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How Methylene Blue Might Benefit You!

Podcast episode cover art; methylene Blue in a vial

Season 2 of the Science of Self-Healing Podcast has a NEW host! Please welcome Dr. James Odell, the Medical and Executive Director for BRMI, as well as a practicing naturopathic doctor for over 35 years.

Join Dr. Odell as he explores methylene blue, a powerhouse compound with a myriad of health benefits. From its origins as a medical imaging dye to its extraordinary therapeutic potential, discover how methylene blue has the potential to advance modern medicine.

Explore its pivotal role in combating pathogens, treating memory disorders, and addressing neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. Additionally, learn about its promising applications in cardiovascular health, antimicrobial therapy, and beyond.

With its wide safety profile, methylene blue is an extraordinary compound with the ability to transform the future of healthcare. Come learn how methylene blue might benefit you.

Transcript: How Methylene Blue Might Benefit You!

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Science of Self-Healing podcast. For health and wellness knowledge from a different perspective. Produced by the Bioregulatory Medicine Institute, also known as BRMI. We are your source for unparalleled information about how you can naturally support your body's ability to regulate, adapt, regenerate, and self-heal. I'm your host, Dr. James Odell, the medical and executive director for BRMI, as well as a practicing naturopathic doctor for over 35 years. And remember, this podcast is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for the direct care of a qualified health professional who oversees and provides unique and individual care. The information here is to broaden our different perspectives and should not be construed as medical advice or treatment. Let's get started.

In today's episode, we'll be exploring the remarkable journey of a compound that started as a simple dye and evolved into a multifaceted medication with a myriad of applications. It's called methylene blue.

The History of Methylene Blue

Let's start with the history of methylene blue. Ever since German chemist Heinrich Caro first synthesized methylene blue as a dye in 1876, little did he know that his creation would pave the way for revolutionary advancements in medicine. 

Initially, it was used for its vibrant blue color. Methylene blue quickly caught the attention of medical researchers however, due to its intriguing properties. 

In 1891, Paul Gutman and Paul Ehrlich utilized methylene blue for the treatment of malaria, marking its debut as the first fully synthetic drug in medicine. 

However, its use as an antimalarial was generally short lived, primarily due to its peculiar side effects, such as green urine and a blue sclera. That's when the eyes turn blue. 

In the early 1920s, it was discovered that methylene blue had profound anti-depressive properties and positive psychotropic effects. Thus, it proved to be an effective antidote for cyanide poisoning, as well as other types of poisons. Its versatility as an antidote also allowed methylene blue to be used against many other poisons and to mitigate the side effect of cytotoxic chemotherapy. 

So, to recap, methylene blue was discovered to be effective against certain parasites and bacteria, particularly malaria and bacteria like gonorrhea, and it was found to be an effective antidepressant as well as an antidote to poisons. 

It was later discovered that methylene blue miraculously reversed toxic methemoglobinemia. Methemoglobinemia is a condition when the oxygen carrying capacity of hemoglobin becomes damaged. The patient presents with cyanosis of the lips and extremities and characteristic chocolate colored urine, fatigue and shortness of breath with hypoxia. 

By 2010, there were more than 11,000 entries for methylene blue in the biomedical library of Pubmed, not counting the studies that had been published in the era before PubMed. In fact, the applications of methylene blue continued to expand throughout the 20th century, from its use as an antiseptic in the treatment for malaria to its unexpected role in psychiatric studies where its antidepressant properties were discovered. Methylene blue proved to be a versatile ally in the fight against many various ailments. Perhaps one of the most remarkable feats was effectiveness as an antidote for cyanide poisoning by converting cyanide to a less toxic form. As a matter of fact, methylene blue emerged as a life saving antidote against a range of toxins. 

Modern Uses Of Methylene Blue

So let's move on to the modern use of methylene blue. As we fast forward to the present day methylene blue remains a cornerstone of modern medicine, with a multitude of FDA approved uses. From treating methemoglobinemia, which, as I mentioned, is a rare blood disorder that affects how red blood cells carry oxygen throughout your body, to aiding in intraoperative visualization of nerves. Its applications are vast and varied. 

Over the years, it has emerged as a powerhouse medication – exhibiting antimalarial, antioxidant, antidepressant, nootropic, cardioprotective, antimicrobial and lastly even anticancer properties. 

So I'm going to cover each one of these methylene blue's uses. Current indications for methylene blue that are approved by the FDA are hereditary methemoglobinemia, an acute acquired methemoglobinemia prevention of urinary tract infections in elderly patients, and as a dye for intraoperative visualization of nerves, nerve tissue and endocrine glands. 

Biochemically, methylene blue stimulates glucose metabolism and the uptake and as such increases oxygen consumption, which helps glucose increase ATP. Increasing ATP production provides more cellular energy for better overall brain function, including cognition, mood, and memory. 

Methylene Blue’s Antioxidative Properties

Methylene blue is a powerful antioxidant and as such possesses unique chemical properties that are neuroprotective and cardiovascular protective. Methylene blue has an affinity for tissue oxidases, so it concentrates in the mitochondria. There it maintains mitochondrial function by accepting electrons from blocked components of the respiratory chain, thus improving mitochondrial respiration. It does this by accepting electrons from NADH and transferring them to cytochrome c. Cytochrome c complex is a component of the electron transport chain in the mitochondria. 

The effects of methylene blue are reflected in an increased activity in the process coupled with mitochondrial energy production such as sodium potassium, ADPace activity and intermediate metabolism. 

Methylene Blue’s Antiparasitic Properties

As an antimalarial, methylene blue works against malaria by targeting the malarial parasite, the plasmodium falciparum, in several ways. First, it interferes with the parasite's ability to generate energy, which is essential for its survival and replication by disrupting the parasite's energy production, methylene blue weakens the parasite and impairs its ability to multiply within the host body. Additionally, methylene blue has been found to inhibit the enzyme called glutathione reductase in the malarial parasite. This enzyme plays a crucial role in protecting the parasite from the host immunity system by neutralizing harmful byproducts produced during the parasitic life cycle. By inhibiting glutathione reductase, methylene blue effectively weakens the parasitic's defense mechanism, making it more vulnerable to the host immune response and other antimalarial treatments. Furthermore, methylene blue's ability to interfere with the electron transport chain within the parasite's mitochondria contributes to its antimalarial effects. This disruption disrupts the parasite's ability to generate ATP. Of course, that's the energy circuit currency of the cell, further weakening its viability and ability to cause infection. Overall, methylene blue exhibits a multifaceted approach to combating malaria, targeting various metabolic pathways and enzymes that are essential for the parasite's survival and propagation. 

Methylene Blue’s Anti Aging Properties

Next up, we see that methylene blue has antioxidant properties that protect the cells against oxidative stress by scavenging harmful free radicals in the body. Since oxidative stress is thought to hasten the aging process in humans, this means that methylene blue's antioxidant effects may have some antiaging activity as well. 

Methylene Blue’s Antidepressant Properties

Moving on, let's talk about how methylene blue was used in early psychiatry and as an antidepressant. Recently, one study found that methylene blue could even effectively improve symptoms of bipolar disorder. Methylene blue continues to show promise in treating anxiety and depression, primarily by increasing the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin. Even more promising is that one animal study suggested that methylene blue may also be helpful as an alternative treatment for schizophrenia. 

Methylene Blue’s Nootropic and Neuroprotective Properties

Next, let's talk about its nootropic therapeutic uses. We'll delve into the recent research that has unveiled its potential as a memory enhancer and neuroprotective agent, offering hope for conditions like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Methylene blue is a substance that can enter the brain by crossing the blood brain barrier. Once inside, it can temporarily stop an enzyme called MAOA from working. This enzyme usually breaks down important chemicals in the brain like dopamine and serotonin. By stopping this breakdown, methylene blue can increase the levels of dopamine and serotonin in the brain. Dopamine and serotonin are crucial for many brain functions, including memory, focus, learning, and mood. By boosting these chemicals, methylene blue can improve cognitive abilities and overall mental health. Studies have shown that methylene blue can enhance memory. Recent research has suggested that methylene blue may also protect the brain from certain diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. It might even slow down the progression of Alzheimer's disease. Some studies found that methylene blue improved memory and cognitive function in people with Alzheimer's. It also showed promise in preventing age related memory decline and reducing brain plaque and buildup, which is a sign of Alzheimer's disease. 

Methylene blue has also been found to protect the brain from damage caused by toxic levels of a neurotransmitter called glutamate. Glutamate can become harmful if it accumulates excessively in the brain, leading to a condition called glutamate excitotoxicity, so it's essentially an excitatory transmitter. This process is thought to contribute to neurodegenerative processes or diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Thus, methylene blue can help prevent this toxicity and potentially slow down these diseases. 

Additionally, methylene blue may have beneficial effects in managing brain damage caused by certain types of tumors and their treatments. It is believed that methylene blue's role in helping with the oxidation of certain compounds and restoring mitochondrial enzymes could be responsible for its protective effect in these cases. 

Methylene Blue’s Cardioprotective Properties

Moving forward in our exploration, let's discuss how methylene blue exhibits cardioprotective properties. Protecting the heart through various mechanisms that help mitigate damage to the heart during periods of stress or injury. One of the key ways methylene blue protects the heart is by acting as an antioxidant, as I mentioned earlier. 

Additionally, methylene blue has been shown to improve mitochondrial function in the heart cells. Mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cell, responsible for producing energy in the form of ATP. Methylene blue enhances mitochondrial respiration and ATP production, providing the heart with more energy to function effectively, especially during periods of increased demand or stress. 

Moreover, methylene blue has vasodilatory effects, meaning it could widen blood vessels, and improve blood flow to the heart muscle. This increases blood flow, ensures that the heart receives an adequate supply of oxygen and nutrients essential for its proper function and protection against ischemic injury. 

Furthermore, methylene blue can help stabilize blood pressure, preventing sudden drops in blood pressure that can lead to inadequate blood flow to the heart and other organs. This stabilization of blood pressure contributes to the overall cardioprotective effects of methylene blue. 

And lastly, methylene blue may have the ability to inhibit platelet aggregation, which further makes it a valuable asset in preventing cardiovascular complications such as microclotting. Overall, methylene blue's antioxidant mitochondrial enhancing vasodilatory blood pressure stabilizing properties collectively contribute to its cardioprotective effects, helping to preserve heart function and mitigate damage during periods of stress or injury. 

Methylene Blue’s Antimicrobial Properties

Now we're going to move on to another remarkable property of methylene blue is its antimicrobial ability, which has garnered its significant attention since its discovery. This is because one of its key attributes lies in its role as a potent photosynthesizer, which enhances its activity when exposed to specific wavelengths of light. This unique characteristic enables methylene blue to serve as an effective antimicrobial agent, particularly in combating challenging infectious diseases. Thus, light activated methylene blue has emerged as a promising tool in the fight against viruses such as HIV, herpes, as well as many other types of viruses. Its ability to target and neutralize these pathogens offers a beacon of hope in the realm of infectious disease management. 

Notably, methylene blue's efficacy extends to donate blood products, where it serves as a crucial safeguard against viral contamination. 

In addition to its success against HIV and herpes, methylene blue's antiviral activity has sparked interest in its potential as a treatment for other viruses, including coronaviruses and influenza viruses. As the world grapples with the ongoing threat of viral outbreaks, the exploitation of methylene blue as a therapeutic intervention holds significant promise in mitigating their impact. 

Furthermore, methylene blue's effectiveness extends beyond viral infections to address antibiotic resistant biofilms. These resolute bacterial communities pose a formidable challenge in healthcare settings, but methylene blue's antimicrobial powers offer a potential solution in combating their proliferation. 

In essence, methylene blue's multifaceted role as both a photosynthesizer and antimicrobial agent underscores its importance in the ongoing battle of infectious diseases. 

As research continues to unravel its full potential, methylene blue stands as a beacon of hope in safeguarding the public against many kinds of microbial threats. 

Methylene Blue’s Anticancer Properties

And lastly, methylene blue has been explored for its potential use in cancer treatment, particularly in the context of photodynamic therapy or PDT. Photodynamic therapy is a treatment that utilizes a photosynthesizing agent such as methylene blue, and specific frequencies of light to selectively destroy cancer cells. 

Dosing Methylene Blue

So let's talk a little bit about dosing. Of course, in any kind of dosage, we always consider the individual and it depends on the condition that is being treated. So it should always be individually tailored and it should be under the guidance of a licensed practitioner. 

Methylene blue exhibits very different effects at low doses than it does at high doses. They call this the hermetic dose response, where the effects of low dose are sometimes opposite than that of a high dose. The preponderance of scientific evidence shows that low dose is the best effective dose for the effectiveness of avoiding any kind of side effects. When doses are above two milligrams per kilogram are taken, methylene blue begins to function as a MAO inhibitor, an ammonine amine oxidase inhibitor, which increases the action of serotonin and can lead to unwanted side effects. 

So you could take it at a low dose for use as an antioxidant and a higher dose as actually a prooxidant. Orally, it's usually used at 0.5 to four milligrams per kilogram is the most common amount used in both human and animal studies. 

In purchasing methylene blue, it's important to purchase a pharmaceutical grade methylene blue to avoid ingesting any impurities, such as toxic metals. Let's say that again, it's important to purchase a pharmaceutical methylene blue grade to avoid ingesting any impurities or metals. 

Safety Consideration of Methylene Blue

As far as safety considerations, methylene blue is generally considered safe and well tolerated in recommended doses of less than two milligrams per kilogram. However, when levels greater than seven milligrams per kilogram are used, some adverse effects may occur. These may include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headache, anxiety and confusion. Again, most of these side effects will go away after a few days or even a week. 

Adverse symptoms from oral usage may also include green colored urine, particularly if there are any preexisting conditions that could worsen with these side effects. 

Methylene blue is toxic at high levels, so it is essential not to take more than the recommended dose. Doing so could lead to serious health problems. 

And of course, there are some contraindications to talk about, so it should not be used in combination with certain medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or the SSRIs or serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors or MAO inhibitors, or for individuals with a G6PD deficiency. This is a genetic condition that affects the red blood cell function since it can cause hemolytic anemia. It should never be given to pregnant women. Since there is epidemiological evidence that methylene blue is perhaps problematic with pregnancy, and the drug can potentially cause fetal harm if administered in high doses during pregnancy. 

Concluding Thoughts

Concluding thoughts here. Methylene blue has been used in the field of medicine for decades as a medical imaging dye and as a therapeutic drug. The compound is considered a mild antiseptic and can be used to kill pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and parasites in the body, particularly in conjunction with other treatments. Additionally, the compound can be used to treat memory disorders, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and other neurodegenerative conditions. It has been shown to be useful for mood and memory enhancement. It's an effective antidote to several poisons such as cyanide and carbon monoxide poisoning. It helps mitigate the toxic side effects of certain cancer chemotherapeutic agents. While several applications for methylene blue treatment have already been identified, continued research will likely reveal even more usage. Due to its wide safety profile and versatility, methylene blue shows tremendous promise for the treatment of numerous conditions. 

Okay, well, that's all for today's episode of the science of Self-Healing. Join us next time as we unravel more mysteries and discoveries in the world of science. Until then, stay curious, keep exploring, and be well.

Thank you for your time today, and remember that this podcast is made possible by the Bioregulatory Medicine Institute, also known as BRMI, a nonprofit, global, non political, non commercial institute to promote the science and art of bioregulatory medicine. We extend our gratitude to each and every one of you for listening today, and if you haven't already, make sure to visit us at: A treasure trove of invaluable information awaits you there. Connect with us across various social media platforms as well. Come and become a member of our thriving tribe. If you've enjoyed today's episode, we invite you to show your support by rating us, leaving us a review, or sharing the podcast within your circle. Our podcast and mission flourish through sharing, and your participation means the world to us. Our organization is sustained by donations, each of which is tax deductible and fuels projects like this. Visit our website, to contribute or simply to explore the wealth of uncensored and impartial information we offer. No contribution is too small. In just two weeks, we'll be back delving into another captivating topic. Until then, we thank you once again for listening. May wellness and wisdom be your path. Be well.


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