Methylene Blue: The Age Old Nootropic Creating Biohacking Buzz

Methylene Blue The Age Old Nootropic Creating Biohacking Buzz

Biohacking is a growing buzzword, a movement towards controlling your biological aging by positively impacting your external and internal environments for improved organic functioning. Among the world’s leading biohackers are Dave Asprey (“biohacking” founder and inventor of the “bulletproof” diet), biohacking expert Andreas Breitfeld, and entrepreneur Liz Parrish. Also influential are entrepreneur and lifestyle guru Tim Ferris, biologist David Sinclair, Wim Hoff (the “Iceman”), and tech centimillionaire Bryan Johnson

For these extreme antiaging “hackers,” protecting the body and brain from damage and aging means changing how they think and live. It embraces changes in how they eat, live, sleep, and exercise and helps boost how their cells receive nutrition and oxygen and create energy. For some, it means an almost militaristic program, ongoing medical monitoring, and, in the extreme, algorithm-driven living.

Why Does Improved Oxygenation and Energy Production Matter?

Every cell in our body constantly relies on oxygen and energy to function optimally. Without the efficient uptake of glucose (from food) and oxygen (from respiration), cell function slows down or can become impaired, leading to possible cell damage or death. This decline is particularly concerning in the brain, one of our most energetic organs. Here, it can lead to neurological harm and neurodegenerative diseases such as geriatric dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. 

Historically, neurological thought leadership has concluded that physical impediments, such as thickened or hardened arteries (atherosclerosis), prevent adequate brain cell functioning and lead to neurological cell shrinkage and death. However, a new theory is emerging.

Recent research indicated that the brains of Alzheimer patients show distinct traits, including the inhibition of the respiratory enzyme cytochrome oxidase. In response, neuroscientists posit that the causes of neurodegeneration are vascular and metabolic, as a result of impairments or impediments within our body’s energy “powerhouses,” our mitochondria.

What Are Mitochondria?

What Are Mitochondria

Mitochondria occur in every living cell, at lesser or greater volumes, depending on the energy needs of the organ. Our muscles naturally require substantial energy, as do our hardest-working organs, such as our liver, heart, and brain. This energy, reliant on glucose from carbohydrates or an alternative fat-utilization process called ketosis, is required constantly for survival.

The mitochondria is a mysterious but miraculous “guest,” a microscopic bacteria living within cells and controlling energy production. These organelles store this energy in adenosine triphosphate (ATP) molecules, which distribute fuel around the cell. Each cell could be populated with billions of ATP molecules simultaneously. 

The process is fast, with our ATP reserves typically depleted and restocked every two minutes. Thanks to these mitochondria’s intriguing presence and activity, we can thrive in the Earth’s oxygenated atmosphere.

How Do Mitochondria Create Energy?

The electron transport chain inside mitochondria moves electrons generated from electron donors through the organelle. Our bodies produce these electron donors, predominantly carbohydrate-derived glucose and ketosis-generated fats, from our food.

Electron acceptors, primarily oxygen, then take up these electrons. Inside mitochondria, this electron donation and acceptance process is called oxidative phosphorylation. The exchange is paired with adenosine phosphorylation to produce our body’s prolific energy “battery packs,” our ATP molecules. 

How Can You Boost Oxygenation and Energy Production for Improved Functioning?

For serious biohackers, this is their driving question and goal. Techniques and approaches are numerous, with dedicated individuals constantly pushing the envelope. The foundations of cellular wellness include adequate and appropriate health-enhancing nutrition and hydration, intermittent fasting, calorie restriction, exercises such as high-intensity interval training (HIIT), mindfulness, and meditation. Cutting-edge treatments include heat, cold, compression, electro or shockwave therapy, and supplements. 

Supplements include body and brain-boosting “smart” drugs such as nicotinamide, adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) coenzyme, and antiaging resveratrol. They can also incorporate cognition-enhancers or nootropics, such as caffeine, carnitine, L-theanine, CDP-choline, ginseng, ginkgo, the herb Bacopa monnieri, vinpocetine, huperzine A, piracetam, and the highly promising, methylene blue. 

What Is Methylene Blue?

Methylene blue, or methylthioninium chloride, is a synthesized compound initially used as a dye in the 1800s. It is a dark green powder that’s clear inside the body but turns blue in contact with air and water. Beyond its blue coloring, the salt – the first and oldest known 100% artificial drug – has proved effective across numerous applications. 

It is used in animal and veterinary sciences to treat water, including as a sick fish “first response” and fish tank cleaner. It is also valuable in biological and medical staining. In small doses, it acts as an anti-malarial, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal, antioxidant, antipsychotic, and mood enhancer. Methylene blue was the parent molecule for the first antipsychotic drug and remains the basis for malaria drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine. 

It is used as an emergency treatment for septic shock and anaphylaxis and as an antidote to cyanide and carbon monoxide poisoning. It is also being evaluated as a COVID-19 therapy and is FDA-approved to treat the rare blood disorder methemoglobinemia. In more significant amounts, methylene blue may help scavenge and scour certain viruses from donated blood before transfusion and manage viral infections such as West Nile and dengue fever. It is also being explored as a treatment for some cancers, including the AIDS-related Kaposi’s sarcoma. 

The substance is effective yet harmless in limited doses and so versatile that it was the first to be coined a “magic bullet” by Paul Ehrlich in 1886. Moreover, according to Dr. John Lieurance, a chiropractic and naturalist neurologist, it may be “the most impressive molecule ever discovered.” In addition to its pharmaceutical, medical, and industrial uses, methylene blue is also emerging as a potent nootropic.

How Does Methylene Blue Act as a Nootropic?

How Does Methylene Blue Act as a Nootropic

A nootropic – from the Greek words nöos and tropein meaning “thinking” and “to guide” – is any substance that boosts cognitive functioning and memory. How these compounds increase brain power varies. 

Action includes stimulating the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and preserving and promoting neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. They can also act through the removal of harmful electrons, the reduction of nitric acid buildup, and the enhancement of essential cellular glucose uptake and respiration. 

Perhaps counterintuitively, nootropic action interferes with central nervous system (CNS) neuronal cell metabolism. Their activity can also go against expectations. For example, the neurobiological effects of methylene blue are not driven by regular drug response and receptor interactions or paradigms. 

What Makes Methylene Blue Unique?

Unlike conventional pharmaceuticals, where higher doses generate increased effects, methylene displays a hormetic, or opposite, response. In other words, the salt yields the most nootropic benefit at lower doses. In limited amounts, methylene blue acts as an electron cycler in the mitochondrial electron transport chain, offering unmatched cell respiration and antioxidant-enhancing qualities. 

The compound provides critical auto-oxidizing properties and tissue oxidase pleiotropic effects for robust neuroprotection and memory improvement. It is a promising treatment for neurodegeneration, impairment, and chronic and acute oxidative stress-related conditions. 

Methylene blue is a multitasker, donating electrons to the transport chain and accepting electrons from surrounding compounds. Methylene blue helps maintain energy production and oxygen consumption by facilitating this essential cycle.

This characteristic of the salt is rare, offering two actions seldom coexisting in one compound. It helps generate energy and acts as an antioxidant, ideal for biohackers, while improving energy metabolism and, critically, doing so without causing oxidative stress. Instead, methylene blue helps reduce this type of damage. In addition, the compound stimulates general biochemical oxygen consumption operation upregulation and hemodynamic processes to boost local tissue blood supply. 

What Do Leading Biohackers Say About Methylene Blue?

With biohackers using state-of-the-art technology, tools, and nutrition to enhance physical and mental performance and slow aging, many recognize methylene blue as an “old drug with a new purpose.” This “old” drug is valued as a magical mitochondrial enhancer, bringing potential revival within the most fundamental components of our bodies and brains. This functional revving-up offers “new” levels of cognition, concentration, mental agility, creativity, and memory. 

For these antiaging warriors, methylene blue is a secret weapon akin to a “super fuel.” At the same time, It doesn’t replace health-enhancing nutrition, hydration, physical and mental exercise, sleep, social support, stress reduction, or dietary supplementation. Instead, it supports and promotes the functioning of well-cared-for physical and mental mechanics. 

Methylene blue also benefits physical energy levels, skin health through increased collagen and elastin production and essential cardiovascular health. Beyond being an all-around performance enhancer, methylene blue helps allay or alleviate “the blues,” promoting elevated and stabilized mood. 

Biohackers are, by nature, adventurous and experimental. These risk-taking explorers likely use methylene blue at its limits, intravenously and as Methylene Blue Stacks – combined with other supplements, nootropics, and modalities, such as red light therapy. They may also include the nootropic to test Biohacking Synergies by coupling it with practices such as physical exercise, cold exposure, and intermittent fasting.

However, scientists have determined an optimal dose as 0.5 to 2 mg per kg of body weight for the rest of us. Start at the lowest amount and gradually increase to find the best dose. Individual responses can differ based on metabolism, methylene blue sensitivity, and genetics. 

Nootropic home use typically includes the salt in tablet, powder, drops, or troche (lozenge) format. Methylene blue is odorless and mostly flavorless, apart from a slight “mineral” taste. Unless you’re applying the substance topically for antiaging or to treat skin conditions, you won’t turn blue, although your tongue and urine might. This dye effect is usual and nothing to worry about, responsive to rinsing or naturally dissipating after two hours to a day. 

Potential Methylene Blue Side Effects and Risks

Potential Methylene Blue Side Effects and Risks

Using USP (pharmaceutical) grade methylene blue at the recommended low doses is safe and almost side effect-free. This quality makes the salt ideal for use across applications, ages, genders, and at home. At the same time, before starting a methylene blue regime, always check with your doctor first. 

Although uncommon, reported side effects can include mild gastrointestinal issues such as abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. In addition, at larger than approved doses, the substance can become toxic and may harm rather than help. 

The nootropic is contraindicated during pregnancy and breastfeeding and if you have a glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency. Please also avoid using it in combination with serotonin-raising antidepressants and psychedelic substances such as the vines used in ayahuasca ceremonies, MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine), and psilocybin. 

Discover the Nootropic Methylene Blue Biohack

Nootropics are increasingly proving to help enhance mitochondrial metabolism,  respiration, and oxygenation, increasing and speeding energy production and overall brain and body functioning. For biohackers and everyone interested in a longer, better quality life, these compounds offer extensive and impressive benefits when used as part of a holistic wellness plan. 

Those with intellectually and energy-demanding tasks, and anyone wanting to avoid or already experiencing neurological decline, can leverage the cognitive enhancing benefits of nootropics such as methylene blue. In addition, while many biohacking supplements, tools, and techniques are expensive and time-consuming, using methylene blue is easy, convenient, effective, and inexpensive.