A new fitness fad of drinking methylene blue to slow aging is sounding a wake-up call among health experts. In addition to being used as a dye in laboratories, this chemical is used to clean aquariums. A number of fitness influencers have promoted the compound on social media, along with photos of blue tongues caused by it. A handful called “Ben Greenfield Fitness” claimed that methylene blue protects against brain inflammation and also improves cognitive function.
Another California influencer claimed that “methylene blue prevents the accumulation of amyloid plague in the brain, making it a therapeutic potential for Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and dementia …”
Doctors have warned that this trend is dangerous and the compound can be toxic to the human body. It is used to treat methemoglobinemia, but doses should be checked by the doctor. An NIH article says: “Methylene blue is a safe drug when used in therapeutic doses. But it can cause toxicity in high doses. The hallmarks of toxicity are cardiac arrhythmias, coronary vasoconstriction, decreased cardiac output, renal blood flow, and mesenteric blood flow; increase in pulmonary vascular pressure and pulmonary vascular resistance and deterioration of gas exchange. It also turns urine greenish blue and bluish discoloration of the skin and mucous membranes which is self-limiting. “
An Australian scientist took to Twitter to thwart claims made by fitness influencers. Dr Darren Saunders wrote: “I just discovered the trend of fitness influencers sticking methylene blue on their tongue as a ‘metabolic or cognitive enhancer’ and I can’t help but laugh.
I just discovered the trend of fitness influencers sticking methylene blue on their tongue as a “metabolic or cognitive enhancer” and I can’t stop laughing pic.twitter.com/R5HUYUXmHp– Dr. Darren Saunders (@whereisdaz) March 10, 2022
“OMG, of course, ‘it also slows down the aging chain’ – anyway.”
Methylene blue is also known to interact with antidepressants and cause serotonin syndrome which can be fatal. Symptoms can include headache, vomiting, changes in blood pressure, profuse sweating, and confusion.
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