Methylene Blue with UBI for Chronic Lyme

Methylene Blue with UBI for Chronic Lyme

As we have discussed before, Methylene blue is a naturally occurring salt which started off as a dye and became the first fully man-made medicine when it was synthesized by German chemist Heinrich Caro in 1876. It is a powerful antioxidant and antimicrobial that has a long history of being used for surgical staining of microscope lab slides, as a treatment for malaria, methemoglobinemia (a blood disorder), and as a treatment for urinary tract infections. Pharmacologically, methylene blue increases mitochondrial oxygen consumption as well as electron transport chains, which helps to reduce free radicals, cellular damage, and cell death. The health of our mitochondria is important as mitochondrial dysfunction has multiple effects, both immediate and downstream, due to oxidative stress. 

Lyme disease is one of the top vector-borne diseases in the United States, and extremely prevalent in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic areas, with Pennsylvania being the 6th most prevalent state for Lyme (26.1 per 1,000) behind NJ, DE, WV, RI & ME (Elflein, 2023). A vector is anything that carries a pathogen, disease, or parasite from one living thing to another. While rats, bats, and mice can all be vectors, the most common are insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, and lice. Ticks carry both viruses and bacteria such as Lyme disease, babesiosis, bartonella, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, anaplasmosis, Southern Tick-Associated Rash Illness, Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever, and tularemia, Colorado tick fever, Powassan encephalitis, and Q fever. There is no test that detects Chronic Lyme Disease, but it is defined as having symptoms lasting longer than 4 weeks. Some common symptoms of Lyme disease include:

  • Fever/chills
  • Aches and pains
  • Rash

Other symptoms can include:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Stiff neck
  • Facial paralysis
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Brain fog

While many people have been told to be on the lookout for a bull’s eye rash as a visual confirmation of the diagnosis, studies have shown that the percent of people who actually have a visible rash ranges from 39.3% to 69% (Johnson et al., 2014). Patients who are diagnosed with Lyme disease receive antibiotic treatment, and most are cured within 2-4 weeks. However, if a patient does not receive treatment or is not responsive to treatment, they can develop Chronic Lyme Disease. It is estimated that between 10%–20% of people who have Lyme develop Chronic Lyme Disease, even after receiving antibiotics. Furthermore, research also shows that continued use of antibiotics doesn’t improve symptoms from Chronic Lyme (Mayo Clinic, 2023) and that the current antibiotics used to treat the initial occurrence of Lyme are not the most efficacious (Feng et al., 2015).

This is where methylene blue can help. In studies, this therapy was found to be one of the best treatments against the lyme strains Bartonella burgdorferi (Feng, 2015) and Bartonella henselae (Zheng et al., 2020), especially in the log and stationary stages, when the bacteria multiply and take up residence in our body. Due to its ability to help mitochondria function and enhance nerve cell signaling, in addition to its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, methylene blue is a highly effective treatment for patients suffering from Chronic Lyme Disease.

One of the best ways to administer methylene blue is intravenously, although it can also be taken orally. If administered via IV, it becomes even more effective when coupled with UV light blood irradiation. For this therapy an IV is placed in the patient, and Methylene blue, diluted by D5W, and infused into the patient through a special light box where the Methylene blue is exposed to ultraviolet light. The UV light is clinically beneficial as it has been proven to kill pathogens such as viruses, mold, and parasites, as well as act as an immune modulator. The mechanism of action is not fully understood, but ultraviolet light has a positive effects on many parts of the immune system including: “lymphocytes (T-cells and B-cells), macrophages, monocytes, dendritic cells, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and lipids” (Boretti, Banik & Castelletto, 2021). In addition to IV UV irradiation, there are also limited clinical studies that show that UV irradiation suppresses Borrelia burgdorferi when administered directly in animal studies (Brown et al., 1995)(Brown et al., 2001).

By harnessing the joint powers of methylene blue and UV light blood irradiation, we can help the body heal itself and fight off the pathogens that cause this prevalent infection.


Boretti, A., Banik, B., & Castelletto, S. (2021). Use of Ultraviolet Blood Irradiation Against Viral Infections. Clinical reviews in allergy & immunology, 60(2), 259–270.

Brown, E. L., Rivas, J. M., Ullrich, S. E., Young, C. R., Norris, S. J., & Kripke, M. L. (1995). Modulation of immunity to Borrelia burgdorferi by ultraviolet irradiation: differential effect on Th1 and Th2 immune responses. European journal of immunology, 25(11), 3017–3022.

Brown, E. L., Ullrich, S. E., Pride, M., & Kripke, M. L. (2001). The effect of UV irradiation on infection of mice with Borrelia burgdorferi. Photochemistry and photobiology, 73(5), 537–544.<0537:TEOUIO>2.0.CO;2

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Johnson L, Wilcox S, Mankoff J, Stricker RB. 2014. Severity of chronic Lyme disease compared to other chronic conditions: a quality of life survey. PeerJ 2:e322

Li, T., Feng, J., Xiao, S., Shi, W., Sullivan, D., & Zhang, Y. (2019). Identification of FDA-Approved Drugs with Activity against Stationary Phase Bartonella henselae. Antibiotics (Basel, Switzerland), 8(2), 50.

Mayo Clinic. (2023, February 10). Lyme disease. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved March 20, 2023, from,if%20you’re%20feeling%20better. 

Thesnaar, L., Bezuidenhout, J. J., Petzer, A., Petzer, J. P., & Cloete, T. T. (2021). Methylene blue analogues: In vitro antimicrobial minimum inhibitory concentrations and in silico pharmacophore modelling. European journal of pharmaceutical sciences : official journal of the European Federation for Pharmaceutical Sciences, 157, 105603.

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Xue, H., Thaivalappil, A., & Cao, K. (2021). The Potentials of Methylene Blue as an Anti-Aging Drug. Cells, 10(12), 3379.

Zheng, X., Ma, X., Li, T., Shi, W., & Zhang, Y. (2020). Effect of different drugs and drug combinations on killing stationary phase and biofilms recovered cells of Bartonella henselae in vitro. BMC microbiology, 20(1), 87.

Author picture

Medically reviewed by Dr. Stephen Matta, DO, MBA CAQSM and Mary Anne Matta, MS, MA, LAC

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