Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Male CFS Patients May Have Option

In recent studies, it has been shown that DHT (dihydrotestosterone) increases XMRV replication rate threefold.  This is not surprising, considering that a number of prostate drugs target this very hormone.  Testosterone is metabolized to DHT, which is more powerful - but it is also implicated in pattern baldness, prostate problems, and excess body hair.  Some drugs such as Casodex and Flutamide will block DHT at its receptor, however they will result in impaired fertility, loss of libido, and feminization effects, as testosterone is necessary to mitigate the effects of estrogen.

On the other hand, blocking the conversion of Testosterone to DHT should result in a significant drop in viral replication rate.  There are 2 very safe drugs that I can think of that can attain this effect: Avodart (dutasteride), and Proscar (available as Propecia in a lower dosage form).  A threefold drop in viral replication rate could have a significant effect on symptoms of ME/CFS - It is my opinion that at a certain threshold, the immune system is capable of keeping XMRV in check, hence why XMRV is found in a small number of healthy controls.  I would like to see a clinical trial enrolling male patients to test this hypothesis.  The effects of these drugs have negligible effects on male fertility - treatment will only produce mild reductions in sperm count averaging 6%.  Serum testosterone increased considerably, which is necessary for muscle protein synthesis, regulating the hypothalamus-pituitary axis, and increasing mental and physical energy - all things ME/CFS, Fibromyalgia, and Gulf War Syndrome patients could stand to benefit from.


  1. So reducing DHT increased serum testosterone?
    Are you saying Avodart and Proscar don't have those negative feminizing effects of Casodex and Flutamide?
    I wonder how this meshes with the fact that women get ME (and other autoimmune diseases) at a higher rate than men- any ideas?
    I'd appreciate any more info on this- it's a fascinating topic. Thank you for posting on it!

  2. why can't this be used with at least some women? especially those who show androgen increase. (for example, too much sebaceous gland activity such as I have even at age 60! I also had severe acne from 13 to 20, have a husky voice, too much body hair, mild male pattern baldness--so did one of my sisters--and my father had early baldness at 25 as did two of my sister's sons. My father also had many symptoms of CFS and would only recover after flu or cold with a B12 shot. He died in 1981 of sudden heart and kidney failure at 66 even though he had kept pretty active. He developed diabetes about 15 years before that.)

    Do you think these things are relevant? I am beginning to wonder. I read somewhere about xmrv in the DNA causing androgen increase. Is this related to DHT? Many women on Cort's forum report adult acne and there is some discussion there of this possible xmrv androgen effect.

    I might also add that I was ill for a year when I was three after the unexpected death of my one year old brother one month after smallpox vaccination, but recovered after my baby sister arrived and stayed quite healthy for many years until my system became stressed from catching too many things at university.

    I am wondering if I might have "inherited" cfs/xmrv or something like it from my father. Now this DHT/androgen effect of xmrv on dna makes me wonder more.

  3. Dr. Luckett,

    Do you have an opinion on saw palmetto for perhaps achieving a similar effect?


  4. Hmmm... sex change anyone? But serously, is there anything a female can do with this info?

    Thanks Dr. Luckett.

  5. Dr. Luckett:
    I can't get over how good your blog is. Thanks for sharing your research, wisdom, and committment to solving CFIDS. Your sister is lucky to have such a caring brother. Would that even one member of my otherwise intelligent family be able to be so involved, rather than so prejudicial toward this illness. In my severe CFIDS case I have lost 50% of my bone density. I am wondering how the other hormones, estrogen, vitamin D etc. would effect XMRV. I can not tolerate any hormones and antiviral drugs are notoriously bad for bone density. ~Elisa

  6. This blog and Dr. Luckett are a gift to everyone suffering from XMRV. I agree with Snufkin.

    I also wanna bring up what Justin said, do Proscar and Avodart have less side effects and increase Testosterone while decreasing DHT?

  7. Btw black tea could help a little bit, to lower DHT.


    Mice treated with black tea tended to have a greater serum testosterone concentration (34.4%, P = 0.50) and had a 72% lower DHT concentration than controls (P < 0.05), suggesting that black tea may contain components that inhibit the activity of 5-reductase, an enzyme that converts testosterone to the more bioactive DHT.

  8. Really good thinking, dr Luckett ...
    When I was very ill, my DHT-levels were rather high (for a woman). When I began to feel better, DHT-levels measured were much lower. I've always thought this was important, directly related to my state of illness.

  9. Could you please give the references for these articles? Thanks much.

    Keep up your blog! It's a good service you are doing.

  10. Dr. L,

    I take BHT for my FM and it definitely provides a great deal of GI relief. I do notice feeling better, having less pain, and less fatigued when I take it. Is this because of some anti-viral affect?

  11. Hi Dr. Luckett,

    I'm a reporter doing a piece on XMRV, and I'd very much like to speak with you. Previously, I've written on Ampligen.

    Your blog is providing a much-needed service.

    All best,

    Mindy Kitei

  12. Hi!
    Not sure what "awaiting a faculty position" means, but did you see that Cornell University has a post doc position for doing XMRV research? There are worse places to be...

  13. By "Awaiting" I mean that I am in the process of interviews with faculty at 3 UK universities at this time, and that it will depend upon which institution I gain acceptance to, and which most closely meets my research goals. I am aware of the Cornell post doc position, however I am now living back in the UK closer to my family, and it would be my preference to have a research and teaching position here.

  14. It was very interesting for me to read that blog. Thanks for it. I like such topics and anything connected to them. I definitely want to read a bit more soon.

  15. Hi,

    i need some clarifications. please help.

    i am Male 25 years now. i have been masturbating for the past 8 to 10 years and consistently my sperm levels got reduced. This also resulted in sperm leak during sleep. also i got bald in front.

    now i visited a dermatalogist for consultation and he has prescribed Finabald 1 mg and Menofit for reducing DHT conversion.

    after taking the tablet i dont feel masturbate while sleep, because my libido levels are going down.

    This is a good sign for one cause that i can reduce my masturbation. on the other hand, i may get married after 1 year, which doubts me whether i can be actively invovled in sexual activity and for child birth, as i get low libido levels and currentl i have not checked whether my semen is fertile or not.

    Please help.

  16. I have had CFIDS since 1994 and it has disabled and almost destroyed my life.
    I have been taking testosterone shots for the past 7 years to help boost my energy, but now since androgens increase xmrv 3 fold, I am considering going off of it. What do you think?


  17. hello friend excellent and very professional information about Male CFS Patients May Have Option thanks

  18. Hi guys.Your sister is lucky to have such a caring brother. Would that even one member of my otherwise intelligent family be able to be so involved, rather than so prejudicial toward this illness. Good lick

  19. Hi, Doc.
    First, I appologize for my bad English (I belong in Brazil, South America.)
    I knew about your blog last Jun 2, after 5 years searching in Web about CFIDS (then, CFS), and I feel happy for finding it.
    I became my own doctor, since no one seems to know (nor wants to know) about my problem, exception for my rheumato, who thinks my CFIDS has viral etiology, and has directed me to an infecto, who knows nothing about it ...
    My onset was at 1986, after having sex with someone who, some weeks later, told me he was HIV+ (then HTLV III+), when I already had lost some Kgs, and felt weak. Since then, I've tested "a million" times for HIV, always negative. XMRV makes a lot of sense for me, as also does what you say about DHT and body hair. I sincerely hope "people from Whitemore - Peterson" is right. I believe they are. It seems to me that something is terribly wrong about CDC, UK's replication studies, and all.

    Thanks for your sharing.

  20. I have Chronic EBV. I changed my diet which helped alot. I went to gym 3X a week. I felt like I started loosing hair. So I went to Health store and they showed me Saw Palmetto(3g). I took for 2 nights, felt a little wired up in my head. stopped cold turkey and since then I think I have been suffering from depression anxiety. I wonder if it had the reverse effect on me Because I stopped cold turkey. Any explanation? Do u think it was responsible for Depression. Is there anyway to reverse it?