Methylene Blue May Hold the Key to Curing Hot Flashes
February 22, 2023
Unfortunately, hot flashes are a common symptom experienced by many women during and after menopause. Some women even begin dealing with them in their early 40s. The symptoms are characterized by a sudden warmth or heat that spreads throughout the body, accompanied by sweating and rapid heartbeat. Many people aren’t aware of this, but men may experience hot flashes as well. In males over forty or fifty, symptoms may be increased irritability, mood swings, loss of sex drive and even depression.
For both men and women, there are several treatment options for hot flashes, including hormone therapy, antidepressants, and alternative therapies such as herbal supplements and acupuncture.
The exact causes of hot flashes still need to be better understood. One thought is that they may be related to changes in hormone levels, particularly estrogen. But many times, hormonal replacement does not solve the problem. Furthermore, hormone replacement may not be an acceptable option for some women.
Over the years I’ve continued to research this topic and as I’ve dug deeper, I’ve discovered that there appear to be other causes of hot flashes. Most recently, I came across an article that stated that hot flashes were probably related to the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain that are involved in regulating body temperature. One of these neurotransmitters is serotonin, AKA, the “feel-good hormone.”
Studies have found that women who experience hot flashes have lower levels of serotonin compared to women who do not experience hot flashes. This is interesting.
Additionally, some research suggests that medications that increase serotonin levels, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), may be effective in reducing the frequency and severity of hot flashes. These medicines are more commonly known as antidepressants, and antidepressant medications are now recommended as a first-line treatment for hot flashes in people who cannot take hormones.
I know what you’re thinking.
Don’t antidepressants have a host of unwanted side effects?
Yes, they do. This is why it’s important to continue to look for ways that we can treat hot flashes and, at the same time, improve a patient’s overall health.
Now, the real question becomes:
How can regenerative medicine help with hot flashes?
At PUR-FORM, we utilize intravenous methylene blue as a treatment before a patient receives an IV NAD treatment. Intravenous methylene blue has been shown to increase the effectiveness of IV NAD in several different ways, which I’ll get into below. (For more information on methylene blue, check out my blog post: What Can Methylene Blue Do For You?)
First, methylene blue (MB) acts as an electron donor, providing electrons that can restore NAD+ levels in the body. NAD+ is a cofactor in various cellular processes, including energy metabolism, DNA repair, and antioxidant defense. When NAD+ levels become depleted, these processes can be impacted, leading to symptoms such as fatigue, muscle weakness, decreased cognitive function, and general aging.
Second, methylene blue has been shown to stimulate the production of NAD+ by activating certain enzymes involved in NAD+ biosynthesis. This helps to ensure that there is an adequate supply of NAD+ available for use in the body.
Finally, methylene blue has been shown to have direct protective effects on cells, helping to prevent damage from oxidative stress and other types of cellular injury. This can help reduce inflammation and prevent further damage to cells, ultimately improving symptoms associated with NAD depletion.
As one can see, there are several important reasons why we utilize methylene blue when giving intravenous NAD. Increasing NAD levels are related to improved health and slowing down inflammaging.
How Methylene Blue Influences Serotonin Levels
One aspect of methylene blue worth further study is to ascertain how MB influences serotonin levels.
When I devised the protocol for IV methylene blue and IV NAD, I was mindful of a contraindication to methylene blue in patients taking an antidepressant medication. Taking an antidepressant and methylene blue together is generally considered a contraindication because both drugs can affect the neurotransmitter serotonin levels in the brain.
Methylene blue is a medication that acts as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) and a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI), both of which increase the levels of serotonin in the brain. Antidepressants, particularly SSRIs, also work by increasing the levels of serotonin in the brain. When taken together, these drugs can cause an excessive increase in serotonin levels, leading to a condition called serotonin syndrome. This was my “Ah ha!” moment!
Could IV methylene blue help in the treatment of hot flashes?
I investigated the subject in the scientific literature and the pieces started to fall into place. I discovered that some studies use methylene blue to treat hot flashes in postmenopausal women. These studies suggested that MB can reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes because it works by affecting the levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and noradrenaline in the brain.
Diminished amounts of serotonin and noradrenaline are found in women suffering from hot flashes. Other research has suggested that MB may act on the hypothalamus, a brain region that plays a crucial role in regulating the body’s temperature. Precisely, it is thought to inhibit the activity of an enzyme called monoamine oxidase, which is responsible for breaking down serotonin in the brain. This inhibition of monoamine oxidase can lead to an increase in the levels of serotonin in the brain, which can have a positive effect on mood and behavior. Additionally, methylene blue may act as a serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SRI), which can increase the amount of serotonin available in the brain by preventing its reuptake into neurons.
The effects of methylene blue can further be enhanced with red-light therapy. The impact of intravenous methylene blue can be increased with light treatment through a process known as photodynamic therapy. Photodynamic therapy involves using light to activate certain drugs, such as methylene blue, to produce a therapeutic effect.
In the case of methylene blue, light therapy can help to increase its effectiveness by enhancing its ability to act as an electron donor and restore NAD+ levels in the body. At PUR-FORM, we perform photodynamic therapy using the LightStim bed. A sublingual route (under the tongue) can also be utilized with methylene blue, but one needs to be prepared to brush your teeth several times afterward since methylene blue will color one’s teeth blue. We even have the Theralumen watch, worn over the radial and ulna arteries in the wrist, and it will allow for photodynamic therapy by supplying red light.
Light therapy can also increase the production of NAD+ by stimulating the activity of certain enzymes involved in NAD+ biosynthesis. As previously mentioned, NAD+ is a cofactor involved in various cellular processes, including energy metabolism, DNA repair, and antioxidant defense. This can help ensure an adequate supply of NAD+ for use in the body, further enhancing the effects of methylene blue. Evidence also suggests that NAD itself may regulate the body’s response to stress, which may be involved in developing hot flashes. NAD may help modulate the activity of certain neurotransmitters and hormones involved in regulating the body’s response to stress.
In addition to methylene blue and NAD, a few other intravenous compounds may benefit hot flash treatment. Some studies have suggested that magnesium deficiency may contribute to hot flashes, and IV magnesium therapy is a treatment option for women with low magnesium levels. Intravenous vitamin C is also helpful, and vitamin C is an antioxidant that may help alleviate hot flashes by reducing inflammation.
OTHER POTENTIAL TREATMENT REGIMENS
Some studies have suggested that Intermittent Hypoxia Therapy (IHT) may have therapeutic benefits for treating hot flashes. IHT treats various health conditions, including respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. According to research, IHT may help alleviate hot flashes by reducing inflammation and modulating the activity of certain neurotransmitters and hormones involved in regulating the body’s response to stress.
IHT also seems to affect the hypothalamus of the brain. Additionally, IHT may help to improve the function of mitochondria. We are aware of how IHT can affect weight loss in the body by its effect on the hypothalamus, and it is believed that similar mechanisms exist regarding the influence of IHT on hot flashes.
Several dietary supplements may help alleviate symptoms of menopausal hot flashes, although the evidence supporting their effectiveness varies. Some of the most common supplements include:
BLACK COHOSH: This herb has been traditionally used to treat menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes. Studies have shown that black cohosh may effectively reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes.
SOY: Soy contains phytoestrogens, which are plant-based compounds that mimic the effects of estrogen in the body. Some studies have found that soy supplements may help reduce hot flashes in menopausal women.
VITAMIN E: Vitamin E is an antioxidant that may help alleviate hot flashes by reducing inflammation in the body. Some studies have found that vitamin E supplements may effectively reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes.
RED CLOVER: This herb is a rich source of phytoestrogens and has been traditionally used to treat menopausal symptoms. Some studies have found that red clover supplements may help reduce hot flashes in menopausal women.
GRAPE SEED EXTRACT: Grape seed extract is an antioxidant that may help alleviate hot flashes by reducing inflammation in the body. Some studies have found that grape seed extract supplements may effectively reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes.
NITRIC OXIDE is a naturally occurring compound that dilates blood vessels and improves blood flow. Some studies have suggested that nitric oxide supplements help alleviate hot flashes in menopausal women. One study found that supplementing with L-arginine, an amino acid precursor to nitric oxide, may help reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes. The study found that women who took L-arginine supplements experienced a significant reduction in the number of hot flashes compared to those who did not take the supplement.
Related to Nitric Oxide is BEETROOT EXTRACT, a dietary supplement derived from the beetroot (beta vulgaris) plant. Beetroot extract is rich in nitrates, which the body converts into nitric oxide. Some evidence suggests that beetroot extract supplements may be beneficial in reducing symptoms of menopausal hot flashes.
However, the evidence needs to be more extensive, and more research is required to confirm these findings. A study published in the Journal of Women’s Health found that supplementing with beetroot extract may help reduce the frequency and severity of hot flashes in menopausal women.
The study found that women who took beetroot extract supplements experienced a significant reduction in the number of hot flashes compared to those who did not take the supplement. Another study published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that beetroot extract supplements may help reduce the severity of hot flashes in postmenopausal women.
The study found that women who took beetroot extract supplements experienced a significant reduction in the severity of hot flashes compared to those who did not take the supplement. A variety of Beetroot products can be obtained from the company HumanN, which we recommend. One of their most touted products is “SuperBeets.”
As time goes on, we will keep expanding our horizons in treating hot flashes and methylene blue will remain a pillar in treating this vexing problem.
It’s also important to note that methylene blue is not FDA-approved for treating hot flashes and should be used only under the supervision of a healthcare professional. The same holds for some of the other compounds and protocols mentioned. – Dr. P!
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