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  • Children's blood used to keep the rich young?
  • Adrenochrome is a real but marginally useful chemical compound
  • Keeping young with blood - an idea that has been with mankind for centuries
Adrenochrome is an adrenaline oxidation product. Mostafa Jamei/Unsplash

Children's blood used to keep the rich young?

Blood is one of the sources of human life. But can it be secretly used by the world's most powerful and richest people to maintain their longevity and youthfulness?

This is the view of a section of the online community actively interested in conspiracy theories and alternative views on world events.

The theory that the world's rich use blood to keep themselves young is linked to a chemical compound called adrenochrome, which actually exists.
On the Internet, individuals belonging to various groups claim that the devil-worshipping global and even Hollywood elite are orchestrating the mass trafficking of children to drain them of their blood in order to obtain this chemical that helps them stay young.

The debate on this topic is mostly among the proponents of QAnon, a far-right American political conspiracy theory and political movement[1].

Adrenochrome extracted from children's blood is said to help preserve eternal youth. It is often even suggested that US Democrats, such as the Clintons and the Obamas, or the billionaire George Soros, are behind this conspiracy.

In fact, even various public polls show that a significant number of Americans believe that the US Democrats are involved in child trafficking. A poll conducted before the 2020 US presidential elections showed that 50% of Donald Trump's supporters said they believed that the Democrats were linked to child trafficking rings.

The adrenochrome theory itself has been evolving on social media for the past decade, but it will gain momentum in 2020. Some of the first known posts on the adrenochrome theory were published in 2013 on the social platform 4chan, where the QAnon movement also emerged[2].

Adrenochrome theories continue to circulate on social media today. For example, when the children's animated film Monsters, Inc. appeared, in which monsters elicit fear cries from children to fill their energy, there were claims that this was an allegory for adrenochrome. And in 2017, the independent film Adrenochrome was released, which depicts a fictional gang in Venice Beach, California, killing people for their adrenochrome. "According to Liz Krokin, conspiracy theorist at Right Wing Watch, "adrenochrome is a drug favoured by the elite, extracted from the pituitary glands of tortured children and sold on the black market".

Adrenochrome is a real but marginally useful chemical compound

What is adrenochrome? It is the oxidation product of adrenaline with homeostatic properties. It polymerizes in an alkaline environment to give a brown color. The chemical formula of the substance is C₉H₉NO₃[3].

It is used in stable derivatives, such as carbazochrome salicylate. Historically, adrenochrome has been studied for its potential effects on the human body.

Currently, adrenochrome is not used significantly in medicine, but its stabilisation by addition to monosemicarbazone produces carbazochrome, which promotes blood coagulation. Carbazochrome is sometimes used to treat hemorrhage, although its efficacy is inconclusive.

In the mid-20th century, some studies explored the possibility that adrenochrome could produce hallucinogenic effects similar to those of LSD or other psychoactive substances, but these studies were inconclusive and often lacked rigorous scientific methodology.

However, this is not a new chemical discovery. As far back as 1856, the French physician Alfred Vulpian observed that epinephrine, isolated from the suprarenal glands of mammals, turns pink over time when exposed to air. The mechanism of this phenomenon was identified in 1937 by the American biochemist David Ezra Green and the English neurologist Derek Richter, who isolated a substance that was formed by oxidation into a pure crystalline form, which they called adrenochrome[4].

In the 1950s, Canadian psychiatrists Abram Hoffer and Humphry Osmond noticed similarities between the symptoms of schizophrenia and the effects of the hallucinogenic substance mescaline and hypothesized that an adrenaline-related substance might cause schizophrenia.

Hoffer and Osmond searched for a compound produced by the body that would cause the symptoms of schizophrenia and found that it could be adrenochrome. After testing adrenochrome on themselves, they claimed that this substance could indeed cause hallucinations.

This observation inspired them to develop the so-called adrenochrome hypothesis, which suggested that schizophrenia is caused by the accumulation of adrenochrome in the body, and can therefore be counteracted by taking large doses of antioxidants. This idea never gained acceptance in the medical community.

Hoffer and Osmond carried out several small studies between 1952 and 1954 and reported successful treatment of schizophrenic patients with high doses of niacin and vitamin C, but their results have not been replicated in independent studies. In addition, other individuals who subsequently tried adrenochrome did not experience psychedelic effects.

The Internet spreads information about adrenochrome that is gotten from children and its effects on longevity. Cassi Josh/Unsplash
The Internet spreads information about adrenochrome that is gotten from children and its effects on longevity. Cassi Josh/Unsplash

Keeping young with blood - an idea that has been with mankind for centuries

The idea that youth can be preserved and maintained through blood is far from new as far back as the Middle Ages, pale skin was considered beautiful because it showed that a woman was wealthy and did not need to work outside. To show off their perfect porcelain-white skin, some women used to bleed themselves. Bloodletting was also thought to cure physical ailments.

Much earlier, Roman women used the blood of gladiators as a cosmetic treatment. It was believed that it was through the use of gladiators' blood that the vitality and strength of gladiators could be transmitted to women[5].

One of the most infamous historical figures associated with the use of blood for beauty is Elizabeth Bathory, a 16th-century Hungarian noblewoman. She is said to have bathed in the blood of young girls in the hope that it would preserve her youth. In fact, many historians now consider these stories to be exaggerated or mythical.

Later, blood was incorporated into various cultures' traditional and non-traditional medical practices. For example, some Native American tribes used blood in rituals to promote healing and vitality. However, animal blood was used, not human blood.

The fascination with blood to enhance beauty and longevity has remained in modern times. For example, the so-called vampire mask has recently gained popularity. This modern cosmetic procedure involves taking the patient's blood, processing it to extract platelet-rich plasma (PRP), and injecting it back into the patient's face.

PRP is thought to stimulate collagen production and improve skin texture and tone. Some anti-aging treatments also use stem cells derived from blood or other sources. These treatments aim to regenerate and repair tissues, which can lead to younger-looking skin[6].

Of course, even without entering the territory of convoluted conspiracy theories, the use of blood to preserve beauty and longevity raises serious ethical and safety concerns. Historical practices have often lacked scientific justification and could be dangerous or even fatal. Medical professionals carry out modern procedures using human blood in a controlled environment but still carry risks, including infection and adverse reactions[7].