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3 Surprising Causes of Weight Gain

April 20, 2018

For those of us that have had to deal with weight issues, it can be extremely frustrating.


If you’ve brought it up to your doctor, they may not be equipped to help you and sometimes can even make you feel that it’s your fault. 


You’re eating too much.  You don’t exercise enough.  You’re just lazy.


Okay, they probably didn’t call you lazy, but that’s probably how it made you feel, isn’t it?


There is information out there to support the idea that being overweight is not always your fault.  In fact, I’d venture to say that, MOST of the time, there is some underlying pathology that is causing the weight gain.


Your doctor has probably looked for thyroid dysfunction, as this is a well-known cause of weight gain.  They may have even looked at your sex hormone levels, another cause of weight gain that has gained traction in conventional medicine. 


But there are still other causes that your doctor probably isn’t checking.  Here are 3 causes of weight gain your doctor probably isn’t telling you about and how you can test for them.


Gut Bacterial Dysbiosis and Leaky Gut

The importance of the gut microbiome, or the collection of bacteria living in your gut, has been the centerpiece of many scientific studies over the past decade or so.


We now have evidence linking disrupted gut microbiome to mental health disorders, autoimmunity, and yep, weight problems.


In one study, researchers took feces from a set of thin, healthy mice, and transplanted it into obese mice.  The obese mice lost weight and they were able to maintain a healthy weight without changes to diet or activity levels.


To make sure that this was not some fluke or just a coincidence, they reversed the process and took fecal samples from obese mice and put it into thin mice.  And the thin mice, became obese, without any changes in diet or activity levels.


This provides us with clear evidence that the microbiome plays a significant role in weight management.


A disrupted gut microbiome can lead to massive amounts of inflammation, not only in the gut, but throughout the body.  This comes not only from the biologic activity in the gut, but the “leaking” of foreign particles into the blood stream due to a dysfunction between cells in the gut, a.k.a. “leaky gut.”


How to Know If This Applies to You:


In order to know if you have a healthy gut microbiome, we’d need to take a look at what’s going on inside of you.  The first thing we’d want to look at is called a Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) Breath Test.  Your small intestines should have relatively small numbers of bacteria growing in it, but sometimes that gets out of control and we end up with overgrowth, which can lead to more problems.  The breath test can tell us if there is bacteria growing in the small intestine when it shouldn’t be.


Secondly, we can take a look at what’s going on in the large intestine by using a Comprehensive Stool Analysis (CSA).  The large intestine should have billions of bacteria in it, but what kind of bacteria and in what ratios is very important.  The CSA allows us to see the relative number of different types of bacteria and if there are any that shouldn’t be there at all.


Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS)

The immune system is a powerful thing.  It protects us from foreign invaders and keeps us from dying in a lot of instances, but when it gets turned on and can’t shut off, that’s a huge problem.


That’s basically what is occurring in Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS).  The complement part of the immune system is turned on and will not turn off on its own.


In the case of CIRS, certain pro-inflammatory agents attach to leptin receptors in the hypothalamus, blocking leptin from binding.  This damages the leptin receptors and leads to weight gain.


Leptin is the chemical in your body that suppresses appetite and signals for fatty acids to be available for energy (i.e. burning fat).  This process is inhibited in CIRS.


CIRS can be brought on by exposure to mold and mycotoxins, Lyme disease, and exposure to some forms of biotoxins in bodies of water.


How to Know If This Applies to You:


CIRS is still relatively new in the conventional medical world and is still not widely accepted and even when it is accepted, not everyone knows how to treat it.  So, make sure to do your homework if you need to pursue this path.


Fortunately, the screening for CIRS is easy and cheap.  You can do it at home, on your computer via the VCS Test.  It is a test that is assessing your ability to differentiate between shades of gray, as your optic nerve is one of the first things to be affected by CIRS.


If you fail the VCS, you’ll need to get further testing and treatment with a professional that is trained in treating CIRS.  I can help with this or you can go to this site to find a practitioner close to you if you prefer.


If you pass the VCS, there is still about an 8% chance that you have CIRS, but I would exhaust all other options, then come back to this one if need be.


Adenovirus 36 (Adv36)

This is relatively new to me, but I wanted to include it here anyway.

In a recent article in Wired Magazine, the work of Dr. Richard Atkinson and his team is brought to light regarding the correlation and suspected causation of obesity and Adenovirus 36 (Adv36).


Dr. Atkinson explains how the virus can make people fat:


“There are three ways that we think Ad-36 makes people fatter:


(1) It increases the uptake of glucose from the blood and converts it to fat; (2) it increases the creation of fat molecules through fatty acid synthase, an enzyme that creates fat; and (3) it enables the creation of more fat cells to hold all the fat by committing stem cells, which can turn into either bone or fat, into fat. So, the fat cells that exist are getting bigger, and the body is creating more of them.”


This is a very exciting field, but there seems to be more to learn.  Dr. Atkinson and his team are hard at work on this and it will be interesting to see what may come of it.


How to Know If This Applies to You:


I’m still researching options for testing for Ad-36 but I do know that Dr. Atkinson and his team at Obetech can help in this area.  They offer testing at their lab.  I have been in contact with them to see what information I could gleam, but as of time of publication, I had not heard back from them.


Ultimately, there are a lot of things that can contribute to weight gain and may not be just a calories in versus calories out discussion.  Certainly, the foods we eat and the amount of exercise we partake in can be a factor, but we must consider all avenues.  So, talk with your doctor or one of us here at the pharmacy and see what factors may be contributing to your weight issues.

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