Methylene Blue: What is it and How is it used?


Imagine that the world has a tiny, special molecule that can help scientists and other researchers see things better. Luckily, we have Methylene Blue! Using it is like putting on special magic glasses that make everything clearer under a microscope. Researchers use it to find and study things they couldn’t see otherwise. In this comprehensive blog post, we will dive deeper into the definition of Methylene Blue and how it is used.

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Merriam-Webster defines methylene as: a bivalent hydrocarbon radical CH2 derived from methane by removal of two hydrogen atoms. When these chemicals are synthesized and oxidized, that in turn creates methylene blue; a basic dye that has a plethora of uses. It was first used as a blue dye to color clothing. Currently, it is used by researchers and other medical professionals. It is used by researchers to stain nucleic acids and to identify bacteria. It is also used by medical professionals to treat illnesses such as methemoglobinemia (a rare blood disorder).



Methylene Blue has been FDA approved to treat Methemoglobinemia, a rare blood disorder characterized by an abnormal amount of methemoglobin, a form of hemoglobin, in the blood. This condition impairs the ability of red blood cells to release oxygen effectively to body tissues, leading to symptoms such as cyanosis, fatigue, shortness of breath, and at high levels, neurological deficits and cardiovascular complications. By converting methemoglobin back to its functional form, methylene blue helps restore normal oxygen delivery.

Additionally, Methylene Blue is used as an antidote for cyanide poisoning, which is a life-threatening condition resulting from exposure to cyanide compounds. Cyanide disrupts cellular respiration by binding to the cytochrome c oxidase enzyme in mitochondria, preventing cells from utilizing oxygen. Methylene Blue acts by donating electrons to the cytochrome oxidase enzyme system, thereby bypassing the cyanide blockage and allowing for the continuation of cellular respiration. This electron donation capability is crucial in mitigating the effects of cyanide and restoring cellular function. The dye’s multifaceted therapeutic properties make it a vital tool in both hematological and toxicological emergencies.


Methylene Blue can also be utilized in surgeries and urology. In surgeries, Methylene Blue is injected into patients to help surgeons visualize complex anatomy in the human body. Another surgical use of methylene blue is to recognize abnormal connections between tissues called fistulas. In urology, Methylene Blue is used to find leaks in the urinary tract. Surgeons introduce the dye into the urinary system after a patient has surgery to indicate where the patient has said leak. Methylene blue has even been used to treat neurodegenerative disorders and psychiatric conditions in medical trials, but no research has been confirmed nor approved by the FDA in that realm of medicine.

Laboratory Applications

IBI Methylene Blue is used in labs to stain biological specimen, such as cells, tissues, and microorganisms. It stains acidic structures such as nucleic acids blue, which allows researchers to observe cells and their structures. A second use of IBI Methylene Blue is for cell viability assays. By staining live cells blue, and leaving the dead cells unstained, researchers can quantify cell viability and evaluate the conditions for the survival of cells. IBI Methylene Blue can be employed to visualize DNA and RNA in agarose gel electrophoresis. When those nucleic acids are separated, the dye can be added to the gel to allow for visualization under a UV light. A less known use of the dye is in redox titrations and experiments.

A less known but equally important use of the dye is in redox titrations and experiments. Methylene Blue acts as a redox indicator due to its ability to undergo reversible oxidation and reduction reactions. Its color changes depending on its oxidation state; it is blue in its oxidized form and colorless in its reduced form. This property makes it invaluable in determining the endpoint of redox titrations, where a distinct color change signals the completion of the reaction. This application is crucial in various chemical analyses and educational demonstrations, helping to illustrate principles of redox chemistry and reaction stoichiometry.

Other Uses

Methylene blue can also be used as a chemical intermediate in the synthesis of various organic compounds. It serves as a precursor in the production of other dyes and pigments, as well as pharmaceuticals and specialty chemicals.

In the pharmaceutical industry, Methylene Blue is instrumental in the production of drugs and therapeutic agents. Its chemical structure allows for modifications that lead to the creation of novel compounds with specific biological activities, including antimicrobial and antimalarial properties. These derivatives are vital in developing treatments for various medical conditions.

Moreover, Methylene Blue is used in the manufacture of specialty chemicals, which are essential in numerous industrial processes. These chemicals include catalysts, stabilizers, and reagents used in chemical reactions, enhancing the efficiency and selectivity of these processes. For example, its role in redox reactions is exploited in the development of sensors and diagnostic tools, where its reversible oxidation-reduction properties are harnessed for detecting and measuring various substances.

Is Methylene Blue Harmful to Humans?

Yes, large doses of Methylene Blue can be harmful to humans. Despite this, a dangerous TikTok trend involving Methylene Blue has been brewing to the masses. Some influencers are claiming that the dye "enhances cognitive abilities and boosts metabolism". As stated before, Methylene Blue is NOT for personal or therapeutic use. It should only be prescribed by medical professionals or used in a lab setting. IBI Methylene Blue is NOT for human consumption. Our Methylene Blue dye is specially designed to be used for lab staining only. If you have questions or concerns regarding Methylene Blue for medical use, please consult a doctor.


IBI Scientific 100% methylene blue                         
                          IBI Methylene Blue is primarily used to stain DNA & RNA

IBI Scientific: Your Trusted Methylene Blue Provider

Here at IBI Scientific, we take pride in making only the finest Methylene Blue. Our dye is carefully made with the best ingredients to procure about 100% pristine dye. Our dye is made mainly to stain DNA or RNA, but it can also be used for other procedures in a lab setting. IBI Scientific Methylene Blue cannot be shipped to a residential area, and it is not for personal use.  If you have questions or concerns about Methylene Blue for lab usage, please call IBI Scientific at 1-800-253-4942 or email us at Click here to buy IBI Scientific Methylene Blue for your lab.

Written by Prince Harrison

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