What Is Methylene Blue?
Methylene blue was discovered in 1876 and the first synthetic drug to be used in medicine for treating malaria. Since then other applications have been used including:
- In medical procedures: Thanks to its characteristic blue color, methylene blue is used widely as a contrast agent to stain tissues for microscopic examination (histology) and to visualize the urinary tract in certain diagnostic tests.
- As a dying agent: It’s also used outside of the medical industry to dye fabrics or as a stain in various chemical and biological experiments
- To treat methemoglobinemia: Methylene blue is used to treat conditions like methemoglobinemia – a rare blood disorder where the blood’s oxygen-carrying capacity is reduced due to increased levels of methemoglobin.
- In treating neurodegenerative conditions: In recent years, methylene blue has attracted attention for its potential as a therapeutic agent in treating neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Methylene blue’s unique properties and diverse applications have made it a valuable tool in medicine, science, and industry.
Lately Methylene blue has been garnering increased interest in the world of biohacking and performance enhancement thanks to some impressive effects it can have on just about every facet of your well-being.
What Are the Benefits of Methylene Blue for Humans?
Methylene blue has been linked to many benefits which include:
- Enhanced cognitive function, improved memory, and sharper focus
- Mood improvement and increased emotional well-being
- Increased energy
- Enhanced physical performance
- Decreased inflammation
- Anti-aging properties
What Does Methylene Blue work?
Methylene blue is able to exert its health-boosting effects in a few different ways which include:
1) Mitochondrial Function and Energy Production:
Your mitochondria are the energy-producing powerhouses of your cells. Within your mitochondria is a system of proteins known as the electron transport chain. The electron transport chain is a mitochondrial pathway in which electrons are shuffled around – subsequently releasing energy in the form of ATP (adenosine triphosphate).
Methylene blue acts as what’s known as a redox agent or electron carrier within the electron transport chain. Meaning methylene blue facilitates the transfer of electrons, leading to increased ATP production – the primary energy currency of your cells. Improved mitochondrial function enhances overall cellular energy and optimizes cellular function.
2) Antioxidant Properties and Anti-Inflammatory Action:
Free radicals are reactive and unstable molecules that steal electrons from your healthy cells. While free radicals are a natural by-product of many cellular processes, chronic inflammation can lead to an overflow of these unstable molecules. If free radical levels are left unchecked, they can begin stealing a surplus of electrons – leaving your cells damaged in a process known as oxidative stress.
Methylene blue acts as an antioxidant – neutralizing these harmful free radicals and pumping the brakes on inflammation. By scavenging free radicals and exerting potent anti-inflammatory effects, methylene blue helps protect your cells from oxidative damage and prevents the development of chronic diseases that stem from inflammation.
3) Nitric Oxide Regulation and Enhanced Cellular Oxygen Utilization:
Methylene blue can help supercharge your cells’ ability to function by optimizing the delivery of life-sustaining nutrients and oxygen. You see, methylene blue modulates the activity of nitric oxide synthase, which influences nitric oxide (NO) production. Optimal nitric oxide levels are essential for vasodilation – or the widening of your blood vessels. And widening of your blood vessels allows blood, nutrients, and oxygen to travel to every part of your body more effectively and efficiently.
Methylene blue also promotes efficient oxygen utilization – amplifying your cells ability to efficiently use available oxygen. This combination of effects can not only optimize function at the cellular level, but can enhance physical endurance and overall performance.
4) Neurotransmitter Regulation, Monoamine Oxidase Inhibition, and cGMP Stimulation:
Methylene blue is what’s known as a nootropic – a type of substance that can boost brain performance. It does this in a few distinct ways:
- Neurotransmitter regulation: Neurotransmitters are the signaling molecules your brain uses to communicate with other areas of your brain and the rest of your body. Methylene blue can enhance the release and reuptake of various neurotransmitters including serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.
- Monoamine oxidase inhibition: Once neurotransmitters are released, they are broken down by an enzyme called monoamine oxidase. Methylene blue inhibits monoamine oxidase enzymes – thus increasing the availability of neurotransmitters.
- Increased cGMP: Cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) is a messenger molecule that plays a pivotal role in a number of functions throughout your body – and an especially important role in brain function. Methylene blue stimulates the production of cGMP in cells – elevating levels of this cognition-boosting compound in your brain.
This combination of effects can lead to improved mood, focus, learning, and overall cognitive function.
5) Neuroprotective Effects and Amyloid Protein Binding:
Neurodegeneration is progressive, and often irreversible damage to your brain and nerve cells. And in some cases, neurodegeneration can be accompanied by the accumulation of fiber deposits known as amyloid proteins – further hindering brain function.
Methylene blue has been found to have neuroprotective properties – shielding neurons from damage caused by neurotoxic agents, supporting nerve cell survival, and contributing to the prevention of neurodegenerative conditions. It’s also been found to bind to and stabilize amyloid proteins – slowing their aggregation and deposition in the brain.
Side Effects and What to Expect When Taking Methylene Blue
When taking methylene blue for the first time as a supplement, you may experience various effects. While most of these effects are positive (like improved mental clarity, a boost in your mood, and elevated energy levels), there is a chance that you could experience some not-so-positive side effects as well, which may include:
- Urine discoloration: One common and harmless side effect of methylene blue is blue or greenish-blue discoloration of urine. This is normal and temporary, typically lasting a day or two after supplementation.
- Digestive upset: In some individuals, methylene blue may cause mild gastrointestinal discomfort, such as nausea or upset stomach. Taking the supplement with food can oftentimes help alleviate this.
- Headache: Rarely, some individuals may experience headaches or dizziness as a side effect – especially when taking methylene blue at higher doses.
- Interaction with medications: Methylene blue may interact with certain medications, including serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and other psychiatric drugs. For this reason, it’s essential to consult with your healthcare provider before starting methylene blue if you’re on any medications.
- Allergic reactions: While rare, some individuals may be sensitive to methylene blue and experience allergic reactions. If you notice any signs of an allergic reaction, such as rash, itching, or swelling, discontinue use and seek medical attention.
In general, the side effects of methylene blue are quite mild. But if you have any preexisting medical conditions or concerns about drug interactions, it’s a good idea to consult with one of our pharmacists before adding methylene blue to your supplement regimen.
When supplementing long term for anti-aging and well being we only recommend low doses in the range of 0.25 to 0.5mg/kg daily. Higher doses (1-2mg/kg) may be used for therapeutic effects such as an antiviral, antibiotic or for biofilms however should only be taken under the supervision of your doctor.
We recommend to add the methylene drops to a glass of water and mix with 2g ascorbic acid before ingesting.
We recommend to avoid the use of methylene blue if your pregnant, breast feeding, taking antidepressants or have G6PD deficiency.
It’s also crucial to ensure you’re choosing a high-quality methylene blue supplement from a reliable manufacturer. Contact us for details.