Methylene blue – an overview:
There’s been many times when I have recommended compounds/agents to create change in clients. Even the basic strategies of increasing sugar, not wearing sunscreen or the use of aspirin for improving energy and decreasing oxidative stress has moved the odd eyebrow to be raised. Objections often dissipate when presented with the line of reasoning and research that supports my recommendations. Effective clients will often do their own research and come back armed with significant questions for a better understanding of what is trying to be achieved.
So with the tradition of raising more eyebrows let’s suggest the use of a blue dye that can be added to aquariums for improving marine life health. That’s right you put it in fish tanks. Why indeed would you not think of consuming glassfuls of the stuff?
Methylene blue (MB) is a dye that has shown promising results in the following areas:
- Tissue hypoxia
- Hyper dynamic circulation of the liver post cirrhosis
- Improved low blood pressure states
- Hepato-pulmonary syndrome
- Anti malarial agent
- Improves mitochondrial function
- Detects parasites such as h-Pylori
- With additional treatment of red light has anti-parasitic effects.
- Anti-microbial-kills MRSA
- Hepatitis C and other conditions also effectively treated in tandem with red light application.
- Anti-Alzheimer’s agent- attenuates amyloid plaques and improves mitochondrial function.
MB is able to decrease both nitric oxide and guanylate cyclase, both exert their influence on smooth cells and tissue, explaining its role in reversing severely low blood pressure states ( Medically termed – catecholamine refractory vasoplegia)
If we look closely at a couple of the major mechanisms, we can see that from a metabolic standpoint MB has some interesting benefits. It decreases hypoxia or increases oxygen saturation within the body, whilst also improving mitochondrial energy production.
The respiratory/ electron transfer (ETC) chain, that is essentially the mechanism providing optimal use of oxygen, carbohydrate, fat, when this functions well, carbon dioxide is produced, which allows for optimal dissociation of oxygen from haemoglobin. When the respiratory chain is damaged, cells often have to switch to inefficient anaerobic sources of energy production, wasting sugar and increasing lactic acid, which continue to decrease aspects of cellular function.
Methemoglobinemia is a state where haemoglobin is unable to carry oxygen. MB reacts within the red blood cell and converts ferric ions, which have been oxidised, to its former oxygen carrying state. Additionally it helps to repair the ETC that is often damaged due to pollutant, poison or inefficient metabolic induced changes as seen in states of Alzheimer’s (Oz, Lorke, & Petroianu, 2009).
Another novel aspect of MB is the treatment of parasitic infection. MB absorbs and reacts with the spectrum of red light acting as an antimicrobial/parasitic agent.
“ Protozoa require the invasion of a suitable host to complete all or part of their life cycle.”
So what constitutes an appropriate host? I offer the following definition.
An individual or organism that is unable to assimilate and produce energy effectively, organise optimal cellular function and provide an immune response capable of expelling or eradicating an opportunistic parasitic/bacterial infection.
I quote Ray Peat with the following:
“ Occasionally you have very vigorous parasites that have intentions. If they encounter you in a state when your blood sugar is low, for example, the parasites might find an opportunity and start disorganising your system. So the competing systems’ lower system getting a foothold in a higher system, counts as randomness. The assumption of randomness is usually that everything is always random. What has been ordered is achieved at a high cost, the arrow of time for these people is that you have to expend energy to create order, and get things piled up in a certain way can only do that by expending energy somewhere else. “
MB and the use low level laser therapy (or LLLT which uses red or near infra red light) have a commonality with their ability to reduce the inhibitory actions of nitric oxide. This leads to enhanced cytochrome c oxidase action at complex IV of the ETC ( in English this means the enzyme that promotes better function of the cells that use oxygen efficiently), promoting increased cellular respiration and energy production (ATP). These dual actions appear to be an effective anti-parasitic treatment.
If your still running around taking a rucksack full of supplements, restricting energy and immune enhancing foods to kill parasites and candida, this may be a far more effective therapy to consider.
It should be no surprise that that considering these actions, the use of MB is being investigated as a serious therapy in the fight against cancer. The biology of cancer can be attributed to metabolic defects/damage within the mitochondria leading to mutations.
Of course like any compound whether it be oxygen, water, broccoli or vodka certain doses are problematic. However these are generally high. For example doses used to treat malaria are suggested as 36-72mg/kg over 3 days (Meissner et al., 2006) and safe therapeutic doses are suggested as <2mg/kg (Ginimuge & Jyothi, 2010). Newborn babies seem susceptible to MB side effects such as skin discoloration, respiratory distress and other unwanted symptoms. However, the mechanisms of why this might happen, requires a blog alone. It also appears problematic to those taking SSRI’s and can increase serotonin uptake to toxic levels.
What I have learnt from taking MB.
I found that if I took doses of more than 5mg total within a day or two of each other, my urine turned blue. A self -limiting factor that probably suggests that I was taking too much. I also had the odd crazy dream. I generally found that a total intake of 2.5 mgs or around 5 drops 2-3 days per week seemed to serve me well. I titrated up and found the optimal dose, something which I strongly recommend doing for all.
I found that my pulse oximeter readings improved from a general SpO2 93-97 to regular 98. Which is interesting as one side effect previously suggested is the ability of MB to underestimate pulse ox readings.
It’s prudent to imply that any therapeutic dose may only create change as the system allows. Therefore basics strategies such as effective blood sugar regulation, through regular eating and other strategies should be applied.
Ps it’s also great at reversing cyanide and nitrate poisoning in fish. Might it be useful in humans consuming too much bacon?
1. Ginimuge, P. R., & Jyothi, S. D. (2010). Methylene blue: revisited. Journal of Anaesthesiology, Clinical Pharmacology, 26(4), 517–20.
2. Meissner, P. E., Mandi, G., Coulibaly, B., Witte, S., Tapsoba, T., Mansmann, U., … Müller, O. (2006). Methylene blue for malaria in Africa: Results from a dose-finding study in combination with chloroquine. Malaria Journal, 5. http://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2875-5-84
3. Oz, M., Lorke, D. E., & Petroianu, G. A. (2009). Methylene blue and Alzheimer’s disease. Biochemical Pharmacology, 78(8), 927–932. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.bcp.2009.04.034
4. Ray Peat quote originally taken from a YouTube interview with Andrew Murray. (cant recall which one)
6. http://valtsus.blogspot.ae/ contains over 2500 LLLT studies and is by far the best resource available on the actions of LLLT.