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Monday, August 22 2022

Mitochondrial Health Part 6: The Magic Bullet- Methylene Blue

In 1900, Paul Ehrlich coined the term “magic bullet” when he was referring to a chemical discovered in 1876 by Heinrich Caro a German chemist working for BASF called methylene blue. Methylene blue, a brilliant blue salt that was at first used as a blue dye for the textile industry. By the year 1890, microbiologist Robert Koch was using it to stain cells and tissues when looking at slides under a microscope. A Polish pathologist Czeslaw Checinski used it to stain the parasite causing malaria and to his surprise killed the parasite. In 1891, it was Paul Ehrlich who published a case study on two malaria patients who were cured of malaria with methylene blue making it the first synthetic drug. When antibiotics were discovered in the early part of the 20th century, these new drugs replaced methylene blue in the prevention and treatment of malaria.


Methylene blue, used today as an antiseptic in the blood supply to kill microbes to reduce risk of infection during an infusion of blood, also has FDA approval it to treat a condition called methemoglobinemia. This is a condition where the hemoglobin inside the red blood cells become oxidized and can no longer transport oxygen. Symptoms of methemoglobinemia are blue fingertips, shortness of breath, confusion, seizures, coma, and metabolic acidosis from low levels of oxygen in the blood. Methylene blue is in the emergency rooms of hospitals across the U.S. for the treatment of carbon monoxide poisoning and other chemical poisonings that would result in the condition of methemoglobinemia.


If you think this sounds like the symptoms of Covid-19, then you would be correct, but do not count on it being used for that purpose at the local hospital.


In the early part of the last century, methylene blue was synthesized to quinacrine by Wilhelm Rohl of Bayer and then in turn synthesized to chloroquine in 1934 by Hans Andersag of Bayer and later to hydroxychloroquine. Methylene blue and its derivatives have a one hundred plus year history in successfully treating malaria, chemical poisoning, and other ailments such as rheumatoid arthritis. There have been studies showing hydroxychloroquine’s effectiveness for treating Covid-19. Could methylene blue have worked as well? This study points to yes with a positive invitro finding in killing the SARS cov-2 virus.  Additionally, a study in France with 2500 cancer patients, methylene blue was dosed as a preventative and not a single patient was infected with Covid 19. 


More recently, methylene blue has been studied as a useful way to treat other conditions such as depression, PTSD, increasing testosterone, lowering estrogen, increasing thyroid hormone, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, back pain, chemical poisoning, urinary tract infections, fungal, viral and bacterial infections, cardiovascular problems, strokes, and traumatic brain injuries. It can also be used topically for skin lesions.



The main difference between treating an emergency chemical poisoning resulting in methemoglobinemia and the chronic illnesses listed above is dose. In acute carbon monoxide poisoning the dose might be 3-4 mg/kilogram of body weight. In this situation the dose would be delivered intravenously. For a more chronic condition such as a chronic infection or Alzheimer’s disease, the dose would be .5 to 1 mg/kilogram of body weight taken orally. Therefore a 150 lb. (70 kilograms) person might need 200-280 mg in a medical emergency, but to address a chronic illness might only need 30-70 mg. Although it is no longer available, methylene blue was sold in pharmacies under the name Urolene Blue at a 65 mg dose to treat urinary tract infections. There are three classifications of methylene blue. Industrial, chemical, and pharmaceutical. Industrial dyes, and chemical versions for keeping fish tanks clean are to be avoided.

Only pharmaceutical grade methylene blue should be considered for human consumption.


So far with my own research I have found two companies that make pharmaceutical grade methylene blue to consider using.  A sublingual troche  A liquid form to be added to water. I prefer this one.


Francisco Lima-Gonzalez PhD (FLG) has been studying mitochondria and methylene blue. FLG reiterates what I have revealed in the past five newsletters. Namely that the oxygen delivered along the four complexes of the electron transport chain in the mitochondria will not produce sufficient ATP molecules for energy if there is not sufficient electron donors and acceptors and cytochrome c oxidase. Methylene blue provides the electrons, and the cytochrome c oxidase is dependent on magnesium, and infrared light. It turns out the color of methylene blue aids in absorbing infrared light. Blue colored materials block blue light and absorb red and infrared light to improve the cytochrome c oxidase enzyme.


There are two main instances where caution or avoidance of methylene blue should be known in addition to being pregnant or nursing.1. Would be anyone taking a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). The more common medications that fit this description are Lexapro, Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil and Celexa. Because methylene blue can increase serotonin the potential for serotonin syndrome exists a surge in serotonin that would be dangerous. 2. Anyone with a G6PD genetic abnormality. Information on this condition can be found here and here. It is associated with hemolytic anemia which is when you break down red blood cells faster than you make new ones. Populations of people from Africa, the Mediterranean and Asia are more likely affected. It is rare in women, and it is thought that the genetic abnormality coincidently served as a protector against malaria. You should also be aware that taking methylene blue orally will result in a blue tongue and teeth and a bluish/greenish urine for several hours. This indicates that methylene blue is absorbed intact and does not break down into other compounds. It may also cause mild tongue tingling. In rarer instances, nausea, dizziness, or sweating. Therefore, a low dose is recommended to start with.



Final Thoughts

Methylene blue is truly a magic bullet and one of the best kept secrets in the treatment of the more common chronic conditions we are seeing more of today that is causing premature aging. During normal respiration, a free radical superoxide is formed and can impair ATP production. Methylene blue binds to superoxide and reduces it to water. It is because of its unique abilities at improving mitochondrial function in the four complexes that make up the electron transport chain, and its lack of notoriety that made me want to devote a newsletter to this amazing molecule. With the energetic demands that the mitochondria in our brain, cardiovascular and immune systems require, methylene blue and its ability to donate electrons and bind up free radicals make it a potential magic bullet for those individuals who have problems that exist therein.


Special thanks to Mark Sloan and his book The Ultimate Guide to Methylene Blue.

Posted by: Dr. Goldstein AT 01:37 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

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