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The Many Facets of Methylene Blue: Its Uses, Benefits & Risks

Have you ever heard of methylene blue? Methylene Blue (MB) is actually a synthetized compound. While it isn't exactly a natural health product, it will certainly improve the nature of your health!

In fact, this versatile compound has a wide range of uses in medicine, industry, and research. You may wonder about using a blue dye as a health supplement, though. And I agree! Sure, its unique properties make it a valuable tool for both medicine and industry, but does that mean we should actually consume it?

As long as it's done with care and guidance, then yes! Methylene blue can be a valuable tool in your healthcare toolbox. (1)

methylene blue beaker

So What Is Methylene Blue?

Methylene blue is basically a blue dye. Yet it's much more than that. Chemists in the late 1800s worked in labs to create new colors for fabrics. In 1876, one chemist happened upon a combination of compounds that resulted in a stunning blue color. And while it can, indeed, dye fabric, a medical researcher tried it as a medical stain as early as 1880. (2)

Since then, MB has had fairly successful history. In fact, it's been used in various scientific and medical applications for over a century.

Its distinctive blue color has made it useful not only as a dye but also as a diagnostic tool and treatment option for a range of medical conditions. It functions primarily as a redox agent, which means it's capable of accepting and donating electrons. This unique feature underlies many of its medical and health effects. (3)

methylene blue medical stain

Why Do People Use Methylene Blue as a Supplement?

In the past decade, natural health advocates have been exploring the benefits of methylene blue as a supplement. Long recognized as the best treatment for methemoglobinemia, MB may offer both cognitive and mitochondrial benefits. (4, 5)

Methemoglobinemia (MetHb) is a blood disorder, and MB as a medicine effectively controls the condition. (6)

Even those without a concerning health condition like MetHb benefit from Methylene Blue. Here are a just few of the key  reasons people turn to this compound:

1. Enhances Cognitive Function and Protects Memory

Remember MB is a redox agent? For energy and neuroprotection, this quality hits the mark. Let's start with its effects on brain health.

First and foremost, Methylene Blue is able to cross the blood-brain barrier. Why does this matter? Well, MB, a redox agent, helps with the transfer of electrons supporting the electron transport chain.

The electron transport chain is the process that creates energy in the mitochondria. (7)

So MB supports the process of creating energy! More energy allows the mitochondria in the brain to function optimally. In animal studies, MB improved memory and learning. (8)

Then, because low-dose MB supports energy production in the brain, a cascade of benefits follows. Increasing energy production in the cells means strengthening neural connections. Diseases caused by mitochondrial dysfunction, like Alzheimer's Disease and Parkinson's, see improvement with MB. And even those suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury can experience recovery from symptoms. (9, 10, 11)

methylene blue brain health

2. Boasts Antimicrobial Properties

Methylene blue possesses potent antimicrobial effects. It has been used historically to treat conditions like urinary tract infections and malaria. This compound can generate reactive oxygen species with light exposure. That attacks the cell membranes of bacteria and other pathogens. It even inactivate viruses! (12)

Let's just give you a rundown of what it helps combat: vasoplegia (arterial pressure usually post-surgery); malaria; and septic shock, among others. (13)

3. Improves Mood

Evidence suggests that methylene blue can act as a mild monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), which could theoretically increase levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. This mechanism might explain anecdotal reports of improved mood and reduced symptoms of depression in some individuals. (14, 15)

And naturally, as energy levels increase, mood tends to improve! We're back to the positive impact MB has on the mitochondria. (16)

methylene blue fabric dye

How Can We Take Methylene Blue Safely?

While methylene blue has potential benefits, its safety profile is dose-dependent, and improper use can lead to significant side effects. More is not better!

Here are some guidelines to ensure safe consumption:

First, let's consider dosage. The therapeutic window for methylene blue is relatively narrow. At low doses, MB accepts electrons, which makes it an effective antioxidant. At high doses, MB is an oxygen donor. While it's generally considered safe for short-term use, start slow. Slowly is Holy!

Specifically, higher doses of MB  can lead to adverse effects, including serotonin syndrome, especially when combined with other drugs, especially SSRIs. (17)

Consulting with a healthcare provider for personalized dosing is crucial.

Second, ensure purity. When selecting methylene blue as a supplement, it is vital to choose pharmaceutical-grade products. Industrial or laboratory-grade methylene blue may contain harmful contaminants not suitable for human consumption. (18, 19)

Earth Harmony has created a pure methylene blue specifically as a supplement. Find it HERE!

Third, be sure to monitor your response and consider working with a trusted healthcare professional when exploring the benefits of MB. Regular monitoring by a healthcare professional is advisable, particularly for long-term use. This can help detect any potential side effects early and adjust the dosage accordingly.

A Note of Caution

Be aware of potential drug interactions. Methylene blue can interact with various medications, particularly antidepressants and other psychotropic drugs, due to its MAOI activity. Also, taking MB with SSRIs may lead to serotonin syndrome, a life-threatening condition.

By its very nature as a synthetic chemical, MB should be used carefully. Therefore, it's essential to discuss all medications and supplements with a healthcare provider to avoid dangerous interactions.

Of course, there will be those who should reconsider. Specifically, certain populations should avoid methylene blue, including those with G6PD deficiency, as it can induce hemolysis in these individuals. (20)

Do not take Methylene Blue while pregnant or breastfeeding, unless advised by a knowledgeable healthcare professional.

Conclusion

So you see, methylene blue is a compound with a rich history and a variety of potential health benefits. However, anyone using it should carefully review its benefits in light of dosage, purity, and individual health conditions. If you see it as a potent tool for your healthcare toolkit, then you'll potentially harness the benefits of methylene blue safely and effectively. As with any supplement, ongoing research and clinical trials will continue to shed light on its full spectrum of uses and safety profile.

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