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Can a virus cause weight gain?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Some scientists theorize that certain viruses (microorganisms that cause infections such as colds and flu) can cause excessive weight gain or obesity in animals. Laboratory studies have shown that infecting mice and hamsters with these viruses makes them gain large amounts of weight—a phenomenon called "infectobesity." Whether viruses cause humans to become obese is unknown, however.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.