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‘Irresponsible’: Doctors Blast Young Influencers With Blue Tongues Pushing Followers To Ingest Fish Tank Cleaner
Blue tongue
Melanie Acevedo/GettyImages

Young “influencers” are coloring their tongues blue as they inform their audiences of the benefits of methylene blue, which is often used to clean fish tanks. In response, some doctors are either issuing warnings that ingesting the substance imperils one’s health or mocking the idea of ingesting the substance.

As The New York Post reports, Washington-state based podcaster Ben Greenfield, American endurance runner Jordan Hasay, and makeup artist Luba Cohen have all extolled the virtues of ingesting the substance.

Greenfield told his audience that methylene blue was one of his “favorite nootropics due to its wide-ranging benefits that include: enhanced mitochondrial function, provides neuroprotective effects against brain inflammation, increased memory and cognitive function, enhance the effects of light and oxygen therapies, and much more.”

Hasay wrote, “It can help to improve focus, endurance and sleep. I like using @troscriptions ‘Just Blue’ product before my hard workouts. Check out @troscriptions for more info and you can use code JordanBlue for a discount!”

Cohen echoed, “MB has been very important for me while recovering from being sick. There is a few brands on the market but my absolutes favorite is @troscriptions it comes in small lozenge. You place it between your cheek and gums and let it dissolve.”

But Australian Dr. Darren Saunders tweeted, “I have 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. OMG, of course it also ‘slows down your chain of aging’ — whatever the hell that is.”

He added, “I remember a fellow grad student accidently (sic) smashing a bottle of this stuff in the lab late one night. Worst mess I’ve ever seen. Her mouth, eyes etc went blue and for months afterwards, everything would start to turn blue every time the benches got wet.”

Canadian physician Dr. Jon warned:

Hello there; Canadian physician here. Did you just tell your 500,000 followers that methylene blue can be used to fight COVID-19? The study behind you is a pre-clinical lab study … It needs to be tested in humans first to prove that it works. … It can cause destruction of red blood cells in people with G6PD deficiency causing potentially life-threatening hemolysis… it has an FDA warning because it interacts with people with antidepressants to cause something called serotonin syndrome, which means potentially fatal as well. Not  to mention it can discolor your skin and bodily fluids. … I would also like to point out it’s irresponsible for a non-medical professional to post that on their social media as it can lead to real harm.

The Cleveland Clinic notes of methylene blue that it is “used to treat methemoglobinemia. This is a condition in which the blood loses its ability to carry oxygen through the body.” The clinic also warns that someone should warn their health provider before taking the medicine if they suffer from “cyanide poisoning, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency, kidney disease, an unusual or allergic reaction to methylene blue, phenothiazines, thiazide diuretics, other medicines, foods, dyes, or preservatives,” if they are “pregnant or trying to get pregnant or breast-feeding.”

The clinic also lists drugs that may interact dangerously with methylene blue, including:

  • bupropion
  • certain medicines for depression or anxiety
  • clomipramine
  • doxepin
  • duloxetine
  • fluoxetine
  • MAOIs like Marplan, Nardil, and Parnate
  • milnacipran
  • mirtazapine
  • rasagiline
  • selegiline
  • St. John’s wort
  • trazodone
  • tryptophan

The National Institutes of Health notes in a section about methylene blue titled “Adverse Effects”:

Methylene blue is a safe drug when used in therapeutic doses (<2mg/kg).But it can cause toxicity in high doses. The features of toxicity being cardiac arrhythmias, coronary vasoconstriction, decreased cardiac output, renal blood flow and mesenteric blood flow; increased pulmonary vascular pressure & pulmonary vascular resistance and gas exchange deterioration. … Methylene Blue also interferes with the pulse oximeter’s light emission resulting in falsely depressed oxygen saturation reading.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  ‘Irresponsible’: Doctors Blast Young Influencers With Blue Tongues Pushing Followers To Ingest Fish Tank Cleaner