Welcome to another edition of the Doctor’s Note where we talk about what’s on our minds when it comes to your health. I LOVE that we’re able to think outside the box, do the research, and practice preventative medicine opposed to reactive medicine (i.e., writing a script to cover the symptoms).
My passion is to dive in, dig deep, and use some common sense in helping people navigate what’s going on with their health. Today we’re going to dig deeper into Methylene Blue. I did a podcast episode last year on this amazing drug and believe it is well worth a trip back.
Let’s get started…
The Origin Of Methylene Blue
There might not be a lot of primary care doctors that know about Methylene Blue, but every ER doctor knows where it’s located for emergency uses. You may think of Methylene Blue as a dye, which it is, but it’s also the oldest modern medicine used by doctors today.
Methylene Blue was initially developed in 1876 by the German chemist, Heinrich Caro, as a dye for use in textile manufacturing. Note: I would assume they were trying to figure out how to dye their jeans blue. Around the same time, chemists were also discovering that the dye was capable of staining cells by binding their structures, and even sometimes inactivating bacteria. This led to the identification of a parasite called plasmodium (cause of malaria) and its cure, Methylene Blue. Methylene Blue became the first medicine to kill viruses, bacteria, and parasites. It was the precursor of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine.
Uses For Methylene Blue
REVERSES CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING AND CYANIDE POISONING. It’s been known for years that Methylene Blue is an amazing medicine. Every ER doctor knows where to find it in the hospital, because it immediately reverses carbon monoxide poisoning and cyanide poisoning. Note: In these situations you give it intravenously.
REVERSES METHEMOGLOBINEMIA. Methylene Blue reverses something called Methemoglobinemia, a rare blood disorder that affects how red blood cells deliver oxygen throughout the body. It reverses chemical poisonings. It definitely saves lives!
TREATMENT AND PREVENTION OF URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS (UTI). Because Methylene Blue kills bacteria, it is very effective in treating and preventing urinary tract infections.
IMPROVES BREATHING. Methylene Blue improves energy and oxygenation, therefore improves breathing (especially while exercising by improving mitochondrial respiration). We talk a lot about mitochondria, the part of every cell that generates all your energy. Note: I started using it for Covid and Long Covid, because a lot of people have a hard time breathing after having it. Along with LDN, it’s a really good “outside the box” treatment for Long Covid.
IMPROVES BRAIN FOG AND MEMORY. I started researching more about Methylene Blue when I was treating Long Covid. The main symptoms were brain fog and shortness of breath on exertion. For most of my Long Covid patients, Methylene Blue immediately improves the brain fog and helps them breathe better! When you look at Methylene Blue with PET scans and functional MRIs, it immediately crosses the blood brain barrier, meaning it gets into your brain quickly. Remarkably, this substance has been shown to prevent beta amyloid plaque from forming on the outside of neurons. It also helps prevent Tau, a protein that’s very inflammatory.
Note: A lot of these studies came out of the University of Texas, where Francisco Gonzalez-Lima, Ph.D. has dedicated the last 30 years of his life to studying Methylene Blue. I definitely recommend listening to some of his podcasts. He’s really interesting.
HELPS WITH PARKINSON’S DISEASE. Parkinson’ disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s Disease, plus the fastest growing neurologic disorder in the country. Parkinson’s is a reduction of dopamine in your brain. It’s a movement problem, which can lead to cognitive decline in the end. In a recent Journal of Neuroscience published in PubMed, a study found that daily consumption of Methylene Blue reduces attention deficits, and also dopamine reduction in Parkinson’s.
Note: I talk a lot about prevention of these neurodegenerative diseases, which is important because it’s difficult when the disease process gets away from you. It’s very difficult to reverse it. You need to treat it before all of the damage is done.
HELPS WITH ATTENTION SPAN. Methylene Blue definitely helps your attention span. I haven’t really tried it much for ADD, but I assume it will probably work for that, as well. A study out of the University of Texas recently showed that a single dose of methylene blue is able to increase the response of brain regions that control attention and memory, along with short term memory tasks. Again, they use functional MRIs to study this. I’ve had a couple of patients tell me that after their first dose they immediately started feeling better.
Note: Methylene Blue is a nitric oxide inhibitor. We’re taught to believe that nitric oxide is great for aging and athletic performance. Maybe not! This theory has been kind of disproven because in fact, nitric oxide is a pretty toxic free radical. We’re changing a lot of our thinking about this, because Methylene Blue is a direct nitric oxide inhibitor. Nitric oxide may be responsible for cell neuron death (remember this!). This is not to say that it doesn’t have some other useful things. It does! But you need to take care of your brain first, before you take care of anything else.
HELPS ALZHEIMER’S and FRONTOTEMPORAL DEMENTIA. There’s some recent studies out of Germany (with mice) that suggest Methylene Blue can stop both Alzheimer’s and Frontotemporal Dementia in its tracks, but only in its earliest stages. Note: They have ways of inducing these diseases in mice. There’s not as much human studies on this yet. It’s an inexpensive over the counter dye. If you take it, of course you need the pharmaceutical grade. What really interested me was its effects on treating Alzheimer’s Dementia. It’s interesting to look at the studies. One study in 2019 showed treatment on actual Alzheimer’s patients reduced cognitive decline by 85%. Note: before that, studies have mostly been treatments of Methylene Blue with mice. And, it’s interesting that when they use the drugs that are currently approved for Alzheimer’s (which don’t work), the effects of Methylene Blue disappear. All these treatments for Alzheimer’s are targeted towards reducing the amyloid plaque that’s already there. Methylene Blue works on preventing the plaque from forming in the first place. It works especially best when combined with photodynamic red light therapy.
Contraindications (reasons to NOT take Methylene Blue)
- If you are pregnant, you should not take Methylene Blue.
- If you have a G6PD deficiency, you should not take Methylene Blue. Note: There’s a possible contraindication for people with G6PD deficiencies. We check G6PD for patients receiving High Dose Vitamin C treatment (to prevent hemolytic anemia). Again, I’ve only seen one case of this deficiency in my practice. It’s more common in other continents, but we still check for it.
- If you are on high doses of Zoloft or Prozac. Note:I used to think it was contraindicated for people that were on SSRIs like Prozac and Zoloft because it’s a mild MAO inhibitor. But when I did a deep search on it, this “serotonin syndrome” only occurred in very high doses when they were tagging the parathyroid glands in surgery. I think that it was like 5 cases and they were on high dose Zoloft or Prozac. If you feel bad while taking Methylene Blue, of course, stop taking it and tell your doctor.
For Those Interested
It’s exciting to me! There’s so many uses of this drug, and to think that it was discovered way before penicillin or insulin is amazing! If you are interested in adding Methylene Blue to your regimen, first find an integrative medical doctor who will help guide you on the dosing and follow your progress. Note: Eight drops/once a day in a glass of water is usually the starting dose.
One thing I like to check on people that are going to get on Methylene Blue is a G6PD blood test. You can learn more about the G6PD blood test in my recent podcast. Academically, you probably ought to check this. However, it is over the counter, and people have been doing it for years off label, so I don’t worry about it a whole lot.
In my opinion, the thing that most people fear is losing their cognitive abilities. Personally, I think every woman in a nursing home should be on Methylene Blue to help with cognition and prevent UTIs. But as I always say, do your own research!
Till next week.