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Dr. Weil finally chimes in on XMRV



December 4, 2009

Chronic Fatigue Virus? (you can leave comments about this on his website)

Q: I just heard on the news that a virus causes chronic fatigue syndrome. How will treatment change now that this is known?

A: An important new discovery does suggest that a virus called XMRV (for xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus) is associated with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). We dont know yet whether it actually causes CFS or how it might contribute to this disorder, which is characterized by persistent, severe fatigue and body aches. However, the new circumstantial evidence indicates that XMRV could play a key role. In an article published online on October 8, 2009, in the journal Science, a consortium of researchers from the Whittemore Peterson Institute in Reno, NV, the National Cancer Institute, and the Cleveland Clinic reported that 67 percent of the 101 CFS patients they studied were infected with XMRV, which was found in only 3.7 percent of 218 healthy people studied. The lead author of the study, Judy A. Mikovits, Ph.D., was quoted by the New York Times as saying that research since the initial report was written found the virus in nearly 98 percent of about 300 CFS patients.
Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil's 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 Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor Profile.

This is exciting news about a mysterious disorder. Over the years, many researchers suspected that a virus or other chronic infectious agent was a contributing factor to CFS, but since medical tests revealed no known pathogen, many physicians chalked the condition up to psychological problems.

For the record, XMRV is not an airborne virus. It is a retrovirus, a type that carries genetic information in RNA, not DNA, and inserts itself in its hosts genetic material for life. Retroviruses can activate a number of other latent viruses, which could explain why the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) has also been linked to CFS. This is the first time that XMRV has been isolated from patients, although it has been found in cells taken from prostate cancers.

The next step in the research is to test antiretroviral drugs (some of which are used to treat HIV) to see if they help CFS patients. If the treatment works, it will further pinpoint XMRV as the cause of the illness. Stay tuned.

Eric Johnson from I&I

Senior Member
Some of our allies have recommended graded exercise. I'm not saying they did it rightly or wrongly; I dont know.

His comment is reasonable at least -- more than many a public comment on this.

But yeah I am something of a vitamin supplement skeptic (except vitamin D) myself, and an alt-med skeptic. So I'm not saying the guys generally a genius or anything.


All shall be well . . .
Santa Rosa, CA
Dr. Weil and CFS

Here are quotes from Dr. Weil's own website on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Maybe we should start an "educate Dr. Weil campaign."

Suggested Lifestyle Changes
Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment or universally reliable cure. It seems that the best predictor of improvement is to remain as active as possible. It is important to have a physician who is sensitive to the syndrome, and avoid those who recommend expensive treatments that have no proven validity. The following treatments have been shown to be beneficial for many patients:

Exercise. Some studies have shown that those who engage in exercise, particularly aerobic exercise, actually feel less fatigue and an improvement in normal functioning. Aim for 20-30 minutes of aerobic activity at least five days a week. Do not over-exercise; maintain a moderate-to-low pace.

Stress-reduction exercises. Perform breathing exercises daily and practice a relaxation technique such as yoga or meditation on a regular basis.

Be selective about support groups for people with chronic fatigue syndrome. Seek those that are positive and avoid those who give you ideas for new symptoms and convey the impression that the disease will be with you for the rest of your life.

Try cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). It can help you regain a sense of personal control, improve physical functioning, and reduce fatigue.

Do not despair! Chronic fatigue syndrome is not a lifelong malady. Many of my patients have recovered well after one to five years of feeling ill. Do not expect to wake up cured one wonderful day. Do expect to have ups and downs, with the downs becoming less severe and less frequent.

Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation is one of the most common reasons for fatigue.

Be active. You need to expend some energy every day in order to have more of it.

Nutrition and Supplements

Try the following to prevent or lessen symptoms of CFS:

Take my general antioxidant vitamin formula plus a B-100 B-complex supplement.

Try eleuthero, 500 mg three times daily, and coenzyme Q10, 60-120 mg daily, both of which can help boost and maintain energy levels.

Eat two cloves of raw garlic a day.

Take astragalus root for its antiviral and immunity-enhancing properties. Look for products standardized to 16% polysaccharides and 0.2 % flavones. A usual dose is 2 capsules or tablets twice a day, unless the product directs otherwise.

Stay hydrated. Not drinking enough water can cause or contribute to fatigue.


Hysterical Woman

Senior Member
East Coast
Dr. Weil

If I remember correctly (and there is no guarantee of that :(), I believe Weil was pretty tough on CFS several years ago - believing it to be just stress related that could be relieved by exercise. He later "apologized" in not believing it was a real illness. However, years ago when I was still trying to work, a couple of co-workers who were big believers in Weil asked me about his recommendations regarding CFS & exercise.

About the same time, another co-worker heard about Dr. Rowe's work regarding neurally mediated hypotension issues including low blood volume. He said he had heard that Rowe commented that CFS people could be a lot better if they just ate a pickle a day (which I believe Rowe said he never said).

As a result, for years my co-workers didn't understand why I was still ill since all I had to do is go out running every day with a pickle in my mouth.:)

Take care,



happy to be here
mountains of north carolina
As a result, for years my co-workers didn't understand why I was still ill since all I had to do is go out running every day with a pickle in my mouth.:)

I (perversely?) *love* hearing stories of all the stupid things people have said to us over the years. They're just so hilarious! Maybe we should start a thread?


Senior Member
Good idea, Fresh Eyes. I have lost track, and could use them as a sort of appendix to my long list of denigrated diseases.



I (perversely?) *love* hearing stories of all the stupid things people have said to us over the years. They're just so hilarious! Maybe we should start a thread?

I agree - they are hilarious and I think that's a great idea! We can never have too many laughs around here. In fact, it is a requirement - good medicine!::D:p:D


happy to be here
mountains of north carolina
Reminds me of a wonderful piece on "Advice" by my friend Lily, who is a writer and has CFS. I'm going to start a thread and share that. :D

ETA: Done! Y'all come on over to the Community Lounge and share that stupidity!

ps Hey, Samuel - I'd like to check out those denigrated diseases of yours, too!