$2bn startup uses ketosis to cure Type 2 diabetes
San Francisco-based Virta Health promotes a ketosis diet to reverse Type 2 diabetes
Sami Inkinen, a nutritional ketosis evangelist, is upgrading the traditional dietary system with his digital health start-up Virta Health; helping people with Type 2 diabetes reduce their intake of medication and reverse the disease by decreasing their carbohydrate intake.
According to the CDC, Type 2 diabetes, which is largely preventable, encompasses 90-95% of all cases of diabetes. The CEO himself was diagnosed with prediabetes a decade ago, something he discovered was a result of his low-fat, high carbohydrate diet.
In an interview with Forbes, he shuns the existing solutions to treat the disease, stating Type 2 diabetes is treated “as a chronic progressive disease where the end game is death and amputations”. However, Inkinen us unleashing his knowledge to provide more efficient solutions ingrained in science: “I know exactly how to solve it and now we’re at the point where all the proof points are there, we just have to scale.”
Vitra Health consequently is a personal mission for Inkinen. His diagnosis led him to seek answers, turning to his now cofounders – chief innovation officer Stephen Phinney and chief science officer Jeff Volek. Phinney’s research on nutritional ketosis struck a chord with Inkinen as the diet restricts carbohydrate intake and focusses on burning fats instead of sugars (promoting weight loss). Given the fact that being overweight and inactive are the key risks for prediabetes, Inkinen was set on promoting this keto diet and launched Virta Health.
The Vitra Health app includes a beginner programme which includes a way to measure blood glucose, blood ketones and a scale for weight. In addition, users have access to a doctor through a virtual communication platform who monitors blood glucose levels and de-prescribing diabetes medication, and a diet planner that ensures the patient remains in the nutritional ketosis zone.
The stats speak for themselves as 63% of users eliminated diabetes-specific medications after a one-year trial, and 94% of patients eliminated or reduced their insulin usage. Moreover, patients also reported health benefits such as better blood pressure and weight loss.
The CEO shared:
It’s time to take Type 2 diabetes reversal mainstream by scaling, but there is lots of work ahead of us,
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