue for Mind Well being

Maybe probably the most revolutionary advantages of methylene blue is for the prevention and remedy of dementia, neurodegenerative ailments equivalent to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and neural accidents brought on by stroke and traumatic mind accidents (TBIs). That is notably vital because the COVID jabs have radically elevated strokes. As defined by Gonzalez-Lima:

“Any course of the place rising oxygen-based power manufacturing performs a significant function, methylene blue may have a job to play. One of many first research we did that was very spectacular [was on] a mannequin within the eye. The rationale we used the attention was as a result of the retina in animals is instantly accessible in order that we are able to inject into the retina.

Rotenone [a broad-spectrum pesticide and Complex 1 inhibitor] inhibits mitochondrial respiration, subsequently there may be atrophy and degeneration of the retinal layer, which may be very dramatic. If methylene blue is on board, we are able to stop this course of as a result of the mitochondrial respiration can proceed, so the tissue just isn’t affected.

This was a mannequin referred to as an optic neuropathy as a consequence of mitochondrial defects. It’s the commonest type of blindness in youthful folks, so we did this to confirm in vivo that [methylene blue] may have this neuroprotective impact. Then we did it in different issues like brains. We discovered an identical phenomenon …

Methylene blue may be protecting in ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes. We’ve additionally revealed a examine with a hypoxia. In different phrases, we lowered the quantity of oxygen delivered to the animals, and we may use an fMRI, noninvasively, within the animals to see that we have been in a position to enhance the quantity of cerebral metabolic fee for oxygen consumption within the presence of methylene blue underneath hypoxic situations.

With respect to dementia, by the point you see the tau protein inside neurons, these neurons are metabolically, primarily, lifeless, so it’s too late. By appearing on that, you can not recuperate the metabolic equipment and the well being of the neurons.

So, these neurons are usually not rescued in any manner that’s functionally significant. Usually talking, biomarkers are usually not good therapeutic targets as a result of they could or might not have any causal relationship with the illness.”

In biohacker circles, low-dose methylene blue is used as a nootropic, which means a compound that helps enhance cognitive perform. Nonetheless, whereas some promote sublingual or buccal software (underneath your tongue or on the within of your cheek), one of the simplest ways is to swallow it, because the acid in your abdomen makes it extra bioavailable.

Urinary Tract Infections within the Aged

In my thoughts, this is likely one of the most vital makes use of: It’s a extremely efficient agent towards urinary tract infections (UTIs). Many aged are placed on antibiotics, which disrupts their microbiome. Methylene blue was used for a lot of a long time at a dose of 65 mg per day and was even offered in pharmacies as Urolene Blue.

Since your physique doesn’t actually metabolize it, it’s excreted by your kidneys into your bladder the place it reaches very excessive concentrations over time and turns into a potent oxidant stress that kills nearly any pathogen within the bladder. Plus, it has the extra “aspect impact” of bettering mind well being and lowering dementia. In my thoughts, it’s reprehensible medical malpractice to not use methylene blue in UTIs within the aged. It clearly is the most secure and simplest drug of alternative.


Whereas methylene blue may be very secure, there are some contraindications. One is G6PD deficiency, which can be a contraindication for high-dose ascorbic acid remedies, which could possibly be lethal. Methylene blue can be a light monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor, so taking excessive doses with a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant may probably result in serotonin syndrome, which isn’t good. The chance of this, nevertheless, may be very small. Gonzalez-Lima explains:

“With respect to the warning in regards to the SSRIs, the issue just isn’t methylene blue however the quantity of SSRI. The issue was in a selected software of methylene blue the place they use it for parathyroid surgical procedure as a stain …

To my data, there’s by no means been greater than 5 circumstances, the place the sufferers have been anesthetized, and so they nonetheless had SSRIs [in their system], and so they did repeated flushing within the open neck with methylene blue, which exceeded these doses that we’ve got been speaking about.

The U.S. FDA reacted with this warning. However this has been reviewed by each surgeons and pharmacologists on the Mayo Clinic, and so they wrote a rebuttal paper the place they point out that there isn’t a proof to recommend oral methylene blue has any interplay with the therapeutic dosing of serotonergic compounds, particularly SSRIs, and that this was one thing that occurred underneath these particular [surgical] situations.

Canada limits the warning to that exact software, however our FDA went past that to any form of serotonergic drug. I feel there may be completely no proof for oral methylene blue having interactions on this low-dose vary with any SSRIs.

And after they discuss in regards to the MAO inhibitor perform, it actually solely works as an MAO inhibitor within the greater focus of the upper dose vary, not the low-dose vary. So, the consequences of methylene blue as an antidepressant — solely to a really restricted extent, in case you repeat it cumulative remedies — may be as a consequence of any form of a MAO inhibitor function.

As well as, it is because of its metabolic enhancing perform, so it antagonizes a number of the melancholy signs just like the low power that’s skilled with melancholy. So sure, it’s efficient to scale back signs of melancholy. Sadly, this warning goes to make some physicians fearful of utilizing it together with SSRIs.”

Dosing Solutions

As talked about, methylene blue is a hormetic, so low dosages have the alternative impact of excessive dosages. Whereas each potential dose response has not been examined, as a normal guideline, the advantages Gonzalez-Lima discusses on this interview are primarily based on dosages between 0.5 milligram per kilogram of body weight to 4 mg per kg. He admits decrease doses may fit however he hasn’t examined them.

For an acute remedy, the higher restrict is between 3 mg to 4 mg per kg, which is often the vary given as an IV antidote for methemoglobinemia. For nonacute, extra long-term remedy, 0.5 mg to 1 mg per kg per day works higher. It has a half-life of 12 to 13 hours, so once-a-day dosing is ok. He offers the next instance of how methylene blue has been used within the remedy of fears and phobias:

“One of many processes through which a reminiscence formation can be utilized therapeutically is if you type a reminiscence to extinguish worry. People who’ve a phobia, you’ll be able to expose them to the precise scenario that’s concerned within the phobia, and there’s a studying referred to as extinction studying that occurs that you simply extinguish your response.

In that scenario, we solely give methylene blue as soon as after this extinction studying to facilitate the method of reminiscence consolidation. What occurs after you undergo the educational is the method of consolidation, which requires power.

So, by facilitating the power availability through the consolidation part, which occurs over numerous hours, then the subsequent time [you’re exposed to fear-evoking stimuli, you’ve] consolidated that extinction reminiscence extra successfully.

We’ve finished this additionally with post-traumatic stress dysfunction (PTSD), the place you utilize extended publicity remedy. In that scenario, you may give the methylene blue after totally different periods the place you see that there’s a good extinction studying.

In different phrases, the place individuals are studying by way of publicity to scale back their worry ranges, that’s if you wish to reinforce that therapeutic studying by giving them the methylene blue proper after the session.”

For mind well being, nootropic results and the prevention or remedy of dementia, 0.5 mg to 1 mg per kg per day (or when wanted) is the dose Gonzalez-Lima recommends and makes use of.

The right way to Choose a Excessive-High quality Product

Final however not least, choosing the proper product is of essential significance, along with getting the dosing proper. There are three primary kinds of methylene blue: industrial, chemical and pharmaceutical-grade.

The one model you’ll wish to use medicinally is pharmaceutical-grade. Don’t ingest methylene blue from the pet retailer that’s meant for fish tanks. Industrial-grade methylene blue has a number of impurities, and sometimes include solely 10% to 25% methylene blue.

Chemical or laboratory grade, which is used for staining functions on laboratories, has a a lot greater purity, nevertheless it’s nonetheless not appropriate for medicinal functions because it sometimes has heavy metallic contaminants like lead, cadmium and arsenic. Over time, the impurities can accumulate in your physique, leading to toxicity. You should buy a stainless steel spoon that measures 8-10 mg. With out the spoon will probably be very troublesome to measure.

Pharmaceutical grade is 99%+ pure. That is the sort used when injected intravenously for antidote functions, or used orally. These merchandise can be marked USP, which stands for United States Pharmacopeia.

In keeping with Gonzalez-Lima, USP is best by way of purity than the European pharmaceutical grade, which has fewer necessities. Taking the methylene blue with some ascorbic acid (vitamin C) facilitates absorption. You received’t discover methylene blue at your native pharmacy however many compounding pharmacies can get hold of the pharmaceutical grade.

“Ascorbic acid is a solution to facilitate the biking of methylene blue by selling its discount,” he explains. Contemplating the significance of mitochondrial well being, methylene blue seems to be a easy and remarkably efficient manner to enhance your total well being and cognitive perform.

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