Brain & Neurons

Biohacker Gary Brecka on the Anti-Aging Capabilities of Methylene Blue

Methylene blue — the first man-made medicine — may slow brain aging and improve cognition by targeting our mitochondria.

By Griffin Dean

Key Points: 

  • Methylene blue has been shown to improve the memory of humans after just one dose. 
  • Our mitochondria may be placed into overdrive upon methylene blue supplementation. 
  • Brecka says to remain cautious about jumping into supplementing with methylene blue. 

Gary Brecka knows a lot about what makes people live longer. As a former life insurance actuary, he predicted the lifespan of clients based on their age and medical history. Brecka now hosts the Ultimate Human podcast, where he discusses health, wellness, and longevity with guests like Steve Aoki

In a recent podcast episode, Brecka discussed the potential anti-aging capabilities of a compound called methylene blue (MB). MB is FDA-approved for the treatment of methemoglobinemia, a condition where red blood cells lose their ability to carry oxygen. MB has also been used to treat malaria, psychiatric disorders, septic shock, and ischemia. Additionally, Brecka says that MB “holds a treasure trove of benefits for cognitive enhancement, mitochondrial health, and, recently, indications in longevity.”

Potent Nootropic 

A blue brain emitting blue lightening.

Brecka says MB is a potent nootropic — a drug that enhances memory and other cognitive functions. He mentions studies showing that MB can enhance memory, focus, and even executive function. While the exact studies he is referencing are unclear, there are a handful of human studies demonstrating the cognitive benefits of MB. 

In a 2016 study, participants ranging from 18 to 65 were given 280 mg (about 4 mg/kg) capsules of MB. Just one hour later, the participants exhibited short-term memory enhancements. Additionally, in a 2014 study, undergraduate students (mean age 19) showed improvements in long-term memory from a 260 mg dose of MB. These studies suggest that just one dose of MB can improve memory retention. 

Furthermore, in a 2015 study, a dose of 138 mg/day of MB for 24 weeks was shown to counteract the progression of cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s patients. This study suggests that supplementing with MB chronically could slow brain aging.

Supercharging Mitochondria 

A blue mitochondria emitting blue lightening.

Brecka says it is believed that many of the cognitive benefits of MB come from increasing mitochondrial efficiency and the production of cellular energy — ATP. Indeed, because of its role in improving mitochondrial efficiency, MB may be considered an anti-aging drug. Two major underlying causes of aging that MB counteracts are mitochondrial dysfunction and the excessive production of molecules called reactive oxygen species (ROS).  

In the process of generating ATP, our mitochondria inevitably produce ROS. When mitochondrial ROS build to excessive levels, they can cause damage to our cells and promote aging and disease. However, MB can reduce the production of mitochondrial ROS, minimizing the likelihood of cellular damage and aging. 

Additionally, by increasing the productivity of mitochondria, MB helps with increasing ATP levels. When our cells, including neurons, become low on ATP, they tend to die, which, in the brain, contributes to neurodegeneration. Therefore, by enhancing ATP production, MB can maintain the survival of our neurons. Furthermore, sufficient ATP levels in the brain can also enhance memory consolidation. 

Supplementing with Methylene Blue 

A blue man with blue lightning emitting from his body.

Brecka warns that anyone considering MB for its cognitive-boosting and anti-brain aging benefits should first consult with a physician. While MB is generally considered safe, it can interact with other drugs, such as anti-depressants. This is because MB exhibits the same monoamine oxidase inhibition as some anti-depressants and inhibiting the breakdown of serotonin can potentially lead to toxicity

Brecka also warns against MB supplements that are not pharmaceutical grade, which could contain contaminants. For those who do decide to take MB, he says to start off with a low dose and taper up. For memory enhancement, a dose of 0.5 to 4 mg/kg of body weight has been reported in animal and human studies. However, doses above 10 mg/kg have demonstrated opposite effects. Again, it is always good practice to consult with a physician before taking new supplements or drugs. 


Brecka, Gary. “Methylene Blue | Improved Focus, ATP Production, and Anti-Aging with Gary Brecka.”, uploaded 25 April 2024,

To The Top