#128 | Mitochondrial Power-up w/Methylene Blue | Scott Sherr MD

Fullscript for WiseAthletes

Mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell, as we learned in high school biology. What’s emerging from science more recently is how unhealthy mitochondria are at the heart of many diseases, and even shows up in our daily lives as feeling chronically fatigued or having brain fog. Improving mitochondrial function is at the heart of everything we do for athletic performance, health, and athletic longevity. Heck, mitochondrial dysfunction is one of the 12 hallmarks of aging…so what can we do?

Today I am speaking with Dr. Scott Sherr who says “he is a conductor of all things optimal health & performance”….he says everything he does for his patients…whatever their issues are…is usually aimed at improving mitochondrial dysfunction. Dr Sherr is not just a medical doctor …his unique background has led him to build a medical practice combining the best of traditional and alternative medicine.

Dr. Scott Sherr is a Board Certified Internal Medicine Physician and a specialist in Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT).  His clinical practice includes Health Optimization Medicine as its foundation plus an integrative approach to hyperbaric oxygen therapy, trargeted supplementation, synergistic new & ancient technologies, and more.  He is the perfect doctor to speak to the Wise Athletes podcast.

But there is still more.  Dr. Scott is also the COO of Smarter Not Harder, the company behind Troscriptions, a line of unique supplements to optimize brain and body energy production and to relax and calm when needed.  And, as you will soon hear, Dr Sherr is the person who convinced me to try Methylene Blue, which has served to banish afternoon brain fog from my life.

Bullet points (from Smarter Not Harder’s THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO METHYLENE BLUE)

  • At low doses (<3mg/kg), Methylene Blue (MB) is called an electron cycler. It acts as an electron donor to the electron transport chain in your mitochondria, increasing ATP production.
  • MB also works as an acceptor of free electrons from reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (i.e. it works like an antioxidant…one as powerful as vitamin C or glutathione, in fact). There are very few compounds that cycle electrons (i.e. donates and accepts them) as effectively as MB.
  • MB also increases the cytochrome oxidase (complex IV) function in your mitochondria and drives increased glucose consumption. The latter occurs because, when the mitochondria are making more energy, they need more substrate to supply electrons to the electron transport chain.
  • While increasing glucose consumption and energy production, MB also increases the supply of NAD+.
  • At <2mg/kg, MB causes the release of nitric oxide and the dilation of blood vessels so that more oxygen-rich blood flows to the area of increased glucose consumption.
  • MB can bypass potentially dysfunctional mitochondrial complexes I and II. This is why MB works to reverse or compensate for mitochondrial damage.
  • MB concentrates in tissues with the most mitochondria (e.g. the brain where it readily crosses the blood-brain barrier) the heart, muscles, the liver, and kidneys.
  • But…at moderate doses (3mg to 10mg/kg in most studies), MB becomes an electron donor and a pro- oxidant that facilitates the generation of singlet oxygen and peroxide radicals, especially in the presence of certain spectrums of light. This is likely the way MB works in septic shock (via nitric oxide synthase inhibition) and possibly in cancer treatment.
  • Moderate doses can be useful for addressing infections or other acute injuries, but shouldn’t be taken for long periods of time

  • MB donates electrons at the electron- transport chain (ETC) and increases ATP production. This effect can occur in the presence or absence of oxygen (works even at high altitude!).
  • MB enhances the function of cytochrome oxidase (complex IV), making it work faster and more efficiently. This leads to increased oxygen consumption and increased ATP production, especially in the most metabolically active cells, like nerve cells in memory regions of the brain.
  • MB stimulates glucose metabolism in conditions with and without oxygen + increases the amount of NAD + produced by mitochondria. The greater amount of NAD+, the younger your cells remain/become due to sirtuin activation.
  • MB may function as a cholinesterase inhibitor, increasing the amount of acetylcholine available, a neurotransmitter in the brain responsible for arousal, attention, memory, and motivation.
  • MB, combined with certain spectrums of light, are synergistic in mitochondrial activation AND may be anti-infective against bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
  • MB functions as a powerful antioxidant as it scavenges the mitochondria and cytosol for free electrons to accept and neutralize. On the macro level, this is how MB is neuroprotective and may reverse skin, brain, heart, and other damage.
  • In red blood cells, MB changes the configuration of the iron (heme) in hemoglobin, the molecule in a red blood cell that carries oxygen. This improves the oxygen-carrying capacity of hemoglobin, which leads to increased ATP production from the ETC.
  • MB also has mood-lifting effects, functioning as a monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitor. Inhibiting MAO prevents monoamine neurotransmitter breakdown (dopamine, melatonin, and serotonin) which leads directly to increases in these neurotransmitters.

  • Methylene Blue has been used for over a hundred years and, when used with care, is an extremely safe compound.
  • However, it can cause toxicity at high doses (>3mg/kg), and even at lower doses toxicity can occur if used at too high a dose in this range or for too long.
  • Also, combining Methylene Blue of any dose with SSRIs, SNRIs, or other drugs that prevent serotonin reuptake (including psychedelics) may cause serotonin syndrome. Do not use methylene blue with these types of medications.
  • Methylene Blue is also not safe if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or nonhuman
  • It is also not safe if you have G6PD deficiency

Related info and episodes:

More Dr Scott Sherr info:

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The ever curious athlete who demands answers.
About the Author
Curious athlete who demands answers. Husband to Susan ( Father of 3 daughters. Athletic pursuits over time, in reverse order: cycling, skiing, mountaineering, rock climbing, triathlon, golf, tennis, football.

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