The human obesity virus was discovered in 2007. It causes existing fat cells to hold more fat and new fat cells to mature faster. It has a relatively small impact on your weight and is highly contagious, and it does not always cause obesity.
Read the sections below for detailed information about the human obesity virus.
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- The virus causes existing fat cells hold more fat
- The new fat cells mature faster
Researchers are still attempting to decode the pathology of the obesity virus, but so far they’ve learned that it affects both existing fat cells and cells that have the potential to store fat.
Your body gains fat by creating new fat cells after your existing fat cells are full. When your body senses that your existing fat cells cannot hold any more, it begins “filling” the new fat cells.
The obesity virus both increases the amount of fat that existing fat cells can hold and speeds up the maturing of new fat cells.
Virus Discovery: First found in Chiken Adenovirurses; Later Confirmed in Human Adenoviruses
As is often the case with medical breakthroughs, the discovery of the obesity virus was indirectly stumbled upon (1). A veterinary pathologist in India was conducting research on chickens after a cross-country virus had killed thousands of them. While lethal viruses typically reduce the weight of their hosts, the chickens who died from the virus, called SMAM-1, had actually gained fat.
After confirming the results by testing the virus on healthy chickens, the Pennington Biomedical Research (PBR) scientists transitioned their research to humans. SMAM-1 is an “adenovirus” that affects birds, so the researchers focused on the 50 known human adenoviruses when beginning their research.
They started with AD-36, a human adenovirus found to be associated with obesity in other mammals. When evaluating the relationship between AD-36 and obesity in humans, they found that humans infected with the virus (determined by the presence of virus-fighting AD-36 antibodies) were almost 3 times as likely to be obese: about 30% of the obese people studied had the virus while 11% of lean people had it.
Since the confirmation of AD-36’s association with obesity, the researchers have found at least 2 other obesity-causing adenoviruses.
- The impact on your weight is small
- On average, an increase of 1.4 body mass index (BMI) points & 2.1% in body fat was measured
While AD-36 is associated with weight gain, other factors probably play a bigger role in causing obesity.
In one study, 28 pairs of identical twins (56 people) with and without AD-36 antibodies were evaluated (2). On average, the antibody-positive twins had a 1.4 point higher body mass index and 2.1% higher body fat percentage.
While these numbers are statistically significant in terms of confirming that AD-36 increases body weight, the results also show that the obesity virus plays a relatively minor role in determining an infected individual’s weight.
- Yes, the virus is contagious
- The virus is spread through the air
Yes, the AD-36 adenovirus is highly contagious. It infects the lungs before making its way around the body, leading to multiplying fat cells in addition to causing sore throats, according to the PBR scientists.
- There are tests available through Obetech
- The test costs $200 to $400
- It probably isn't worth the cost to get tested
While there are currently no cures for the obesity virus, remember that the additional weight caused by it is a relatively small percentage compared to an obese individual’s overall weight (as discussed above). Also remember that 11% of lean people have it and their weight appears to be unaffected.
If you do have one or more of the fat-causing adenoviruses in your system and are one of the 30% of obese people whose weight is affected by them, there are several other causes of obesity that are much more worthy of your attention, including diet and exercise.
If you simply must find out if you are infected, you can have your blood tested by a company called Obetech for between $200 and $400 depending on the test that is deemed to be most appropriate for you.
Even if you do have the virus, your physician’s recommendations would probably be the same either way. Obetech’s own website recommends the following if your test results come back positive:
“Start a treatment program to prevent further weight gain or to prevent becoming overweight. The standard treatments are eating a healthier diet with lots of vegetables and fruits, reducing calorie intake, increasing physical activity to obtain 30-90 min of vigorous activity (such as walking) at least 5 days per week, and in cases where they are indicated, [you may want to consider] starting drugs that may lower body weight or prevent weight gain. For people who qualify, obesity surgery may cause dramatic weight losses.”
- Don’t spend your money on a test until a cure is found.
- Improve your lifestyle habits (i.e. diet and exercise) if you are overweight or obese or consider bariatric treatment if you are morbidly obese and other weight loss attempts
have continuously failed.
If you simply must know if you have the virus, you’ll need to coordinate it with your doctor or local laboratory. For more information about how to get tested in your area, contact Obetech directly.