Jacob Teitelbaum, MD examines a research study that found that a common virus caused human adult stem cells to turn into fat cells and could explain why some people become obese.

by Jacob Teitelbaum, MD

New research found that when human stem cells — which can turn into any type of cell — were exposed to a common virus they turned into fat cells. They didn’t just change, they stored fat, too. Earlier research showed another common virus causes cells to store more fat and those with obesity were 3 times as likely to have been infected. It doesn’t explain all of America’s growing obesity problem, but it adds to other recent evidence that blames more than just super-sized portions and lack of exercise and will power for expanding waistlines.

Earlier research showed that adenovirus-36 — a common cause of respiratory and eye infections — caused animals to pack on the pounds in lab experiments. Obese people were three times more likely to have been infected with Ad-36 than thin people in a large study of humans. Now, researchers have shown that exposure to the virus caused adult human stem cells to turn into fat-storing cells.

Dr. Magdalena Pasarica, who led the study, obtained adult stem cells from fat tissue of people who had undergone liposuction. Half of the stem cells were exposed to the virus Ad-36. After a week, most of the infected stem cells developed into fat cells, while the uninfected cells were unchanged.

The researchers note that Ad-36 is just one of 10 pathogens linked to obesity and that more may be out there. They note that some people might find it hard to believe that a virus could be responsible for obesity. “Certainly overeating has something to do with gaining weight. No doubt about that. But that is not the whole truth…There are multiple causes of obesity. They range from simple overeating to genes to metabolism and perhaps viruses and infections.”

Long term, they hope to develop a vaccine and perhaps treatments for the virus. But first, he and colleagues need to better understand the role of Ad-36 in human obesity.

For more information, read “Too fat? Common virus may be to blame: study“.

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Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, board certified internist and best-selling author of From Fatigued to Fantastic!, is also the author of landmark published research on effective treatments for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and fibromyalgia. For more information on CFS, FM and other health topics, please visit his website at www.endfatigue.com.

IHS Topic To hear more about this topic first-hand, attend Environmental Toxin Assault on Our Mitochondria Leading to Obesity and Diabetes at the 2009 Integrative Healthcare Symposium. Integrative Practitioner members get 15% off Symposium registration when they enter discount code7470.