Photo Source: https://about.me/samiinkinen
Sami Inkinen is a hugely successful entrepreneur who cooperated in the founding and development of Trulia, a real estate empire which was sold in 2014 to Zillow for the staggering amount of $3.5 billion. Using part of his fortune, Inkinen went on to build Virtra, a health care startup whose sole purpose is the research and cure of type 2 diabetes. This was not a typo, by the way, as the startup’s mission clearly specifies that they are not aiming towards the management of the disease; Virta has developed a natural, non-intrusive method through which individuals that suffer from type 2 diabetes can improve their condition and reduce their dependency on medication to control the disease, or remove it entirely.
Sami, backed up by the research conducted at Virtra, claims that type 2 diabetes can be controlled and reduced with 1 simple method: a healthy, low-carb and low-sugar diet. Regardless, it’s understandable that these claims can seem far-fetched for some, especially considering Inkinen’s lack of a medical background. Nevertheless, his startup is comprised of a team of clinicians and engineers that combine biochemistry with software in order to find the right balance between diet and medication, so that the patients may reduce the dosage of their medication while focusing more on a healthy lifestyle in a safe, steady, and wholesome manner.
It’s simple, really; type 2 diabetes is a disease characterized by a prolonged increase in the patient’s blood sugar (glucose) levels. Glucose is a type of sugar found in the bloodstream and its sole function is to be transformed into energy to be used by the cell through insulin’s actions. Insulin, in turn, is a hormone produced by the pancreas and which plays a vital role in many tasks, one of which being the transformation of blood sugar into energy. However, some people react differently to insulin’s effects, as their cells cannot use it effectively to transform glucose into an energy in a phenomenon that is called “insulin resistance”. In order to regulate the levels of sugar in the blood, the pancreas is prompted to work at an increased pace, producing more insulin while also incurring accelerated wear on its structure. Eventually, the pancreas will cease to produce insulin due to excessive wear, and blood sugar levels will rise, prompting the onset of type 2 diabetes.
With a disease that revolves around high blood sugar and the body’s failure to regulate its levels, it makes sense that a good course of action would be to reduce the patient’s intake of meals which transform into glucose in the body. Case in point, carbohydrates, and sugary sweets are the biggest offenders in this area, and are comprised by several groups of food which should be avoided in order to guarantee the diabetic patient’s long-term health. Nevertheless, when it comes to reducing sugar and carb intake in us humans, this statement is, in most cases, easier said than done; carbs and sweets are those types of food that are easy to let into our lives, and difficult to let go once they’ve established themselves in our psyche.
Virtra’s solution revolves around a low-carb, low-sugar diet which allows the diabetic patient to live at peace with their condition and enjoy a long life. Furthermore, their solution can also lead to the prevention, reduction, or even the reversal of type 2 diabetes’ symptoms. Regardless, the folks at Virtra are also human; they understand how hard it is to simply let go of sandwiches, bagels, and donuts, among other delicacies. That’s why they employ the aforementioned team of engineers and clinicians which work in tandem in the development of a solution that allows them to perform complex calculations which determine exactly how the medications of diabetic patients need to be adjusted in order to fit their new lifestyle. Through this app, patients will be able to adopt a new diet which not only allows them to keep their blood sugar levels in check but also to do so without sacrificing their favorite meals and without overly depending on expensive medication and insulin injections.
The precision of the software solution can never be overstated, as an error in the calculations can often prove to be fatal. Blood sugar levels in diabetic patients are constantly high; if a diabetic individual takes his meds, then his blood sugar will stabilize. However, if he or she manages to lower their blood sugar through dietary means, and they take their medication on top of that, then that’s definitely a trip to the ER. Since blood sugar is seldom a static measure for these patients, a solution which rapidly provides results is essential to the success of Virta’s solution, and that is exactly what the startup is developing; an end to type 2 diabetes and a means for diabetic patients to live normal, healthy lives which allow the consumption of their favorite meals while complementing their daily schedule with exercise and other positive practices.
As of today, Virta has already begun conducting trials with their new dietary program. Specifically, they conducted a trial that involved 262 diabetic individuals, and which offer very promising results. Of the participating patients, a whopping 91 percent of them successfully finished the program, and 87 percent of these experienced a reduction in their dosage or completely went off their insulin intake. Furthermore, at least half of the population of participants were, at the very least, able to reduce one of their diabetes medication intakes.
the above trial results could only be achieved thanks to Virta’s software, which provided all the necessary data so the clinicians could make appropriate decisions in real time. The software itself is developed in house by Virta’s tech experts and provides physicians with a staggering amount of data pool of all the diabetic patients examined on a daily basis, and which refreshes several times a day. The way it functions is that the clinician first examines his patient, and then compares the data obtained to the one in the software. In this manner, the physician can accurately gauge the patient’s development and determine which medication to reduce or remove entirely from his or her schedule.
The key aspect of Virta’s solution is that it relies on a constant influx of user-submitted data, which means that, as time goes by, the usage of the software increases, and its database is bolstered, it will be able to provide better and more accurate results.
As matters stand today, Virta’s solution has already proven to be an effective measure to counteract type 2 diabetes and help patients live better, non-restrictive lives. Granted, the trial was held in a reduced group of individuals, so it is far from being proved effective for the general populace. Regardless, the future seems promising for those that suffer from type 2 diabetes, as we may well be on a sure path to not only a method to improve the lives of patients around the globe but for effectively “curing” the disease by promoting healthier lifestyles which don’t rely on medications to keep blood sugar levels in check.