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Digital Health Profile: Virta Health & Quest to Reverse Type 2 Diabetes with Indiana University in Clinical Trial

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Girl holding Tablet with the diagnosis Diabetes on the display.

The software may be eating the healthcare world now. Based in the heart of the capital of Technology, San Francisco, Virta delivers a clinically-proven treatment to reverse type 2 diabetes and other chronic metabolic diseases. Part of the “digital health” movement they have raised over $80 million in venture capital since their founding in 2014. They are conducting ongoing clinical trials for their digital health assets.

San Francisco-based Virta Health seeks to address critical health issues such as diabetes which arise in part from social determinants of health-related factors. They tout that for decades we have all heard that diabetes prevention is simple—lose weight, eat less, exercise more, etc. But they note that there must be something wrong with this convention wisdom given the fact that nearly 115 million people live with diabetes, or pre-diabetes in the United States. Inspired by their own founder’s story they have a radical agenda—reverse diabetes for 100 million by 2025—our kind of company!

What do they do?

A clinically proven method to treat and reverse diabetes. They use aggregate patient data is safe, secure and respectable ways. They sign up patients on a digital platform and uses a tool based on the concept of nutritional ketosis a metabolic state that allows the patient to substitute fat for carbs as the patient’s primary energy source. When the patient burns fat as the primary energy source the body produces special molecules called ketones—these little molecules have “big superpowers”-research evidence that they reduce inflammation; offer a steady flow of energy for mission-critical organs such as the brain, and can even reduce the urge for cravings and hunger.

Program

Virta has sponsored a clinical trial. This study has demonstrated that nutritional ketosis is the key to getting type 2 diabetes reversed—and keeping it reversed. This is accomplished without the need for A) surgery B) more medications C) excessive exercise or D) starving oneself.

Virta reports that patients on its program report weight loss and decrease in A1c as well as reductions in medications in as little as 10 weeks! A fundamental goal is that patients maintain their success and not return to a live dependency on drugs and the prospect of surgery and worse.

Sustaining diabetes reverse requires discipline in food choices and their program touts that patients will not only enjoy the food but also will get plenty of it.

Clinical Trials

TrialSite News reviewed some of their clinical programs as posted on ClincialTrials.gov website. They have two active studies where its stated purpose of the registry study is to establish a research data repository, comprised primarily of data generated in the course of clinical care, to research Virta Health clinical interventions and the chronic diseases suffered by Virta Health patients.

The single-center repository makes use of all clinical trial data generated through the provisioning of clinical services by Virta Health for its patients. Additional research-only patient follow-up information will be collected via a questionnaire. Target participant count is 50000.

The other active study with Indian University seeks to demonstrate the therapeutic effects of implementing a well-formulated low carbohydrate lifestyle program over 2 years in patients with type 2 diabetes, pre-diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. The research is being conducted at Indiana University Health at the Arnett Medical Weight Loss Center, West Lafayette, Indiana.

Lead Investigator

Sarah Hallberg, DO

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