Autoimmune Thyroid Disease

An Unfortunate and Lengthy Adventure in Misdiagnosis

AD36, the fat virus

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Dr. Nihil Dhurandhar, a leading researcher in the field, thinks that viral infection may contribute to the development of obesity in some people.

At least six different pathogens appear to promote weight gain in animals.

An associate professor at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Dr. Dhurandhar reports that an avian adenovirus SMAM-1 and Ad36, a human virus that causes upper respiratory infections, colds and gastrointestinal ailments, precipitates obesity in animals.

Infected highly contagious animals can gain between 50 to 100 per cent of their body weight in fat—despite having no increase in rates of food consumption. The Unusual Suspect

The virus, called Ad36, is what’s known as an adenovirus. Colds, flu, encephalitis, meningitis, and some cases of diarrhea are caused by adenoviruses, explains Richard Atkinson, MD, emeritus professor of medicine and nutrition at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. […]

Atkinson has led several investigations of Ad36 — studies involving animals and humans. Published studies have shown that when the virus is given to chickens, mice, monkeys, and rats, their body fat increases by 50%-100% even though they ate the same amount as animals not given the virus.

“The virus seems to change body composition, so there is an increased percentage of fat,” says Atkinson. “In monkeys, weight gain was about four times the weight gain of [comparison monkeys].” But there does appear to be some positive affect. Total cholesterol and LDL “bad” cholesterol levels go down, he says. The Fat Virus: Could Obesity Be Contagious?

When Atkinson, Dhurandhar, and colleagues screened humans for specific Ad36 antibodies, they found that around 30% of the people with obesity had the antibodies, compared with 10% of the normal-weight people. The Obesity Virus?

It’s nice to see another piece of scientific evidence that punches a hole in the over-simplistic calories-in-calories-out approach to weight gain. Fat people are always being blamed for “eating too much”, when often they have underlying metabolic problems that can be caused by numerous different factors (malnutrition, genetics, congenital disorders, medical conditions, food or environmental sensitivities and now pathogens too).

About a year and a half ago I was absolutely knocked for six by a bout of bronchitis. The whole time I was ill I hardly ate and didn’t feel hungry. But I could feel my body ballooning day by day. I had horrible side effects like skipping heart beat for the first time, and ticcing sensations under my skin. I put on about half a stone in the space of ten days. Although I lost the weight again in the weeks afterwards, I never really felt right again and over the next few weeks I moved back to the UK from France, and all of the symptoms (fatigue, irritability, confusion) I had experienced before going on a low-carb diet reemerged, and within a month I had eczema, and over the next few months I gained weight and lost muscle mass for no apparent reason. My working theory has been that this infection may have damaged my body in some way.

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Written by alienrobotgirl

17 March, 2006 at 12:44 pm

2 Responses

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  1. […] Posted in Low Carbohydrate Diets by the witch on August 31st, 2006 I posted on AD36, the fat virus, a while […]

  2. […] own experience of my elastic metabolism, that a calorie is not always a calorie. I have posted on AD-36, the fat virus, and infectious obesity, a couple of times before. Some of the theories I have previously thrown […]


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