World Diabetes Day is an opportunity to shine a light on a disease that impacts over 50%-75% of adults in the US and many more throughout the world. But this year it feels different. This year, amongst a COVID-19 pandemic and deepening economic crisis, it holds more meaning and significance than ever before.
“The fast pandemic of Corona virus has arrived on top of the slow pandemic of metabolic disease. We have to address diet-related illnesses urgently because it’s not going to be the last, fast pandemic and we need to be a resilient population.”
—Dary Mozaffarian, M.D. Dean of Tufts School of Nutrition
To do our part, DayTwo held the first ever conference on Metabolic Disease and precision nutrition that included leading experts from science, academia, employers, payors, associations and patients to bring perspective and solutions to this silent pandemic.
The unanticipated and tidal events of this year are shining a light on this silent pandemic of metabolic disease; prediabetes, diabetes, clinical obesity and NAFLD. Born of a food and nutrition crisis and increasing poverty levels, the problem is steadily spiraling out of control into a heavy, health-debt of associated comorbidities. The US healthcare system, known for its innovation and widely recognized as best-in-class around the world, is about to face it’s greatest challenge yet.
“One out of every two people in the US are challenged with one type of metabolic disease. The rate of incidence continues to increase rapidly and we need to think differently.”
—Jan Berger, M.D., Medical Director Mid-West Business Group on Health
In recent decades, we’ve built up a solid bank of research to understand the social determinants of health outcomes. And now, that bank is filling up with the richest set of data ever imagined—With unofficial unemployment rates hovering around 30 million (up from 7 million at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic), a record 54 million people in America are estimated to face food insecurity during the COVID 19 pandemic. This is expected to result in a shortage of up to 8 billion meals in the next 12 months, an unfathomable number for a nation whose foundation is built on prosperity and hope.
“Over a trillion microbes allow us to understand why people differ in their response to medications, diet and their potential for treatment. It represents a revolution in our ability to understand opportunities for how to provide hyper-personalized care.”
—Jack Gilbert, PhD, Professor of Pediatrics, University of California, San Diego
The most innovative payers and employers are wise to recognize that the discourse is fast moving away from diabetes management and monitoring towards metabolic disease remission. Or commonly described as moving someone from a diabetes diagnosis towards sustainably lower A1C levels that ultimately brings them back into a healthy blood sugar Time in Range.
“Insurance carriers are extremely conservative financial institutions and sometimes you have to push them on medical policy. Employers like Walmart, IBM and Bank of America are all asking for these types of benefits.
—Alan Spiro, M.D., former Chief Medical Officer, Blue Health Intelligence”
All of this is made possible by precision medicine—specifically precision nutrition—an intervention that uses gut microbiome profiling and applies machine learning to predict an individual’s blood sugar response to foods. DayTwo’s program is clinically proven to reduce A1C and outperforms all existing approaches to metabolic disease including the ADA Guidelines, Metformin and the Diabetes Prevention Program. DayTwo employs a combination of clinical support, Food Prescriptions™, behavior change therapy and digital tracking.
“The potential of precision nutrition is enormous. The algorithm that DayTwo has developed based on their microbiome data has been transformational. It’s really an exciting time as a Clinician. We’re at the cusp of this technology really exploding and changing the face of medicine and intervention techniques.
—Ronald Krauss, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics At University of California San Francisco”
With advances in precision medicine, there is great hope that we’ll be better prepared for the next pandemic. Payers and employers have a critical role to play by helping to get these proven interventions into the hands of their vulnerable populations who need it most.