This is not medical advice. Speak with your healthcare provider before starting any new protocols.
The quest for a sharper memory, a brighter mood, and a longer, healthier life is a timeless endeavor. In recent years, one compound has emerged as a potential game-changer: methylene blue.
Interest in methylene blue surged by 400% in the last 5 years, especially after studies showed it is a promising treatment option for people with “long COVID.”
Now, many people are taking a daily dose of methylene blue for its potential long-term brain-boosting and anti-aging benefits.
In this blog, you'll learn what methylene blue is and explore its potential benefits for:
I'm also sharing the potential side effects of this drug and how you can find out if it’s right for you.
Methylene blue was the first fully man-made medicine, originally synthesized in 1876 for cotton staining. In 1891, Nobel Prize-winning scientist Paul Ehrlich pioneered the medical use of methylene blue for treating malaria. (1) He coined the term “magic bullet” about the positive outcomes of administering methylene blue.
Currently, it is predominantly used as the first line of treatment for methemoglobinemias, a blood disorder. However, recent research indicates that methylene blue may act as an effective anti-aging nootropic (brain-boosting supplement) because it is a potent antioxidant and improves mitochondrial function (the ability of your cells to produce energy). (2)
It’s important to note that methylene blue is a prescription drug in the US but is available over the counter in other countries like Canada and Germany.
Your memory is the gateway to learning, understanding, and living a meaningful life.
Methylene blue enhances memory by improving brain cell respiration, essentially boosting your brain's ability to utilize oxygen. This enhancement of cellular oxygen consumption and glucose uptake can result in a significant improvement in cerebral metabolic rate. Methylene blue's neuroprotective effects are thought to be due to its ability to improve mitochondrial function and reduce oxidative stress. (3)
Methylene blue serves as an alternative electron carrier in the mitochondrial electron transport chain, crucial for ATP production. More ATP creates more cellular energy which translates to better brain function, including cognition and memory. (2)
The impact of methylene blue extends beyond immediate memory recall; it facilitates a profound "after-the-fact learning" experience helping with memory retention. One study showed methylene blue improved spatial discrimination memory in rats by increasing cytochrome c oxidation (70% higher than the control group!), a marker of metabolic energy capacity in the brain. (4)
This is great news because more people than ever are struggling with memory due to “COVID Brain” from “long COVID” (read more about that in this blog).
One recent study found that orally ingested methylene blue had anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating effects which improved mitochondrial function and reduced fatigue in patients with long COVID. Even after a 1-year follow-up, patients reported an absence of symptoms. (5) Another study found that methylene blue improved cognitive function in patients with long COVID. (6)
The extraordinary ability of methylene blue to improve mitochondrial function can benefit just about anyone – but especially those struggling with conditions like “long COVID.” These developments are a beacon of hope for many who have been told there is no known cure.
Your mood affects every facet of your life, especially your quality of life! Methylene blue has shown promise as a mood enhancer.
As an antidepressant, methylene blue inhibits monoamine oxidase, particularly MAOA. This inhibition increases the availability of neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine, helping to alleviate depression. Even low doses of methylene blue can have potent antidepressant effects, a lifeline for those wrestling with this mental health challenge. (7)
Methylene blue plays a pivotal role in reducing oxidative stress. By neutralizing superoxide, a free radical produced during cellular respiration, it prevents the onset of oxidative cascades, acting as both a metabolic enhancer and antioxidant. The result is reduced stress, improved energy, and enhanced sleep quality, contributing to an overall uplifted mood. (7)
The dream of a longer, healthier life is universal. Methylene blue steps into this realm by addressing the core elements of cellular wellbeing.
Mitochondrial dysfunction is a significant player in age-related diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Methylene Blue shows potential for treating and delaying the effects of neurological disorders by protecting against the decline of mitochondrial function. Research has shown that it can prevent or slow deterioration, offering a potential defense against these debilitating conditions. (8)
Methylene blue's inhibitory action on the formation of Tau protein, responsible for Alzheimer's, makes it a candidate for treatment. It also resists the formation of Tau tangles and prevents the formation of beta-amyloid plaques around nerve cells – two other culprits in Alzheimer's progression. (9)
Topical methylene blue decreases cGMP levels in the ischemic brain, which may improve blood flow, reduce inflammation, and protect neurons from damage, leading to fewer complications such as cognitive impairment and disability after a stroke. This is important because stroke is a common contraindication for Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease – worsening symptoms. (10)
Senescence is the gradual deterioration of cellular function that results in biological aging. Methylene blue helps prevent premature senescence, or premature cell death, by reducing oxidative stress and promoting DNA repair. (11)
Methylene blue is a potent antioxidant that can protect skin cells from damage and delay the skin aging process. It is also safe for long-term use and can improve skin viability, promote wound healing, and increase skin hydration and thickness. (12)
In my private practice, I often recommend topical oxidal. Oxidal is a liquid supplement that contains 0.4mg methylene blue. It promotes optimal tissue and cellular oxygenation, resulting in improved cellular health, increased vitality, and more robust energy levels.
Methylene blue can cause side effects in some patients, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, and blue-green discoloration of the skin and urine. Like many other treatments, it can be more harmful to certain groups of people. It should not be used by people taking certain medications, those with medical conditions like glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency, or by pregnant or breastfeeding women. (13)
It can interact with certain recreational drugs like cocaine and MDMA, so it’s important to tell your doctor about all the medications or drugs you are taking before using methylene blue. (13)
Only pharmaceutical USP-grade methylene blue should be used as a nootropic supplement. Request a certificate of analysis to ensure that the product is free of contaminants such as arsenic, aluminum, cadmium, mercury, and lead.
Book a Quantum Health appointment with me to see if methylene blue could benefit you and receive a personalized recommendation!
Here is the link to a new product I have been testing: LifeBlud
Use my discount code for 10% off: IGNITE11
1. Bosch, Fèlix, and Laia Rosich. “The Contributions of Paul Ehrlich to Pharmacology: A Tribute on the Occasion of the Centenary of His Nobel Prize.” Pharmacology, August 5, 2008. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2790789/.
2. Xue, Huijing, Abhirami Thaivalappil, and Kan Cao. “The Potentials of Methylene Blue as an Anti-Aging Drug.” Journal of Neuropathology & Experimental Neurology, December 1, 2021. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8699482/.
3. Rojas, Julio C, Aleksandra K Bruchey, and F Gonzalez-Lima. “Neurometabolic Mechanisms for Memory Enhancement and Neuroprotection of Methylene Blue.” Progress in neurobiology, January 2012. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3265679/.
4. Wrubel, Kathryn M, Penny D Riha, Monica A Maldonado, David McCollum, and F Gonzalez-Lima. “The Brain Metabolic Enhancer Methylene Blue Improves Discrimination Learning in Rats.” Pharmacology, biochemistry, and behavior, April 2007. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2040387/.
5. Hepburn, Juliette, Susan Williams-Lockhart, René Jean Bensadoun, and Reem Hanna. “A Novel Approach of Combining Methylene Blue Photodynamic Inactivation, Photobiomodulation and Oral Ingested Methylene Blue in COVID-19 Management: A Pilot Clinical Study with 12-Month Follow-Up.” Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland), November 8, 2022. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9686966/.
6. Goldstein, Jack A. "Methylene Blue for the Treatment of Cognitive Impairment in Patients with Long COVID: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial." Neurology 99, no. 18 (2023): e2466-e2476.
7. Oz, Murat, Dietrich E Lorke, Mohammed Hasan, and George A Petroianu. “Cellular and Molecular Actions of Methylene Blue in the Nervous System.” Medicinal research reviews, January 2011. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3005530/.
8. Yang, Luodan, Hannah Youngblood, Chongyun Wu, and Quanguang Zhang. “Mitochondria as a Target for Neuroprotection: Role of Methylene Blue and Photobiomodulation.” Translational neurodegeneration, June 1, 2020. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7262767/#Sec2title.
9. “Methylene Blue and Red Light Therapy for Dementia, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s Disease.” MWHP, November 30, 2022. https://www.mwhp.com/methylene-blue-and-red-light-therapy-for-dementia-parkinsons-and-alzheimers-disease/.
10. HR;, Wei HM;Tse J;Chi OZ;Weiss. “Effects of Topical Methylene Blue on Cyclic GMP Level, Blood Flow, and O2 Consumption in Focal Cerebral Ischaemia.” Neurological research, December 1994. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7708136/.
11. Tomen, David. “Explore Everything Nootropics - the Nootropics Expert.” Nootropics Expert, August 11, 2023. https://nootropicsexpert.com/.
12. Xiong, Zheng-Mei, Mike O’Donovan, Linlin Sun, Ji Young Choi, Margaret Ren, and Kan Cao. “Anti-Aging Potentials of Methylene Blue for Human Skin Longevity.” Scientific reports, May 30, 2017. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5449383/.
13. Khan, Idrees, Khalid Saeed, Ivar Zekker, Baoliang Zhang, Abdulmajeed H. Hendi, Ashfaq Ahmad, Shujaat Ahmad, et al. “Review on Methylene Blue: Its Properties, Uses, Toxicity and Photodegradation.” MDPI, January 14, 2022. https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4441/14/2/242.
This is not medical advice. Speak with your healthcare provider before starting any new protocols.