advertisement

Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Is the Chronic Fatigue Virus Real?

About a year ago, I read that a virus is associated with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and now there's more news about another virus linked to the disorder. What does that mean in terms of treatment for those of us who have been diagnosed with CFS?

A
Answer (Published 5/27/2011)

Originally published, Dec. 2009, updated May, 2011

An estimated one million Americans suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), a constellation of symptoms including fatigue, pain and impaired memory and concentration that can't be traced to any other physical or mental disorder.

Related Weil Products
The Weil Vitamin Advisor for Autoimmune Issues - Do you know which vitamins to take? Find out what is recommended for your optimum health with your free, personalized Weil Vitamin Advisor recommendation.

You're quite right that in 2009, researchers at the Whittemore Peterson Institute in Reno, Nev., the National Cancer Institute, and the Cleveland Clinic reported that 67 percent of the 101 CFS patients they studied were infected with a retrovirus called XMRV (for xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus), which they found in only 3.7 percent of 218 healthy people studied. At the time, the lead author of the study, Judy A. Mikovits, Ph.D., was quoted in the New York Times as saying that additional research had found XMRV in nearly 98 percent of about 300 CFS patients. However, even then we weren't sure that this was the cause of CFS. Since then, results from studies elsewhere proved contradictory - some found a connection between XMRV and CFS and some didn't.

In addition, other investigators have suggested that XMRV is not an infectious agent at all, but really a laboratory contaminant. This matter is far from settled, and researchers are continuing to explore the question of whether or not infection with XMRV or some other virus might underlie CFS.

After the original research was published, some patients, believing the cause of their disease had been identified, had themselves tested for XMRV and then began taking the same powerful anti-retroviral drugs used for treatment of HIV - not a good idea. These drugs have significant toxicity and have not been proven safe or effective for treatment of CFS.

The question of whether or not XMRV causes CFS or is a contributing factor in any other human disease (such as prostate cancer) remains unsettled. Even the researchers who are studying this virus predict that it will be years before we know the answer.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Q
Is the Chronic Fatigue Virus Real?

About a year ago, I read that a virus is associated with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and now there's more news about another virus linked to the disorder. What does that mean in terms of treatment for those of us who have been diagnosed with CFS?

A
Answer (Published 5/27/2011)

Originally published, Dec. 2009, updated May, 2011

An estimated one million Americans suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), a constellation of symptoms including fatigue, pain and impaired memory and concentration that can't be traced to any other physical or mental disorder.

Related Weil Products
The Weil Vitamin Advisor for Autoimmune Issues - Do you know which vitamins to take? Find out what is recommended for your optimum health with your free, personalized Weil Vitamin Advisor recommendation.

You're quite right that in 2009, researchers at the Whittemore Peterson Institute in Reno, Nev., the National Cancer Institute, and the Cleveland Clinic reported that 67 percent of the 101 CFS patients they studied were infected with a retrovirus called XMRV (for xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus), which they found in only 3.7 percent of 218 healthy people studied. At the time, the lead author of the study, Judy A. Mikovits, Ph.D., was quoted in the New York Times as saying that additional research had found XMRV in nearly 98 percent of about 300 CFS patients. However, even then we weren't sure that this was the cause of CFS. Since then, results from studies elsewhere proved contradictory - some found a connection between XMRV and CFS and some didn't.

In addition, other investigators have suggested that XMRV is not an infectious agent at all, but really a laboratory contaminant. This matter is far from settled, and researchers are continuing to explore the question of whether or not infection with XMRV or some other virus might underlie CFS.

After the original research was published, some patients, believing the cause of their disease had been identified, had themselves tested for XMRV and then began taking the same powerful anti-retroviral drugs used for treatment of HIV - not a good idea. These drugs have significant toxicity and have not been proven safe or effective for treatment of CFS.

The question of whether or not XMRV causes CFS or is a contributing factor in any other human disease (such as prostate cancer) remains unsettled. Even the researchers who are studying this virus predict that it will be years before we know the answer.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Follow Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet and save 30%. Start your 14-day free trial now!

Stay Connected with Dr. Weil
Promote the health of your body, mind and spirit - sign up for Dr. Weil's FREE newsletters today!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe Wellness Guide
Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

 
Copyright © 2016 Weil Lifestyle
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here

  

Q & A Library



Q
Is the Chronic Fatigue Virus Real?

About a year ago, I read that a virus is associated with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and now there's more news about another virus linked to the disorder. What does that mean in terms of treatment for those of us who have been diagnosed with CFS?

A
Answer (Published 5/27/2011)

Originally published, Dec. 2009, updated May, 2011

An estimated one million Americans suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), a constellation of symptoms including fatigue, pain and impaired memory and concentration that can't be traced to any other physical or mental disorder.

Related Weil Products
The Weil Vitamin Advisor for Autoimmune Issues - Do you know which vitamins to take? Find out what is recommended for your optimum health with your free, personalized Weil Vitamin Advisor recommendation.

You're quite right that in 2009, researchers at the Whittemore Peterson Institute in Reno, Nev., the National Cancer Institute, and the Cleveland Clinic reported that 67 percent of the 101 CFS patients they studied were infected with a retrovirus called XMRV (for xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus), which they found in only 3.7 percent of 218 healthy people studied. At the time, the lead author of the study, Judy A. Mikovits, Ph.D., was quoted in the New York Times as saying that additional research had found XMRV in nearly 98 percent of about 300 CFS patients. However, even then we weren't sure that this was the cause of CFS. Since then, results from studies elsewhere proved contradictory - some found a connection between XMRV and CFS and some didn't.

In addition, other investigators have suggested that XMRV is not an infectious agent at all, but really a laboratory contaminant. This matter is far from settled, and researchers are continuing to explore the question of whether or not infection with XMRV or some other virus might underlie CFS.

After the original research was published, some patients, believing the cause of their disease had been identified, had themselves tested for XMRV and then began taking the same powerful anti-retroviral drugs used for treatment of HIV - not a good idea. These drugs have significant toxicity and have not been proven safe or effective for treatment of CFS.

The question of whether or not XMRV causes CFS or is a contributing factor in any other human disease (such as prostate cancer) remains unsettled. Even the researchers who are studying this virus predict that it will be years before we know the answer.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Q
Is the Chronic Fatigue Virus Real?

About a year ago, I read that a virus is associated with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and now there's more news about another virus linked to the disorder. What does that mean in terms of treatment for those of us who have been diagnosed with CFS?

A
Answer (Published 5/27/2011)

Originally published, Dec. 2009, updated May, 2011

An estimated one million Americans suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), a constellation of symptoms including fatigue, pain and impaired memory and concentration that can't be traced to any other physical or mental disorder.

Related Weil Products
The Weil Vitamin Advisor for Autoimmune Issues - Do you know which vitamins to take? Find out what is recommended for your optimum health with your free, personalized Weil Vitamin Advisor recommendation.

You're quite right that in 2009, researchers at the Whittemore Peterson Institute in Reno, Nev., the National Cancer Institute, and the Cleveland Clinic reported that 67 percent of the 101 CFS patients they studied were infected with a retrovirus called XMRV (for xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus), which they found in only 3.7 percent of 218 healthy people studied. At the time, the lead author of the study, Judy A. Mikovits, Ph.D., was quoted in the New York Times as saying that additional research had found XMRV in nearly 98 percent of about 300 CFS patients. However, even then we weren't sure that this was the cause of CFS. Since then, results from studies elsewhere proved contradictory - some found a connection between XMRV and CFS and some didn't.

In addition, other investigators have suggested that XMRV is not an infectious agent at all, but really a laboratory contaminant. This matter is far from settled, and researchers are continuing to explore the question of whether or not infection with XMRV or some other virus might underlie CFS.

After the original research was published, some patients, believing the cause of their disease had been identified, had themselves tested for XMRV and then began taking the same powerful anti-retroviral drugs used for treatment of HIV - not a good idea. These drugs have significant toxicity and have not been proven safe or effective for treatment of CFS.

The question of whether or not XMRV causes CFS or is a contributing factor in any other human disease (such as prostate cancer) remains unsettled. Even the researchers who are studying this virus predict that it will be years before we know the answer.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.