Virta is built upon a foundation of solid science and excellent research. This includes the work that many scientists (some of them our founders) have published over a number of decades, and it now directs how we provide the best care to reverse type 2 diabetes. This is a novel concept in standard healthcare, where diabetes is still viewed as a chronic progressive disease. We are committed to demonstrating that the Virta Clinic can safety and sustainability help people with type 2 diabetes overcome this disease. Not surprisingly, we also believe in sharing the research we do with others.
To accomplish this, we have embarked on a landmark study with Indiana University Health Arnett in Lafayette, Indiana to demonstrate the health improvements that can be achieved with Virta’s approach. Almost 400 people with either type 2 diabetes or prediabetes have been enrolled in a two year study to evaluate the clinical impact Virta’s personalized intervention could have on their disease. Focusing on the 262 patients in this study with type 2 diabetes, they averaged 54 years old, weighed 257 pounds, and about two-thirds were women. Their HbA1c (the test that represents average blood sugar over the last three months) was 7.6% when they enrolled and most (89%) were taking at least one medication to lower blood sugar.
Although this will be a 2-year long study, Virta’s first manuscript has evaluated the early clinical outcomes achieved by the people with type 2 diabetes. Participation in the study was 91% after 10 weeks, and HbA1c was decreased by a remarkable 1.1%, dropping from 7.6 to 6.5%. In fact, over half of the participants (56%) at this 70-day check-point registered a HbA1c under 6.5% (the threshold for diagnosis of type 2 diabetes), and most of them were able to achieve that HbA1c off of all diabetes medications or taking only metformin. For people who started the study taking insulin, SGLT-2 inhibitors, or sulfonylureas to lower blood glucose, 89% of the participants reduced or eliminated these prescriptions.
Blood sugar and medications weren’t the only things reduced for these participants—weight loss also accompanied these health improvements. On average the 232 people still enrolled at 10 weeks lost 7.2% of their starting body weight. This translates to a loss of about 18 pounds over 10 weeks, and over that time these participants also reported less hunger. Blood triglycerides, which are associated with risk for cardiovascular disease when elevated, were reduced by over 20%, falling from 185 down to 145 mg/dl. Our ongoing research will evaluate the sustainability of these metabolic and other improvements over the next 2 years.
While we love biochemical data and believe in using it to guide our patients to achieve metabolic health, we also know that health and well-being are about more than just the numbers. At Virta, we understand that each of the people we work with has their own story, their own challenges, and their own measures of successes. Our participants will tell you that they feel better and have more energy—that they are much happier and have more life in them than before—and that’s the most important outcome we can ever help our patients achieve.